25 & Counting: Hollywood Native Turns Quarter-Life Crisis into a TV Show
Most aspiring screenwriters have probably closed their eyes and thought about it. Some random celebrity peels open the envelope while the crowd -- dressed in their finest tuxedos and gowns -- all hold their breath in anticipation. Finally, you hear it: your name.
You stand up, hug your significant other, and shimmy out of the aisle, doing your best to not step on Meryl Streep's toes. Most of those daydreaming screenwriters probably already have a half-written thank you speech bouncing around in their skull. Mom, dad, Jesus, etc.
If Rosie Darch ever finds herself up on that stage, she'll have to stare out over the crowd and give a heartfelt thanks to Bacardi Dragon Berry rum, her muse.
After all, the TV show she's getting ready to film, 25 & Counting did stem from an unfortunate incident involving the fruity liquor.
Darch doesn't do much drinking these days, and the bottles lying around her apartment are only there to be recycled to raise money for the low-budget production she's been pouring herself into for the past few months.
Darch, 25, was born and raised in Hollywood, Florida, where she attended South Broward High School. Early on she developed a love of all things theatrical, and after high school, wanted to move to New York to pursue a career in acting.
After some parental coaxing, Darch ended up at Florida State University, majoring in creative writing with a minor in film. Though the Floridian never lost the urge to head west to the land of actors.
"Literally the day I was done with classes I packed up my car, skipped graduation, and I drove four days to L.A.," Darch says.
She only had a couch to look forward to in California. That couch belonged to her fellow Hollywood native, best friend of 20 years, and co-creator of 25 & Counting, Katie Schwartz. The two had been writing the show together over Skype ever since its inception, which -- as you may remember -- had a lot to do with Bacardi Dragon Berry rum.
When she was at FSU, Darch drank the stuff one time before a football game. Later she'd learn that she was allergic to the specific flavoring of the alcohol, but at the time of the incident, all she could think of was how comfortable the bathroom floor looked.
Darch ended up getting drunk after only one drink. The type of drunk where you hang out on bathroom floors and let loose a barrage of text messages at your best friend. Schwartz was the lucky recipient of those texts.
"The next day Kaite was like, 'well, I took our text and I wrote a little skit for us to do.' It turned out to be really funny and we were like, you know what, we can make this into a TV show."
A year later, Darch is sitting on the kitchen counter of her L.A. apartment, looking over a room which has been converted into a makeshift film set. She and Schwartz have managed to assemble a cast of nine, hire a director and cinematographer, secure several shooting locations, and raise nearly $6,000.
They'll start a five-day shooting schedule on July 28, and after editing, post-production, and a few ulcers will walk away from this whole thing with a shiny new pilot they hope to take to festivals and pitch to studios.
25 & Counting will center around two cousins, plated by Darch and Schwartz, suffering from the quarter life crisis: Friends getting married, bills piling up, having no ability to function as an adult.
After nearly making it through the age of 25, then writing a show about it, Darch does have some advice for those approaching that daunting age.
"Keep an open mind," Darch says. "Whether it's your own insurance agency or writing or construction, just create and make your own projects. It will make you much more satisfied."
"When we turned 25 it felt like a crisis, but now it's halfway through and we just wrote a TV show. The beginning of turning 25 seemed like a quarter of our life was over and now all these doors have opened."