WILMINGTON — Although much of the film industry has moved on from Wilmington, it certainly hasn’t stopped. After receiving overwhelming support for the pilot episode of his homegrown Port City sitcom, “Vaughan,” Director Mike Roberts is moving forward with production.
The sitcom stars former “One Tree Hill” actor Vaughan Wilson, who plays an up-and-coming actor (loosely based on his own life) who falls on hard times and is forced to take on the most unlikely of roommates.
Roberts describes “Vaughan” as a “Seinfeld/Big Bang Theory/Entourage style buddy comedy.”
Over 150 people turned out Sunday night for a private screening of the crowd-funded show at Dead Crow Comedy. Attendees were able to view the pilot episode with the cast and crew, who signed autographs and answered questions about the show.
Although they haven’t quite reached their crowd-funding goal of $30,000, Roberts says it’s time to get the sitcom moving forward with production.
“I’ve talked with the cast and crew, and everyone’s just so into the project that we want to go ahead and shoot the rest of the show,” Roberts said.
According to Roberts, the goal this summer is to get the final five episodes shot and to have the show ready to premiere on major streaming services by mid to late October.
“So, we’re looking to start shooting again in the next two, two-and-half weeks. We’ve got five episodes left to shoot, and we’re pretty much going to be in super power mode until August,” Roberts said. “Then we’re pretty much going to be busy editing and getting things ready for delivery.”
After the recent UNCW graduation, Roberts says the crew received an influx of 25 film students, all eager to help out in any way they can.
“Our crew got put on steroids pretty much overnight,” he said with a laugh.
Streaming the show
“The show will be going to all the major streaming services, except Netflix. We originally had it in our contract that we would have Netflix, but in the past 30 to 45 days they’ve made some changes that really cut out the middle man, the aggregators that we work with,” Roberts said. “Unless it’s something with major actors in it, or a TV show with recognizable names from left to right, they’re not even going to accept anything else anymore.”
“So that kind of hurt a little bit, but we’re on with Hulu, Roku, iTunes, Vudu, and Amazon Prime, we’ve even got Playstation Network and Microsoft,” he added.
Roberts said that although his editor thinks he can be ready by late September, there’s a lot that goes into getting a show on this many platforms.
“I’m thinking more like mid-October, end of October,” he said. “Then we have to give our deliverables to the aggregator, which is more than just an episode, we have to have specific sub-titles, closed captioning, just a lot of different things like that.”
“Places like iTunes and Amazon Prime will have it show up right away. Hulu might take 30 days, but the good news is, by then, we’ll have people already watching the show on these other platforms, then word will spread and that will entice people who are already on Hulu to go watch it,” Roberts added.
Want to get involved?
Although the stars of the show have been cast, Roberts says they’re on a continued search for the right cast members for upcoming episodes.
“I feel really good about where we’re at for the next episode,” he said. “We’ve brought on some new actors that are just fantastic, they bring a lot to the project. Not just face and name wise, but acting overall as well.”
Roberts says they recently discovered an actor from Charlotte named Trevon McEntyre, who he said looks like comedian Kevin Hart, but has the delivery of actor Denzel Washington.
In addition to McEntyre, Roberts has also tapped Chapel Hill Actress Anna Elizabeth, who was recently in the eighth installment of the “Fast and Furious” franchise, “The Fate of the Furious,” and is working on the newest Marvel “Avengers” movie.
“And when I say working on it, I don’t mean that she’s an extra,” Roberts said. “She has an actual role, and is also working as the stand-in for actress Zoe Saldana.”
“We’ve got some people with a little bit of heat on them right now that are bringing some good things to the project,” Roberts said. “I’ve got one more role that needs to be cast for the second episode, which is actually for a homeless lady, and then episode three we’re looking to start bringing in some more cast.”
Want to have a shot at stardom? Not only are they looking for minor roles, Roberts says some of the parts will be major, and around for the long haul.
“So, for the episode we’re getting ready to start shooting, we’re looking for a cast member and about 20 extras for a nightclub scene,” Roberts said. “But going forward for episodes three, four and five, we’ve got a lot more roles to fill. Some of them are pretty major, and some are recurring roles.”
If you’d like to be considered for upcoming roles, or would like to submit to be an extra, send your information to email@example.com.
“We want this show to be around for the long haul,” Roberts said. “We’re really rocking and rolling now.”
“Vaughan” stars Vaughan Wilson (“One Tree Hill”), Ryan Williams (“On the Air”), David Schifter (“Check Point”) and Tim Ross (“Surface,” “The Vampire Diaries”). For more information, visit the IMDb page at IMDb.com.
If you’d like to contribute to the crowd-sourcing campaign, visit the “Vaughan” Indegogo site. For more information on the show, and to stay up to date on the latest happenings, follow the show on its Facebook page.