Ashley Tisdale seems like she already has plenty of projects to focus on — as the voice of Candace on the animated hit “Phineas and Ferb,” as a producer of the ABC Family sit-com “Young and Hungry,” as well as starring in an upcoming series entitled “Buzzy’s” for TBS — but yet she’s found time to add one more thing to her already packed schedule.
When we spoke, she was on set producing a webisode for a new romantic comedy series called “It Started with HELLO.”
The original, interactive web series marks the national launch of Lindt HELLO chocolates and focuses on how couples make their first connections. Viewers will be able to choose their own ending to each story and even have a chance to win prizes.
Tisdale jumped at the chance to participate in the project for several reasons. “Well, this is my first venture into working on a web series so that was exciting to me from the start,” she revealed. “And, I really love the idea of doing a romantic comedy series that shows how people meet.”
Tisdale also admitted that the partnership with Lindt was a draw as well. “Seriously, it’s about chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate? There’s something very sweet, pun intended, in using chocolate to tell a cute love story. I think we can all agree that if there’s one food that’s romantic, it’s chocolate.”
Coming from the world of broadcast television where a sit-com episode unfolds in what seems like a leisurely 22 minutes, a piece that begins and ends in under a minute is quite different, says Tisdale. “You have to move fast to tell the story so that it’s engaging and so that viewers are really drawn in,” she explains, “and I think we’ve really done that here.”
While this isn’t purely an entertainment project as it’s clearly an advertising campaign, Tisdale describes the thought-process behind marrying Lindt with the short narrative pieces. “Yes, there’s a product in these webisodes, but this is really a new way of integrating a product into a charming story that totally works. The way we’ve done it feels very organic,” she says, “And, again, I come back to the fact that this is chocolate and chocolate is really a romantic food. It’s not spinach or broccoli or something like that that doesn’t lend itself to this type of storytelling. The elements that we’ve brought together all fit and complement each other.”
The five episode series is all about making connections, something Tisdale feels she knows a bit about. “I love meeting new people. I mean. who doesn’t, and as simple as it seems, it’s absolutely true that sometimes all it takes is saying ‘Hello’ or “Hi,’’ she says with a bit of a laugh. “Personally I’ve met some amazing people that way so I know it really can be that easy.”
The main thing that Tisdale wants viewers to know is that how each piece ends is totally up to them. “I think the coolest part of these episodes is that the viewer gets to choose the ending,” Tisdale says excitedly. “The stories are great, the characters are great and the interactive part just makes it that much more interesting.”
For all the work that’s gone into the project, Tisdale’s very pleased with the outcome. “This turned out even better than I expected and I’m very excited for people to see it.”
As if viewers need even more reason to tune in, Tisdale offers this, “I joined this project because I thought it would be interesting and different, and I was right, it’s been a very fun experience. Now, I’d really like it if people would check it out and come along for the ride. Who knows, maybe after watching this series, what happens on screen will spur people into taking real action and help them reach out to someone and make a true connection. It would be amazing if that really happened because of this.”
There are five episodes in the series and Tisdale produced the installment entitled “Office Mates.” All five episodes of the series are available here.