BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A LOS Angeles based Donegal actor has turned his talents to directing as he assists an Irish American film-maker in his new web comedy series.
Gaoth Dobhair man Gavin Ó Fearraigh has been working as an assistant director with Chris Wax, a young New York film-maker who is causing a stir and making a name for himself in Tinseltown with his short films and his new series Black Box.
A scripted weekly web comedy series showing on BlipTV, Black Box features an array of star talent including Guy Branum (Chelsea Lately), Christopher Meehan, (Last Comic Standing) and Pete Rockwell (Changeling), father of famous actor Sam Rockwell.
Gavin said he has really enjoyed the experience of assisting Chris in his new internet web series, a genre which is really becoming a global phenomenon.
The Gaoth Dobhair man said: “Working on Black Box was fantastic. Living in LA you grasp every opportunity you can get in your field of work.
“I had the privilege to work with an amazing cast and crew. It’s very important to build a good foundation with up-and-coming writers and directors such as Chris Wax and I was fortunate enough to work with an outstanding team of people.
“Working behind the camera was something very new to me and as an assistant to the director you’re not just learning the ropes but you are progressing your craft in becoming a better actor.
“I am very thankful for the knowledge, passion and love of film-making that Chris brought during our time on the series.”
Gavin, who has just completed shoots for upcoming ads for Coors Light and the MTV Logo Awards, revealed he will be continuing to work with Chris on a new project in the coming months as he has just been cast in the role of a a young Irish priest in a horror short film.
Chris said Gavin was major asset to the production. “Having so many years experience on set in Ireland, he was able to lend a hand just about anywhere and everywhere.
“Independent film-making, which is now opening up to this new genre of independent TV programme-making, is about ones passion and love for the art, subject and medium.
“Not for the glory or the paycheque, because those don’t usually come along with independent work. So like Gavin, we all had to pitch in where needed on a set.
“An actor may have carried a sandbag, a director may hoisted some lights, a makeup artist may have helped set up craft services for lunch. Independent production is a huge team effort and having an experienced professional like Gavin on set is huge.
“Especially because of his willingness to help out anywhere, his complete lack of ego and his clear passion for the art itself.
“I think it may have helped Gavin that our cast was wildly Irish American,” he laughed.
In the first week of its release Black Box had already reached thousands of viewers and over 20 different countries and continues to be viewed world-wide.
A totally self produced project, Black Box jumps into the very new business model for independent film-makers transforming into independent ‘television’ makers.
A genre so new, that studios and major productions companies themselves are still spinning their wheels to grasp the potential of the new business model.
Chris said: “The idea of “Black Box” as a series came from co-writer and creator Tommy Culhane and his vast experience as a student of acting and from co-writer and creator Jeff Meurer and his actual experience of having written a real Black Box performance in Chicago.”
Black Box Theatre itself usually consists of a simple, unadorned performance space, normally using a square room with black walls and a flat floor.
Actors will bring items into the ‘Black Box’ to convey the story and create the scene, Chris said. “For example, two chairs with people seated in them and facing the audience can be two people driving in a car and having a discussion.
“It was this real life theatre show, the acting classes that came before and the drama and ridiculousness that ensued during this time that inspired the writers to create the series. I’m guessing like most comedy, the original idea came from real experiences which was then was dramatised and exaggerated into a very funny script.”
“We have currently shot seven episodes of the comedy web series, but of course hope to raise the funding to get back to the rest. We are calling the current seven our first season, but there is so much more to come in the story of these great characters,” Chis added.
You can watch the internet web comedy series Black Box, directed by Chris Wax, by logging onto the website http://blip.tv/blackboxcomedy
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