Mohammad Maaty – Series Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Director (left)
George Perez – Series Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Writer (right)
Can you tell me about your new TV series ‘The Life’?
George Perez: “The Life” is a prospective TV series, meaning that we’ve independently produced the first half hour of the pilot episode in order to pitch it to television networks, in the hopes that it’ll be picked up as a regularly televised series.
Mohammad Maaty: The initial idea was brought forth to me about three years ago by George, who I’ve collaborated with before on various short film projects. His passion and dedication to the issue of child sex trafficking was clear from the beginning, and myself having witnessed these trespasses occurring in my own city for quite some time now, decided to team up with him on developing the idea into a television series. Unlike a short film, we decided that the we’d have more of an opportunity to reach and affect our audiences in a much larger scale with a television series, which would allow our viewers to follow the lives and storylines of the different characters that make up ‘The Life’ over a longer period of time.
What research was required to get it off the ground?
GP: Before the idea for a TV series was even born, I started with the idea of writing a feature film script on the subject, so I met with a member of law enforcement who works on child sex trafficking cases as well as meeting with a sex crimes prosecutor and several advocates (former sex trafficked victims-turned-overcomers) and NGOs (non-governmental organizations). One such organization, B.E.S.T., became our consulting partners and flew to NYC several times to teach not only us, the series creators, but the entire cast, about the psychology behind sex trafficking, from the victim perspective as well as the pimp perspective (force, fraud, coercion, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs etc.) After the pilot episode was written, I asked them all to read it in order to give their thumbs up on it regarding authenticity, which they all did. Then, we moved on to the production stage.
MM: Since our goal was to shed light on a real issue happening in the present day, in order for it to have a realistic impact on our viewers we had to make absolutely sure that our stories were true. In other words, the scenarios we were presenting to our audiences needed to be believable – either they’ve happened to real people involved with the life or are likely to happen. In order to achieve this level of realism, in addition to dozens of written firsthand accounts and publications, we teamed up with various consultants with firsthand experience from that world, from sex-trafficking detectives to advocates and prosecutors to former sex trafficked victims themselves. We had to make sure we didn’t sell our characters short, since if our audiences don’t believe in the stories we’re telling, then the hope for change is lost.
Jessie – Jessica Devlin
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You can also find out more about The Life below:
Our Facebook page, YouTube channel (All of our video clips and short films are there. Be sure to check out ‘The Life – Pilot Teaser’ and ‘Ballerina’) and on Twitter.