You’re the nebbishy, bumbling IT guy. She’s the hottest girl in the office, maybe the planet. Under no circumstances is she ever going to have a candlelit romantic dinner with you. OK, maybe one circumstance: You both survive the Zombocalypse.
Check out Steph’s full review of Andy Goldenberg’s refreshingly blood-soaked take on the “odd couple on an island” web series in her LA Weekly column HERE. And continue reading below for her full interview with Goldenberg about making the show.
You’ve already had a lot of youtube success with your movie theme song and parody sketches. What inspired you to create a web series?
I wanted something meatier than many of the tv and film roles I’ve booked. A few years ago, I was editing my demo reel, frustrated that my YouTube content displayed my comedy skills better than my “professional” network footage. I had looked into various companies that are hired to write and produce short scenes for your reel that are tailored to your “type”, but decided to write my own instead. The first episode of BAD TIMING was essentially just a short, quick scene that I could film to showcase my style of comedy. Then, web shows started being treated like network shows and I kept coming back to the idea of fleshing out that one episode into a complete series.
Where did the idea for this specific series come from?
If you were stuck on a deserted island, who would you want to spend the rest of your life with? It’s a popular question among middle schoolers, and as kids, we always chose the hottest supermodel. Well, guess what? The supermodel doesn’t want to be there with US. It’s going to take her a long, long time to be okay with the idea.
What did you learn from creating viral videos on YouTube that you applied to creating a web series?
Do what YOU think is funny, because the moment you’re trying to give the internet what you think they want, they might have already moved on to the next meme, and you burn out exceedingly fast.
How did you find those two ridonculously hot actors?
<I’m blushing, thank you> I’ve known myself my whole life, or at least since seventh grade. I worked with Aqueela Zoll on a crazy improvised 3D movie called FRIED. She was my first choice for the role as soon as I met her; she is amazingly down-to-earth for how ridonculously hot she is. We held auditions for Kevin’s character because we were looking for a Ryan Gosling-90’s Bruce Willis hot action hero. Michael Foster, also ridonculously hot, walked into the room and I literally fell in man-love. My girlfriend would make fun of me during production because I couldn’t stop gushing over how much I love that guy.
What was the writing process like? did you write the entire series out first? Did you format it like a screenplay at all? A TV show?
I’m very lucky that my sister, Lauren Goldenberg, is a fantastic writer. She worked on CHUCK, which was exactly the same sort of style I wanted for my character. I wrote out a rough draft of all of the episodes in Season 1, but they were essentially just monologues. They began as miniature stand up routines about life, love, and the sheer terror at dying alone at the end of the world. My sister took those speeches and formed them into dialogue. I remember several times getting a finished scene from her, shouting, “It’s like a real show!”
Did you ever consider keeping the series the two actors the entire time and not introducing Kevin?
Kevin was always in the picture. I have been the third wheel many times in my life, and if there’s anything more awkward than trying to make the girl of your dreams fall in love with you, it’s attempting to do it in front of her gorgeous, perfect boyfriend.
Can you tell me a little about how the creative team came together and how you funded the series? If you can give me a tiny hint at the range of your budget, that would be cool.
For a very long time, I did everything on my YouTube Channel by myself. I was a one-man production team, literally to the point of pressing record on the camera and jumping in front of the lens, not knowing if I was in focus or not. I wanted this series to be taken seriously, though. As it was originally intended for my demo reel, I wanted footage that was going to look good next to my network tv gigs. My friend Brandon Ravet really championed the series and wanted to direct and I went to my buddy Cameron Fife and discussed all matters of pre-production. What was initially something I saw as very cheap, two people having conversations in one location, became something much more involved. We ran a successful crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo and raised $5400 for the first season. In the meantime, my pal Ricardo Herrera cast me as a lead in his feature-length comedy, PROJECT BIGFOOT. The cast and crew lived together in a house in Big Bear for a week and a half, and it was so much fun that we used essentially the exact crew when we shot my series. Jonathan Bartz, our amazing composer, was the last person to come onboard and we found him through Tyler Gunderson, our post production Supervisor at YouTube Space LA, who had known him growing up. Production ended up around $9,000, but that includes Brandon and I editing everything and many, many favors.
Where was the location you shot & how did you find it?
I knew I wanted the expansive, open desert to be a fourth character in this series. If nothing else, it would be easier to picture an apocalypse without a sprawling and still-standing Los Angeles in the background. After an exhaustive search, we wound up shooting in Twenty-nine palms, CA at a house that Laura Sibley rents out as a vacation property. My producer Michael J. Wickham and Brandon and I drove out to location scout and met her at the bar her family owns. Sitting on the piano was a CD from The Sibleys (her band with her brother) with a track called “Waiting at the End of the World.” As soon as I listened to it, I couldn’t stop singing the chorus and knew it was the perfect theme song for the series.
Do you watch web series? If so, which ones do you like & what do’s and don’ts did you learn from watching them?
I honestly believe that Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is the greatest series I have seen and nothing has hooked me as quickly. I try and watch the content that my friends post and catch up slightly on popular shows to know what’s going on, but I’d rather use that time creating my own stuff.
A lot of zombi films/comics reflect on society today — either by how the zombi disease is spread or how the survivors deal with the situation. What would you say is the statement about the world or ‘larger theme’ that your zompocalypse story attempts to tell?
For the most part, setting this at the end of the world was a way to force these characters to interact. They depend on each other and have to get to know each other, simply because there is nobody else. I have always been a fan of lampooning horror tropes and zombies are ripe for the picking. If anything, this is one of those rare times when someone is happy that zombies ended the world; Andy got the chance to finally talk to his dream girl. My ‘larger theme’ is summed up in the first episode when Andy says, “If there’s one thing to take away from all of this, it’s that you can’t wait to tell someone how you feel about them, because you never know when it’s all going to…[makes explosion sound].”
Anything else super interesting I missed? Funniest moment on set?
Two moments stick out in my head from filming this series that make me smile. Michael Foster arrived halfway through the production shoot and confided that he HATED scorpions. He was fine with shooting in the desert, but had wanted to know if there were any scorpions around. Thankfully, we hadn’t seen any, putting his fears at ease. However, that night, as Foster slept, most of the crew witnessed an adult scorpion the size of my hand hanging out on the front screen door. People were screaming and shushing each other, simultaneously. We ended up seeing six scorpions throughout the rest of the shoot, but only AFTER Foster had brought them up. Also, in Episode 5, Andy prepares a romantic dinner for Eve. We accidentally used real wine and I got super drunk from doing several takes, continuously giggling. In the end, though, it allows Andy and Eve to laugh together, finally connecting. We kept most of that “Outtake” giggling in there because it read as a loss of inhibition. To shoot something you created, though, with a crew of people who are already friends…come on, that’s what we all dream of.