SHAWN CHRISTIAN (Daniel Jonas, Days of Our Lives) joins OutTakes to talk about Addicts Anonymous, a mockumentary about a college addiction program that handles all addictions in the same room at the same time. Shawn is executive producer and co-writer of the series, along with Jack Briggs, Freddie Smith and Nate Hartley. Episode 1 premieres Tuesday, Nov. 26th at 6 PM EST at http://addictsanonymous.tv/
OUTTAKES: Addicts Anonymous has a release date of November 26th. Where can we see it?
SC: You’re going to see the premiere this Tuesday on our website. We’re going to air the first episode. And we’re going to continue every successive Tuesday after that right on up to New Year’s Eve – which will be the sixth episode – the season finale. We’re excited about it. We’re also sending it out to people at Fox, MGM, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. We thought, why not do both? It can also be on the internet. We can get followers and build on the momentum that we’ve already got going on now.
OUTTAKES: Is this a TV show…or a webseries…with the six episodes?
SC: We’re open for any possibility. Ideally, I think it would be best seen as a television series on cable. Somebody had approached me as perhaps doing it as a film. That would take a little more work, but it’s possible. We have it edited down to an hour. Six roughly 12-minute episodes. That was released at our earlier screening [in Tennessee] almost like a movie…in succession, one right after another. We’ll see what people are excited about and how they want to present it.
OUTTAKES: So Addicts Anonymous is like The Breakfast Club for this generation?
SC: This is what I was discussing with the guys [Freddie Smith, Jack Briggs and Nate Harley] to begin with before we sat down and wrote the six episodes. The characters are not literally addicts; they’re on the cusp of addiction. Of course, real addiction is a real problem. So we have a comedy twist with those people who have the potential to turn into addicts. Gary Goldberg, our lovable life coach (played by Freddie Smith, pictured above), does a great job of fostering that idea: that we are here to thwart it before it becomes an addiction. We try to make that distinction in Episode One.
OUTTAKES: And you play Gary Goldberg’s father on the show?
SC: Yes. Lori Loughlin and I play delinquent parents (pictured below). When we were creating the show, we were asking who Gary’s parents would be and how would we bring them on. What we wanted to do was to help define why he is the way that he is because he grew up in such a dysfunctional family. His father is a bit of a travel addict, never really spent a lot of time in Gary’s life and doesn’t know much about him. And Gary has spent the majority of his life trying to prove himself to his father. So now you get a sense of why Gary is so committed to his students and speaking out…getting across to these kids. We had some really nice scenes. Some were kind of provocative that really bring you to the edge…but they didn’t really serve trying to define Gary. I’m sure in the DVD release, we’ll put some of those deleted scenes in there. It’ll be fun.
OUTTAKES: What is it that attracted you to this project?
SC: Freddie had a clip of it on his phone in the makeup room; and I took a look at it. They had been tinkering with this for five years. So I asked if we could sit down and talk. I pitched them my vision for what the show could be. So we collaborated together with their vision and my vision. It continued to build and grow. This great momentum came about. The four of us sat down; and we wrote for weeks. It came together very nicely, I thought. A wonderful process when we got together. We each had our unique voices that leant to what people will see with these episodes.
OUTTAKES: You’ve already had a successful screening and Kickstarter campaign. If people want to continue to participate and contribute to the series, is there a way for them to do so?
SC: Yes. We are not non-profit; so we have to give something in return. We give out headshots, scripts…things like that. People can contribute at http://www.addictsanonymous.tv/. And we’ll give them something in return. You can also buy Addicts Anonymous tee shirts that have “Addicts Anonymous” on the front; and then on the back, asks what your addiction is. As we have gone from the screening, we still spread the campaign of #SpreadTheAddiction and #WhatsYourAddiction. I’ve already tweeted out a couple of people who wore tee shirts. One woman was on a horse; and her addiction is horses. Another one likes animals; and so I tweeted that out. If I get pictures of them via Twitter, I will retweet them if they’re wearing a tee shirt and doing their so-called addiction…as long as it’s clean! (laughs)
OUTTAKES: You created Moonshine Entertainment Company. What do you like about being a producer?
SC: As an actor, I can only paint a certain part of the picture. Days of Our Lives is a huge landscape; and what I do as “Dan” is a small bit that makes up the better whole. As executive producer, I get to help paint the whole picture. I have more of a thumbprint into what this show is going to look like and what it’s going to be. Of course, you collaborate with your co-producers as well. When you write and produce, your voice is lent to a bigger part of the canvas. I really enjoy that. I had a great time doing that with Spanners; and now that author has written two more books. We’ll see how it goes. We may make a movie out of those as well. I’m optioning rights to a book now that I would like to make into a movie. There’s a story out of the Netherlands that I’ve gotten hold of based on a true story; and I’m getting documentation on that right now…and perhaps will build a script out of that. That’s more like a political thriller. The other is the battle for Atlantis; and that would be a huge big budget film. So those are the other projects that I’m working on. I’d love to do a romantic comedy; and I’m reading another script for that right now that I’d love to produce. I find that with the executive producer hat, I have a little more creative control. I really enjoy that part of it. And with the name of Moonshine, part of it is shining light on the dark creative places and just putting it out there.
OUTTAKES: As “Dan” on Days of Our Lives, you’re on the show quite a lot. How do you find the time to do all of these producer projects along with playing a front burner storyline on the soap?
SC: I don’t sleep. Days of Our Lives has given me a great opportunity to do the things that I get to do and pay my bills…but also ultimately do what I love to do – which is act day in and day out. It is like going to the gym. It is literally a great creative workout for me. It is as 9-to-5 as you can get in entertainment. And for almost 50 years now, Days has been running. It’s a nice little family environment; so I really enjoy that part of my life. And there are so many other unknowns such as the scripts -- the political thriller, the romantic comedy. And so, I don’t sleep. Also, I’ve learned how to balance my personal life and spend time with the people I love. And if you have to sacrifice time, the time to sacrifice is sleep. Because I just want to do it all…like Paul Newman and Robert Redford who are not just great artists…but are also amazing philanthropists. So in the meantime, I work with Arianne Zucker on the Arrow-Heart Adventure Camp, working with teens and doing character-building challenges and giving them camping experiences. We are working with nonviolent juveniles who are either in the probation system or the detention system. And we give them that adventure with the character-building program. Over Thanksgiving, we are going to be giving them a big feast; and it will be like an Arrow-Heart Thanksgiving. I’m so excited about that; and that’s the other part of what I love to do. Creativity and philanthropy. So if I can do both of those and balance my personal life…I love it; and that’s part of what inspires me.
Addicts Anonymous Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/addictstv
Addicts Anonymous Twitter page https://twitter.com/AddictsAnon
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Freddie Smith 10/16/2011 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/outtakes/2011/10/06/freddie-smith
Shawn Christian 3/1/2012 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/outtakes/2012/03/01/shawn-christian
Freddie Smith 9/20/12 http://www.blogtalkradio.com/outtakes/2012/09/20/freddie-smith-92012