Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From Kimmel to Kicker

By day, Los Angeles actor-writer Ian Michaels operates Padded Envelopes, a Hollywood marketing firm that helps fellow performers submit their materials to local casting directors and producers. And as he himself can attest, when given the chance to audition for a part, it is sometimes what comes right after the tryout or callback that is as important as the audition itself.

"I was in an acting class at Playhouse West when I met an amazing producer named Christina Mauro," recalls Michaels during an interview with FilmStew. "She was getting ready to make her first feature, [the time travel drama] 11 Minutes Ago. During one of the callbacks, I twisted my [script] sides into an origami rose and handed them to Christina at the end of the scene. That's when they called and offered me the part."

A savvy sideline business

This year, Mauro is a consulting producer on Michaels' newest showcase, the road trip comedy Here's the Kicker, which he also wrote and produced. It's the story of a field goal kicker who is torn when he must choose between accompanying his girlfriend as planned on a trip from L.A. to Victory, Texas or accepting an offer to go back into California football.

The movie has been screened and warmly received in Denver, St. Louis, Los Angeles and most recently Michaels' home state of Ohio. The SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement indie was originally completed in the summer of 2009 under the direction of Chris Harris, who added a new beginning about a year later.

"I met Chris at Dances With Films a few years ago," Michaels explains. "He had a feature in the festival that played right after 11 Minutes Ago called Into the Arms of Strangers. I was blown away by it and asked a mutual friend to introduce me."

Eight 11-minute takes, shot in one day

"When we started to get the ball rolling on Kicker, my friend Matt, who also produced and plays Teddy in the film, and I thought of Chris right away. He was one of the first people I sent the script to and he responded with so much enthusiasm, as if the job were already his. I knew instantly that I wanted him to be a part of the project."

Strangely enough, the lead character of Here's the Kicker was originally a writer. But that was gradually changed to a quarterback and then a field goal kicker, with a minor assist from acting teacher Jeff Goldblum, who encouraged a frustrated Michaels to start writing parts for himself.

Another script that Michaels did a rewrite polish for is on its way to theaters under the title Creep Van. All in all, the 32-year-old one-time writer's assistant on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Content Supervisor for Big Brother is doing pretty well for himself in the trenches of an industry town. He runs Padded Envelopes with girlfriend and Kicker leading lady Sarah Smick and is working with her on his next project.

Partners Michaels, Smick

"Sarah and I wrote a film called A Couple of Couples," Michaels says. "It's a comedy about a blase couple who end up spending a weekend at a cabin with a couple of swingers. We have a
great director named Amy Adrion and are gearing up for a May 2011 shoot."

As far as discussing his personal partnership with Smick, Michaels calmly delivers a kicker of his own. "Sorry, we don't discuss our relationship in interviews!" he affirms.

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