Will Black Talks About Producing Lowest Bidders

What’s the premise of the show?

To begin that answer I’d have to say that it’s a reflection of a time I had on a really good vacation last year. My wife and I had the privilege to visit southern California last fall during a time where I was considering quitting film. I had only been doing it a short time at that point but was still starting to find it boring for some reason. We were hanging out on Venice Beach near the end of our time there and I started conjuring up this idea of these two morons who run a parking company in a mid-size central Virginia town. No edits ever went into the show’s setup, it just rolled from there. I remember pulling my phone out and typing away story ideas while I laughed to myself. The thought of shooting funny stuff revived my interest in film, but now with a new re-focused goal on becoming a good producer (a by product of that whole period) that makes comedy.

Lowest Bidders follows Mike “Skrudge” Venice and Kibbs (NLM) as they try to land a parking enforcement contract that’s up for bids in the city of Roanoke, VA. The first episode implies they’ve had experience doing this type of thing before, but you’d have to second guess for sure. The last character that completes the show’s main trio is Blaire, a sensible yet hot-headed office manager that tries her best to keep the lunatic duo in line. Season 1 takes you through their plight of trying to get a successful bid in for the contract.

 Who are the main characters and why will the audience enjoy them?

Skrudge is played by Ricky Wilson Jr. out of Jackson, TN. Skrudge is the resemblance of someone we’ve all been at one point or another. He’s a hard-worker and fighter, but his desperation gets in the way of making sensible decisions and usually in the end he comes out looking pretty stupid. Skrudge will have his redeeming moments, but it’s too early for that. Kibbs is played by Jesse Gallegos out of Alexandria, LA and I feel really privileged to have him work on this show. Kibbs brings the broadsided, nearly unbelievable dull-wittedness to the show that I thought it needed. Out of all the feedback I’ve gotten for it, there has only been one person who’s told me that Kibbs wasn’t their favorite character. Emma Graves plays the role of Blair, a fiery but smart office jockey for Skrudge and Kibbs. She can usually be seen holding the duo’s hands through grown-up situations.

Where is the setting of the story?

The show fictitiously takes place in Roanoke, VA. I was born in the central Virginia area, so it just seemed like a good place to use for the story. We’ve gotten quite a bit of support early on from the city. The city government hooked us up with props we needed, the newspaper there has shown interest, and we’ve had some restaurants give us naming licenses and stuff like that for free, it’s been good.

What would you compare the series to and who would find it entertaining?

This will unfortunately be a short answer. It’s easy to just jump and say “The Office”. But I’m not going to do that. My writing isn’t as near as developed as that show’s is, and it’s not as good. So I don’t want to say “The Office”. It’s shot exactly like it, but I’m not going to compare it to that, we just aren’t that good yet. However I would most definitely recommend it to people who enjoy shows like that. If you have an interest in seeing pop-tarts and bags of Cheetos getting burned up in a grill you can check out the first episode…?

Were there significant challenges putting the project together?

To be honest there weren’t much at first. We got A LOT of stuff for free like high quality locations, props, etc. I’m an awesome negotiator so that helped us, haha. But on the serious side, I’d say weather, we had some torrential wind our last day while we were filming parts of episode 3. But everyone that’s helping me run this production have proven to be excellent problem solvers (shout out to Treaven Mitchell our sound guy and Mia J. McElroy my first AD, couldn’t do it without those people). After the first three episodes have come out though, I have realized one significant challenge: Looking back I feel that I never completed the character makeup of Skrudge, like there is a directional purpose for him that’s missing. So, that will be a big focus on completing in the near future. Just a bit of behind-closed-door info for you.

Please describe the filming process and equipment used.

This was far and away the most complex thing I’ve ever shot. Correctly filmed mockumentaries rely very much on the help of the camera to time the comedy. Camera movement is extra crucial and if you mess it up it’s really easy to have a sucky product right off the bat. I spent lots of time studying episodes of Parks and Recreation before we filmed. For the most part, lots of the crew from The Office worked on P&R so I felt that by the time later episodes of P&R had come out, their crews had that genre of camera movement nailed down. It’s common for these types of shows to be shot on high-end camcorders as it makes the operation and zoom much easier on the operator. However, I (we) did this with a DSLR with everything running fully manual. It was tough but I think it did nothing short of making a huge improvement on my camera skills.

Where can people watch and what can they expect in the future?

We plan to wrap up the first season soon with two more episodes. After that I’ll start planning for the second season, which probably won’t start filming until after summer. Lowest Bidders can be watched on YouTube (if you type Lowest Bidders into the search bar our episodes will be the first to come up). You can also watch on Funny or Die at: http://www.funnyordie.com/lowestbidders


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