Deerfield native co-produces show for The Fantasy Network

  • Deerfield native Joanna Pasiecnik and six other produces have sold a comedy/fantasy web series, called “The Campaign,” to The Fantasy Network, a creator-owned video-on-demand and crowdfunding platform founded in 2018. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

  • Deerfield native Joanna Pasiecnik is working on “The Campaign,” a comedy/fantasy. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Actor Mike Morrison is filmed for “The Campaign,” a comedy and fantasy web series co-produced by Deerfield native Joanna Pasiecnik.

  • Makeup artist Alex Breijak applies makeup to actor Devon Tully for “The Campaign.” CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Deerfield native Joanna Pasiecnik talks with Bill Szabrak while working on “The Campaign,” a comedy/fantasy web series Pasiecnik co-produces. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, June 21, 2021

Just about two years after premiering a “somewhat autobiographical” short film to a hometown audience, Deerfield native Joanna Pasiecnik has sold a project to The Fantasy Network, a creator-owned video-on-demand and crowdfunding platform founded in 2018.

She was asked in 2019 to jump aboard “The Campaign,” a comedy/fantasy web series, and she and the six other producers were halfway through the third episode when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down production in Atlanta. It took about six months to get back on set and episode four was completed a few weekends ago. All five episodes must be delivered to The Fantasy Network by late summer.

“The Campaign” centers around seven close friends who, after 10 years, reconnect at their high school reunion, after which they decide to pick up where they left off — playing an old role-playing game, only to be transported into the game itself and forced to find their way home. The show is written by Atlanta-area writers and uses an all-Atlanta cast and crew.

After promoting the show, the producers — Pasiecnik, Josh Warren, Matt Metzger, Sean Bokelmann, Ravi Saini, Bill Szabrak and John Babcock — started a partnership with The Fantasy Network, a streaming service. But once the pandemic started, the producers met and decided to halt production.

“There would be periodical meetings to gauge how safe it would be to return to set as the pandemic wore on,” Pasiecnik said. “We have a main cast of six, so figuring out how to be smart and keep everyone safe was the main reason why we decided to halt production.”

Pasiecnik said returning to set required hiring “COVID officers.”

“We had to have one state-certified COVID officer per every eight people on set. Their jobs were to set up COVID-safe areas to keep people separated, making sure masks were worn at all times outside of actors during actual filming, and to make sure temperatures were taken upon arrival of cast and crew,” she said. “Once we finished Episode 3, the holidays quickly approached and we took a break. Shortly after, COVID cases spiked, which caused more delays.”

Production meetings continued during this time and the producers discussed when it would be safe to return to filming at the Georgia Renaissance Festival grounds. “The Campaign” was promoted at GeekCon1, CONjuration: After the Con, and the NERDLanta podcast while production was halted. All of this led to the partnership with The Fantasy Network, where the show will be streamed toward the end of the year, she said.

Pasiecnik and her twin sister, Jil, own J & J Productions in Atlanta, which is also known as the South’s Hollywood or Y’allywood due to its recent boom as a film production hub. Jil is not involved with “The Campaign.”

A couple of years ago, the Pasiecniks produced the 22-minute film “Unemployable,” which had a local premiere at the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield. The film chronicles a millennial protagonist trying to do all the right things to land her dream job, “though it seems like the world is conspiring against her and all her efforts to be successful.” The main character lives with her mother, and her male best friend can be described as over the top. Pasiecnik said the script originated from when she was looking for a job and went through some strange interviews she chose to share on social media.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.