Video Lettuce Tomato, Cubs & Doug Tyler

“We’re a group of creators that work under the same roof to help promote each others work.”

– Douglas Tyler

Doug’s a collaborator and connector. If he were flush with cash, he’d buy a huge plot of land to create a sustainable collective where artists could cost-effectively live so they could focus on their craft of making art. I hope his vision comes true.

Doug and I met through a mutual Chicago connection, Calliope Porter. Doug’s a director, producer, actor and the co-founder of the YouTube channel Video Lettuce Tomato (co-founded by David Plummer). He created the channel after he realized several like-minded directors were going after the same audience. Rather than compete, he figured it would be better if they worked together to build a following by cross-pollinate their shows among their respective friends and audiences. He’s also a fellow Chicago Cubs fan.

Video Lettuce Tomato

The channel features a couple of shows, including:

  • The Tiffany and Erin Show” – A buddy comedy about two best friends who love each other…almost as much as they love themselves..
  • Jobless The Series” – The awkwardly hilarious story of Evan, a self-destructing guy trying to get back his dream life.
  • Jack and Justin in Hollywood” – Two 20-somethings find their move to Hollywood brings them nothing but trouble. With landlord Nic Cage.
  • YouTube The Musical” – Mike likes Megan. Megan likes fame. Together they’ll search for Internet fame.

Two shows are post – one scheduled to launch in October and the other a few months away.

“I’m passionate about is getting to a place and creating an infrastructure so that like minded creators, artists and friends can work and be more creative. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to share and pass along that information so that other people can use and do it too. I want to be part of this changeover to self-created content.”

Doug got his undergrad in theater and digital filmmaking in Arkansas and his MFA in acting at Roosevelt University in Chicago. After graduating from Roosevelt, Stewart Talent signed him and Doug started landing commercials and performing in plays, but he missed making things. After chatting with his friend Michael Rhea, they decided to collaborate on a webseries. “Unemployed” was the precursor to “Jobless.”

He and Michael (the star of the show) spent six months working on the script. Doug says the show is “Very Chicago in its work ethic” because they shot it in 10 days in 20 plus locations. They treated it like a mini-feature. It’s 60 minutes total. Doug says it was labor intensive, a small crew and low budget. The cash they had was derived from a Kickstarter campaign and product placement through a friend’s dad. It was very run and gun, fun and hard as hell.

He learned some valuable lessons throughout out the shoot, including improvising when locations and/or shot lists changed. He became more flexible. He learned to delegate.

“’Jobless’ was my film school,” said Doug. “I had to relearn to edit. I did post workflow. It geared me up for longer story telling vs. shorts. It was the best gap to a feature. I would not have been ready to go from short to feature. I’m ready for a feature now.”

Doug said one of the challenges today is that people want three things when it comes to video production – fast, cheap and good – but more often than not, you only can accomplish two.

Through his work with VLT, Doug has built a small production/distribution company for low budget projects.

“We own the channel,” said Doug. “You’re getting an audience, you keep the rights, but you’re uploading to our channel and we do a social media blast. We take a finished show or something almost finished and we help you produce it and connect you with an audience. We also have composers and colorists, camera gear and a nice Rolodex of crew. It’s a package.”

He is specifically looking for narrative content, not sketch. The trend in TV right now is slow character reveals. “When it gets overly involved in plot, I lose interest,” added Doug. “I’m drawn to stories about people who are struggling to better themselves.”

If you’re interested in submitting your show to Video, Lettuce, Tomato, send an email to: videolettucetomato@gmail.com.

As for the Cubs, Doug things they’ll hit 300 home runs next year and Rizzo has the potential to be an MVP. He’s looking at 2016 and 2017.

“They piqued my interest,” said Doug. “The aroma is good. Let’s hope the food tastes as good as it smells.”

Let’s hope so indeed.