Type One – the Web Comedy

A pair of young comedians from Chicago have decided it’s time to educate people about the misconceptions surrounding Type 1 diabetes. Type One, an online web series produced by LVL Productions and created, written, and directed by Landis Wiedner and Mike Seskauskas, focuses on Matt, a young man in Chicago “looking for love…and a solid A1C.”

The web series uses comedy as a means to dismantle traditional bias and stereotypes around Type 1 diabetes by hyperbolizing the daily struggles of someone with the condition. From insulin injections to struggling with the young dating scene, Type One analyzes the common frustrations of a young person with Type 1 and educates with a laugh.

“[Type One is] first and foremost a comedy,” Wiedner said. “What it does is twofold; it uses humor to educate people about Type 1 diabetes and secondly, it helps to connect the community of people who have Type 1.”

The condition, Wiedner explained, is not commonly represented in mainstream media. This leads to stereotypes and common misconceptions around treatment and lifestyle. These are the stereotypes the show aims to eliminate.

“What struck me was the lack of knowledge people had about this disease,” Wiedner said. “We’re just showing some of the ins and outs of living with Type 1 with a heightened sense of reality. This is not a how-to program.”

Wiedner and Seskauskas originally had the idea to create Type One a little over a year ago, but didn’t begin buckling down on writing and filming until summer 2015. The pilot came together over three days of filming, and was the duo’s first foray into the film and production industry.

“It was a lot of fun,” Wiedner said. “We had a great time on the set.”

While neither Wiedner nor Seskauskas have diabetes, both have close connections to the condition. Wiedner’s sister was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 10, and Seskauskas has a close friend who was diagnosed at age 15. It was through seeing how misconceptions affected the lives of their friends and family that Wiedner and Seskauskas became passionate about eliminating Type 1 stigma.

The team is working with Beyond Type 1, an organization for Type 1 diabetes health. According to Wiedner, Type One was able to raise $4,000 for the organization with the show already, and they have plans to continue to give proceeds to the organization as the show begins to generate revenue.

A Kickstarter campaign has funded the show so far. The team reached their goal of $48,000 for production, which will go a long way in helping them reach their eight-episode goal. Each episode costs about $7,000 to shoot and edit. The team has seven more episodes written and plans to continue filming later this spring, releasing episodes in late summer/early fall of 2016. Interested viewers can watch the pilot episode of Type One here.

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Justin Surgent served as an assistant editor for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. Previously, he was a photo editor and copy editor for UMass Amherst’s independent newspaper, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian.

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