'Plaint of the Playwright

'Plaint of the Playwright

[ Friday, June 30, 2006 ]

Reason number one-hundred and one why living in the future is weird:

I've been a fan of Channel 101 and Channel 102 for almost two years now.

Well, this month, I'm not only in one of the Top Five, but I appear in the #1 show. (SPOILER ALERT! You should watch "Chad Vader" before you read this--it's a five minute short.)

Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan gave me a call some time ago to be in this--they'd seen me in a couple of RASHfilms--and I jumped at the chance. I've actually been fans of theirs for a while (and somehow missed that they live in Madison until about a month after having discovered them), and was shocked when Matt actually knew who I was (he saw my production of Neil LaBute's "Bash.").

I was the last actor they shot with--or at least, the last actor who wasn't Matt or Aaron--and my call was near the end of the last night.

It was actually a near-profesional shoot. I've worked crew on one or two professional shoots (both as an extra and as a crew intern), and this seemed as tightly run as any of them.

The first question Sam (another Yonda/Sloan fan) asken me was, "Who's playing Chad? Matt or Aaron?"

The answer, appropriately, is "yes."

Aaron's doing the body, and Matt's doing the voice.

What's also funny to me is that Aaron is much taller than he seems in his films. And when he walked in, in full Vader getup, cape and all, with Courtney Collins (producer of the shoot) trailing close behind, I instinctively quickly got out of his way. That sort of sense-memory is hard-wired into my system from my nerdy childhood.

I have a da-a-te, Chad has a date...
Acting for video and film is actually very intimidating--when I initially read my lines as the character of "Lloyd," I had done them one way, and Matt and Aaron told me to play with it before the shoot. When I did it for them at the shoot, Matt said, "Good--I like the changes."

I was so nervous, actually, that I honestly couldn't remember how I'd done it the first time.

The first take, Matt mentioned that I was clearly smiling a little bit. I laughed, because all I could think was, "I'm in a food co-op and Aaron Yonda's dressed like Darth Vader!!!"

Then Aaron gave me a big hug. Awwww.

Chad, being watched over by Courtney...is she really pulling the strings?  Hmmm.

But it's different acting in front of a camera when it's not your own shoot--I think everyone who directs should do it, just to get a sense of what it's like. I hung out a little bit when I was done, just to watch.

Tona Williams, shooting over my shoulder as I try to remember how I did the last take.

So, now it's number one on 101--which, in case you're not familiar with 101, isn't easy. Everything is voted on at a screening in L.A., so Matt and Aaron are not on their home turf. They're well-liked over there, but they don't have home-court advantage (meaning that they can't really pack the screening with buddies)--and as a result, whatever they send has got to be the best they can do.

Matt Sloan, watching over Aaron.

It's also fun, getting to talk to Aaron and Matt about how they do things--there's just as much done that's meticulously planned out as there is organic improvisation, usually, but this one was a very tight shoot. Not in a bad way, but, again, it felt like a professional shoot.

Yeee, I'm holdin' a lightsaber, here!

According to an email we all got from Courtney, she got to hear audience reaction over her cell phone, and the crowd apparently loved it.

From Matt Sloan himself, I was happy to read this (SPOLIER ALERT!):

There were also a lot of comments about Rob's performance as Lloyd. I believe Dan Harmon himself mentioned how good of an actor Rob was and everyone seemed to think he was a professional actor. His line "Jesus, what's your problem!" always got a big laugh -- even more than when he was lifted off of the ground.

Hee hee!

I tend to think that the reason the reaction is so strong is because by the time my character shows up, you're totally sympathetic to Chad, and you finally see him triumph over something--anything.

I'm really happy that it's picked up--I can't wait to come back!

What a weird feeling. I'm actually having a good week.

posted by Rob on 12:19 PM | link



I thought it was hilarious when I got to see it a week or so ago. I'm glad it's a big hit!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Monday, July 03, 2006 12:14:00 PM  

that was awesome.

By Blogger Movie Maven, at Tuesday, July 04, 2006 1:39:00 AM  

Hey Rob,

It's great to see the stills you took with your cell phone!

This film is also posted on the Blame Society Productions web site, at:

We've also got a photo album from the shoot at:

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sunday, July 09, 2006 8:06:00 PM  


saw d vid on youtube.. cool work.

By Blogger lingghezhi, at Tuesday, July 18, 2006 12:04:00 PM  

great performance! whatever changes you made worked well, awesome expressions, timing, delivery. it looks like much fun was had by all. and now by hundreds of thousands of netizens.

thanks and best wishes for your future works.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, July 22, 2006 8:03:00 PM  

Cool vid, Rob. I actually had someone send it to me and I was like, hey, wait a minute, I *know* that guy! Good work.

By Blogger Chuck, at Friday, July 28, 2006 1:36:00 AM  

I've just seen both CHAD VADER episodes...I was impressed with the quality of the production...This is easily the funniest thing i've seen on the net all year...If there was stuff like this on TV...I'd watch alot more TV...I can't wait to see episode III.

By Blogger daniel, at Friday, August 04, 2006 3:58:00 PM  

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