Lucky 8’s innovative tribute to pure storytelling, a 15 segment pilot for Cinemax/HBO, delivered this month and will begin to roll-out immediately.
The pilot, which features five writer/performers reading and discussing stories they have written, and which is hosted by Michael Blieden, lives on the cutting edge in both form and content. Designed to be released simultaneously on air, on-line, on demand, and as podcast, 1000 Words is one of the first of a growing number of projects that can be said to be truly multi-platform-friendly. All segments, which are between 3 and 5 minutes in length, are able to play autonomously yet also exist as part of a cohesive series. As far as content, the show takes as its base the “personal essay” a written-word performance format which is booming in comedy clubs and variety theaters across America.
Each of the five performers has two story segments taped in an informal living-room/salon-type performance environment, as well as one longer-form “Conversation” with star raconteur Mike Blieden shot in a loose documentary style. The DP was frequent Lucky 8 collaborator, Wolf Austad. Physical production was handled by Inman Young. The budget was low but the final HD product will look good no matter what size screen it is displayed on.
This series is a celebration of the written word and how it is transformed first through performance, and then through the miracles of modern technology.
We invite you to check out a preview of 1000 Words (or less) right here.
The cast of the pilot is as follows:
Michael Blieden (host/pictured above): After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1993, Michael Blieden moved to New York where the “alternative” comedy movement was flourishing in Lower East Side venues and church basements. In 1996 he became a regular contributor on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” where he reviewed music videos and low budget tv commercials. In the summer of 1999 Blieden got a writing job in Los Angeles on “Everything’s Relatve,” created by Mitch Hurwitz. The show lasted for one month, but once in LA Blieden began appearing on such shows as ER, The King of Queens, Zooey 101, The Late Late Show, and “Arrested Development.” In 2003 he wrote and starred in the movie “Melvin Goes to Dinner,” which was produced and directed by Bob Odenkirk. Recently, Blieden has directed live specials for comedians Joe Rogan and Zach Galifianakis plus music videos for Fiona Apple and Kanye West. Look for his marijuana documentary “Super High Me” soon to be released in theaters and on DVD.
Andrew Daly (performer/pictured above) is an LA-Based actor and comedian. He will be seen in the upcoming films What Happens in Vegas… starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher and Ticket to Ride as well as the upcoming TV shows Lewis Black’s The Root of All Evil on Comedy Central and HBO’s Eastbound and Down, in which he plays the role of Terrence Cutler. Past TV work includes two seasons as a cast member on Fox’s Mad-TV and regular roles on Comedy Central’s The Showbiz Show with David Spade and Crossballs as well as frequent appearances on Reno 911 and Late Night with Conan O’Brien. You might also remember him as Ben Franklin on The Office. Andrew can often be seen performing live at Hollywood’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theater where is a regular cast member in the highly acclaimed and fully improvised Asssscat.
Brandon Johnson (performer/pictured below) is an alum of the Second City (Detroit, LA and Chicago). He can currently be seen on Superdeluxe with Mr. Show alums Jerry Minor, Jay Johnston, And Bob Odenkirk. Or on 1000 words for Cinemax.
Jen Kirkman (performer) is a stand-up comedian, actor and writer who got her start in Boston and New York City and is now a staple on the Los Angeles comedy scene. She can be seen regularly at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Largo and the Hollywood Improv with her story-telling style stand-up. In 2007, Jen released her first comedy album, Self Help, with aspecialthing records. She was most recently a cast member on VH1’s sketch show, Acceptable TV and has also appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, NBC’s Late Friday, Starz’s Special Sauce, CBS’s The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and her unique voice has landed her recurring roles on animated shows like Cartoon Network’s Home Movies, Vh1’s Illustrated and most recently Current TV’s Supernews.
Matt Price (performer) is an actor-writer who grew up in Evanston, IL. Some of his on-screen appearances include The Office, Arrested Development, The West Wing, Reno 911, as well as the Jake Kasdan directed film, Walk Hard. Matt has co-written several TV pilots for NBC and Fox, and before the writers’ strike, Matt worked on Comedy Central’s new hit show, Root of All Evil starring Lewis Black. In 2007, Matt co-created and starred in another project for Comedy Central, a web series called Guacamole which centers around an opinionated talk radio DJ who happens to be a tub of guacamole. Matt has performed twice at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and he co-produces “Show and Tell,” a personal essay reading series which appears monthly at the UCB Theatre in Los Angeles. He is also a big Cubs fan and makes no apologies for it.
Elizabeth Warner (performer) Writer, actor and monologist Elizabeth Warner spent 10 years authoring junk mail for all of Time Inc.’s magazines in NYC, luring millions of Americans into purchasing magazines with the promise of a Sneaker Phone. Her solo show The Wandering Eye premiered at HBO’s Aspen Comedy Festival and she’s been telling stories at Sit n’ Spin, Say The Word, various Comedy Central Stage vehicles, and Annabelle Gurwitch’s FIRED! ever since. She has a book contract with the Random House and her first collection of essays Ditched By Dr. Right (and Other Distress Signals from the Edge of Polite Society) was published in 2005. She appears daily on The Last of the International Morning Shows on L.A.’s hippest radio station, Indie 103.1.
The pilot was directed, produced and edited by Jesse Gordon.