This week features the diverse Hollywood actor Rick Scarry, and popular online video analyst Daisy Whitney. Rick reflects on his appearances on shows such as Desperate Housewives, Weeds, Mad Men, and The Office, and shares information on his new movie which debuts next month. Daisy discusses the impact that collaboration is having within online video, and how she watches shows without a traditional cable TV service.
Topics covered in this episode:
- What it’s like to be a character actor in Hollywood.
- The movie “Flower Girl” debuts on November 14th.
- Breaking into the video production industry.
- How acting opportunities have increased over the years, but the new challenges that youth actors face.
- How Spidvid benefits individuals in today’s show business.
- Be part of quality projects that involve quality people.
- How new media has evolved from a techie space to a more mainstream industry.
- Studios are directly focused on their business models right now, but long-term are keeping their eyes on collaborative media models.
- How online video show producers are leveraging simple forms collaboration.
- How a 16 year old YouTube sensation is attracting massive viewer attention.
- Where long-form video production may be headed.
- Cord cutting your cable TV service to watch shows and videos exclusively online.
Full Text Transcript
Show Introduction: Hi, I’m Michael London and welcome to Spidcast the future of collaborative video production brought to you by Spidvid.com. On this episode, we’re visiting with Rick Scarry. You may not know the name, but you’ve seen the face hundreds of times. Rick is an actor, who’s appeared on Desperate Housewives, Weeds, That 70s Show and so many others. We’ll get his perspective from the actor’s point of view on the value of Spidvid.
And speaking of television, our second guest today hasn’t had cable or satellite for quite awhile now, but she is a fan of TV via the Internet. Daisy Whitney, the host of New Media Minute and This Week in Media, will share with her thoughts on the changing landscape of media production and delivery.
So let’s jump right in to this week’s Spidcast.
Michael: First up is character actor extraordinaire, Rick Scarry. Rick, it’s so good to talk with you and welcome to Spidcast.
Rick: Well, thank you, Michael. It’s good to be on here with you. I haven’t talked to you in a long time. We’ve actually known each other for far too long and I’m not going to say how long because people will think we’re ready for the retirement home.
Michael: You were right there and although we haven’t talked for a while, I have seen you plenty. In fact, a lot of our listeners have seen you not knowing that it’s you.
Rick: I think that’s actually the case is that people see me all the time. They don’t know me. I actually work a lot. I’m a character actor. It’s funny because when you’re that kind of actor, you’re always referred to as “that guy”, “oh, that guy” and people will run into you in a bank or in a supermarket or in an airport and they’ll look at you and kind of point and they usually say, “Did we go to high school together?” Because they don’t know why they know you.
Michael: And they do know because you’ve been in their living rooms in glorious HD. A time to brag a little bit, Rick, share with us some of your credits, if you will please.
Rick: Well, I’ve been very fortunate the last few years. I’ve worked all the top television shows in the last couple of years alone. Desperate Housewives, The Closer, Mad Men, which is a big hit right now, The Office, and a recurring role with Weeds for a whole season, Heroes, Bones, I could go on and on and on, but I’m not going to.
Michael: My goodness. It’s like reading a top ten list of television.
Rick: It’s been going very, very well. I will give a plug. I do have a Hallmark TV movie coming up in November. One of those tear-jerking love story Hallmark movies on the Hallmark Channel called Flower Girl. The title is not one of my favorites, but when you see it, it’s very understandable of what it’s about. It’s a terrific movie and it’s a kind of thing that I do a lot of. Hopefully, it will be successful.
Michael: Flower Girl, very cool. Now, so folks can put a name to the face, who do you play?
Rick: I play the small town pastor at the local church, who gets involved in – all those Hallmark movies always take place in some fictional town with a name like Willow Grove or something out there in Midwest Land. I’m the town pastor who gets involved in people’s lives.
Michael: As in real life, right? So of all these parts that you played, do you have a favorite show you played on? Or a favorite cast that you’ve worked with?
Rick: Well some are quite enjoyable. I started working a lot. You’ll hear the stories about how horrible people were and so and so had a big ego. Actually, it’s only three or four times in my entire career where I ever run into actors who were incredibly unpleasant. Most parts, they’re wonderful.
The most recent show I was on, Bones – couldn’t ask for a nicer bunch of people in the world. Every single one of them was just absolutely terrific. That’s the case with everybody actually. I’ve loved Kyra Sedgwick, working the scene with her on The Closer. She was just one of the nicest people I’ve ever been around. The Office was just great fun. We laughed until I thought I was going to cry some days.
For the most part, I have a very easy and wonderful job and actually get paid for it. So it’s pretty cool.
Michael: Well, that’s good to hear. Now, Rick, you’ve taken a pretty traditional route to your career – acting classes, getting an agent and the like, right?
Rick: I started taking acting classes, boy, when I was practically a child in the ‘60s. I was very fortunate to study with some of the legendary ones including the legendary Stella Adler, who taught Marlon Brando and people like that and still take acting workshops to this day because it’s a craft. Like anything, you have to practice. Musicians have to practice. Actors have to practice. I did and it was very difficult. In those days, all you have were agents and casting directors in getting yourself known and getting yourself out there.
There was no way to expose your talent other than hopefully get into a play and maybe a casting director would come to see you and then you’d get a job. It worked and it evolved over a course of years. I’m old enough to where I had to go through that process. Now, I’m very fortunate. These days, I don’t really have to audition much anymore. You just go what’s called direct offers where they call you up and say, “We’d like you to do this.” You get to say yes or no. I can’t believe how difficult it must be for people getting started today.
A young actor today has so many elements involved. We never had Internet. We never had the ability to show people our videos of our work. We never had any of those opportunities that exist today. I think that’s probably the most important differences today’s actor has a myriad of ways to put themselves out into the marketplace and try to figure out which of those is the best way to do it.
Michael: And so that naturally brings us to Spidvid. So tell us, Rick, from the actor’s point of view, what value there’ll be to an up and coming actor at Spidvid.com?
Rick: Well, the ability to be listed among other professionals to expose yourself to people – what I love about this is it’s not just people in Los Angeles where I live, you could be exposed to people anywhere in the world who’s looking for talent of any kind when it comes to production. I think that’s such a valuable thing today. There are lots of websites and lots of things to do this sort of thing. But I think if you can place yourself in a situation whether reputable, well thought type of website, the producers are going to realize that they might be dealing with somebody who really knows what they’re doing.
Michael: And all you had to present was a carefully retouched headshot, right?
Rick: That’s all I had to do, had all the wrinkles taken away. Today, you’ve got just so many elements involved. As one of my agents said to me, “Show business is 10% show, 90% business.” And that’s exactly what it is.
Michael: Show business, right. It’s used to be all about the show. Now, you mentioned that there are various places like Guru or Mandy or even Craigslist where an aspiring actor can seek out opportunities. Often the producers offering to pay little or no money or just offer you meals or a copy of the project or something like that. Talk to the young actor about working for free?
Rick: Well, it all depends on the project. It could be incredibly valuable or it could be an utter waste of time and an eventual embarrassment in many cases if it’s something horrible that will never go away. I worked for free a lot in my younger days because you wanted the experience of being out there to actually be on a set, to interact with other actors, to see what it’s actually like. Because at first, you’re not sure how all the elements come together because nobody ever teaches you that part of it. They teach you how to portray another person then they don’t teach you to stay on here, speak this and do that.
When you see a new actor on the set for the first time, they look like a deer in the headlights. They don’t know what the words mean. Something as simple as hitting your mark, you know, they go, “What does that mean?” Well, that’s where you’re supposed to stop when you’re walking. Those things I actually heard taught to people. It seems strange but they’re really not. And you have to kind of learn as you do it. There’s no better way to learn doing that stuff than a lot these incredibly low budget projects which may be no-pay or just a per diem with meals and stuff.
I think they can be valuable. I think you have to really look in the project and see if it’s something you want to be a part of. I don’t ever encourage anybody just to take anything. Always look at it and see what it is.
Michael: That’s great advice, Rick. And I’ll tell you something, whatever that magic is, whatever that combination is, you have found it because you are so much fun to watch.
Rick: Well, thank you.
Michael: Tell folks where they can learn more about you?
Michael: Very cool. And one more time, tell us about the Hallmark Channel movie coming up.
Rick: Well, I believe the new date is November 14th and of course, they run about a thousand times over there. It’s called Flower Girl. Stars actually, it was such a thrill for me, one of the great old characters from Happy Days, Marion Ross, who played Mrs. Cunningham. She’s this wonderful old lady in town who’s part of my congregation at the church. Also stars a wonderful young actress named Marla Sokoloff, who was on The Practice for many, many years. She’s just a delight. It was really a wonderful experience. I think it’s going to be a fun, enjoyable movie. It’s a love story kind of thing and I hope people like it.
Michael: We will look for you on that and hopefully many, many projects in the future.
Rick: I hope you see me so much that you can’t take it anymore. Let’s put it that way.
Michael: Rick Scarry, wonderful, wonderful actor, wonderful man.
Up next is Daisy Whitney with her thoughts on TV, film, Internet and stuff.
Intermission: You know how challenging it is to produce quality videos without the help from others who have the skills and talent you need. Well Spidvid let’s you find the individuals you need for your video production project so you can create the Internet’s next big viral hit. Visit Spidvid.com. Click the sign-up link and reserve your spot within our collaborative video community today.
Michael: Joining us now is the host of New Media Minute and This Week in Media, Daisy Whitney. Daisy, welcome to Spidcast and tell us how you become interested and involved in New Media?
Daisy: Well, in terms of covering New Media – I’ve been a reporter for about 12-15 years and around 2000 and 2001, I was covering technology for TelevisionWeek magazine back when it was very unglamorous and un-sexy and with racks of servers and transcoding machines and traffic systems and TV stations, but covering that actually put in a good position when Disney and I (considered a deal) back in 2005 to turn TV shows on iTunes for the very first time. Then that brought me sort of very deeply into covering New Media. That was really a track back to that point and I’ve been (conquering) the online media revolution since then.
Michael: As you say, the online media revolution is upon us. Tell us your thoughts about traditional video producers and/or studios, and how they view individuals connecting worldwide.
Daisy: I don’t actually think that videos have a lot of concern yet about collaboration and some of the different efforts that we’re seeing. I think that they are so focused right on what’s happening with their businesses, how many challenges they face in their own business models, but I think probably in time, as we see more examples like the example that we saw with the Facebook Mass Animation project and how that did. I think if we see more examples like that and of what it can bring to the table, that’s when studios will put up and take notice. They’re a little focused on other things right now.
Michael: Exactly. I can see how they’d be looking after their immediate concerns. Now, you cover and see lots of independent individuals producing web video shows, do you feel that they’re gradually learning more about how leveraging collaborative production can benefit their overall content quality, especially longer term?
Daisy: I really think that this trend towards collaboration is something that we’re really going to see across a lot of different creative fields and media fields. It definitely is something that independent producers are doing, but are also being – I’ve seen a lot of efforts from big advertising agencies. In that case, it’s a little bit wild on the technology side. I mean, you think things like (wire drive) or different Adobe Connect tools so that they can share files.
Sometimes it’s even simple things like Google Docs. But I just think that generally, we’re seeing this triangle within the media business to be able to share information and parts of projects more freely. Even just on a very small basis, I write New Media Minute and I write the script for it in Google Docs with my husband because he’s my videographer. Yes, that’s very low tech, I know, but I just think those are the sort of examples where as you scale up an organization as you have a studio or an advertising agency or what have you, would I have much more elaborate files and content to share. They’re looking for these types of solutions. I think that the benefit is a better product.
The (Parkinson folks) at the History Channel, they’ve built some of their own internal productivity tools so that they can share files and promos that they’re building within the network much more easily. It actually allowed them to produce more promos for shows. The benefit is they can tailor their promos in to the actual time that it run so that they can have an edgier while running late in the evening. Maybe it’d be appropriate for family hour earlier in the day. That’s because of technology that enables all the different people who are in that department to work together and share what they’re working on.
Michael: Well, technology certainly has opened the door for many talents and individuals that we might not have seen prior to this. Talk to us a bit about Fred.
Daisy: Well, I think that Fred is definitely teaching a lot of people a lot of lessons because if you ask folks who are over 20 what they think about Fred, a lot of people scratch their heads. You really have to have young children to appreciate Fred. I have young kids and they just think he is fantastic. I think that traditional studios and network really need to pay attention to why he is popular, who he is speaking to and what it is that the YouTube generation actually wants. I think that we may see some efforts when we try to ape or imitate their programming. I just don’t know that something like that is going to translate back to TV. I don’t think we’re going to see real change and a real carry over for probably a few more years. The real key is to see that the generation, the younger folks are really enjoying this type of content on a regular basis where it becomes a norm for what they consume. We need to see them grow up a little bit more and then we’ll have stronger data and research to figure okay, is this a really a complete change over in the type or programming content that people want to see.
Michael: So Daisy, as the Fred kids become teens and young adults in the next five to ten years, do you believe that there’ll be long-form content like quality movies and shows produced by teams with members located all over the planet, thanks to the evolution of social platforms and collaboration tools?
Daisy: Well, I’m definitely fond of collaboration and these tools like Spidvid and things like that, but I still think that each project needs to be evaluated individually to see what is needed. Is this the type of project that will benefit from collaboration? Is this the type of thing that’s going to be better off led by an individual? I think for every creative endeavor, they all really need to be considered discreetly on their own to see what’s going to serve the end product.
I definitely think we’re going to see more experimentation. The challenges are just kind of keeping them a creative thread throughout making sure that a storyline make sense. I think you probably need one person at least that leads a project and I think in charge for that sort of collaboration to really work. It needs to be clear, I think back to the Facebook Mass Animation example and I think one of the reasons that that project is a short film, it’s going to be running before Planet51 in theatres, which I think it comes out in November. A terrific film.
One of the reasons it works is that the director behind it has such a strong creative vision of presence in general that he was able to just give guidelines and set the agenda. So I think that’s going to be a really good test about if you will for what we’ll start to see that’s successful. I think we’ll definitely see bigger projects that are produced on a collaborative basis.
Michael: Now speaking of that traditional delivery and consumption of media, you’ve been without a cable TV connection for a while now. Do you see more cord-cutting happening as more video shifts to the web and more viewers buy in to broadband TV?
Daisy: Well, I’d like to see more of it. I’d want people to join my cable-free army. I think there’s some conflicting evidence out there right now on terms of other people are shifting or cord-cutting. I think there are a lot of folks who are still really interested in trying Verizon Fios TV for instance. I don’t have that but I hear great things about it. It’s one of the services where I think a lot of people who have it don’t hate the cable company and they like a lot of the other benefits of it.
I think there’s still a lot of competition for multi-channel video operators, cable providers who are eager to do the fighting as hard as they can to keep customers and to win some of the newer customers. But I definitely think as online delivery becomes stronger as more things come online, I think that as there’s more evangelism, if you will, from people like me and other people about how you can live a completely cable-free lifestyle, you still get to see everything.
I think we’ll definitely see more of a shift. I’ve become a big fan of the Fox show Glee and it airs on television on Wednesday nights and I don’t have cable. I could get it over other broadcasts but I don’t want to watch the commercials. In my house, it feels like it’s on Thursday nights on Hulu. We just kind of have that in our minds and that’s when Glee is on, and I think once you start reeling it, it’s just a matter of kind of training yourself in those little things like you see the show maybe a day later than most other people do.
I still think from a mainstream standpoint, we’re definitely aways off. I’ll run into friends of mine at the grocery store and they’ll say things like “Oh, is that show on tonight? Well we better go watch it.” It’s foreign to me because the show is on when I want to watch it.
Michael: Yes, I agree on that. I want my media when I want it and where I want it. Now, speaking of where and when, Daisy, where can Spidcast listeners go to read, listen and watch what you are covering in online video?
Daisy: The best place to find me online is on my website, www.daisywhitney.com and my New Media Minute is carried there and there are also links out to the different content like This Week in Media. And I’m also keeping a largely regular blog. I blog about 2-3 days a week about the writing process and my paths to publication because my first novel which is for teenagers is coming out next fall from Little Browns and it’s called The Mockingbird. So I’ve been writing about that, you can find everything you need to know there.
Michael: Daisy, thank you so much for joining us today.
Daisy: Thank you, Michael.
Michael: My thanks to Daisy Whitney and Rick Scarry for joining us in this week’s Spidcast. Thank you for listening. You can join in on the conversation by visiting Spidcast.com. We welcome your thoughts, opinions and feedback. I’m Michael London, until next week.