Six episodes are just enough to get you thirsty. Thankfully there’s another round coming in September from FYI and the team behind Kyle Piccolo: Comic Shop Therapist. The show has been picking up steam since we last wrote about it, making it as a Top 20 podcast on Apple’s iTunes. We caught up with the show’s star (and co-writer), Eric Zuckerman, to see how his growing web fame has been treating him.
Tubefilter News: First off, congrats on the first six episodes, they were hilarious. We have to know – what’s the plan for the next slate of episodes? Can we expect more soon?
Eric Zuckerman: We are doing our best to get new episodes up as soon as possible. Response has been even better than expected and we are thrilled to have fans who are anxious to see more of Kyle and Doucheus. There are various scheduling issues we are contending with, but it is our hope to have a new batch of episodes up in September. And if that’s too long for you to be without Kyle, keep an eye out in August for some teaser content until we can get back to full episodes.
TF: How did you get involved in the project? Were you cast as Kyle Piccolo through traditional channels, or did you have a history with show creators Alec Pollak and Neil Turitz?
Zuckerman: Neil, Alec, and I all went to college together at Columbia. Alec actually produced the first play I ever did, a production of “Free to Be… You and Me” in college. And Neil gave me my first paid acting job on the film “Knots,” which he co-wrote and produced. So it’s just a natural progression that they would be giving me my first starring role. When Neil and Alec came up with the idea for the show, they brought in me and John Cassaday to round out the creative team and asked me play Kyle. The four of us write and produce all the episodes together, and that has been a thoroughly enjoyable collaboration.
TF: The first six episodes were sponsored by Warner Bros. to promote The Dark Knight. Did the sponsorship affect the show creatively? Do you see this as a sustainable model for the series?
Zuckerman: Warner Bros. was great and they gave us minimal creative input. They saw the pilot we shot and loved it. They wanted us to keep doing what we were doing. This model of sponsorship certainly worked and there was, obviously, a great fit between us and “The Dark Knight.” But going forward, we are open to any and all types of sponsorship, whether they have roots in the comic book world or not.
TF: Let’s stay on the topic of money for a second. Are you and the cast making a healthy living off of the show at this point?
Zuckerman: None of us are making a living off the show at this point. There is some money coming in, yes, but most of it is going towards producing the show with production values we can be proud of.
TF: You’ve been working in the business both as an actor and in casting for a while now, has the success of the show opened any new doors for you? Do people recognize you now as Kyle?
Zuckerman: Things haven’t really changed, but it’s been less than two months since we launched, so it’s still early. I haven’t been recognized by any strangers, but I have been contacted by people I know who found the show without having any idea I was involved. So that’s great, that word is getting around.
TF: What’s your take on the emerging medium of episodic web television? Is there a future for it?
Zuckerman: One theory is that the future of episodic web television will be determined by the advancement of technology and the ability of large corporations to monetize that technology to the fullest. That is how new media usually thrive. But the beauty of the internet is that the giant media conglomerates do not control the means of distribution. Anyone can get a show out there. So I like to think that the future of episodic web television rests solely on the quality of the content. HBO changed the landscape of TV by producing shows that were better than most of what was on the networks. When that model proved to work, other cable channels got in on the game. That’s the model to follow. Produce great work and the audience will find you wherever you are.
TF: Does your mom watch the show?
Zuckerman: My mom and dad are both big fans of the show. Though I suppose one could make the argument that they are biased. Neil’s mom also watches and, in fact, is a little concerned that it might be turning her into a comic geek.
TF: Do you watch any other shows on the web? Which ones?
Zuckerman: I’ve always watched a lot of stuff on the web, but mostly stand alone videos. I am just now starting to see what’s out there in terms of series’. I think You Suck at Photoshop is one of the best shows out there in any medium. I also like The Guild and The Line, which incidentally shot at my neighborhood movie theater.
Editor’s Note: You can see more of Eric in Wes Craven’s 25/8, in theaters 2009.