Herpe Betty | Webseries Feature

by Steven Ashford

In a world where the constant fight for primordial love gets construed by a haphazard, misguided spinster, the outcome tends to be bleak and unfortunate. Take that and mix in a pack of lewd, deceitful hussies, a petrifyingly horny grandmother, a few roofies and a stack of paninis and you get the humorously raunchy tale of Herpe Betty.

Co-created by Harrison Martin and Michelle Murphy, Herpe Betty is a webseries determined to make viewers laugh hysterically and simultaneously lose their lunch. Along Betty’s tumultuous quest for popularity and, um, “love bumps,” we are presented with a scenic tour of Omaha and familiar faces who shape our creative community.

Among those present are Michelle Murphy and Laura Diessing (STDZ), Jacob Thiele (The Faint), Craig Dee (Tilly and the Wall, Icky Blossoms), Sam Martin (Capgun Coup) and Tony Buttells.

Just recently, the first installment of Herpe Betty has been released via Kickstarter, and I caught up with Harrison Martin and Michelle Murphy via email to discuss the magic behind the Herpe.

“The creation of the character (Herpe Betty) was a roundtable, late night sort of birth,” Martin says.

Herpe Betty came about a couple years ago in Rob Walter's backyard in Dundee,” Murphy says, reminiscing the birth of Betty.

The storyboard behind Herpe Betty dates back to March 2011, with rapid email sharing of primitive plots and dialogue that would be exchanged between Murphy and Martin for months while Murphy was living in Omaha, and Martin in Chicago.

“We really were just thinking of anything to get a laugh out of each other and kept adding ideas and little snippets through texts and conversations over the next few months,” Murphy says.

“I would fill in the dialog and send it to her to see what she thought,” Martin says. “By May of 2011 we had the first script complete and ready to shoot.”

Given Martin’s hectic schedule and juggling multiple projects when he would return to Omaha – as well as other cast members working other jobs – the shooting schedule had to take place within a very tight gap.

“We shot in two days for twelve hours each day,” Martin says. “Shooting took place in early June with a last minute scene addition filmed right before we did the two long days.”

Working with the resources they already possessed and donations made to the filmmaking cause, Martin and crew created Herpe Betty with a minimal amount of funds.

“We filmed it guerilla style and just went to pseudo-public places,” Martin says. “This pilot was made on pretty much zero dollars and all the outfits were donated by Scout, and Michelle bought the paninis."

The idea behind Herpe Betty was simply to get a crew of friends together and have a good time. Expect to see more features in the near future that will continue to make people laugh, as well keep people a little grossed out.

“If it wasn't a blast filming the first time, I wouldn't make more episodes,” Martin says.

“It’s fun living in the Herpe Betty world with your friends because it proves that they are just as insane as you are,” Murphy adds.

Watch the first installment of Herpe Betty below:

Steven is an editorial intern at Hear Nebraska. Looks like it's paninis for dinner tonight, folks. Reach him at stevena@hearnebraska.org.