Twirlit Exclusive Interview with Cast of “Circle of 8″
We’ve all seen the success of the “Lonelygirl,” web series and have heard stories of people becoming YouTube stars with Hollywood deals by putting a few videos online. Videos that, somehow, receive a massively high number of views. But with more viewers who are looking for quality content online, the bar is now being set higher and higher. Enter Paramount Digital Entertainment who has partnered with brands from MySpace, Mountain Dew, Adobe, and Blockbuster, to create “Circle of 8,” a studio-quality web series that takes place in a haunted Los Angeles apartment building.
I recently spoke with Austin Highsmith (Jessica) and Ryan Doom (Evan) to let Twirlit readers find out more about “Circle of 8,” and why you should be watching.
Great to have both of you with us. So, Austin, tell us about the day you decided to become an actress. And Ryan, you started off in NYC as a model–how did you transition from modeling to acting?
Austin: When I was seven, I saw a movie on TV and saw someone cry. I didn’t know how they did it, they were like having real emotions, and, whoa, what does that mean? I would just act out movies in front of the mirror and knew that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Ryan: I went to TCU, and after that I was taking acting classes on the side and have always been a huge fan of movies. Only problem is that in Tusan there wasn’t much opportunity for acting or films. So, I ended up in Dallas, hit a glass ceiling, moved to LA in ’05, and started studying with Howard Fine, an amazing acting teacher. He helped me get to where I am today.
Cool. So, do you guys watch most of your TV online or the old-fashioned way? Do you think all of us will just watch media on our computers and phones one day? That the TV will become obsolete?
Austin: Mixed bag. I like to watch TV, that medium is good for me. Maybe in a couple of generations, no one will watch TV anymore?
Ryan: I need to watch more TV because it’s my job. The TV still holds that time for me. Internet is great for work hours–people can catch up on Hulu, NBC.com. When you want to come home at night, you want to watch TV on the big screen.
In the Internet age, how savvy are you guys? Are you on Facebook, Twitter–do you blog?
Austin: I’m active on Facebook to stay in touch with friends. I should be on the Internet more.
Ryan: I use Facebook to stay in contact with the people that I grew up with. Don’t twitter or blog.
Paranormal Activity just KILLED at the box office for such a low-budget. At the end of the day, what kind of stuff really freaks you out the most? Horror movie wise.
Austin: Ah! I can’t see scary movies because I saw “The Ring” and it was just too scary. Also, in my previous apartment, I used to live with a ghost. Seriously, it was the ghost of a little boy and after seeing that on a regular basis, I really didn’t want to watch any more horror movies.
Ryan: Definitely “The Exorcist.” The original.
What would you tell some of Twirlit.com readers who haven’t heard of “Circle of 8″? Why should they watch?
Austin: It’s a really exciting mystery web series where every single episode has a cliffhanger–you care about what’s happening with these people. Everybody involved came from a really strong place and it’s just a really well produced, captivating story. So excited to be a part of it.
Ryan: For what they got for budget/time factor, it’s tremendous. We shot the whole thing like a feature and then they cut it into episodes. You should watch it!!
So, for the random questions.
Last meal on earth:
Austin: Gigantic steak with cupcakes–crazy delicious. Probably mounds of french fries.
Ryan: My mom’s cooking. She’s amazing in the kitchen.
Austin: Sadly, I’m allergic to alcohol. Sparkling water for me.
Ryan: Makers and Coke.
Team Edward or Team Jacob?
Austin: Haven’t read the book. Harry Potter fan for life!
Ryan: Team Edward, but only because my girlfriend’s obsessed with Twilight.
Black Berry or iPhone?
Austin: Everything happens for a reason, and it’s all to make you the best person you could possibly be.
Ryan: Life is a journey not a destination.
Dream director/actors you’d like to work with?
Austin: Just worked with Sissey Spacek, as I’m shooting “Big Love” with her right now. She is phenomenal, gracious, encouraging–she’s just a great person. Absolute dream. And of course, Baz Luhrman.
Ryan: Dream director? Eastwood or Spielberg. I just worked with Jesse Bradford who told me that if you had an idea of what the dream director…he fulfilled it with Spielberg. I want to work with everyone from Matt Damon to Ed Norton. That would be awesome.
Upcoming projects. Austin, you just had a role on “Big Love,” can you tell us a bit about your character for that show? And Ryan, you just did a film with Leighton Meester of “Gossip Girl,” called “The Roommate,” can you tell us a bit about that role?
Austin: All I can say is that I play Sissy’s assistant and her character is in Utah. Sort of because Bill Paxton’s character is running for office.
Ryan: I don’t watch “Gossip Girl,” but Leighton was great. But I was honestly the new kid on the block working with Minka Kelly, Cam Gigante, and more. I mean these are established actors. It was a great blessing to work within the studio system.
Thanks Austin and Ryan for your time. And for all you readers, check out “Circle of 8,” on MySpace.