Today, he is telling us about "Real Actors Read Yelp," a new series that is making waves on the Internet.
Hello Joe, thank you for answering my questions. What gave you the idea of creating “Real Actors Read Yelp?"
I have been fascinated for a very long time by the phenomenon of people posting long winded screeds about whatever it is they feel like writing about online. It seemed to me that people were actually revealing much more about themselves in these diatribes than they realized. As an actor, I learned to find my way into a character through the language they use--looking at much of the material out there on the Internet I realized it was such fertile ground for creation.
After reading some Yelp reviews out loud to my wife one day while driving around the city, I found myself laughing hysterically, unable to believe how absurd many of the reviews were but also thrilled by what a glimpse theses reviews were into people's private lives and their ways of thinking. The things they chose to point out and the way the complaints or praises were phrased gave so much insight into who these people were.
It sounds complicated perhaps, but I realized that people were revealing so much about themselves, and that a good actor could mine this to great comic affect.
Why did you choose to focus on Yelp?
Yelp was just the first thing I hit on; I have many other sources that will be mined in up coming series.
How many people are involved in the production of the series?
Just myself and an assistant.
How do you usually select the reviews and the actors?
The actors are mostly friends from my acting days and people I admire and have worked with professionally.
Great actors are the key to this whole thing and great actors are amazing collaborators, that has been the most satisfying thing about this entire project -- when you work with really talented people it is so much easier and you have some many more options.
Many of the performances have genuinely surprised me, Ashlie Atkinson
for example just went so much further than I had imagined with her review and it was just amazing to see her work.
Twelve episodes have been released so far. Which one is your favorite, and why?
There is no way I can choose a favorite, every single one is amazing and I think brilliant -- more the performances than the editing/directing. I am most proud of the range of feelings and the variety of tone and emotions brought to each one -- I love that each actor has put their own stamp on the material and really owned it.
In your opinion, what role does a series like “Real Actors Read Yelp” play?
I think a series like this is a little bit like the Internet folding back on itself. It is, I hope, a chance for us to think over what exactly our online interactions mean in the broader context of how we relate to each other online and how that effects us personally. This series is self-reflective if that doesn't sound too precious.
I think with the Internet, we have a tendency now to put so much out there that we aren't aware of how what that reveals about our own thinking and our own prejudices or thought patterns. We need to be aware of what we reveal about ourselves more than we are now I think, this is a way of pointing that out with humor and fun.
What is next for you?
I am working on several projects for a variety of clients, but I am also working on other iterations of the Real Actors Read series using other resources for my source material.
I am really excited because in two weeks I kick off the next series and that has already started filming. It's going to be a blast.
To watch the "Real Actors Read Yelp" series, visit YouTube.
For more information on Gotta Kid to Feed Productions, visit http://www.gottakidtofeed.com.