“In the Life Of,” directed by Cayla Coffey, is a web series that has been created in order to focus on the talents, ideas, opinions and feelings of the youth. Each episode showcases a different person, their work and aspirations in an interview format with a bit of a twist.
After noticing Cayla’s determination to wipe away the stereotype that adolescents are lazy, “too emotional” and somehow connected to technology, I decided to interview her to talk to her about her hopes for the series’ future.
We are not just “dumb kids” who sit on their phones all day. We have dreams, and one day, we’ll be the future.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and about “In the Life Of”?
My name is Cayla Coffey. I’m 17 years old, and I was born and raised in Miami, Florida. I personally have a very wide variety of interests. Growing up, my interests really fluctuated, but an interest that has stayed with me until now is my love for the arts.
I had an interest in photography but never pursued it, because I thought it was just a phase, but it led me into wanting to learn more about film and made me realize how badly I want to be in the entertainment business. But since it’s such a risky career track, and since I really wanted to be a part of it as soon as possible, I sort of just thought, “How about I make my own film, show or series?” so I just did that.
It’s about something I really care about as well, because “In the Life Of” is meant to be a series where young people can go to voice their opinions and showcase what they’re about. I feel like we, [as] teenagers, aren’t really taken seriously, because we’re not adults, but I think it’s important that we should at least be heard and not thrown under a stereotype, because soon, we’re going to be the future.
Who or what inspires you / have you been influenced by anyone/anything?
I don’t think I have anyone specific who inspires me, or at least I can’t think of one at the moment, but I’d say for film, I was very influenced by and admired the style of cult films in the ’90s and ’80s. I like the way they’re filmed, especially coming of age movies centered around the youth like The Breakfast Club, Dazed and Confused or The Craft. I’d love to be a part of a film like these someday. I want to learn more about them and improve my film technique in general, because I’m still a beginner.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges thus far when it comes to filming?
To be honest, understanding where the right place to film could be or knowing what shots to work with has kind of come natural to me. I’m influenced by styles I’ve seen and work off of what what I personally want to see, and other techniques I know, because I’m still learning.
Editing can be a challenge, but because I’ve been performing since I was very little, I’m used to working really hard and practicing to see one big, final project. I actually take joy in editing, but it can really be tedious.
Another challenge that I am faced with is setting up schedules to film with others, since we have school and can’t go out any time. This means it could take a little longer to get episodes uploaded, because we can really [only] work one or two days in a week. I also have to give up spending time with my friends sometimes so I can create this series. It does upset me, but I’m very determined with this project, and that’s okay. I have fun with those I film with, so it isn’t the worst loss in the end.
The first episode of “In the Life Of” was released recently. Can you tell us about it?
Well, my first episode is about a friend of mine named Julian. His episode mainly centers around his art and clothing, because that’s what he’s really all about. He is very talented, and I’m so glad he was my first episode, because he’s a very determined and inspiring kid who’s really driven by his passion. He’s only fifteen, and he’s already started a clothing brand and [is] trying to make a name for himself. It’s pretty much the opposite of what most adults think teenagers do at that age, so I’m glad I was able to showcase that. It was an honor to have someone so inspiring to be the main focus of my first episode, and I am extremely happy with the response it received.
How do you feel about the response you’ve received on your first episode and pilot so far?
I’m very happy with the views and likes! I’ll be honest, I really didn’t think I’d get over 100. I actually thought that would be my peak. Last time I checked, after only being up for a little past 24 hours, the first episode had 210 views and the pilot had 120. Checking right now, the first episode has 231 views, and the pilot episode has 123.
I’ve gotten 33 subscribers so far as well, but I’m totally okay with that, because the series just started, and I’ve heard from people who have said that they’re interested, want to watch and can’t wait for the next episode. As long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I can go nowhere but up.
The general response has been extremely positive. I’ve gotten nothing but compliments and very few critiques that I’m equally thankful for. I have to thank all my friends who have been supporting me, the local youth art community’s support and the huge amount of talent in Miami-Dade. I didn’t expect the impact that it’s already made. I thought everyone would kind of ignore it to be honest, but so many people are genuinely interested and supportive, and I honestly couldn’t ask for anything more. It makes me incredibly happy.
Do you have any future plans for “In the Life Of”? What do you look forward to?
I definitely look forward to “In the Life Of” growing and developing as it moves along and as I improve in film and in creativity. I hope that more people watch and support it, because I want this to be a group effort. It’s not just about me, I want this to be a wake-up call for people to pay attention to what the youth has to say. We are not just “dumb kids” who sit on their phones all day. We have dreams, and one day, we’ll be the future.
I hope that “In the Life Of” turns into a real group effort — with many people helping create the show and collaborating with it. In a sense, it already is, because I have people that send me music, find others who want to be on the show, people who promote [the show], etc. But all filming and editing goes through me, and that’s how I want it to be for now so that I can have the series established with the vision I intended for it. I truly hope people take this seriously and see what we’re really about.
If you are interested in being a part of the web series, you can find Cayla on Instagram.