Thursday, October 17, 2013

KARL KENZLER & CHRISTOPHER GERSON of Darwin: The Series

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KARL KENZLER is an actor and writer. He co-wrote the comedy pilot A/V CLUB which screened at NYTVF and was described by Mitchell Hurwitz as "an inventive and original piece that mixes Strangers with Candy and Thomas Pynchon's penchant for writing about secret societies." His critically acclaimed one-man show, FIRE IN THE HEAD, helped earn him a prestigious Charles and Eva Fox Fellowship.

As an actor, he can be seen in the recurring role of “Senator Charles Holburn” in the Netflix original series HOUSE OF CARDS and appeared in the recurring role of “Father Denis” on LAW & ORDER: SVU. Other guest appearances include PERSON OF INTEREST, MADE IN JERSEY, THE GOOD WIFE, FRINGE, RESCUE ME, ALL MY CHILDREN, LAW & ORDER, NOW & AGAIN and TRINITY. He lives in Jersey City with his wife and daughter where they have a lovely view of the Manhattan skyline -- without the headache.

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CHRISTOPHER GERSON has worked as a producer and editor for the Sundance Film Festival; creating content for Sundance Online. He is an editor and video producer for Trifecta Multimedia and is proud to create video content for the Great River Shakespeare Festival (http://www.youtube.com/user/GreatRiverShakes). He recently edited and acted in the short film FORT GREENE which premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
As an actor, he has appeared in many theater productions across the country and recently appeared in the New Georges Theatre production of Lynn Rosen's play "GOLDOR $ MYTHICA".

To learn more about "Darwin: The Series" click on the links below:

Kickstarter link:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/370925295/darwin-the-series

Darwin links:
DarwinTheSeries.com

Facebook.com/DarwinTheSeries

Twitter.com/darwinstree

What is "Darwin: The Series" about?

KARL: "Darwin: The Series" is about Leo Darwin -- a life coach whose life is falling apart. He's a guy who appears to have everything. But in reality, he's a train wreck. The story revolves around a love triangle between Leo, his wife Charlie (a former street performer and current kleptomaniac) and his client Michael (a genius inventor and millionaire crippled by social phobias).

Can you explain the symbolism in the series?

KARL: I'm not really sure about the symbolism. But as a writer, I'm very intrigued by how deceptive appearances can be. Most people have a very rich interior life. We all harbor secrets, dreams, fantasies. But you reach a certain point in your life where you realize that those things may never come to pass. And how do you deal with that? That's very much a theme in the series. In a very funny way, these characters are all dealing with the compromises they've made in their lives.

Why do you want to make this series?

CHRIS: The two of us had been talking for years about doing a web series. But our ideas were too big, they were unmanageable.  So we hit on this idea of a life coach who was actually the opposite of everything he was trying to teach. We approached our co-creator, Lynn Rosen, and the three of us immediately hit it off. Lynn has a really unique point of view as a writer. It was a great fit.

KARL: The thing is, we weren't finding the kind of stories that we wanted to see online. Web content is often aimed at a particular audience: gamers, sci-fi fanboys and that sort of thing. And those tend to skew younger. But in the last ten years the online audience has grown up. So there's an appetite out there for stories about what happens later in life: the Big Questions that come up when you're married, when you have a kid, when you're in the midst of your career. My favorite shows are about flawed people who are trying their very best -- even when they don't behave that way. So that's what we tried to write. And we knew it had to be smart, funny, honest storytelling or else people would click away to something else.

Why did you decide to shoot two episodes before launching your campaign?

CHRIS: It was important to me to have something that we could present to an audience. We wanted to be able to say "Hey, we've created something here that's compelling. Come take a look!" We could have just pitched it. Or done a trailer. But if you start telling a good story, people become involved. And from a fundraising point of view, it's then much easier to ask for help in finishing it.

KARL: Also, a trailer or pitch would never have worked because it's not a high concept sell. No one's fighting zombies or living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland here. No one's saving the world or solving crimes. It's a character-driven story and what draws people in is the way it's told.

How did you come up with such interesting update videos for your Kickstarter?

KARL: We really just started doing those for us!

CHRIS: It's true, we've had a lot of fun with the updates! We throw out some ideas to each other on the phone, then go meet up and shoot it. Karl will write a brief outline -- talking points and a few of the jokes -- and then we just riff on that. We'll feed each other a lot.

KARL: Shooting it's a lot of fun but I think the real brilliance is in Chris' editing. That's where the funny comes from.

CHRIS: But that's already in the footage. Really, the update videos are pretty easy because we have a history. We've known each other since college. We used to make movies with one of those three-hundred pound VHS cameras. This is the same thing really, just with a purpose.

KARL: And the camera's lighter.

Please talk about the people involved with "Darwin".

CHRIS: We couldn't have done this without the help of so many people. Carrie Preston is so smart and creative. As an editor I've worked with a lot of directors that have far more opinions than they do ideas.  Although Carrie has plenty of strong opinions she has far more ideas. Good ideas. I really love how she's able to take the script and translate it into a visual language that matches the tone perfectly. She puts the viewer squarely into the world that Karl and Lynn have written.

KARL: That's right! And while we're mentioning her, the truth is, without Lynn Rosen we wouldn't have a Charlie. She's brought her sharp perspective to this project. There's a madness in her writing that is so funny and raw and real. It's indispensable.

CHRIS: Our production team is fantastic. Our amazing DP, Matt Bucy, and our hardworking and patient crew. Producers Greg Ivan Smith and Kate Fonville.

KARL: And our newest member of the family, producer Kim Sherrell. Kim actually came on board after discovering "Darwin" through our Kickstarter campaign! She's been incredibly helpful in getting the word out!

CHRIS: We're also very lucky to have such a talented cast. And they all have such great "day jobs"! Celia Keenan-Bolger (Charlie) is appearing right now in Broadway's "Glass Menagerie". Joel de la Fuente (Qui-Na) is back as the "Hemlock Grove" resident mad scientist. Bill Heck (Jansen) is known to indie audiences from his movies "Pit Stop", "Nonames" and the upcoming "Happy Baby".

KARL: I have to say, our real find is Tarah Flanagan as Gaye. Tarah did us a favor and came in for a casual writers' read-through and she just crushed it. We left the room and everyone immediately said "She's perfect for this!" It was like we were writing for her before we even knew it.

Is there anything you'd like to add?

CHRIS: Yeah, we're just a few days away from finishing our Kickstarter campaign. So please check out our page and watch the first two episodes!

KARL: And if you like it, join us. Come help us finish the story of "Darwin"!

CHRIS: Thanks!