So if you can give us any spoilers, what are the secrets that the guys on the show are hiding from Freddie?
JTW: I’ve asked and we haven’t been told — working with Marion is like working with Woody Allen, you know, it’s like she only gives you the pages that you need kind of thing. It’s all very spoiler free. I have to be honest, I’m completely interested too to find out what happens so I’m sort of hoping that we move on to doing a season two ‘cause it’s a lot of fun to shoot anyways.
Each of the episodes of “Misdirected” are very short and seem to capture only one scene per video which can be a turn-off to some viewers. What do you think has kept your audience coming back to the show?
LM: They are short, aren’t they? The goal was always to pique interest, the “leave them wanting more” approach. Internet attention spans are minute. I, myself, am guilty of not wanting to even begin watching a video if I see it’s four minutes or more. Because now it’s an investment, of my time and of my patience, and at this point I’m not entirely sure if it’ll be worth it. I think we’ve all been burned by that before. So we had the best interests of the audience in mind. And it’s the single greatest compliment to then hear, “We want more!” which has happened, thankfully. I also think the mystery element of the show plays a part in keeping people’s interest, as they are trying to understand what exactly is going on with these boys: why aren’t they being truthful? What aren’t they being truthful about, and where is this all going?
JTW: Well I would hope that it’s because they’re curious about what’s going to happen next in the story, and I think the impetus of making the episodes short comes from a decade or so of all of us being on the internet as consumers and knowing that it is really tough to sit through a 14-minute episode of something online, and for myself, to be pretty honest, hard to sit through something that is eight or nine minutes. Unless it is amazing in the first you know 15 or 20 seconds, I’m a “maybe” about it. I’m like, “Hurry up and be good,” especially if there is like minutes and minutes and minutes of ads in the beginning. It gets a little tough, but yeah, we really wanted to make it short so people at work or people at home or people who are on the run or on the phone and have kids could sit and watch for a couple minutes that it takes. They could watch it at night, enjoy that little bit of comedy, and then wait for next week’s episode. I think people are drawn in because it’s easy to consume.
You’ve worked in both traditional media and online web series — what opportunities are there for actors online that they can’t get working in film and movies?
LM: The real advantage of being a part of this web series is the involvement of the viewers. Sure, I’ve asked friends and family to watch the TV shows and movies I’ve been in before, but this is a series with a new episode each week, and with that, a new chance to engage audiences, to get their feedback and in essence get closer to the very people you’re hoping to entertain. As the show goes forward, viewers are learning more about the characters as well as forming opinions about them, and in turn sharing those opinions with us, whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter. This then allows us to respond and interact, starting a conversation that progresses as the season does, which is much more interaction than if they’d just watched that thing I was in that one time.
JTW: Well I’m a really good testament to this because I got to be perfectly honest: I did a web series called “Living The Dream” and it was with a writer-producer named Rick Eid. When the writer’s strike happened, a lot of those folks who were once producing shows, writing for shows, literally had nothing to do, and so they started basically shooting web series — it happened all the time. They were putting it up on Actors Access and Now Casting and places like that, and I got called in for this one called “Living the Dream,” and I went in — it sounded funny; it was basically like “The Office” but in the legal world, though that sounds really funny — read for it, loved it and I got cast as the lead in it. That web series did really well as far as viewership and quality of content and the relationships I made as an actor on that show; I did a lot of television after that just because of the camaraderie I made with Rick, and I owe a lot to him as far as springboarding me to other projects. I really think that people who do web series, it’s just a great opportunity to do the kind of work that you want to do and to make relationships with people you want to work with in the future. Plus look at the web itself: I’m this close to canceling my cable just because I only watch live news and live sports — that’s all I watch on my television anymore. I only have it because I’m afraid something is going to happen in the world, I’m going to want to turn on my TV to watch the news all day or the Superbowl is on, something like that. So yeah, anyway the question was for actors. Actors need to get involved in web series, and what’s great about web series too is if you look online, you can see everyone’s content. You can see certain directors and you can see if their stuff is good, if it fits your own sensibilities, and so you kind of have this litmus test that you can already perform before you even approach these projects. It’s not a huge time commitment and it is not a huge commitment at all, you just get to keep making good content, and who wouldn’t want to do that? Actors need to act.
Do you feel like your acting style is different at all between your work on TV shows and movies and your work on a web series?
JTW: The fundamentals aren’t very different. Working on a web series — especially working on a web series with your friends — the dynamic is different for sure. There is a level of comfort that exists that lets you feel fearless and know that you can do a bunch of takes, a bunch of different ways, and that’s the great thing about it. That’s where some of the best stuff comes from as well. When you get hired to be on a television show, for example I did an episode of “24,” and when I was working on that show it was a lot of fun and it’s a very well oiled machine, but you’re all business. You have to hit your mark, say your line — you might do it twice — and that’s it. So it changes you a little bit I think as far as how loose you are on set. As far as acting styles, I think that has everything to do with the director you work with and how you mesh with them. Marion is very good at working with us on the cast. She is really good at wrangling, and she’s really good at finding the joke and keeping everything light.
Any plans yet for season two?
LM: We start to see Freddie suspect that her friends might not be entirely honest with her. The audience already knows they’re up to something. Now with the inclusion of Melanie, their train has completely been derailed and they’re scrambling to course correct. It’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down. And it’s so good to watch it happen!
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