(This is the first in a series spotlighting Guild members who are forging into the digital frontier) 

Erica Oyama’s Burning Love 

(June 4, 2012) 

Erica Oyama  

It began as a way to pass time while rocking her infant son to sleep during those first weeks after giving birth. But Erica Oyama’s interest in the reality show The Bachelor evolved into a fascination and yes, she concedes, something of an obsession with the notion of finding true love in six weeks on TV. The 31-year-old WGAW member (The Ten, Childrens Hospital), penned a short script and then, on the suggestion of her husband, writer/actor Ken Marino (Wanderlust), turned it into an online reality dating show, one that would not only parody the ridiculousness of the genre but also be what she jokingly calls a “loving tribute.”

The result, Burning Love, skewers reality TV matchmaking in a 14-episode scripted web series premiering June 4 on the Yahoo! Comedy Channel, which is the Internet giant’s new portal for scripted comedies. The webisodes, which run about 9 minutes, follow hunky firefighter Mark Orlando (Marino) in his search for the perfect woman. Along the way there are champagne toasts, bubble baths, spray-tans and, of course, plenty of tears and heartbreak. The series’ catch phrase, “The Most Romantic Web Series That Will Ever Be,” hints at the humor. But Burning Love’s stellar cast - including Ben Stiller, Malin Akerman, Adam Scott, even real-life Bachelor Jake Pavelka – pretty much guarantees big laughs.

Oyama says Burning Love was an opportunity to create a world of characters and almost two hours worth of a series in only nine days. “The schedule was a challenge and so tight that we had to cut down on locations. But we had so much freedom,” she says of the web series, which is produced by Stiller’s company Red Hour Productions and distributed by Paramount’s Insurge Pictures. “For the most part they said ‘go ahead and do what you want.’ We could tell racier jokes and have the reality be a little weird. It was a great way to do a project that was totally my voice.” Watch the Burning Love trailer 

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