Stars of the WB -- Then & Now

The two former teen stars are crowdfunding a new series about the ups and downs of Hollywood -- and they've had plenty.

Stephen Colletti and James Lafferty bring fans inside a Hollywood audition room in the pilot for their new comedy series, "Everyone Is Doing Great," and it ain't pretty.

While we don't want to spoil the specifics, Colletti's character finds himself in some precarious positions while trying out for a new role. Though both actors' real life experiences don't quite reach the ridiculous highs of the series, they each told TooFab about past auditions that left them feeling frustrated.

After he finished working on "One Tree Hill," one of Colletti's first auditions was with one of the show's producers. Though he felt comfortable going into it, already having that rapport, it went downhill fast. "There's a lot of people in the room ,that [the producer] threw a walnut in the air across the room to me, and like a monkey I did the little dance, ran over to it, caught it in my mouth," he explained. "I started reading the audition and I get halfway through and just a little crumb of walnut started catching in my throat.

"All of a sudden I realized I hadn't been talking for like 20-25 seconds and I was just staring into space because I was trying to hold back the fact that I was choking on the walnut," he said with a laugh. "Afterwards they were like you did a really good job recovering there and I was just like, 'Oh yeah, great, see ya never.'"

Colletti also recalled one audition he went into where he heard one of the casting directors say, "Ah, another one of those 'One Tree Hill' whores coming in," as he entered the room. "'One Tree Hill' whore?! I shook it off, but it's one of biggest regrets not to walk in that room and just say, 'Hey, have a nice day,' and just drop my papers and leave. But I went in and still did the audition and was just cussing him out in my car. Yeah, a great place to begin your scene someone calling you a 'whore.'"

Lafferty's example wasn't quite as drastic, but still just as dismissive. "I just have the quickest of stories that isn't quite as painful but it is sad," he said. "I walked into the audition and the casting director was a little bit dismissive but I thought she was going to help me give it a go and about halfway through the scene, I actually watched her cross me off the list before the scene was even done. So there is a long painful version of an audition and there's the very short painful version of an audition, I think. We've seen everything in between."

"Everyone Is Doing Great" was created and co-written by both guys, who also star in the series about two actors who struggle to stay afloat after enjoying success on a hit TV drama. Lafferty also directed the pilot. "The show is very funny, but also tackles real issues in a very meaningful way and that's a testament to the great writing from James and Stephen," the show's executive producers Ian Nelms and Eshom Nelms told TooFab.

And while the characters may sound familiar, Stephen and James swear they aren't "Seth" and "Jeremy."

"What we did here was take this world that some of these circumstances and situations that we're familiar with, some of the anecdotes that we've heard our friends tell in the industry that are totally absurd and completely hilarious, and we sprinkled them in here," said Lafferty. "These guys are complete works of fiction," he added, saying their characters are what they'd be like if they "hadn't done the work to diversify our skillsets" after "OTH" ended.

By not playing themselves, the two really got a chance to stretch outside their comfort zones, embracing more physical and situational comedy than ever before.

"I was terrified," Colletti said of tapping into his funny bone. "If it's making you uncomfortable and you're doubting that, I think that's when you're doing something special. It becomes kind of delicious in a way after the fact, when you're like, the fear of all of that, the insecurities and the unknown, it's so big to be pushing yourself on those levels and you learn so much. To say we weren't downright terrified to do these scenes and put them out into the world would be a complete lie."

"There were times where we had to push each other," he continued. "I will say, I remember James, when he's in his bathroom and it's a particularly shocking scene, he was there and we were framing up, getting ready to shoot and I'm back there behind on the monitor and James, he was getting ready to do this scene and he yells back, before we go, 'Is this too much?' And I just really quickly had to quip back, 'Nope! Roll camera!'"

With the pilot finished and the guys taking it to festivals around the world, they've also launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise money to bring it to series. "We're just trying to give ourselves heart attacks," Colletti joked of the crowdfunding approach. "James and I were talking one day, like, what kind of show can we make and possibly lose some years off our lives?"

More seriously though, Lafferty said they want to create something unique that they hope can be held "to the same standards of our favorite shows," adding, "In order to do that, you have to take chances, you have to preserve creative control, which means you have to do things alone without the support system of a network or studio."

"When it came time to talk about, 'OK, how do we make more episodes of this show?' The natural response was, well, we should do it the way that we did the pilot. We should do it ourselves. We should do it only with people we trust to protect what we came out with because we're proud of it," he added. "The best way to do that was to raise the money ourselves."

To donate to their campaign, check it out right here. Fans can check out the pilot at the Monte Carlo TV Festival, Denver's Series Festival and the New York TV Festival, all coming up in June and July.

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