It's smart, it's sweet, it's snarky, it's Workshop! That terrific web dramedy about a band of struggling Hollywood actors has returned for its second season and is now available via Hulu (hulu.com/workshop). This is the first time Hulu has distributed an independent half-hour series, so kudos to Nate Golon, the show's gifted creator/exec producer/star, and to Daytime Confidential gossip kings Luke Kerr and Jamey Giddens, who recently signed on as associate producers. To help kick off Season 2, TV Guide Magazine had a chat with actor Phillip Jeanmarie, who plays Workshop wannabe Adam Saltair. Of course, he's better known to the fans of Passions for his landmark work as Vincent Clarkson, the psychotic, incestuous, sperm-stealing, she-male tabloid reporter who made life in Harmony a living hell!
TV Guide Magazine: We haven't talked since your nutty days at Passions! When you compare war stories with your fellow actors, do you tell them how you made soap history?
Jeanmarie: Of course! [Laughs] It's not often that you get to play an intersex serial killer.
TV Guide Magazine: Who had a down-low affair with his half-uncle and got pregnant by his father...
Jeanmarie: That was the cherry on the sundae. I think I was the first man to give birth on television. When I tell other actors about it I'm, like, "Go ahead, top that."
TV Guide Magazine: Workshop is very cool, very funny. How does it feel to make a series and help realize a creative vision without interference from a bunch of loser know-it-all schmoes at a network? It's the new wave!
Jeanmarie: And it's so much better than sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring. I get to go out there and act and be proactive. This is guerilla filmmaking and it's very freeing. I now feel kinda fearless. Looking back at Passions, I was overwhelmed by the intensity of the work and always so worried about screwing up and missing lines. It kind of traumatized me. I didn't have as much fun as I should have. It's a privilege to be able to act. You gotta have fun with it.
TV Guide Magazine: Anyone who's in showbiz can certainly appreciate the angst and the pain and the hilarity of Workshop. What's in it for the average Joe?
Jeanmarie: I think at some point everyone has known what it's like to feel vulnerable or to be exploited, no matter what you do for a living. We've all felt emotionally exposed or beaten down by the powers that be. Now imagine that on a daily basis. Even if you don't know too much about actors and the acting lifestyle, you'll get it. There's a commonality between our characters and the audience.
TV Guide Magazine: But should we feel bad for you actors? Yeah, the profession is bloody brutal but, hell, you picked it! No one's holding a gun to your head. And there are much easier ways to pay the rent.
Jeanmarie: Totally. But people don't really know what an actor goes through and why actors are so insecure. We're constantly being judged and scrutinized by other people. Whether or not we get a job is based solely on another person's opinion of us. I may not book a commercial because I don't have a particular look and that is out of my control. What am I going to do? Blame my parents? Blame God? It's hard when you don't fit someone's ideal vision. You can be like, "Whatever," but it still messes with you. It can mess with your head and your heart and your sense of security. The instability of it all can throw you for a loop. Yet you never forget that your life and your career can suddenly turn around with that one right phone call, that one right job.
TV Guide Magazine: You're juggling Workshop with another web series, Blood Sucker Punch. What's up with that one?
Jeanmarie: It's a comedy about streetfighters who battle vampires, kind of a cross between Blade and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I'm one of the streetfighters.
TV Guide Magazine: I'm guessing your previous job as one of TV's famous Power Rangers must help with that?
Jeanmarie: Uh, not really. In the second episode I do get into a cool little fight with a couple of vampires but basically my character just talks a lot of s--t, more so than fight. [Laughs] We all know that guy.
TV Guide Magazine: It must be so cool to be in on the pioneering years of a new entertainment form. In a way, you guys are like the people who started silent pictures.
Jeanmarie: [Laughs] And it'll be even better when we figure out how to make money off it! It's a great platform to get your work out there and show the world what you can do but it's like the Wild West right now. There still needs to be a structure, a solid foundation in place for the web series world to fully function and work like TV and movies do. But it'll happen. Right now it's pretty crazy. You just go out there, mark your territory, plant your flag on it and do what ya gotta do. For an actor who has experienced the ups and down like I have, these web shows are empowering. They make you feel like you're taking control. You're getting the power back into your own hands and you're doing your thing!
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