'Everyone is doing great': Portage man executive produces Hulu show
Ever since he was a child growing up in Mentor, Rocque Trem has wanted to write and produce. Part of that dream was recently realized when the 53-year-old Aurora man became an executive producer of the new Hulu series, "Everyone is Doing Great."
"Everyone is Doing Great" is written and directed by James Lafferty and fellow "One Tree Hill" veteran Stephen Colletti. Both also star in the eight-episode first season on the popular streaming service. Loosely based on Lafferty and Colletti's real lives, the show follows friends and former co-stars Jeremy and Seth as they try to find work following the conclusion of a hugely successful TV drama that gave both actors their breakout roles.
The chemistry of the two lead characters is what makes the show so amazing, Trem said.
“It's the weird things that happen along the way and the relationships with their significant others, spouses, girlfriends and circle of friends," he said. "Also, all the bizarre stuff that happens when you're auditioning or you're not used to auditioning. They had this tremendous success but it does not guarantee future success."
At its heart, Trem said, the show is really a story about about two guys and their friendship as they navigate the "weird life" of fame in Hollywood. He described it as a "drama-dy," or, a dramatic show with comedic and mature elements.
After creating the series pilot, the project's creative team reached out to people -- including through a successful Indiegogo campaign -- to help fund a whole first season. Trem, specifically, was invited to invest thanks to connections he had made over the years with people on the creative team.
Trem worked his way through college at Ohio University where he earned a degree in communications. Learning that a career in sales would earn him money, he sold radio airtime in Cleveland soon after graduating. He also had a stint selling software to business schools.
When he returned to the radio business in Cleveland, Trem said he found himself doing all the marketing for his clients -- assisting with print ads and the creativity behind them. That prompted him to start Dadada Media Group, a regional advertising agency he continues to head to this day.
Along the way, Trem met Johnny Derango. From the start, Trem said, he knew Derango would make it big. Though he first knew him as an aspiring cinematographer, Derango has gone on to shoot the 2020 film "Fatman" starring Mel Gibson. He also has acting, cinematography and executive producer credits on "Everyone is Doing Great."
Writers/directors Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms also have executive producer credits on "Everyone is Doing Great." Derango had worked when the duo on a few movies and it was during one of those projects that Lafferty proposed his show.
When work on the first season of "Everyone is Doing Great" concluded, Trem said, they had a solid, finished project. However, they still had to sell it. Endeavor Content picked up the show and re-cut its trailer before shopping it around to major networks. The process was slightly complicated due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but was ultimately successful.
Trem was letting out his dog early one Saturday morning when he found out the show was picked up by Hulu. Other than when his four kids were born, he said, it was one of the "craziest" moments of his life.
“The whole thing is just like surreal to me, because I'm like, I'm not even anywhere close to Hollywood, but yet I'm so connected to it because of that one meeting with me and Johnny (Derango) and that relationship over the years," he said.
"Everyone is Doing Great" is a passion project Trem said he truly believes in. Plus, the role of "producer" is one he has wanted to play his whole life. Currently, he is working on creating merchandise for the show.
A second season of "Everyone is Doing Great" is being discussed, Trem said.
Away from his advertising agency and his work producing TV shows, Trem is working on his own creative projects. His childhood will probably be the basis of future works he puts out, he said.
"Did Grandpa Like Root Beer?" is a documentary he has been working on for years about getting to know his father through the perspective of being a parent.
"With hard work, no matter how old you are, where you are, what's going on in the world, a pandemic, you can do anything," Trem said. "Certainly in America."
"Everyone is Doing Great" premiered on Hulu on Jan.13. All eight episodes of the series are available now for streaming.
Reporter Kaitlyn McGarvey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @kaitlynmcg_rc.