Two artists pair up to make web-based millennial drama, comedy

Jasmine Golphin began writing screenplays when she was 13 years old, although she’s not so proud of her early work. “They’re teenage angst scripts that will never see the light of day,” the Cleveland Heights resident promises, “but it’s been a long-term passion for me, almost embarrassingly so.”

Now Golphin, 29, is a little more confident in her work. While working as program director for MyMedia, a program for teens interested in journalism and video production, she founded the production company Welcome to Midnight in 2010. The company has put out more than eight works since.
At the same time, Nordonia Hills area resident Erin Johnson, 26, was pursuing her own writing interests while working as a quality assurance and marketing associate at Ardleigh Minerals, an industrial recycling company in Beachwood.
Both women were working on their own projects when, in October 2014, a mutual filmmaker friend introduced them. The two hit it off and eventually they collaborated on the web series To New Beginnings, which follows six young adults’ lives and covers topics such as class, family issues and mental health. The six-episode series launched on Facebook in December.
“'To New Beginnings' is a product of its time,” says Golphin, the series’ writer and director. “The story is about real people, not idealized versions of ourselves.”  The entire show is based in Cleveland and features local musicians and artists.
“It very much takes place in Cleveland with plenty of Cleveland references,” Golphin says. “And it’s very much purposeful. It’s a running gag that everything takes place in Cleveland and centers around Batman.”
Johnson works on the marketing team. “It’s been great working with Welcome to Midnight,” she says. “There’s an emphasis on telling stories that aren’t normally told and in a novel way.”
Golphin and Johnson plan to make two more seasons of “To New Beginnings,” with shooting to begin in May and a release date for season two late this summer.
In the meantime, the pair is working together again on the comedic web series “The Adventures of Fab Jenkins,” premiering in March.
“'Fab Jenkins' is a Blaxploitation-inspired web comedy following the journey of Cleveland-based stylist, Fabio ‘Fab’ Jenkins,” explains Johnson. “Fab, with the help of his Fab Squad, must save the city from an onslaught of bad fashion caused by the expansion of fast fashion retailer, Eternally 16.”
But there is a local purpose as well. "The show also aims to showcase the independent fashion and beauty community in Greater Cleveland and beyond,” Johnson says.
“Fab Jenkins” was written by Johnson and her mother, Cynthia K. Johnson, after a random, casual conversation. “We were talking one day, and my mother was holding a blow dryer as if she were a secret agent,” she recalls. “It then led us into a back and forth conversation where we imagined a character who was a stylist with agent/superhero-like tendencies.”
After fully developing the script, getting advice from some local pros, “Fab Jenkins” began production via Welcome to Midnight, with Golphin directing. Johnson is co-creator and producer of the show that includes local award winning actors and plenty of Cleveland sightings throughout.

Read more articles by Karin Connelly Rice.

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.
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