BWW Interviews: Nick Costa Talks about THE RESIDUALS, GROCERY GHOST, & Sticking it to the Man
One of the highlights of this spring for me has been stumbling across the hysterical new webseries, THE RESIDUALS, and through social media, connecting with its creators. I have been fortunate enough to talk to many of the show's cast members for BWW articles (I will put links at the end of this one).
THE RESIDUALS is a web-comedy about actors auditioning for commercials and the hilarity that invariably ensues. The series was created by husband and wife Michael Paul Smith and Gillian Pensavalle, and co-stars Costa, Kelly Warne, James Tabeek, and Mark Gessner.
I know from talking to other members of the cast that you were fairly involved with the show early on. How did you get on board?
Well Mikey and Geeps, I call her Geeps, or Geepsie... anywho, they called Kelly and I to their apartment for a super-secret meeting to discuss something "new and exciting" and being that I love new and exciting things, I went. They laid out the idea to us, and Kelly and I just loved it. They had the broad strokes of the series laid out already, and they gave us room to develop our characters from the ground up, which is an amazing opportunity as a creative person, to have that sort of control.
When I spoke to Mark Gessner he said that he told Mike that casting Pete's roommate was going to be one of the major decisions to the show's success. First off, do you think they got the casting right?
Ha, well I hope so! Mikey and I worked on the Pete and Keith dynamic for a while, it also helped that Mikey and I were roommates for years before he got hitched; we had a lot of ammunition to make their relationship believable and enjoyable.
Secondly, what did you see Keith's role as in the first season?
I feel like everybody knows a guy like Keith. He always has the best intentions, even if his execution leaves something to be desired, he's a guy you root for. He's not malicious, or calculating, he just deals with roadblocks one at a time.
I've spoken to a lot of members of THE RESIDUALS cast and each one has had nothing but glowing things to say about shooting, do you have any dirt you can give me?
Well I've known Mikey since he was 14 years old, so I have quite a bit of dirt on him... actually come to think of it... the only thing Mike is ashamed of is the fact that he worked at King Kullen as a stock boy. As far as the series goes, it was awesome. Mikey and Geeps did a great job making sure everyone was relaxed and taken care of. There was an endless amount of mini muffins and coffee, so I couldn't have been happier during the down time.
Mike and Gillian are already working on plans for a second season; have you thrown out any ideas for where you would like to see Keith go next?
I threw an idea their way while we were shooting Season 1, that Keith makes it big in the commercial world, that he gets a huge deal like Flo the Progressive Lady, or the "Can you hear me now?" guy. I'd love to see how he deals with the success and financial stability. And on the other hand, Keith fancies himself a trained actor whose artistry comes first, I'd like to see him try to transition into film, but get turned away for being too recognizable as a commercial guy. I think there are a lot of interesting avenues that we could explore there.
I loved the idea of 10-second webseries episodes that Pete and Keith come up with. Are we going to see any GROCERY GHOST episodes online, or even in the next season?
It's funny, because the concept for GROCERY GHOST has been around longer than THE RESIDUALS. It's something that absolutely needs to see the light of day eventually...so we shall see.
In addition to THE RESIDUALS, I know you also wrote your own webseries THE COFFEE SHOP SHOW, which starred Kelly Warne, where did that idea come from?
First thing you should know is that I'm addicted to coffee. Addicted. There is a coffee shop under my apartment in Harlem, and I would visit it at least twice a day. I got friendly with all the staff, just so I wouldn't seem like the creepy over-caffeinated guy, which is how I met MJ Neumann, who managed the shop and was also a comedic writer. We became friends and one day we just decided that we were going to make something. We actually created COFFEE SHOP SHOW with our producer hats first, we knew that we had an awesome coffee shop at our disposal to shoot in, so we built our story around that.