"Viola's Crossroads" is the first episode of the first season of Viola's Videos and the pilot episode of the series. It is the first of two episodes to act as a graded project submission for Andrew Shaul's video production class. The episode was released on January 5th, 2014.
Viola Indigo is in her living room with her son, Anthony, watching an episode of Elle Bennett's talk show. After Anthony makes a snide remark about Viola's husband leaving her, the mother realizes her plate of meatloaf has been licked clean.
Viola and her son continue to watch television, then Viola strikes up a conversation. Asking if Anthony has received the exorbitant amount of money she deposited into his bank account, Anthony snaps back and tells Viola he expected her to do it herself. Then, asking what's for dinner, Viola tells him of her plans to make her Panko meatloaf for him that evening, to which Anthony snaps again and complains. Their relationship is incredibly unhealthy, and Viola demands that Anthony have a healthy snack. He requests Buffalo Chicken, but Viola rejects this.
As their show comes to an end, Viola comes clean with her ungrateful son and informs him that she must flee the country to escape the mafia. Anthony is none too pleased with the prospect of becoming independent, after twenty-five years of pampering and teet-suckling. He tries to reject his mother's situation, but Viola presses further. She produces a copy of the 2002 Britney Spears film Crossroads and forces her son to watch it with her.
After the movie, Anthony realizes his life truly is at a crossroads and seemingly begins to respect and love his mother. They engage in a drunken embrace, and together they set out to part ways as adults. But nothing lasts for the Indigo family...
- Elle Bennett is the host of the talk show that Viola and Anthony are watching at the beginning of the episode, Jesus Saves.
- Directed by Andrew Shaul
- Cinematography by Andrew Shaul
- Edited by Douglas Harvey
- Composed by Douglas Harvey
- The talk show audio in the background of the episode features the song "Symposium" by Kevin MacLeod.
The film does not credit any writers because the dialogue and story was heavily improvised by all actors involved - Douglas Harvey, Jackson Bailey, and Andrew Shaul. The basic story (an under-appreciated mother must escape the mafia but must teach her son the meaning of independence before she can flee) was generated by Director Andrew Shaul.
This episode, as with the rest of the series, was heavily improvised by the actors based on a simple outline created by Andrew Shaul. It was shot in chronological order on November 6th, 2013.
Director Andrew Shaul's cut of the film for his school project was edited to remove Viola's harsh language. The official cut of the film edited by Douglas Harvey is 7 minutes long and does not edit out the language. However, as a preventive measure to avoid copyright infringement, the official cut of the film features heavy blurring of various objects. As a joke, the amount of censorship increases drastically over the course of the film - to the point where the entire screen, even the characters, are completely hidden.
The cut version that acted as the final project submission for school was met with warm acclaim from the professor and the students in Andrew Shaul's class.
The uncut version that was officially released has yet to be reviewed.
- This is the first episode of Viola's Videos to be created and submitted as a graded project for Director Andrew Shaul's video production class. The second and final was the following episode, Viola's America. Both episodes received wide acclaim from the professor and students in the class; the popularity of the first episode led to the character's expansion into a full web series.
- The Jesus Saves talk show that Viola and Anthony are watching at the start of the episode is an actual talk show episode featuring Douglas Harvey as the voice of a woman named Elle Bennett. It was completely improvised as a means of masking some of the hard-to-fix audio cuts in the original footage.