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Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012

Mediocracy At Its Best

Schlock Production’s Nick Aldrich, Brian Lis and Matt Ott

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Filming for the web-TV show “Mediocracy” began in January and the comedy is slated to continue its run with another webisode this upcoming January. With help from Kickstarter and a great deal of effort from an industrious cast and crew, the show's wry portrayal of film students and wannabe Oscar-winners at a Midwestern college thrives on a blend of awkward charm and riotous gallows humor. With satirical cheer, “Mediocracy” presents the local creative scene as a battlefield of sensitive egos. Writer/director Nick Aldrich and producers Brian Lis and Matt Ott of Aldrich's Schlock Productions discussed the rise and future of “Mediocracy.”

How was the idea conceived?


Aldrich: “Mediocracy” was supposed to be a side project, a way to make lighthearted shorts aside from our more serious films. The concept was to take our own experiences and exaggerate them for comic effect, since we found our career aspirations and the paths that led to them to be inherently ludicrous. It became my main project and has grown into a great collaboration.

In the pilot episode, certain scenes capture the essence of Milwaukee. Are the cast and crew entirely Milwaukee natives?


Lis: We keep the show as Milwaukee-based as possible. We feel that Milwaukee holds some of the greatest untapped talent in the Midwest.

Ott:  We do have a few actors and crew from Chicago and New York. However, the intention is to showcase Milwaukee talent while integrating it with the outside film community.

“Mediocracy” does a great job of displaying the cattiness that all too often consumes aspiring filmmakers and actors. Is that kind of hostility genuine?

Aldrich: The cattiness is definitely a representation of the attitudes that actors and filmmakers encounter on a daily basis. It has always bugged me to see people putting down an actor or filmmaker because they don’t seem to fit into a preconceived notion of their craft. We are surrounded by cynicism. Our goal is to show how easy it is to get lost on our own career paths when we let cynicism affect us. I hope people can look at some of these characters and laugh at their mildly sociopathic tendencies.

The show's humor seems wry, outrageous, dark and even taboo at times. Is there any desire to infuse some heartfelt or dramatic scenes into future episodes, or would that ruin the fun?

Aldrich: We’re absolutely looking to add some more heartfelt moments. It’s a difficult balance because we’re trying to establish these characters and their world within a very short amount of time. The heartfelt moments need to be earned and only after the audience has invested some time in the characters’ worlds. Episode Three is our first real attempt at addressing a more emotional story. I really hope the audience buys into it.

When will the third episode be available and how can those interested in “Mediocracy” view it?

Lis: Episode Three will be released Jan. 15, 2013, at a live event on the East Side of Milwaukee.  Details to come!

Ott: After that, it will be available through mediocracytv.com and blip.tv/mediocracytv.