31 May 2012

On the Record with Ersan Barams of “Mild & Content” (Part 2)

Yesterday up-and-coming actor Ersan Barams shared how he got into acting and what he’s learned about the business. Today he’s back with the 411 on his new online sketch comedy show Mild & Content. Here’s what Ersan had to say.

How did the idea for Mild & Content come about?

It was around August/September of 2011 and I was still working at Midtown Comics and I was just fed up with working a job I wasn’t happy in. I wanted to do something where I felt like I could not only be a part of, but I could call my own and make my ideas come to life because I had so many ideas and thoughts just swirling in my head and I wanted to find a means to put all that on video. So I just up and quit my job and began developing ideas for a funny sketch comedy show, and I already had a YouTube account so it kinda just fell into place. So technically Mild & Content made me quit my job!

Most of your episodes feature friends of yours like Pedro and Lee. How involved are they with the creative process? Do they collaborate with you when you’re writing each sketch, or do you come up with the ideas on your own?

I’ve known Lee since 2007 and Pedro since 2010. Lee I worked with previously on acting projects and we continue to remain in contact whenever he wants to shoot something. I showed him a few episodes and he loved them and wanted to direct an episode of Mild & Content, so I figured why not have him direct a milestone episode like episode 10. Pedro has been there since the beginning, so he is very involved with coming up with sketches/ideas for the show and we keep in constant contact when coming up/developing sketches.

Mild & Content is 11 episodes in. How long does it take you to put together each one?

Typically about a day, we develop the ideas during the week and when we are both free (which seem to be on Saturdays) we come together and rehearse which skits are for the next episode and just shoot it. I’ve noticed the more episodes we’ve done the longer it takes to shoot because of how in depth we have made the sketches.

You play a variety of characters on Mild & Content. Where does the inspiration come from for each one? Which is your favorite one to play?

Most of the characters on the show are real people that I have either come across or have known for years. Some still don’t know I use them on the show, but it’s all in good spirit. I enjoy playing the Anthony character the most, because his character is intense in real life so I try to pay homage to him on the show and emulate him to the best of my ability.

EW is an allusive presence on the show, kind of like the mysterious A on Pretty Little Liars. Will we ever find out who EW is, or are you going to keep viewers guessing?

That’s something I continue to fight with myself about, do I reveal who EW is? And if so, when is the appropriate time to reveal EW to the audience. I want to keep EW going for as long as I can before the idea becomes bland. Only a handful of people know who EW really is, and if the stars align correctly, I’d love to reveal EW in a big way. I guess only time will tell.

Lionel Richie has made “guest appearances” on Mild & Content from time to time. Why did you choose him?

Pedro and I were in my kitchen developing ideas for an episode and he was playing random Billy Joel and Elton John music. He clicked on Lionel Richie’s Hello music video and was upset with the video from start to finish, commenting about how he was a stalker in it and whatnot. It was then that I decided he [Richie] needed to be a part of the show.

On Mild & Content we’ve seen Hollywood not giving you a shot, giving you a reality check, and closing the door on you. Do you hope Mild & Content will be a way for Hollywood to take notice of you?
This kinda seems to be most YouTubers’ intention, to get your work noticed so that it can be seen and shared by a broader group of people. The idea of getting Hollywood to notice me is really great, and if Mild & Content is what helps garner some attention then perfect, but I would also love for Hollywood to see my hard work and determination first and foremost.

Like yourself, many others are putting their shows on YouTube. Do you think YouTube is the new TV network?

Yes, I do believe YouTube is becoming a TV network to some degree, because the YouTuber knows that it’s the internet and not actually television, but if they want to get away from all the bad reality television that has overtaken TV and watch something on YouTube I say go for it.

In a recent Mild & Content episode, you did a skit about Drake’s motto “YOLO”. What’s your motto?

Stay open and stay true to yourself. In this world, and especially this business, you have to learn to take everything with a grain of salt and not get discouraged when things don’t quiet go your way. As an actor I feel taking a role because the script is great and so are the characters and not necessarily going for the box office hit or because a movie is filming in Hawaii for a month is a prime example of this. But I tell myself as long as I stay open and stay true in the craft and life in general, I can achieve success.

Check out the first episode of “Mild & Content” below. Make sure you subscribe to his YouTube channel and follow him on Twitter @ersanbarams.

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