“The series is largely based on storylines of the supporting cast from the Finding Me Series. So the first step was asking the actors if they were willing to return for a new project playing their former roles,” says series creator Roger S. Omeus Jr.
“I will be honest. I was very hesitant about starting another series. It had been a few months since I wrapped Finding Me, and I was going through a sort of empty nest. I love that show, and secretly I want to continue it, but due to a lot of factors that just can’t be done…right now,” Omeus says while smirking. “With all that said, I knew I wasn’t done telling stories, but tackling something from the ground up is a very large endeavor. I just didn’t know if I was ready to do all of that again, but I am a filmmaker, and the idea of doing nothing just didn’t sit right with me.
“I began to think what can I do that would not kill me but still satisfy my creative hunger? The first thing that came to mind was the ‘Minisodes.’ When we started Season 1 of FMS they were pocketed self-contained mini-episode that were very manageable. I knew I wanted to continue Finding Me some how, but how could I do it without the main cast? The first person I approached was Kenyon L. O’Brien, who played Morris Chadway. That’s when I thought about the minisode centering around one of the supporting characters of the series, and what better character to use than Morris?”
“I approached Kenyon with the concept; he enthusiastically agreed to come back. His reaction is honestly what fueled me to go for it.”
The next actor that agreed to return was Morris’ ex-wife Joy Chadway, played by actress/singer/songwriter Dan Cathcart. “Joy and Morris’ relationship dynamic was something we were always going to explore in Season 2 of FMS, but due to budget constraints, scheduling and time we just couldn’t get it done.”
Roger continues, “Marlon Wallace (an Editor for WBOC in Delaware) wrote an episode featuring the characters that never got filmed. Once I knew Kenyon agreed to return, I knew this was my opportunity to tell another version of that story. When I reached out to Dan, she too agreed to reprise her role.”
Once these pieces came into place Finding Me: the Minisodes was on it’s way to the pre-production phase.
Casting for the ‘Minisodes’ centering around Morris’ story had began and the series was slated to be released in the Fall of 2016, but production hit a snag. “One of the actors I cast was unable to film on the days we had scheduled which threw production off. Also, Dan is bi-coastal, and her schedule, like most actors was jammed packed with other projects, which forced me to rethink the direction of the series.” The series creator continued, “I was honestly thinking of scrapping the entire project, but then I got a call from FM veteran, Derrick L. Briggs (Lonnie).
“Derrick approached me about being in front of the camera again. He has been working on his own upcoming project and I was assisting him periodically, but he craved acting again, so the plan was to spotlight a one-off solo story-line about the character.”
“We actually began pre-production, casting and a day of filming, but like any film production the unexpected happened. On day 2 of filming, production came to a grinding halt when Derrick cancelled hours before we were due to film. I’m not usually this revealing about the truth of what happens behind the scenes, but I use this to illustrate and thank the universe, because from crisis a seed was planted and, well, let’s just say the show must go on, but it should never be a horror show.”
Once again, the slow developing series took another turn in direction. In the midst of all these changes, more Finding Me vets were being cast. “Austin Michael Young, who played James Wright was always one of the actors I want to work with again.”
“Not only was his portrayal as James great, but as a person Austin has always been a pleasure to work with. His love for acting makes it a treat to work him on set.” Roger Omeus recalls a moment from the screening of Finding Me’s series finale, “Tying Loose Ends” in New York City, “I’ll never forget at the end of the screening Austin gave a heart felt speech about how much he appreciated his experience on the series.”
” When you’re doing an online series there sometimes no budget to compensate the actors. What happen’s is you are relying on their belief in the project or what they can get out of it, and Austin is a commercial/print model as well as an actor. I always figured he was just doing this for his reel, or IMDB credit. But I never knew how he truly felt about the entire experience. I’m not one emotionally displays, but I will concede to getting a little choked up by his speech. I say that to say, I was excited when he agreed to return.”
“If there is one regret from the FMS I will always have is not being able to complete the Omar story. Bry’Nt’s schedule has been so packed that he just never could commit to filming the finale or the minisodes. John Ramos played Ramon Lopez shares my grief.”
What a lot of people may not know is that Roger and John attended the same high school and were involved in the school’s drama guild. ” The original script for ‘Tying Loose Ends’ told that story, and John, who loved that script, had been asking when would film that story? Without Bry’Nt I just couldn’t see how that would work…at first. I have since crafted a story that will tell a version of that story, which allows John, King David (Uncle Junior) and Parish Bradley (Detective Leslie Powell) to reprise their roles. They all said yes and I am very pleased with that.”
With all the actors that were willing to return to the series, Roger started to realize the minisodes was taking another turn. It was growing beyond his original concept. The person that helped him to realize that was his long time friend and producer to most of the Finding Me franchise, Sontaia P.k. Briggs.
“Sontaia and I were talking, and I told her my dilemma. I told her how I was excited about how many actors were agreeing to join the project, but I was beginning to dislike the idea of it being under the mantle of ‘Minisodes.’ Then she said I should create another series. ‘Call it Decalogue: a Finding Me story,’ she said. The reason she said that is because I told her how I wanted to limit the series to ten stories, Deca literally means ten in Greek and the word Decalogue translates to Ten Commandments. I fell in love with the name, but had trouble justifing the title to the story I was trying to tell. I thought about really hard and the middle of the night, which is when I do a lot of thinking, I came up with the series title, DEKA-LOG. Deka, meaning Ten and Log, as in a captain’s log, or story. Then it made sense to me and I was super excited.”
With that boost of confidence Roger continued approaching actors from FMS to see if they were willing to join this new spin-off series. Next up was Dustin Fredric Ross, who played Jerome Beaumont.
“I honestly think didn’t about asking Dustin to return at first, because his character was so intertwind with Faybien from Finding Me. The person who actually dropped the bug in my ear was RayMartell Moore, who played Faybien. After a conversation with Ray I began to see a way to write a story centering on Jerome. It was so obvious and I was surprised I didn’t think of it earlier. Dustin is a real natural and professional. The thought of working with him again made me smile.”
“Last, but definitely not least to join DEKA-LOG was Brigid Turner, who played Danielle Spencer.”
“Her character played a pretty important but unexplored role in Season 2 of Finding Me the Series. Danielle was the first woman Faybien ever had sex with. Why would a straight professional woman sleep with her gay subordinate? What was her motives? Again, we never had the opportunity to explore this and now DEKA-LOG gives me the chance to shed some light into this character. Also, Brigid is beautifully stunning woman, and great actress. I was over the top when she said yes to coming on board. ”
In closing DEKA-LOG will tell ten stories or account of these characters lives. How the story will unfold, we don’t know yet, but we can rest assured that the series will be entertaining, thought provoking, funny and exciting. The ten story series is also produced by Sontaia P.k. Briggs. Head Writer Roger S. Omeus Jr. Writers Marlon Wallace, Danielle Mooney and Christopher Weaver as PR consultant. Stay tuned for more!