The NoHo Arts District dot Com team’s motto is “NoHo is only as great as its people.” We give snaps to people who work hard, produce great works and are rewarded for their dedication to their craft. We’re lucky that our neighborhood is home to creative minds doing some unique work. Meet Brian Beacock. He and his fabulous team created a web comedy series, “Acting Dead,” and it won an Emmy.
What is Acting Dead?
Brian - "Acting Dead" is a zombie comedy TV series about an out of work actor, who decides that the only way to get a job in LA, where zombie movies and TV shows have taken over, is to actually BECOME one. It's an 8 episode series that I would call a cross between Shaun of the Dead and Arrested Development.
Acting Dead stars Brian Beacock, Jillian Clare, Chris Galya, Paul Nygro, Patrika Darbo, John Yelvington, Carolyn Hennesy, John J York, Sean Kanan, Sheila Sheila, Cocoa Brown, Debbie Gibson, Erik Martsolf, Gary and Larry Lane, Peter Vogt, Christine Lakin, Erin Matthews. Written by Brian Beacock and directed by Allen David Morgan.
How did you come up with the idea for Acting Dead?
Brian - I was literally stuck in traffic on the 405 freeway, looking at the people just staring straight ahead of me and I thought, "they're zombies, we're all zombies." You know, living here in LA, most of us in this crazy business but even those who aren't, we're still living in this kind of heightened, ridiculous world that is Los Angeles. And then I thought, "Well, what if they really WERE zombies? But still going about their days normally, you know, going to work, the gym, auditions, on dates, etc." And then I thought, well what it some of those "zombies" were also actors? Trying to get jobs "playing" zombies? Haha, so it obviously was a very crazy, productive couple of hours (while going only about 5 miles FYI) and that it how "Acting Dead" was born.
What is your background?
I started out playing piano and drum, a musician as a kid. Community theatre for my whole life. Very artistic family, my dad was a trumpet player, my mom a doll maker. I got cast in the second National Tour of Les Miserables in San Francisco (I'm from the Bay Area) and when the show closed I moved to Los Angeles. I worked at Universal Studios for 15 years in the Beetlejuice's Rockin' Graveyard Revue and Spiderman Rocks shows, while I continued to do some amazing 99-Seat Theater, including the Original Cast of "Naked Boys Singing," the West Coast Premiere of "When Pigs Fly," and the LA Premiere of "Fully Committed" which because of its 30 character one man show concept, led to my voice over audition for a cool new show, "Digimon." I booked that and that show has led to just about every other voice over job and contact I've had the past 18 years in Los Angeles. I starred in the NBC sitcom "The Rerun Show," I've been the featured singer on The Conan O'Brien Show in New York and sang for Betty White's birthday on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (amazing!). I continue to do lots of anime series, movies and TV and I've been lucky enough to tour around being a guest at anime conventions. They're great and it's amazing to meet the people and fans that keep VO guys like me employed.
You have some big news, and a huge win for Acting Dead, an Emmy!
Brian - YES! Patrika Darbo, who plays Margo Mullen in "Acting Dead," won a Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Short Form Series! Just incredible!!!! I am still kind of in shock and numb from the whole experience. I took my mom to the awards this past Sunday which was a big "bucket list" thing for me of course. Haha. Taking your mom to the Emmys, and then winning?!! Crazy. This is really an amazing time for indie series and The Television Academy. It's the first year they've had this category in Primetime Emmy eligibility. We had some TOUGH competition. And actually most of the comSo petition were from shows that were supported or financed by major studios, (AMC, Lifetime, Comedy Central), not the self-funded, non-studio show that we are. So that's an added surprise and honor.
I know Patrika has lots going on right now, doing lots of projects coming up. I always check IMDB to see what people have "in production" to see what they're doing. She's amazing though, she's a "worker," you know? She loves to work. Whatever it is. She says yes. She's "on board." It's a great trait, because you just never know what a project, a person, a situation, can lead to. Take for example, doing a zombie comedy series with deferred pay? Could lead to a Primetime Emmy Award. :)
Where do you see web series going now that they are a category for the Emmy’s?
Brian - Well as I said, most of the nominations were from the traditional television networks and higher profile digital platforms (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Crackle) so maybe they'll add some kind or parameter's for what is considered "indie," giving the up and comers the opportunity and recognition they deserve and are struggling for. But it could be that this was the first, and last possible year to get in and get noticed. If that's the case, I'm even more elated, relieved and proud.
What’s up next for you? More Acting Dead episodes?
Brian - Well we've been working to get into "industry rooms" to get the darn thing sold, noticed, whatever! Haha. So hopefully a Primetime Emmy win will help that along.....??? We've love to continue with the show but most of our 401ks have been dissolved. Haha. I'm laughing because we're actors. We don't have 401K's. :)
I have a really cool short that's bouncing around the festival circuit now called "Advent." Produced by Jillian Clare and starring Brett Delby. It's weird and dark and cool. You can find info for that on Facebook I believe. I'm also in a feature film called "Racing Colt" which comes out this year I believe and a horror feature called "Hollow Scream" which is coming out in 2017 I believe. I continue to do VO for anime series, you can see some stuff on Netflix now, Durarara, Bleach, Violetta, Digimon, Naruto.
What was it like working with the cast and crew of Acting Dead?
Brian - The crew and cast were amazing. Susan Bernhardt (Producer) and Paul Nygro (Co-Exec Producer) were unbelievable. Creative glue holding the show together while I had to take off my creator/writer/producer hat and go act for the day. Could not have done it without them, nor would I have wanted to. We're a good team and we put together a great project. The crew rocked. They worked HARD. I write crazy stuff, lots of flashbacks, flash forwards, makeup changes, costume changes, etc. It could make your eyes spin if you didn't have your act together, which they all did. Our Director David Morgan rocked, he was just awesome and he killed it. Our guest stars (if you haven't seen) were insane! I joke that I was the only person in the cast I didn't recognize, haha! I was just so thrilled and honored to get that caliber of people in the show.
Thoughts/Insights/Amazements on your win?
Brian - Wow. Well, it's humbling. I guess that's the best way to put it. It's amazing to be there walking The Red Carpet and feeling like you "belong." And it's not just belonging because of "Acting Dead," or this or that, it's a feeling that everything you've dreamed of and worked for your entire life, is headed in the right direction. Add to that being with my Mom at The Emmy Awards, really being proud of Patrika, being proud of the show, and seeing exciting things in the future because of it. It's pretty great.
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