Baby Lion Studios is teaming up with some of the biggest names from ColdTowne Theater and beyond to create the new sitcom Wind-Ups. Based on the 4 years showrunner and director Adam Protextor spent working at the iconic local institution Toy Joy, Wind-Ups follows a cast of six core characters as they navigate interpersonal relationships and growing older, all while working (and often playing) at an independent toy store. Breaking traditional structure, Wind-Ups’ season 1 arc is told over six episodes, each set on a different major holiday over the course of one calendar year.
“By placing each of our episodes a few months apart, you get a sort of ‘fly on the wall’ quality as we drop in on these people’s lives. Writing funny jokes is a must, but inviting our audience to see themselves reflected in our core cast is what will make them feel invested. So much can change, or sometimes stay the same, in a year and it’s fun to start to piece together what has happened with our characters in the interim as each episode unfolds,” says Stephanie Thoreson, Baby Lion co-producer and one of the show’s head writers.
Joining Thoreson in the writer’s room is an accomplished and award-winning team including fellow head writer, Ashlee Pryor-Pitluk (Super Black, Clone Squad) alongside Protextor (Bigfoot: The Musical, Hunnicut), Nathan Sowell (Angola: A Comedy, Friends For Now), and Devon Coleman (Sugar Water Purple, Hell Hole). The cast is equally as impressive and features some of Austin’s most beloved comedic actors. Yamina Khouane (2018 Best of Austin “Best Actress” winner, My Own Worst Enemy), Kenah Benefield (Sugar Water Purple, Call Me Brother), Ryan Darbonne (Sugar Water Purple, director of Angola: A Comedy), and Haley Alea Erickson (Mustang Island, The Say) join Protextor and Thoreson in the core cast, while James Fernandez (Latinauts, Latinacional), Kristie Denlinger (Porch Cat, Way Down in the Hole), Mason Pitluk (F*ck This Week, Call Me Brother), and Laura de la Fuente (Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk, Loverboy) round out the supporting cast.
“This is an intensely personal story to me, and a project I’ve been wanting to do for 9 years. I truly believe that this show took so long to come to fruition because it was waiting for the right people to bring it there. The team we’ve assembled couldn’t speak any more loudly to the spirit of local artistic collaboration both the store and the show represent,” says Protextor.
Equally as important was finding a Director of Photography perfect for Wind-Ups. The team continued to stray away from sitcom convention when they brought on board Taylor Camarot, an award-winning DP whose creative camera moves and inventive lighting make up his signature storytelling style. Protextor says, “We know that Taylor can elevate it past ‘another sitcom’ territory into something that can be as unique, tonally thoughtful, and beautiful to look at as it is funny. We’re incredibly excited to see what he does with 6 comedians in a toy store.”
With such an incredible group of people, they needed the final piece of the puzzle – a toy store to film it all in. That’s when Protextor went back to where it all began and reached out to Toy Joy, securing the Airport Blvd. location (just a short walk from ColdTowne Theater) as the new home for Wind-Ups. In a full-circle moment, the very store that inspired the show became the place that would help bring the story to life.
Wind-Ups is currently crowdfunding on IndieGoGo to launch filming in early 2020! Visit igg.me/at/windups to become a part of their creative collective and join the Wind-Ups journey by donating or sharing their story!
Adam Protextor and Stephanie Thoreson formed Baby Lion Studios in 2018, and have since used the imprint to produce YouTube shows, live comedy shows, and promotional materials for a variety of local comedians and venues, including ColdTowne, BettyFest, Chlane, Glam Fam, and many more. Protextor is best known as a rapper and founder of Austin Mic Exchange, and has spent the past two years expanding into comedy. Stephanie Thoreson has been acting and performing sketch and improv since 2013, and is a founding member of the award-winning ColdTowne house team Loverboy. In 2019, she staged her second solo sketch show Fishbowl and toured the festival circuit to promote her starring role in the feature film Good Feels on Wheels, for which she has won three “Best Actress” awards.