Acting

The Rough & The Precious

Project Role: Writer / Actor
Location: Chicago

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We wrapped our sketch show The Rough & The Precious on Friday, October 13th. The show had a limited run of four performances and was independently produced for the Blackout Cabaret stage at The Second City.

The Rough & The Precious (so named for reasons I now can't fully remember) was written and performed by Michelle Leatherby, Molly Kessler, Brian Huther, and myself, and directed by the wonderful Heather Bodie. It was my first live sketch endeavor in Chicago, and I couldn't have asked for a much better experience. Receptive but small turnout for the first two performance gave way to full houses for the last two as word began to spread, and I'm very proud of what we put together. My sincere thanks to everybody who made it out.

 Performance of "When God Made the Universe"

Performance of "When God Made the Universe"

This particular foursome had never worked together, but it wasn't long before the show found a voice. That voice, while definitely eclectic, was mostly very silly and endearing. Even its biting moments were embedded in broad smiles and bouncy melodies. It was a sincere joy to perform. We'll be on the lookout for another chance to put it up when schedules allow!

ScienceLite!

Project Roles: Co-writer, Actor, Editor
Location: Chicago

Friend Dog Studios had its second release in a week with ScienceLite!, an absurdist, satirical sketch on pseudo-science, junk science, and the easy proliferation of bad information on the internet.

In other words, it's a video about sharing made up crap.

I hesitate to list myself as co-writer for this one because it was mostly Brian's work, but I contributed a line and edit here and there as well. The sketch was written for our live show The Rough and the Precious - currently playing at The Blackout Cabaret at the Second City Chicago, Fridays through October 13th.

We decided to adapt it to video for a couple of reasons. First, we liked it and thought it translated well to a social media format (since that's what it's about), and second, we thought it might make good cross-promotion for the stage show. Telling people in Chicago you have a sketch revue is like telling them you have a collection of oxygen; you need something more to catch their attention.

This was one of the easiest shoots we've ever managed; just a few shots on green screen in our apartment's dedicated office space. With some assistance from Michelle Leatherby (another collaborator on the live show), we managed to finish up in about 3 hours from set up to tear down. The post-production process was considerably longer for reasons that will be obvious from watching the video - along with the usual steps of timeline building, color-correcting, and audio-tweaking, every second of every shot was passed through After Effects CC for some fun, albeit kinda cheesy extra visuals. Lucky for me, I've had similar experiences editing various projects such as our Jones-Forrester installments ("Taxes" and "Payday Loans"), so I've picked up a technique or two that help with my efficiency. The result was about 13 hours of staring at my PC to get the final product below:

The Onion: Steve Jobs Cosplay

Project role: Actor
Location: Chicago

Had a lot of fun on my first ever shoot with The Onion here in Chicago!

I've been a fan of The Onion and Clickhole for a long time, so getting the chance to visit the offices and get in on the action a little was a real treat. Hope there's more to come!

The video was posted to their facebook and twitter accounts on 9/22/17.

I Joined the Cast of Dinner Detective Chicago!

Project role: Actor/Comedian
Location: Chicago & Schaumburg

"It's a thrill!" - TimeOut

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After a few years of semi-regular performances with The Dinner Detective Kansas City, I've joined the Chicago/Schaumburg branch where it all started!

Dinner Detective is an interactive murder mystery dinner theatre show, full of surprise suspects, plot twists, and mostly lots of laughs.

Depending on the night, I may be blending into the unsuspecting crowd, waiting to play my part in the story, or acting as Detective, which is the role I usually played in KC. The Detective role is a real blast for me - combing lose script narrative performance with improvisation and stand-up style crowd work. It keeps me on my toes even when I've done a particular show dozens of times; it'll never be the same twice.

The company currently performs public shows in both downtown Chicago (Hilton Garden Inn) and Schaumburg (Chicago Marriott Schaumburg) most Saturday evenings, and is available for private bookings as well. Visit thedinnerdetective.com for tickets and more information.

Hamlet: From the Page to the Stage

Project role: Actor
Location: Kansas City, MO

I was honored to take part in Hamlet: From the Page to the Stage, a presentation that was part of The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival's 25th Anniversary celebration in Kansas City.

Veteran British director and master acting teacher Ian Wooldridge waxed artistic on the soliloquies of Hamlet, intermingled with performances of said soliloquies from local talent Nicole Marie Green and myself. I'd like to thank Mr. Wooldrige and the festival for inviting me to be a part of it! 

Below is audio of the entire event, courtesy of the KC Library.

 Nicole Green, Ian Wooldridge, and myself. All photos in this post courtesy of Dean Davison. See the full  gallery here.

Nicole Green, Ian Wooldridge, and myself. All photos in this post courtesy of Dean Davison. See the full gallery here.

Phillips 66 In-House Spot

Project role: Actor
Location: Kansas City, MO

Had the pleasure of visiting Barkley for some quick work as part of a project for client Phillips 66. I don't believe the spot is being shared or broadcast outside of the company, so there's no video to show, but this was a quick, fun shoot with a wonderful, creative KC group.

I've also been very busy lately working as a writer/music supervisor on our musical The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe, which is currently in rehearsals. Check back for more info on that soon!

"Mazuma Mike" 2017 Campaign Launch

Project role: Actor / Model
Location: Kansas City, MO

My role as Mazuma Mike - spokesman for Mazuma Credit Union - is now in its third year! This time around Mike is getting a makeover; lookin' a good deal sharper and ready to take on the world.

The campaign is one that I've acted and written for over the past few years and I feel so incredibly fortunate to have had this opportunity with such a truly cool and creative company of people. You can check out some of our past work with Mike via Mazuma's youtube page or Mike's facebook page. Here's to another year!

Catego TV Ad

Project Role: Actor
Location: Chicago


"I am fast like-a the lightning, pow-pow!"

I don't think I've ever had this much fun working on just one line of dialogue.

I provided the voice of "Lightning Cat," one of three different feline characters featured in a new ad for Catego. The job was booked through my Kansas City agency Exposure for  Evolution Audio, who kindly agreed to patch me in from ARU Studio in Chicago for the recording session. The ads are being used online as well as TV in certain regions of the country.

 Audio Recording Unlimited - 625 North Michigan Ave, Chicago

Audio Recording Unlimited - 625 North Michigan Ave, Chicago

The Sexy Accident - I'm Going to Love Your New Boyfriend (Music Video)

Project Roles: Actor / Co-Writer
Location: Kansas City, MO

"At your dinner party
Our eyes locking as he
Says he doesn't like Scrabble..."

Today was the public release of the music video I'm Going to Love Your New Boyfriend by The Sexy Accident, produced in conjunction with Friend Dog Studios and Cooper Films.

After being approached by bandleader Jesse Kates, Brian Huther and I had a great time developing the concept and story of the video, which was beautifully shot by Morgan Cooper and his team. I like to think of it as a bittersweet, tongue-in-cheek expression of what it's like coming to terms with the fact that your chapter in someone's life has come to an end. This was my first collaboration on a music video in any professional capacity; a wonderful learning experience resulting in an end product I'm quite fond of. Huge thanks to Jesse for the opportunity!

We decided that Brian would take the reigns as director and that I'd play the lead in the video opposite the fantastic Nicole Green. Seth Macchi plays the mysterious "boyfriend" in some of the greatest bacting* ever seen on screen.

*acting with one's back

Huge thanks to all the wonderful cast and crew! Full credits listed in the youtube description.

Check out this behind the scenes feature from director of photography Morgan Cooper!

Fake News Now

Project Roles: Co-Writer / Actor / Co-Director / Co-Video Editor
Location: Chicago, additional footage shot in Kansas City

"How do you spot fake news?
By watching this. This is literally Fake News."

Friend Dog Studios embarked on a new project with the release of Fake News Now; a parody news and variety show released March 1st, 2017 on their youtube and facebook pages.

As with many Friend Dog Studios productions, I wore a lot of hats on this one; actor, co-writer, co-director, and co-editor. The hope is that more installments of the show might be created in partnership with an interested producer.

The video was shot entirely on green screen in two different cities; Sam Ott of Peace Frame Productions was director of photography in Chicago, and Brandon Durkes of Rellitray Studios DP'd in Kansas City. Special thanks to voice over artist Sam Williamson, and to Ashley Osborn, Bobby Miller Jr, Brandon Durkes, Coleman Crenshaw, Jenny Holden, Michelle Leatherby, and Tosin Morohunfola for their cameo appearances!
 

Couples Charades

Project Roles: Director / Actor / Video Editor
Location: Kansas City, MO

"At some point in your life you've probably been the third wheel, so we can all relate to this video to some degree. Friend Dog Studios displays this awkward feeling in a more than true way..." - Right This Minute

The 2017 Valentine's release from Friend Dog Studios is all about what it's like to be surrounded by all these damn couples.

I directed, edited, and co-stars in this sketch which was penned by our brilliant guest writer Jonathon Chase. Seth Macchi takes the featured role alongside guest stars Ellen Kirk, Brianna Woods, and Donovan Woods.

The video, posted on February 11th 2017, was shot by Vetter Brothers Filmworks with audio engineering by Adam Doria. Hair & makeup by Heidi Bowles, assistant director Sam Findlay.

TV program Right This Minute did a feature on the sketch which you can see here!

Shearwater

Project Role: Actor
Location: Kansas City, MO

"Auxier, a comic writer and actor, is a pleasure to watch, his nuanced performance infused with humor, sheepishness and sensitivity." - The Pitch

"Auxier and Kirk have great chemistry and the scenes in their apartment were relatable and natural. Auxier brings real weight and compassion to his scenes with Esther..." - PerformInk

 


I had the absolute pleasure of co-starring in the new play Shearwater at The Living Room Theatre in Kansas City. This world premiere workshop production ran between January 18th and February 2nd of 2017 and was warmly received by audiences for its charm, wit, and heart, carefully woven by KC playwright Victor Wishna.

"Ben, a struggling novelist, has lucked into the gig of a lifetime: ghostwriting a memoir for Esther Lindman, the colorful and infamously outspoken widow of one of the 20th century’s greatest American artists. But when the stories don’t add up, and new pressures mount at home, Ben just digs deeper, soon discovering that truth—like art—is in the eye of the beholder."

I played the role of...Ben, and was thrilled to get an opportunity to costar with celebrated veteran of the KC stage and beyond, Peggy Freisen, as well as my frequent collaborator and good friend Ellen Kirk in this brand new piece directed by Living Room managing director Shawnna Journagan.

2016: The Movie (Trailer)

Project Roles: Co-Writer / Actor / Director
Location: Written in Chicago, shot in Kansas City

"It’s a been an exceptionally bleak year. So dark, at times, that many have wondered whether we were all living in a real-life horror movie. But now the idea has been taken to the next level by the amazing creatives at Friend Dog Studios who have imagined the trailer for the movie of 2016. And it’s almost pant-wettingly scary." - The Huffington Post

Our comedy channel Friend Dog Studios had our biggest viral hit to date with 2016: The Movie (Trailer). As of this update on February 22nd both the youtube and facebook uploads have surpassed three and half million views, with shared copies by UniLAD and LADBible reaching tens of millions more.

I got to direct this one (with a good amount of help from Brian), as well as co-write and co-star in the trailer parody which playfully sends up the running joke that 2016 itself was out to get us. The video was uploaded December 28th, 2016 and received a flurry of media attention in the days following; getting featured by Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Us Magazine, AV Club, Huffington Post, The Independent, NY Daily News, and many more.

It was shot and colored by the generous geniuses at Vetter Brothers Filmworks with invaluable audio engineering by Adam Doria. Along with Friend Dog Studios co-owners Brian Huther and Seth Macchi, the video features the talents of LA actress Anna Gilchrist, KC actor and improvisor David Martin (as 2016) and the voice talents of Salem Deel as the obligatory creepy-singing-trailer-kid.

To contact Friend Dog Studios please email dogandfrienddog@gmail.com
For any inquiries on using this video, please contact licensing@storyful.com

 "Guys...they shot a gorilla."

"Guys...they shot a gorilla."

Did You Know?

Project Roles: Co-Writer / Actor / Video Editor
Location: Kansas City & Chicago

"What 'right thing' will you do today?" - George Takei on facebook

My writing partner Brian Huther and I have been writing and starring in a series of fun fact videos for online informational channel Did You Know.

Did You Know, the content company behind these ultra-shareable little tidbits, has contracted us to produce comedic video renditions of some of their most popular fact sets. Actress and frequent collaborator Ellen Kirk also stars in several installments. As of the writing of this update (2/22/17), over twenty of these videos have been posted, with topics ranging from money to Star Wars to orgasms.

The videos are featured on the Did You Know and Did You Know - Video facebook pages, which have a combined reach of 5.8 million followers and growing. You can also check out all the videos in playlist form via their youtube channel.