‘Jinxed’: Upcoming sitcom features UA students and staff

Emma Sower, Contributing Writer

From three UA student producers comes “Jinxed,” a sitcom that tells a tale of mistakes, redemption and the understanding that life often works out best when we stop trying to force it to.

The pilot episode of the sitcom is now in the postproduction phase, which involves everything from editing footage to creating a theme song, but “the concept was born from a character sketch created by two UA creative media majors, Cole Cabiness and Blake Snawder, in December 2020. 

Although Snawder has since graduated and left the project, Cabiness, who is currently pursuing his MBA from the University, remains as producer and director.

“Jinxed” follows a woman in her 20s named Robin who, despite her best efforts, can’t seem to make anything go right in her southern small town life.

“It really started with us trying to figure out how we could maximize the number of crimes somebody could get themselves into, but make it completely accidental,” Cabiness said. 

From there, the rest of the story catapulted into motion.

The aforementioned crimes include drug possession and arson, and were the reason that the main character, Robin, is fired from her job as a librarian in the pilot episode. 

Despite Robin’s mishaps, Natalie Fehrenbacher, a Mississippi College alum who plays the role, found the character intimately relatable and human. 

“My favorite thing about her is that her intentions are always good. She means well, but that’s about it,” Fehrenbacher said. 

Robin’s story intertwines with that of Hadilda Potts, a local boutique owner, played by Kathy Wilson, a counselor with The University of Alabama’s student support services.

Although Wilson said her character can be “dramatic and at times a little ditzy,” Hadilda takes great pride in her local boutique, which is facing possible closure.

“Robin’s going to end up working at the boutique, and we’re going to tackle what her life might be like in this new situation,” Cabiness said.  “Things are jinxed for her in a bad way, but also in a good way when she realizes all she’s got to do is not try so hard.”

Characterization was crucial in bringing “Jinxed” to life. 

“I was constantly floored by how spot-on the casting was for every single person I worked with,” Fehrenbacher said. “This pilot has such dynamic, engaging, living, breathing characters.”

Lauren Brock, a UA senior majoring in creative media, became another producer for “Jinxed” in August. Despite the diverse backgrounds of the people involved in the project, she was amazed and thrilled by how well the cast and crew bonded while shooting. 

“I feel like everyone got to know one another, and that was something I haven’t seen on previous sets. We would have lunch together and we all had a handshake,” she said.

She cited Cabiness’ strong leadership as a powerful driving force for success on set. She had worked with him the year before and was impressed with his ambition. 

“Cole is the kind of person who has everything figured out. He plans 10 steps ahead,” she said. 

Although this is only her second production project, following a short film in the fall of 2020, she said her involvement with “Jinxed” has helped her develop her skills.

Most of all, the cast and crew emphasized how much fun they had putting the pilot together and how excited they were for people to see it.

“Cole and his crew were so efficient that I never felt my time was being wasted. He is such a pleasure to collaborate with,” Wilson said.

Fehrenbacher praised Cabiness’ motivation and energy. 

“That attitude trickles down, so it always felt like everyone was excited to be there,” she said. 

Cabiness said he is still unsure of when the pilot will be released for a public viewing, although he is optimistic that it will be within the next few months. He encourages those who are interested in the project to follow it on Instagram and Facebook.

Questions? Email the Culture desk at culture@cw.ua.edu.