Guidance is one of the funniest, freshest web series out there. Davey Racine, Steve Barnes and Bruce Templeton are three inept guidance counsellors who struggle to connect with their students because their own needs constantly get in the way. We asked creators and stars Adam Cawley, Rob Baker and Pat Smith to school us.
P&C: How did you come up with the idea for the series?
Adam: We we’re trying to come up with the premise for a film and I just started thinking… “Who are people that everyone has some experience with who are really relied upon?” Guidance counsellors seemed to have the most comic potential.
Pat: Then we got aligned with Jared, and our concept went from being a potential film, to being a web series.
Rob: I’m pretty sure it was my idea.
P&C: You’re all seasoned improvisers. How much of the show is scripted, and how much is improvised?
Adam: My portion was improvised off of beats. I told Sam, “This one is about me crashing a party,” or “This one is about you hooking up with girls.” And we’d just go. Sam was amazing. A great straight man with amazing reactions.
Pat: My scenes with Kayla were scripted, but we improvised within them. Our process on set was unlike anything I’ve ever worked on, in that we each were watching each other’s scenes and finding new moments and honing existing moments as we shot, from take to take.
As a result of having all of the writers on the floor, we were really able to explore and try and find what was best. Our scenes with Karen Parker on the other hand, were almost entirely improvised… we might have had some verrrry loose beats. All we really knew was, someone was getting fired.
Rob: I was working opposite the incomparable Ely Henry, which meant that I had to script every single word.
P&C: Do you look back fondly on your high school days, or is that something you’d sooner forget?
Adam: I loved high school. Except that time where I used a text book to cover my boner. Now I can afford to use cooler things to hide my boners.
Pat: High school for me got more fun as it went along. When I showed up I was super insecure about who I was and how I fit into this weird new place… but once I hit puberty and stopped hiding my boners things started looking up. By OAC, I found my groove. #LHS4LYFE
Rob: I miss all the boner jokes.
P&C: What did your friends say about you in your high school yearbook?
Adam: “You know this isn’t a yearbook, just a collection of stapled-together foolscap.”
Pat: “Good luck in the Majors, because you’re a major league baseball player to all of us! Sweet Chin Strap!” – Can’t rock boners without a chinstrap!
Rob: You guys had friends?
P&C: Kids these days have a lot to deal with: cyber bullying, friends with benefits, internet porn, drug use… As people who grew up in a different era, how do you relate to what students are going through?
Adam: I don’t relate. I’m stuck in my high school experience. ICQ saved me from many awkward phone calls with girls. I could tell them I liked them, if they didn’t like me, I’d say “Sorry, my stupid brother wrote that, I don’t really like you”
Pat: I’m with Adam. ICQ was a saviour to me. I had so much more confidence on my computer after a 40 of O.E… I can’t imagine what kids have to go through today.
Remember those nights when you were 15 and went to the closest park with your buddies and drank malt liquor until you puked? Kids these days wake up the next morning to that posted on Facebook for all of the other kids to laugh at and tease. And then they have to face it at school. The self-awareness that kids must experience these days has to be tremendous. No thank you!
Rob: I’m going through all those things now!
P&C: Steve is powerfully sexual, Davey is eternally youthful, and Mr T is just so gosh darn positive. How much of a stretch are these characters for each of you to play?
Adam: Baker is a sexual deviant, Pat is a naive idiot, and I’m just a really good actor playing a character.
Pat: Baker rocks a constant up-tuck, Adam wanted to pitch Guidance as a reality series, I’m a naïve idiot who gets really great people to do scenes with him.
Rob: No stretch at all. (wink wink)
P&C: Looking back, if you could change one thing about your high school experience, what would it be?
Adam: Not be in the double co-hort.
Pat: Should have done steroids.
Rob: I’d graduate.
P&C: Do you remember your own Guidance counselor giving you any advice?
Adam: “Go into computers, please do something with computers!”
Pat: “You should take OAC Parenting. It will help boost your average.”
Rob: She said I should find a new school. (True!)
P&C: What did your parents say when you told them you wanted to be an actor?
Adam: …. Fine….
Pat: “Give it 5 years”… It’s been 6.
Rob: They didn’t believe me. Still don’t.
P&C: Any advice for students going back to school?
Adam: Master all the forms of social media. That way when you become so feared with your ability to ruin someone’s reputation, all the girls will want to give you an HJ.
Pat: Don’t be a dick.
Rob: Watch Guidance at guidance.bitedaily.com