Bruce Nachsin is the creator of the series Under the Doghouse; here is a link to the web-site:
Q: What is Under the Doghouse about?
A: UtDH is all about what happens when your life just keeps getting in the way of your life. It is about how things go when you don’t have the answers and are not really equipped to face the problems presented to you. Thus we follow my analog for the everyman, Pete, as he tries to deal with the things going on with his life, getting a new job, trying to meet a nice girl, trying to deal with the one who invaded his house, unreliable friends and so on. In life we are presented with choices, it could be A, B or C and instead we walk into a telephone pole and that is what the series is about.
Q: What inspired you to produce it?
A: Well, like most people who decide to come to Hollywood to try and make a go of it, I got here and wasn’t sure how I should go about pursuing my dream. This ended up in me not doing much of anything related to the entertainment industry and like most clueless hopefuls, I winded up spending a few years working my day job until I noticed that nothing was happening. Since this was not what I wanted out of my life, I decided to write and film a few short scenes with the idea of starting my demo reel. One of those scenes was a comedy bit that had a little edge called: Pete and Stacey’s Boob Quandry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5TahW0r2Gk Somehow, that clip ended up in the hands of a manager who proceeded to contact me, sign me and insist that I expand it into a something bigger. From that little nugget came Under the Doghouse.
Q: What makes for a successful web series?
A: I really wish I had the full answer to this… I guess it depends on how you define success. If we are talking about getting eyeballs, I think luck plays a bigger part than most people would give it credit for. There are a lot of good series out there that just don’t have much in the way of viewership and it isn’t because of the quality. It can be hard to be seen above the noise that is the thousands of videos that appear every day. A good story or series premise are important. Sticking to a solid release schedule will help draw viewers in. It can help if you are tackling a topic that people are already interested in and has a built in fan base. If we are talking about the quality of a production, then I would say it is important to have good planning and a realistic view of what you are able to accomplish within your means. There are a lot of series that get started and fail to reach completion due to underestimating how much effort and expense everything is going to take.
Q: What are some of your favorite web series?
A: Most of what I like has a comedic bend and when I am killing time surfing, I want to laugh. Some of my favorites are 30 Films, Songify / Autotune the News, Honest Movie Trailers, My Roommate the… and while not an actual series, I love what Patrick Boivin is doing on his channel.
Q: Why should people watch Under the Doghouse?
A: A little bit of laughter, a little bit of joy, a few cute girls and a lot of embarrassment… Mostly mine. I am hoping that people will see a little of themselves in Pete and feel a bit better about that clueless aspect of their personality. We all have those moments where we feel like we can’t get ahead and nothing we do will make a difference. This series takes that and runs with it, and just maybe it can make you feel a little better about your day because it just can’t possibly be as bad as the one poor Pete is having.
Q: What made you want to be a filmmaker?
A: I don’t know that I ever started out with the idea of being one, it just happened along the way. I fell into acting back in College when I had signed up for a fine woodworking class and discovered exactly how bad my allergies to wood dust were. After an afternoon of wonderful sinus reactions, my asthma voted that I change my major quickly and I ended up on the acting track just because I had to land somewhere. As it turned out, despite having little experience or ability, I enjoyed it and continued to pursue it throughout my whole college career. This led to regional theatre in Pennsylvania and then to some local TV roles which ended with me getting into the Union and thus out of the running for most roles in the ol’ homestead, which was a very non-union town. I came to California and the filmmaking came out of the frustration of not getting called in for the roles I wanted. On top of that, I was not all that comfortable with my career being in the hands of others, making my own projects put some of the control into my hands.
Q: What kind of day job do you have and how does it influence your creative work?
A: I am a freelance Cyber-Plumber, that is to say a computer technician. I have clients that range from a growing beverage company, to an aging inebriated rock star, to movie production companies, to a nice granny who is afraid of her keyboard. From a technical standpoint, it has sharpened my troubleshooting skills and you can’t put a price on that. A large part of film making is on the spot problem solving and thinking your way around limitations. I have to do that all day so I am pretty good at it. Now, from a creative standpoint, I go to a lot of places where I have appointments that give me ideas for strange characters and funny interactions. Whether it was my client who called me drunk at 3 in the morning and wanted to know why his microwave wasn’t connecting to the internet or the sympathetic pornstar who chatted with me as I fixed her PDF writer and then informed me that: “You’re sweet, but you are going to die alone in this town,” it has given me stories.
Q: What is your strangest show biz story?
A: The strangest thing that ever happened to me was an audition for some kind of beer commercial and they were casting a “lab technician.” When I got to the audition location, there was no script to be found. They took me into this room where they had the camera setup and in front of it was a large table with a cardboard box on it. The director says to me: “Here’s the deal, you are a lab tech running a robotic colonoscopy machine, that box is the machine… now go!” For 2 minutes I had to pretend I was working this thing while the director would say things like: “you need to go deeper!” “you’ve hit a barrier, break through it!” You know, you don’t get that experience working in any other industry.
Q: What do you like about Hollywood?
A: Big things are possible out here. I would never have had the opportunity to stage a multi-camera sitcom shoot back in Philadelphia, nor the capacity to find all the pieces to see it through to completion. You really can take your dreams and try to make them happen, you just have to be willing to put in the time and effort to pull them off.
Q: What would you like to change about it?
A: People in Hollywood can be pretentious and somewhat passive-aggressive, especially at the lower rungs where people try to peacock and seem like a bigger deal than they are. You go to any coffee shop and it is filled with people dropping names and speaking loudly about the current project they are presumably working. I don’t impress by proxy so I am more interested in what someone is actually capable of doing versus who they think they know. I’d like it better if people were more genuine and direct.
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects:)