A pair of West Virginia University alumni have taken success into their own hands, and they’re coming back to share their experiences in creating original content and the brave new world of digital distribution with students their alma mater.

Steven Bell and Blaire Wendel, who both earned Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting from WVU’s School of Theatre & Dance in 2011, have been hard at work for the past three years on their web comedy series, “Tough Love.” After raising over $18,000 on Kickstarter for their third season, Bell and Wendel have been hard at work for the past year on their new season.

Last week, they premiered the season’s first episode on Vimeo, and the response has been incredible.

“We’ve had over 11,000 views in five days,” said Bell. “There have been features in the Huffington Post, on NewNowNext, and in OUT Magazine.” They’ve also received an invitation to appear in Wicked Queer: The Boston LGBT Film Festival. Let’s just say, these two Mountaineers are slowly taking the New York comedy scene by storm.

Bell, a Wheeling native, and Wendel, originally from Perry Hall, Md., will visit WVU’s College of Creative Arts April 27-28. They’ll screen all 6 episodes of Season Three of “Tough Love” and host a question-and-answer session about creating original content and the wide range of new distribution channels at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 27, in the Gladys G. Davis Theatre of the Creative Arts Center. They’ll also meet with acting students during their visit, which is part of the College’s Alumni in Residence series.

“It blows my mind that we’ve come this far,” said Bell. “Less than five years ago we were packing our bags in Morgantown to move to New York. Now are faces are on OUT.com main page.”

Bell has taken care to make sure the third season is top notch.

“This season has a ton of guest stars,” he explained. “We had the opportunity to work with actors who have guest starred on shows like Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Louie, and Difficult People, to name a few. I used to think that this was just a silly show that Blaire and I did for fun. Now we’re passing our scripts off to agents, and pitching the show to TV networks. It’s all very exciting. We’re not sure where the show is headed next, but we’re so excited and proud of what we’ve created.”

You can check out Tough Love’s Two Part Season Three Premiere on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/159786511 https://vimeo.com/160490133



CONTACT: David Welsh, WVU College of Creative Arts
304.293.3397; David.Welsh@mail.wvu.edu

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