Like Garfield and classic Nintendo characters, childhood stars venerated by Children of the 80s are finding their way onto the internet and into online video. David Wain has his Wainy Days, Kurt Loder does a Lapdance, and now David Faustino and Corin Nemec are Star-ving.
The shiny new, 12-part original online web series created and written by Faustino, Nemec, Todd Bringewatt, and Sam Kass, directed by Kass, and produced by FNB Entertainment and Sony Pictures Television, debuted today on Crackle.com and showcases a barrage of post-washed-up-celebrity-story exploits from the titular character of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and the lovable loser brother in Married with Children.
Star-ving is a satire of teenage stardom gone nowhere, wrapped in the veneer of an early 90s late-night sitcom whose actors all have their tongues firmly placed in their cheeks, broadcast in a world without the FCC. In the series, a broke Faustino takes a trip through Tinseltown, living out an exaggerated version of his life while encountering a host of familiar (mostly) television faces – including Ed Asner, Katey Sagal, Christina Applegate, Seth Green, Ed O’Neill, Coolio, Gilbert Gottfried, Alan Thicke, Tracey Gold, Jeremy Miller, Kato Kaelin, Ron Jeremy, and more.
While the cameos are a pleasant add-on, Faustino and Nemec’s self-deprecation drive the story. And, most of the time, it’s funny.
I caught up with David Faustino and Corin Nemec to talk to them about the series, reality shows, and how easy/hard it is to make fun of yourself on camera.
Tilzy.TV: How’d you two meet?
Corin Nemec: Years ago when we were both acting as teenagers we meet at like teen magazine events, at like BOP Magazine events. They’d have events like at a water park or something, and it’d be a charity/celebrity event. It was a way for them to get young actors to show up some palace so they could get pictures of them and fill up their magazines.
And then when I ended up on Fox, we ended up hanging out a lot of the Fox events, but by that point we had already established a friendship.
Tilzy.TV: Your company, FNB Entertainment, produced Star-ving. Had you guys been planning on starting a production company for a while?
Nemec: We didn’t start the production company until about a year and a half or two years ago, and we had done a couple of films together previous to starting it with another partner of ours, Todd Bringewatt. We knew that there was a possibility of trying to get our own projects off the ground, it was just a matter of getting the right team together.
So me and Todd, who I had written some stuff with in the past, we had written this comedy called Gimme that Chicken and the two starring roles were written for David and myself. David read the script and really liked it, and it was the first project we really shopped together as a team.
Then we started developing some reality-based shows with some produciton companies around town that didn’t fly. Really what it was was that the company we were dealing with wanted to exploit David as much as possible and the concepts they were coming up with didn’t really fly.
Tilzy.TV: What kind of reality shows were these guys pitching?
Nemec: It was mainly like coming up with shows that would use David as himself, but trying to what we’re doing but not going all the way. Sort of like Rock of Love with Faustino. These concepts that have been done over and over again, and the style of shooting them is very reality-driven and not creative and with no style.
Star-ving is not really a reality show, that’s the thing. We took the concept of reality show, because that’s what they wanted. They waned to exploit David in some kind of reality scenario where they twisted his life enough to create drama and it’s like well if that’s what you wanna do, there’s nobody better to do that than David himself.
Tilzy.TV: So when did you guys really first get the idea for Star-ving?
Nemec: Eventually Todd got fed up that they wanted to exploit David and not do something creative. So he finally wrote a rough draft of Starving which basically took the idea of exploitation and turned it to 11.
We ended up with Sam Kass, too, who’s a writer/produce from Seinfeld and Arliss, so once he got on the team that brought the creatives way up and the level of professionalism way up.
We pulled together as many favors as we could and ended up shooting an 11-minute presentation which gave a feeling of what the show would be like. We shopped that around and after not really making it through the round of it potentially going half hour, we got it over to Sony and their multimedia department Crackle and they really dug it.
So there’s still the possibility to take the show half hour down the road, but at this point each episode is under eight minutes.
Tilzy.TV: Lots of Hollywood people like the web because it gives them so much creative freedom. In Star-ving, was there anything you really wanted to do but then Sony said, “That’s not gonna fly.”?
Nemec: In terms of the actual shooting and filming of it, we got to pretty much do exactly what we wrote and shoot whatever we wanted.
Faustino: At first they approved basically everything we had in the script and on set they did that as well. When it came down to the editing process it got a little more challenging. They’ve given us a lot of creative freedom. Definitely, there’s some things that you’ve never seen and will never see anywhere else. And it’s still going to be raunchy and over the top and offend some people.
But there were some things during the editing process that they had questions about or wanted to lose, but a lot of it didn’t have to do much with censorship as it had to do with time.
Faustino: If those other things hit like a hammer, this hits with a cannon. This goes like the whole other direction, further than anything’s ever gone before. It doesn’t push the envelope, it shreds the envelope. SHREDS IT!
Tilzy.TV: So you’ve always been comfortable at poking fun at yourself?
Faustino: Well, ya know, to a certain extent. This is the most I’ve ever poked fun at myself, for sure. It makes it easier when you’re the one poking fun as opposed to other writers or producers. We created this thing so we’ve given ourselves permission to throw jabs at ourselves.
Tilzy.TV: At any time when you guys were writing Star-ving were there moments when you were like, “Nah man, we can’t subject ourselves to that.”?
Faustino: I mean I think both of us questioned a few things. I’m sure Corin had a few moments when he wondered what he was doing and who might see it, but at the end of the day we both agreed that whatever was best for the project and whatever is going to funniest is best. And even though we may have to eat crow and be a little humiliated at times, it’s all for the good of the project.
Faustino: It’s real timely because you have these outlets like TMZ and all these reality shows that are poking fun at and exposing celebrities and their humanity and their weaknesses or whatever you wanna call it. I think that we jumped the gun and we poke fun at ourselves before they have a chance to.
Tilzy.TV: Was starring in this kind of show at all therapeutic?
Faustino: Yeah, sure it is. If it’s a success, it will be very therapeutic. If not, it’ll hurt a little.
Tilzy.TV: Was it a happy reunion with the Married with Children cast on set?
Faustino: That was definitely like old times. That was funny, I was saying when we went down to the table read and Al Bundy was saying the lines that we wrote for him within the show, it was like we were right back doing it 10 years ago. It was bizarre.
Tilzy.TV: Is there anything else you guys want to touch on?
Faustino: Ahhh…I don’t know…some hot chicks?
Check out Star-ving on Crackle.com.