The Overachiever Web Series

Wonderlust Productions is making a comedic video web series about local overachievers (and the people who love and live with them). We think overachievers are fascinating. They make stuff happen, and modern culture seems to love them. But what does that word even mean? And what does it say about how our society thinks about people in terms of work and worth? We’d like to explore this topic by gathering stories and perspectives from overachievers and the people who love and live with them, and then using those stories to create a fictional web series, made in collaboration with professional artists and real overachievers.

Check it out.

We’ve been working on edits for two more episodes. Here are some pictures:

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Our first Overachievers Happy Hour, generously hosted by Sisyphus Brewing, with guest speakers Pahoua Yang Hoffman, executive director of the Citizens League, and Jessica Chung, bullet journal expert and calligraphy artist, plus the so soothing presence of therapy animals, was a fabulous gathering of the overworked, overeducated, overtired, overqualified, and just all the way around overly wonderful overachievers in our midst

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In anticipation of creating four new episodes of the Overachievers web series, Wonderlust is building our traffic and YouTube/Google ranking for the series. Your video views, likes (thumbs-up) and comments are a great help.

Episode 1: Meet the family. What happens when Jen brings a new girlfriend makes an appearance and a fateful phone call to Sara sets the family off.

Episode 2: Brenda’s husband Ron is starting to resent her focus on all-consuming research, and their stress spills into unexpected places.

Episode 3: Is it overachieving if other people are counting on you no matter what? Andy visits a local social service center, hoping to help, and makes the mistake of thinking that he knows more than he does.

Episode 4: At this theater rehearsal, with Jen stage managing, they’ll try anything at all to get to a few good seconds of worthwhile material.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Alan Berks, 612.423.6335



Minneapolis, MN – Based on the true stories of overachievers from all walks of life—doctors, scientists, artists, professors, professionals, entrepreneurs, volunteers, students, and activists—Wonderlust Productions has launched the pilot episodes of a new web series at

The Story
One high-functioning, dysfunctional family is forced to confront the real America (where we may all be overachieving, whether we call it that or not). It’s a compassionate and comic look at the 20% who do 80% of the work and our country’s love-hate relationship with achievement.

Secrets of Success
Wonderlust Productions, makers of Our House: The Capitol Play Project and In My Heart: The Adoption Play Project, conducted 10 story circles and numerous interviews from 2017-2018 to gather a wide range of experiences. Across demographics and economics, Overachievers shared common characteristics; most of them refuse to call themselves overachievers, for one. The web series shares the secrets, successes and challenges that the story circle uncovered as well as the five types of over-achievers Wonderlust identified: Trophy Hunters, Omnivores, Perfectionists, Prodigies, and Warriors.

After story-gathering, Wonderlust outlined a twelve episode season about a fictional family that frames the participants’ true stories. The first four “pilot” episodes were shot in September and October, edited in November for public release in time for the holidays.

The Achievers in Charge
Directed by Wonderlust Co-Artistic Directors Leah Cooper and Alan Berks. Written by Alan Berks. With cinematography, editing, sound and music design by Peter Marcy who is a Minnesota-based filmmaker who creates micro-budget feature films (including Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival selections The Shingle Life and The Attack of the Tattie-Boogle). The production manager was Kari Olk.

The cast includes real overachievers, artists, and artist overachievers including Kevin Lindsey (Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Human Rights), Adam Whisner (Best Actor in the Twin Cities 2015, City Pages), David O’Fallon (recently retired President and CEO of the Minnesota Humanities Center), Wendy Morris (Director of the Creative Leadership Studio), and Theartrice “T” Williams (former Executive Director of the Phyllis Wheatley Community Center and Minnesota’s, and the nation’s, first Ombudsman in the Department of Corrections). Also starring Megan Kim Anderson, Ashok Bodke, Andrew Cleveland, Becky Dale, Gabrielle Dominique, Scott Gilbert, Bethany Gladhill, Lecia Grossman, Mary Hermes, Kristen Husby, Mary Olk, Alyssa Perau, Louis Porter II, Delinda “Oogie” Pushetonequa, and Laura Wiebers.

The Details
First four episodes of a projected 12 episode series:

If you want to know what kind of overachiever you are, take the quiz:

Order the Overachievers Web Series Life Balance Planner
( ) for wit, wisdom, shared experiences, and deconstructed to-do lists from Overachievers, as told to Wonderlust Productions. $10 plus shipping (or free with a $50 + donation).

In 2019, Wonderlust plans to invite more achievers to share their stories and be in the series. Stay tuned for more information.

About Wonderlust Productions
Formed in 2014, Wonderlust Productions brings together members of communities whose stories are often ignored or misunderstood and collaborates with them from the beginning of the idea until the final performance, to create a truly inclusive interaction that privileges both authenticity and artistry and instigates education, entertainment, conversation, and transformation.

“The very many different stories, reasons and rationales truly burst the stereotypical notions of adoption.” – Audience Member, Adoption Play Project

Wonderlust’s Production of In My Heart: The Adoption Play Project sold out its run at Mixed Blood Theatre in December 2016, and Our House: The Capitol Play Project, performed all around the newly-restored state capitol, also sold out its in January 2018.

“Pure genius the way they wove such an intricate play together around the true stories and facts they had to work with.”—Community Member, Veteran’s Play Project

Future projects include a play in collaboration with Normandale Community College about their diverse students, faculty, and staff as well as the Incarceration Play Project, exploring all sides of people who are effected by the incarceration system from the incarcerated to their families, social workers, corrections officers, and anyone whose life is touched by a system that is designed to be ignored and misunderstood. Visit for more information about all our work.

“I didn’t know how much the play would make me think, or how directly it would engage the hottest political and social issues of the day.” — Audience Member, Capitol Play Project


All about the planner

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Buy it now for the overachiever in your life!


Save on shipping and pick up at our office on date 1, date 2, or date 3:

Pickup date


Or have it shipped to an address of your choice for $3.00 shipping and handling:

Coming soon! Our first four pilot episodes will be released December 17, 2018.


Well, actually, it’s episode 2, but we’re filming it first. (Everything happens out of order!) Check out these photos from rehearsal and our first few filming sessions for episode 2 …

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A pie chart showing the breakdown of quiz-takers by Overachiever type

Using everything we learned about overachievers from overachievers, we’ve created a quiz to tell you what kind of overachiever you are. Over 500 people have taken the quiz so far …

Which kind of overachiever are you? A Perfectionist? Or more of an Omnivore? Take our quiz to find out. If your test results show you (or someone you love) is an overachiever, we'd like to hear your stories and include them in our fictional web video series.

I get the most delight from:

Making a tangible, measurable difference.
Winning an award, getting a gold star.
Empowering others to be their best, helping in the background.
Getting everything done right.
Losing myself completely in one thing I'm good at.
Trying something that I've never done before.
Relaxing, going to a movie, looking at some art, lying by a lake.



I'm kept awake at night by:
Wondering if I made a mistake or forgot something.
Actually, I sleep pretty well.
Assessing the competition.
Trying to choose between all the things I want to do.
Worrying I'm failing my community.
Practicing something in my head.
Worrying about the overachiever in my life.



I succeed:
When I can redefine the problem or invent something entirely new.
By putting in the time to really understand the problem and all possible solutions.
At eating, sleeping, enjoying life.
At rallying the team, going forth bravely.
As part of a team.
By doing it better than others.
Kind of naturally, without really trying.



The kind of praise I most often hear is:
You're the best.
You're really making a difference.
We all count on you.
You're so talented.
You sure know how to have a good time.
Oh, hey, I forgot you were there, but thanks!
Wow, how do you do all of that in one day?



The kind of criticism I most often hear is:
Could you maybe pick up your socks?
We miss you, you're always busy.
You're kind of a show-off.
You're so quiet.
Uhm, you're making everyone else feel bad.
Relax, the world isn't ending right this second.
You have impossible standards.



My secret confession:
Sometimes I think overachievers are just really really neurotic, and I fantasize about what would happen if everybody stopped paying so much attention to them.
I actually prefer the company of my work to the company of other people.
I'm pretty sure everything would fall apart without me.
I'm often just looking at the Internet when I should be working.
Sitting still makes me a little crazy. (OK, a lot crazy.)
I secretly want to punch lazy or incompetent people in the face.
If I get a lower score on something than someone I know I'm better than, I'll obsess over how mistaken the results are.



Share the quiz to show your results !

Your results are ready. Before we reveal them, please help us stay in touch with you about the Overachievers Web Series project.

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What kind of overachiever are you?

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But I'm also %%personality%%


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We are making a web-based video series about local overachievers and the people who love and live with them. We think overachievers are fascinating. They make things happen, and modern culture seems to love them.

But what does that word even mean? “Over” what? Why do some people feel like they have to “over”-achieve to even count at all? And what does it say about how our society thinks about people in terms of work and worth? We’d like to explore this topic, and all its cultural baggage, by gathering stories and perspectives from overachievers and the people who love them, then using those stories to create a fictional web series, made in collaboration with professional artists and you.

Please share your experience and perspective on overachieving by joining us for a story circle (dates below). Please share this invitation with others you know who might be interested too!

These story circles are open to anyone
Wonderlust Studio, 550 Vandalia St. #253, St. Paul (map here):
Sunday May 6, 2018, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Thursday May 10, 2018, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Saturday May 12, 2018, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

This story circle is exclusively for POCI (people of color and indigenous people)
Phyllis Wheatley Community Center, 1301 10th Ave N, Minneapolis (map here):
Monday, May 21, 2018, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

Who is invited? If you think you are an overachiever, then you probably are – please come! If you love or live with someone who you think is an overachiever, they probably are – even if they don’t self-identify as an overachiever, please bring them, you’re both invited!

What will we do in this story circle? Mostly we tell stories, write down thoughts, and generally share experiences. Share as much or as little as you want. And if you don’t feel like sharing, you can just listen. Nobody’s story or experiences will be used in videos we are making directly like a documentary – they’ll be blended together into a fictional story, protecting the privacy of those who share. This is an opportunity to meet other overachievers and talk about what that word means: to you, to others, to our communities. Even if you’re not sure you have a story to share, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you hear, and what you discover you have to say.

About us: Wonderlust Productions illuminates a community’s story through performance, mixing community members from across generations, ethnicities, and perspectives, alongside an ensemble of professional actors, designers, writers, and directors. Together, we create a new performance experience based on high-quality dramatic storytelling and artistry; inspired by community experience; embracing the inherent conflict of opposing perspectives within a community; epic enough to encompass diversity and inspire transformative experience. Past projects have been about people who work at the state Capitol, people affected by adoption, and military veterans. Our next project will be about the incarceration system. For more information about us, visit

Questions? Contact Leah Cooper at 612-227-2046 or