By Natalia Balcerzak
Best friends Jason and Dan pile into a minivan and set off on their first employment adventure. They make an essential pit stop at Wendy’s before addressing their first order of business — neighbourhood patrol. Suited up in uniform, the two force entry into a middle-aged woman’s house and tear it apart in search of illegal substances. Spoiler alert: they get fired.
Brought to life by second-year radio and television arts (RTA) student Jason Szwimer and a Concordia University film studies graduate, Daniel Harroch, the new YouTube series — The Unemployables — follows the comedic struggles of these “stranger than life” characters as they cycle through jobs while burning bridges with employers. After every job interview, they assume they’ve been hired and choose to put their own unique spin on each position.
In addition to acting in the series, the two also wrote and produced it. Their pilot episode was released two weeks ago and the first official episode will launch on April 1.
“There’s so much humour in jobs and in unemployment, [so] we really wanted to pull on those ridiculous stories that we hear and base it on what is socially relevant as well,” Harroch said.
Szwimer and Harroch started working on the idea for the series last summer. Within a day, they had written a rough script and realized the potential to make the project actually happen.
“It’s not something that everyone does when they come up with an idea with their friends,” Szwimer said. “It’s easy to say you’re going to shoot something — but when you do it, you have to do it right.”
The main characters were created with the intention of being heightened cartoon versions of Szwimer and Harroch.
“[We thought] it would be funny to create these people that would never exist or interact with real-life,” Harroch said. “It was very clear that we wanted to be as weird as we possibly could.”
By combining their talents and drawing on a bit of external help, Szwimer and Harroch managed to film a $15,000 production for almost no cost this past December. They shot eight episodes in only six days, enduring 18-hour shoots and filming into the early hours of the morning.
Some of that help came from YouTube’s former Epic Meal Time stars, Alex Perrault and Tyler Lemco, who played the protagonist duo — The Bluetooth Brothers. For behind-the-scenes footage, Harroch brought in members from the set of X-Men who loved the concept of The Unemployables and volunteered to be part of the production team.
In addition to The Unemployables, both Harroch and Szwimer have expressed their talents through other creative outlets.
Harroch has appeared in commercials and worked on numerous independent films. Szwimer was the voice actor for D.W on the TV children series, Arthur and is also the writer of an act that will be showcased at RiOT!, the annual RTA student-run sketch comedy troupe, at the end of March.
“We’ve reached that point [in time] that if you want to make it, you have to make it on your own,” Harroch said.