Chi-town class clowns to sketch comedy channel artists Sam Milman and Peter Vass push the limits of comedy and some comfort zones. These creators, writers and directors of Bad Weather Films have made us laugh, cry (from laughing) and subscribe to the comical concoctions that come from the Bad Weather Films Channel every week.
Last year the duo brought Tennessee Luke, a peculiar and eccentric comedian, from the streets of Hollywood to the HollyShorts Screen in their TV Pilot short ‘Project Tennessee.’ Today the pair is working on comedic movie trailers such as: Tinder, The Movie, Street Spelling, 8 Mile Parody Trailer, and Scarface 2: YouTube Power.
Where did you two meet?
We both joined a TV production class in high school where we made short films and worked on live TV broadcasts. We realized we had the same comedic sensibilities and made a short film together for our final project that became a bit of a hit in our high school.
What sort of short films did you make in high school? What was the beginning of Bad Weather Films because it was conceived?
Our first short film we made in high school was called Badminton: A Rivalry is Born. It was a Napoleon Dynamite meets Dodgeball; we acted as the two main characters as well as wrote and directed it. It became a bit of a phenomenon at our high school since we had a TV channel there and everyone would watch it. We even had people quoting us in the hallways and Sam even sold a couple of bootleg copies during school.
Where did you go to school to pursue film?
Sam went to Columbia Chicago and Peter went to The University of Iowa. Both of us studied film.
How did Bad Weather Films come to be?
After we graduated from college, we decided to move to Los Angeles together to pursue writing and directing comedy. We shot some sketches before moving out and decided to give a name to what we were doing and we came up with Bad Weather Films (which is based on of a voicemail Peter’s grandma left for his brother Nick). We uploaded a few videos on YouTube and the channel started growing from there.
How do you come up with what short to do next? Where did you get your fuel to your funny bone?
We keep notes and ideas in our phones when we think of them. Inspiration for comedy will come randomly and we make sure to make note of it to expand later. Then we put the ideas in a Google Doc and start writing the ones we want to shoot next. That depends on who we are collaborating with and the logistics of shooting the video.
In terms of influences, sketch shows like Chappelle Show, Key and Peele, and SNL gets us excited to think of ideas. YouTube sketch groups like Good Neighbor Stuff and The Lonely Island are inspirational as well, given what they accomplished starting out digital and making it to SNL.
Who is your favorite character to play?
Peter: Bruce is my favorite character to play because of how ridiculous he is and how awkward things can get when I interview people.
Sam: Barry is my favorite character to play because he doesn’t give an F about anything and he’ll say whatever is on his mind.
If you could stay in character all day, which character would you be?
Peter: If I could stay in character all day it would have to be ‘Joey the Park Ranger.’ I draw a lot of inspiration from nerdy dads, including my own, and feel like the character is believable enough that people sometimes don’t know I’m acting when I approach them in public.
Sam: ‘Yannick’ from The Most Best Talk Show because his accent is funny. Also, I like to wear fedoras.
What sort of awkward situations have you two gotten yourselves into while doing a sketch or staying in character?
We had guns drawn on us before by two police officers while filming a sketch in an alley, and then got padded down. In the sketch Sam was holding a fake gun to Peter’s head while he was pleading for his life, in a jean jacket and jeans, and that alarmed neighbors enough to call the police. Fortunately, they let us finish filming. Close second is getting kicked out of the Century City Mall for filming a music video, dressed up as girls.
What is your process like putting together a cast for your shorts?
Most of the time we are casting actors we already know and work with. We try to collaborate with other YouTubers in every video so a lot of our casting is through YouTube collaborations. Occasionally we will reach out to Upright Citizens Brigade and Groundlings members as well.
What else are you two working on? What will you submit next to HollyShorts or any other film festival?
We have a few TV ideas that we have been developing, shot a sizzle for one of them that we are currently pitching to networks, outlining our next feature film while also releasing YouTube videos every week!
Last year at HollyShorts your short ‘Project Tennessee’ screened: about an oddball hand model teaming up with a talent agent.
Tell me about how you met ‘Tennessee Luke’ and how you created a short from there:
We met Tennessee Luke on the street, literally. Peter was interviewing people in character in Hollywood outside of the Oscars back in 2012 when we came across an older man in a tuxedo ‘networking,’ and we had such a blast interviewing him we looked him up when we got home and realized we had recognized him from Tim and Eric Awesome Show sketches, it’s been love ever since.
Peter has a web series called ‘A Guy Walks Into A Bar’ and the third season starred Adam Ray as the lead bartender. Tennessee Luke was in an episode and their chemistry was so hilarious we decided to create a pilot and TV concept around them co-existing and that became Project Tennessee.
Tell me about the television projects you’re working on: Who do you have in mind for these television projects?
We have a few TV show ideas we have been developing them, one in particular called Club Temperature we shot a sizzle for that stars Adam Ray as the club promoter Stu Temperature and also features comedians Brad Williams, Whitney Rice, Melissa Villasenor, Scott Blair, and Peter Gilroy. We are also in the outline stage of writing our second feature film while continuing to upload videos weekly on our Bad Weather Films YouTube channel.