IAWTV, THE PICKS: "Best Comedy" and Wrap Up
Well, the moment of truth is almost upon us. Tomorrow, Wednesday December 14th at 10 AM PST the nominees for the 1st annual IAWTV awards will be announced live. Regardless of whether or not we find ourselves fortunate enough to have scored a nomination (or two?), we've had a great time using this as an excuse to revisit our first season and share some of our thought process with you all. And of course it's been great to hear what YOU have to say, and which episodes you feel are our best. We have one last category left, “Best Comedy” but we thought we'd do something a bit different this week. Instead of focusing on the episode we picked for that category we thought we'd compile a list of some of the stuff we haven't been able to showcase yet.
So check out some of our favorite moments of Season 1 after the jump, and then make sure to watch along with us tomorrow as the nominations are announced live by Shira Lazar and Ethan Newberry at the What's Trending Studios. You can watch along with us here: http://bit.ly/wtchill
AVI: Some of my favorite random stuff in season 1, in no particular order.
The Rooftop (EP 1): That scene was the first scene I ever wrote for C&E. I never actually expected to be able to film it. But luckily our editor Matt Smith lived in a fantastic building in downtown L.A. with a huge multi level roof. And he was moving out of that apt a week after we were scheduled to shoot! How's that for timing? I won't lie, we all half expected that the LAPD would shoot us down if they noticed a man on a roof with a bow and arrow... luckily the gods smiled upon us and we were fine. That, and I guess in a town with this much filming, a guy shooting heart tipped arrows just doesn't seem that odd.
Phillip Ward (Eps 2 & 3): I've worked with Phillip on almost every project I've done since moving to L.A. He's a phenomenal actor who I was lucky enough to meet through Jefferson Loftfield, Andy, and Erin Connarn (who all knew him from NC). His performance in those two episodes is SO deceptively complex. It doesn't seem like he has a lot to do (and he has only 2 lines of dialogue) but he manages to walk the line between being Cupid's antagonist and evoking our sympathies beautifully.
Carina Nilsson, Mother Goddess on AND off screen (Eps 5 and 6): True story. Carina, who plays fertility goddess and Eros' best Frenemy Aveta, had actually just had her first child not less than a week before filming. In fact, her daughter Nola was often on set, and is in Aveta's arms on the Valentine's Day card we sent out last year. Carina's hysterical in the role and it's even more impressive knowing that she was taking care of an newborn whenever she wasn't on set with us.
Isis Returns (Eps 5 & 6): I love working with Aliza Pearl and it was always my plan to bring Isis back for more than just her cameo in EP 1. The look she shoots Cupid while he fails miserably to ask her to dance is one of my favorite moments of EP 5.
Apollo IS Kind of a Tool (Eps 5 &6): Jeff Cannata was one of the first people I met when I moved to L.A. Our mutual friend brought me to one Jeff's Improv shows... I immediately knew I needed to work with him. In fact watching him and Josh riff off each other was so great that we got the two of them together again in THE SILVER LAKE BADMINTON AND ADVENTURERS CLUB which I co-created with our own editor Matt Smith. Apollo is traditionally portrayed as being heroic but, (and maybe it's just cause I identify too much with Cupid) I always thought he came off as kind of a jerk-not to mention a sore loser. From his posture, to his his game show host grin, to arrogant swagger, Jeff just nailed it.
Bradford Anderson and Taryn O'Neill Kicking Ass (Eps 8 & 9): Working with Taryn and Brad (along with our amazing Fight Choreographer Sean Fitzgerald) on those fight scenes was a blast. Both Brad and Taryn brought such great physicality to their roles and it was so much fun working through what a chaos goddess-induced bar brawl between Achilles and this badass mortal woman would be like. Sean did an amazing job coming up with exciting, cool, sequences and he went the extra mile, playing the assistant that Taryn's Athena beats up in the beginning of EP 8!
Enter Neikea! (Eps 8 & 9): Like Phillip in Eps 2 and 3, Lauren Terilli didn't have a ton of screen time as Neikea but she made the most of every frame. I love how quickly she goes from proud, to indignant, to petulant to scared all in the space of a few moments.
A Cupid with Wings and (sort of) a diaper (8 & 9): It was going to have to happen at some point... Much credit goes to the incomparable Stephen L. Sullivan for wearing the wings and the boxer briefs well, and for turning a great performance while doing it.
ANDY: My random stuff too!
The environment for our characters were very important to the web series because it kept the stories in a world that was relatable for the viewer whether our gods were on Earth or on Olympus. We were lucky to have to some great places to play out these scenes. The rooftop from episode 1 was one of my favorites not just because it opens the show but because it shows us how vast the mortal world and how beautiful downtown Los Angeles is. Another favorite location for me is the mixer ballroom, aka the Glendale Moose Lodge, in episodes 5 and 6. This place has character out the wazoo and although the size of the space posed a problem in dressing, lighting, and block shooting; the uniqueness of the stage, dance floor, bar, etc made up for the production challenges.
We’ve talked about the production design in a previous blog but I want to note a few scenes that were amazing in how the space originally looked to what you see on the screen. In episode 4, Cupid enters an apartment to find the leftovers from a night of drunken debauchery, of course Eros is part of the fun and is the only one still standing. It’s great design when the chaos seems so natural. I also love the design of the Valentine’s Day card shop from episode 7 since we shot these scenes in December so all the decorations had to be ordered from the Internet or created. And the store we shot in was decorated for Christmas – we either moved trees out of our shots or had to shoot around them. These are cute artifacts of the shoot that make you realize how difficult the production designer’s job is.
Makeup is sometimes undervalued in independent productions because it blends so well into the scene but I have to give our makeup artist, Lilit Alexandrian, and 2nd, Georgia Allen, a shout out for creating such a natural and consistent look throughout the series. There were some notable standouts in this area. I love the horns on the bartender in the mixer scenes because here you have an average guy you’d meet anywhere but there on the top of his head are two little horns. The viewer immediately knows this is not a bartender you’d find in any bar on Earth except maybe at Halloween. And the costumes for the mixer chosen by our wonderful Costume Designer, Tera Struck, and her Costume Supervisor, Dulce Escarcega, represented a unique collection of gods from all mythological points in the godly realms. Just scan the room of the mixer and you’ll see outfits that are ornate as if influenced by Africa to the yuppie attire worn by Apollo – yes even some of the Gods are stuck in a fashion time warp.
Some small things I like too. The bows and arrows in episode 1 and 4, those are authentic. The graphics displayed on the various devices used by Cupid and Eros make our gods technologically current. The Cupid doll in episode 7 is too damn cute, I want one. I also love the “Olympian Muse” show playing as Cupid eats his spaghettios, it’s so much fun to parody pop culture and with a reference to the number 1 show on television, well you can’t help but laugh.
Not to be forgotten are some great performances by our guest stars, and we’ve had many of them. These guest appearances start with the sweet and endearing performance by Kiera Anderson as Jo, Cupid’s potential new girl along with Phillip Ward in what becomes Cupid’s rival for Jo’s attention in episodes 1 through 3. Aliza Pearl gives a great performance as our Olympian Star, first as a judge in the Olympian Muse segment in episode 1 than as an attendee/duel judge at the mixer in episodes 7 and 8 – Aliza oozes glamour. We were also lucky that Jeff Cannata, aka Apollo, was available because he plays this character with kickass attitude and great comedic timing.
Who can forget the stand-out performance from Carina Nilsson for her portrayal of the fertility goddess Aveta. It’s not easy to deliver lines that are sweet when you first hear them but upon retrospection, there’s a bite. And to get the best of Eros is not an easy task. To have The Jasper Dickson Revue band actually play at the mixer was a huge bonus because it made the scene have a slight “high school dance” feel that brings back good and bad memories for most of us.
In episodes 8 and 9, I am so happy that Bradford Anderson, Taryn O’Neill and Lauren Terilli were part of the stories. I mean come on, Bradford Anderson, who doesn’t love him – he’s cute, endearing, down to earth. Of course it was funny to have Bradford play Achilles after injuring his Achilles heel but we knew he would bring the diverse emotions Avi had written for this character; lonely to hopeful to badass to sad to happy. And of course Achilles’ mortal love interest, played by Taryn O’Neill. This character is badass as soon as we meet her in the DOJO. Taryn, who learned the fight choreography only days before the shoot, seemed to enjoy this delicious although brief role and I think it shows in the final cut. Last but certainly not least is Lauren Terilli who played the deity Neikea and essentially stirs up the mortal world to undo the work from Cupid going rogue. Another juicy role that Lauren played to a tee and had fun doing it.
Oh and what episode did we submit for "Best Comedy"? This was a really tough one. In the end we decided on Episode 5, "Hello My Pantheon is..." In a lot ways we just felt it was one of the best reprsentations of our world as a whole, and perhaps highlights the nature of Cupid and Eros' friendship a bit more than our pilot did.
Well, we hope you guys have enjoyed our IAWTV rundowns. As always be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below. And remember you can watch the nominee announcements live tomorrow here: http://bit.ly/wtchill
There's a ton of really amazing shows that we're up against... so, send us good vibes and keep your fingers crossed. But no matter what happens, all the support you've given us, from episode 1 through today, makes feel like we're already winners. Cheesy? Sure. But also true.
Avi & Andy