Camp Lake Series

New York City, New York | Series


Camp Lake Series

1 Campaigns | New York, United States

Green Light

This campaign raised $13,350 for production. Follow the filmmaker to receive future updates on this project.

90 supporters | followers

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At its heart this is a show about a handful of damaged adults who, through rehabilitating a rundown camp, unknowingly rejuvenate each other. These social outcasts find refuge and healing through overcoming adveristy and understanding and accepting each other on a deeply personal level.

About The Project

  • The Story
  • Wishlist
  • Updates
  • The Team
  • Community

Mission Statement

We are a group of six friends from different places and upbringings who wanted to bring a better world to life. We have always wanted this project to inspire people of all ages to be more empathetic and understanding, and make them laugh in the process.

The Story


In June of 2020, with nothing to do, and nowhere to go, a group of theater professionals, teachers, and a self-proclaimed internet goblin sat down on a Zoom call, (remember back when that was fun and new?) and began brainstorming ways to make people laugh. They met every week over Zoom, and pitched ideas, but eventually turned their sights a bigger project. Over a few months they created a fictional camp, and populated it with eccentric characters from all walks of life. 

Fast forward through the horrible year that was 2020/2021, and after around 50 meetings, that group has developed a seven-episode comedic series, and now needs your help. We will be attending Camp Texlake just outside of Austin, Texas in early August to shoot our series at a bonafide Girl Scout Camp.  



When it comes to telling this story, rest assured that we are the people best equipped to do it. Our group is made up of our Director, and six-writer performers, all who have been tasked with putting as much of themselves into their character. This process not only allows each character to have a voice at the writing table, but it also allows a writer to ask one of their collaborators, "Would Cowboy Tim say, 'Yeehaw buckaroos' here, or 'I'm the rootinest tooter you've ever met?' And we can rest assured that when the director calls "Action!" Cowboy Tim will say what Cowboy Tim was meant to say.


But on a more serious note, this show has allowed us to dig deeper within ourselves, and create a world in which characters can showcase who they are, and share the parts of themselves that they would normally be afraid to expose without fear of judgment. Camp Lake is a place where staff becomes friends, and friends become family. Even if that family is made up mostly of weirdos. Hey. Kinda like your family.



Living through the pandemic has shown us just how siloed and divided our country has become. At times it seems like there is no bridging the gap, but it is our sincere hope that this story about wildly different people coming together in an attempt to understand each other, will encourage people to do the same. This show has misplaced anger and division, but also forgiveness and empathy. In many ways, Camp Lake is the world that we wished we were living in, while we all struggled through the pandemic, and if we can inspire the world to be a little more kind, this project will all be worth it. 



First off, because you deserve to laugh. This past year has been one of the most difficult for just about everybody. As we begin to turn the corner back into whatever the "new normal" is, let's remember to enjoy life, be happy, and learn how to appreciate each other. If this is the world that you want to see, then please help us create the art that will help get us there. Art imitates life, and life imitates art. Let's make the latter happen.


Boy you ask a lot of questions.  Currently, we have a full draft of the seven episode season. Of course, we are planning on punching up the scripts, and are continuing to do so, but we have a full season in hand. We have locked down a very accomplished director in Ty Gotham, and we have plans to shoot at a bonafide Girl Scout Camp outside of Austin, Texas in the beginning of August. 


Well, then we edit, but after that, we release it. Hopefully in January/February of 2022.  Since we are a group of mostly theater professionals, we don't have a lot of connections in film or TV, so it is pretty unlikely that we will be able to pitch this to Netflix and/or Hulu. Also, it's important to keep in mind that the goal of this project was never to make a million dollars; the goal was simply to bring joy and empathy into the world. While it would be nice to pitch our final project to a streaming service, it is quite likely that we will be releasing the series on YouTube, or another platform that will allow people to view it for a very minimal cost, if any. It is our goal that anybody who wants to see this project will be able to see it, so that is what we are aiming to do.


As of the launch of this Seed & Spark, every member of our cast and crew has been vaccinated. We are all looking forward to seeing each other in person (some of us for the very first time) and are ready to get back to making art. Let's do this together!


Use the WishList to Pledge cash and Loan items - or - Make a pledge by selecting an Incentive directly.

Tickets to Camp

Costs $2,400

We've struck a deal with a campground in Austin, TX! All we have to do is get there!

Campground Rental

Costs $3,000

An authentic summer camp feel requires an authentic summer camp.


Costs $1,520

We'll be filming for 10 days. That's a whole lotta hot dogs.


Costs $500

7 cast members + 100 degree heat = lots of wardrobe changes.

boom mic

Costs $300

What good is a quippy writing if you can't hear it?

Rental Cars

Costs $2,500

The crucial piece to get you from airport to camp, and also quite necessary for shooting car scenes.


Costs $600

Ropes, buttons, old timey camp megaphone, walkie talkies, you know, the stuff that makes camp, camp.


Costs $300

That thing that keeps you from going broke

Cash Pledge

Costs $0

About This Team

Gabe: Gabe Caruso is the head writer and common thread of all the people in our group. In May of 2020 he earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU. He was recently awarded the Eric H. Weinberger award for Emerging Librettists and earned the accolade of "Best Playwright" from the Chicago Reader in 2017, for his hip-hopera "Dundee," which also won "Best New Play." He now resides in Harlem, NYC with his wife Colleen. 

Colleen: Colleen Caruso recently finished her 10th year teaching elementary school, so she knows what it is like to perform under pressure day in and day out.  She is excited to be part of this writing and performing process after spending a lifetime watching, analyzing, and obsessing over sitcoms, at a level that would make Leslie Knope proud. She is a three-time recipient of the Harlem Prep Dragon Award.

Ross: Ross Compton is an actor, playwright, and screenwriter in Chicago. He graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Theatre and a healthy love of eating take out at 3am, a tradition he carries on to this day!  His notable work includes co-starring in the independent horror film Rorschach, writing the full-length plays Amicable (which premiered the summer of 2019) and Henchpeople (which premiered the summer of 2021), acting in the play Constellations this past fall, and composing loads of Tweets, some of which have received SIX (!) likes! He is an ensemble member of Theatre Above The Law in Roger's Park, which produced his aforementioned plays. He also produces comedic web content for his YouTube Channel com/user/19throsscompton. Thanks to Gabe for roping him into another crazy creative adventure. It's been exhaustingly wonderful!"

Matt: Matt Stolfi is a composer/lyricist, music director, and piano teacher based in Southwestern CT and New York City. He received his Bachelors from Boston College and his Masters of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU where he first met Gabe, which eventually led him to joining this unlikely project. It is his first time writing and acting for the screen, and couldn’t be happier to share that experience with this inclusive, intelligent, and wacky crew.    

Kelsey: Kelsey Chigas is a theatre artist, educator and lifelong Chicagoan. She currently serves as the Director of Education at Writers Theatre and has worked with institutions across Chicago including Steppenwolf, Northlight Theatre, American Theater Company, Genesis, MCA Chicago, Salonathon, and The Fly Honey Show. Kelsey graduated from Cornell College with a Bachelor of Arts each in Theatre and English & Creative Writing.

Henry: Henry Birdseye is an internet goblin whose goofs have been featured on Buzzfeed,, and The Verge. He has a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction from DePaul so you know his writing and acting skills are going to blow you away. He lives in Chicago with his girlfriend and fellow cast member Kelsey.

Ty: Ty has made a name for himself creating cinematic shorts and music videos for a few of Chicago's top influencers the likes of Audrey Boyle, Paul Yang, and Dwayne Reed. Every project he directs benefits from the skills and techniques developed on a plethora of commercial, TV, and film sets. His directorial work has been featured on every major news channel.

Current Team