“Coastal Dreams” is a 24 episode series produced by NBC.com, which will feature interactive events (users will receive mobile text messages, phone calls and/or emails from characters) throughout the season.
Set in the idyllic town of Pacific Shores, “Coastal Dreams” follows two twenty-something friends who hoped to escape the doldrums of their everyday lives, but soon realize their lives are at stake. Zoe and Stacey have been friends since high school and travel to Pacific Shores for a relaxing summer of beach-going and boy-watching. Zoe soon discovers a dark family secret and receives a visit from someone in her past that may end the summer on a deadly note. The series stars Danica Stewart (NBC’s “Passions”), Tanee McCall (“Hairspray,” “Starsky & Hutch”), Elena Campbell-Martinez (“Passions”), Kam Heskin (“Passions,” “Catch Me If You Can”), Charlie Koznick (NBC’s “Las Vegas”), Ken Luckey (“Las Vegas”, NBC’s “E-Ring”), and Noah Schuffman.
Can you tell me a little bit about Coastal Dreams and the character that you play?
Coastal Dreams an online soap that NBC is doing that’s kind of a first of its kind. It brings a television format to the internet and makes it interactive for the viewers, so they can watch the show and have behind the scenes clips and bios and interactive games, interactive message boards right there with the show rather than having to watch the show and go find the site later on. It’s all five things in one.
I play Christian who is April’s caretaker which turns into into a relationship and I am the boyfriend slash caretaker in the house. And I’m half good, half bad, trying to figure it out, can’t decide. I’m being tugged by evil and by good. And that’s part of my dilemma throughout the whole thing is which way do I go.
Now Coastal Dreams really is a ground breaking series with all the interactive events that you mentioned. How much is the cast playing a roll in that? Do you get any kind of input in that or do you do anything directly with that?
We got some input, yeah in the beginning with some different things, like with the interactive stuff, but right now we do not actually. When they set up the Myspace page stuff we got to go though that with them. It’s obvious very character based. So the likes and dislikes are based upon what the character’s is. But we got to sit down and go through that with them and kind of figure it out, they collaborated with us on the character’s stuff. In the sense of is it me, no, but it is because that’s my character.
Do you think that interactive features like this to tie audiences in, will become more of a normal thing or even a must for television series at some point.
I do. I really do. I mean if you see the trend in how Youtube and Myspace… all these things that we have that are interactive and at your fingertips have taken off. I don’t see how TV, how the TV world can’t go this way.
I think that Coastal Dreams is the beginning with these small little clips and I think what will happen is as it becomes more popular and new shows come along they’ll become even longer and longer. But I think when it first starts off, they needs to be these, three to four minute clips to be like the groundbreaker for everything. But I do think that it will definitely catch on. I think they’ll make it, I think networks will start to make shows solely for the internet as well, just like NBC did.
You’ve been on numerous television shows, so I have to ask, is shooting a series for the web any different in the process than it was, shooting the television shows that you were on?
Well, yeah. Actually for several reasons. One, because when I go and do a recurring character or a guest star character on a TV show that crew and that cast has been set. You’re kind of entering their home as a guest, so it’s pretty much a well oiled machine that, that you kinda step into and hope that you don’t slow it down. You just try to stay out of the way, do your job, and move on. This was much more of a collaborative effort, because everybody was together, and everyone’s day one was my day one.
As an actor it was great because you had more input on, well, I think that maybe we should try this or try that and the director would work with your more, because it was all of ours project rather than me coming into somebody else’s project.
And then secondly, the pace was really hectic, really hectic. We shot a lot in a day. But it was kinda fun. It was kind of like gorilla shooting. Like lets rock and roll and see what happens, and it was pretty much a break neck pace.
Now did you shoot everything in one day or?
No. It took us five days to shoot the whole thing, all twenty-four episodes.
Which is fast.
Yeah it is! Are you finding that promotion for this project is different than it would be for an actual TV series?
Yeah, especially in the since that there is promotional plugs within it. Stayfree is a sponsor and so before you watch the clip, before you watch the show there’s an ad. There’s also product placement within it.
Then promotional wise, NBC.com, the main page, has done a great job of promoting it. I have a lot of people that I have not spoken to and did not hear that I had been doing this, they just called me randomly like well I was on NBC.com, and I saw your face Charlie! What you been up to? It’s people from my past that I have not spoken to in a long time that have been contacting me more about this.
I read in your biography that you graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in finance and a minor in philosophy?
And you didn’t even think about acting until your senior year? Is that right?
I mean I think I was in some play, I forget what it was called, in third grade in somewhere in St. Paul, but I didn’t really have any lines I think I just kinda ran around the stage as a little kid. And that was it. I mean I never thought about it. It never crossed my mind.
What made that change?
I actually came up here to L.A. for a birthday, a friend of mine’s birthday party, and while we were out his old manager was out. He asked if I had ever thought about acting and I said I had not. He was like well here it is, I think you have a great look and, you know, why don’t you come up. Here are some classes you should take. I’ll come watch and if we’re interested we’d love to represent you. And that was the spring of my, yeah that was the Spring of my senior year in college.
So, it was the right place time?
Right place, right time. My parents were irate! I think what was maybe February or March of my senior year and by June I was up here in L.A. and moved up here.
Wow! So what impresses you the most about Coastal Dreams? Is it the online side of it? What about it intrigues you the most or where you most impressed with?
I think yeah, I think that it’s such a unique form that impresses me the most. I never, have seen something like this with TV, and it’s really exciting to be a part of. You get all these special features that you just don’t get with other shows unless you spend tons of money on the DVD’s. This is all right now, as you’re watching the show, so I hope that everyone will like it, take part, and want to see more of it!
So I have to ask you about your guest spot on Veronica Mars, since that’s a favorite of the fans at FanBolt, can you tell me a little bit about your time working on that set?
Yeah, I mean that was such a great experience for me. I have to say, hands down, Kristen Bell is the nicest, sweetest girl. We’ve actually remained friends, and she’s great. On that show, the episode that I was in, I played a drunken guy who’s kind of a flirt and a bit of a jerk. And Veronica doesn’t take too kindly to that and throws a beer on me. And Kristen felt so bad, we had 35 different wardrobe changes for me with exactly the same outfit. Kristen was supposed to be in character and all mad, but she would keep laughing. As soon as they would yell cut, she was all “Omigod, are you okay? I’m so sorry! I threw that one right in your face!”
It was a really great experience though, and like I said Kristen was awesome!
Interview By: Emma Loggins