Alumni Blog: Joe Ralko

Joe Ralko’s homegrown web series is true DIY independent filmmaking. He wrote and directed the entire series in between working on Blue Bloods and is now releasing one episode a week, every Friday, only on Youtube.


TLRFD Promotional Posterhe four months since graduating from SVA has been the most terrifying and exciting time of my life. I am grabbing the chance to finally show off what I’ve learned over the past four years – now that I no longer have the safety net of college to fall back on. However, I quickly discovered how valuable my time at school was: Beyond all the skills I learned, SVA gave me the courage to take risks and explore new paths. It also allowed me to create a lifetime’s worth of bonds with amazing people.

I was fortunate enough to land a job on the television show Blue Bloods, for which I am extremely grateful. But I didn’t want to put my passion projects to the side. As the summer began to wind down, I decided to move forward with a script I’ve been working on since junior year.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.12.09 PMThe script is about my hometown — Staten Island — and what it’s like to live there. It’s an ode to all the wacky, loud, loving Italians I grew up around my entire life. My narrative feature kept growing and expanding until it became obvious that this was a series. I tweaked and changed my original script to fit in the realm of a web series, I grabbed the friends I’ve been working with for the past four years, found an amazing group of actors, and off we went!

We shot nine episodes in the next six days! We raced from locations in Staten Island and New Jersey and back. The days were long but fun, and we managed to create a true collaboration. Everyone had a voice and everyone respected each other’s vision. We all had a shared goal in mind all but we all brought something new to the table.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 6.25.07 PMThis story and these characters have been in my head for years; seeing them finally be brought to life by this talented and devoted troupe of actors is something I’ll forever be thankful for. I’ve worked with a lot of actors over the past four years but I never met a group like this. They dedicated their own time (without pay) to bring my vision to life. My hope is that by the end of the shoot it no longer was my vision but a collective vision shared by everyone.

By the time we wrapped, my friends from SVA no longer were friends, they were family. The actors I met as strangers were no longer strangers but friends that I feel I had for a lifetime. We’re really proud of what we accomplished and hope that everyone likes, comments and subscribes too our youtube channel as well as our Facebook page and Instagram! Check out new episodes every Friday at 12pm!

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