With the difficult times we are facing at the moment, it is the perfect time to try something new whilst you are forced to stay indoors and over the next couple of weeks we are interviewing acts that are putting on everything from projects to lessons. Today, we are talking to improviser Michael who created a project as an audition tape that ended up being an online series…
Hello there tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Michael Kunze, and I’m an actor-improviser-director-writer-expert-hyphenator and yes all the hyphens are annoying but how else shall I describe myself? I’m an American based in London and I’m not a werewolf. I enjoy basketball and book reading and cooking, and also going extreme lengths to wring a laugh or two out of my long-suffering and occasionally grateful friends and family.
Tell us all about the project that you have brought to the online world at the moment?
I’ve taken to calling it an accidental web series. It follows the struggles of a stand up comedian after he has a tragic accident that robs him of his sense of humor, and he has to go on a big dumb journey to relearn how to be funny. It’s very silly and dumb and I had a lot of fun making it.
What is the name of the project?
It’s called Knock Knock, after the comedian’s penchant for making jokes of that ilk.
How much does it cost , what platform etc?
It’s free! It can be found on youtube here
How was the project formed?
I actually made it as part of an application for a scholarship to study improv at iO in Chicago, a scholarship which has unfortunately been cancelled due to the virus. They asked for a 3 – 5 minute video that showcases my humor so I came up with the brilliant (in my head at least) idea of submitting a film trailer about a comedian who loses his sense of humor and has to go study at iO, a dumb sort of meta thing. Hopefully I can resubmit it next year.
I actually shot and edited most of it before the lockdown, so it was a strange circumstance, because it looks very much like a product of the lockdown even though it isn’t. The shoddiness and limited resources with which it were made look like a necessity rather than the truth, which is I’m lazy.
How has the response been going so far?
Really positive! A lot of people have messaged me saying they’ve enjoyed it, or were following along with the episode releases. My dad watched it without my knowledge and really liked it, though he was a bit sensitive about the father character. A few people have expressed interest in a second series, which is really flattering.
How did a 2 minute video end up being 18 minutes?
Well I set out to make a film trailer, so I thought I’d make a whole film and make the trailer from that. I didn’t write a proper script, so I didn’t really have a sense of how long it was until I started editing the footage. At some point I realized how long it was going to be, and then the scholarship got cancelled, so I thought I might as well release the whole thing as a series. It is edited down, by the way, there was about 30 minutes of story in the original version, lots of long awkward pauses and an extended Chicago sausage man sequence that I thankfully cut.
What are some of your favourite parts?
It’s a bit strange to go on about my own piece, but I love all the bits with Michael’s nemesis Craig. Craig is such a dumb character and I wish I had written more of him because I enjoyed playing him so much. My good friend/mortal enemy Seamus asked if Craig was actually based on me cause he was such a douche, which hurt, but is probably somewhat true. I am Craig.
With everything happening in the world at the moment, why is it so important to have shows like yours available?
I don’t know if I can get away with saying my dumb film is important, but in general anything that distracts my mind from our present circumstance is a joy, and I hope that this provides others with a few minutes of escapism. I certainly had a lot of fun making it. I think some people (like myself) need entertainment and laughter a bit more than we usually do, so it’s nice to be able to do something in that spirit.
So many of my creative friends are trapped in their houses like me, desperate for attention that we’re not getting, and they’re making cool stuff and it’s so much fun to watch and be a part of. Making stuff is an end unto itself.
What can people expect over the next few weeks from your project?
Nothing! There’s nothing more to release. Hopefully a few more people will see it and the BBC will commission a second series but until then this is the last we’ve heard of Michael. I might make an action-thriller starring Craig if I’m really at a loose end.
if people want to find out more about you on social media where shall they visit?
Subscribe and share!
Finally why should people get involved?
Hopefully they’ll have a few chuckles and be inspired to make something dumb of their own. I’ll watch it.