We interviewed Carlo Lorenzo Garcia a while back in a weekly feature we used to run. At the time Garcia seemed to be working in mostly dramatic roles but it was apparent he had a different calling.
What stood out about Garcia’s responses was his wit and continued tendency to drift toward comedic responses. When we saw he was the creator of a new comedy webseries, Under Covers, we knew we had to talk to him again. Needless to say, he did not disappoint!
Tell us about the idea for Under Covers and how it came to be.
About 6 months ago, I pitched this idea to Natalie DiCristofano, who plays Regan. I had this idea for a show about two private eyes who would do anything necessary to investigate crimes of the heart, cheating spouses. I knew wanted it to be a comedy and I knew I wanted Nick Mikula to play my partner. I wanted to create a show that would play into all of our strong suits, I play a lot of serious roles and Nick is one of my favorite goofballs, and we have great chemistry together that it provides quite a great straight man/funny man relationship. The city of Chicago is an amazing place to work and create, there are so many amazing actors and filmmakers that I want to work with and that became another driving force for this series. To work with actors, like Natalie West, Elizabeth Laidlaw, Richard Cotovsky, Howie Johnson, and so many more that I can’t quite name yet, it’s rewarding and so much damn fun!
The show is definitely oozing with an old school comedy duo feel. Were you influenced by the likes of Abbott and Costello and Laurel and Hardy?
The classic comedy duo structure really appeals to me, Nick and I both enjoy Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy. Our chemistry together is really comfortable and effortless. I really enjoy creating with Nick and the rest of the cast. Nick has the free reign to be the Jerry Lewis to my Dean Martin, or the Cheech to my Chong.
Regan is quite possibly our favorite character. Please tell us we will be getting more of her moving forward.
Regan is awesome, that’s all Natalie’s doing, I wrote the pilot episode and she was like you need me to play your secretary and Regan should answer the phones with a Brooklyn accent but talk to you guys normal. Natalie plays the part well, she is also one of the writers. She assisted with Episode 2 and wrote Episode 3. Regan is around to stay, she’s a recurring role and we will see some interesting sides of her in Phase 1.
Is this your first time working with Funny or Die? It seems like it would be stressful watching the funny meter fluctuate. Do you have to have an even higher level of confidence to exist under such a structure?
This is my first time hosting anything with Funny or Die. It is a bit stressful to see those die votes come in, but honestly, those are great too. I say that because we caused a reaction with our show. Not everyone is going to love everything we do but if you hate it so much that you have to vote DIE, we still had an effect on you and that’s pretty cool.
If one of your episodes were voted to “DIE” would you feel like it was time to move on and assume the story grew tired, or would you be motivated to prove them wrong?
If one of the episodes were voted to DIE a tragic death, I would get back up and make more episodes, I’m passionate about creating content because of the reactions it can provoke. If someone hates it so much they are compelled to kill it, that’s a reaction. We are going to continue creating the content that we enjoy and stay true to our vision. That’s all we have, we have our voice, our vision, and the balls to stick to it and continue to do what we love.
With detective stories possibly more popular than ever, what do you feel sets you apart from the crowd?
Detective stories are some of the oldest stories in entertainment, I can rattle off a list of shows, films in the detective genre. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Don Johnson in Miami Vice or Magnum PI, maybe I will don a Don Johnson white blazer as Cortez in Under Covers: Hawaii?
We respect that and the tropes created, but we also hope to mess with those tropes, have fun with the genre. Stylistically, we are shooting this as if it were a cop drama, but the characters and dialog skews it towards sitcom. I think that is something that will set us apart from the crowd.
Should we be expecting a monster of the week type format or does Under Covers turn into a serial?
You will find over the course of Phase 1, we like the Marvel conception of Phases, that you will get a good mix of both Case of the Day with a good serial through line, these guys have to deal with cases as they come in, but they also have their lives to live and we get to see a good mix of both. Natalie, Kasia Januszewski, Nick Mikula, Spenser Davis and myself are each writing episodes and part of our own version of writer’s room, we’ve developed a Phase 1 story arc and 10 great episodes based on our meetings and outline I pitched. We will also have a couple great guest writers as well, which we will announce at a later date.
When should we be expecting episode 2 and if you are willing to divulge, what’s in store?
Episode 2 will be released in June, we are currently filming episodes 2 & 3. Since we are independently produced and we’ve decided to skip the crowdfunding route. We have been saving up our pennies and investing in Under Covers ourselves, so episodes will take a little bit longer to come out, but we will fill the space and time with short non-episode videos that reveal character, story, or just be us having a good time. In episode 2, McClusky’s wish to get to be bird is fulfilled, but he gets in way over his head and has to find a way of out a pretty painful and sticky situation. Vague enough for ya?
Many of the people we talk have found or believe a crowdfunding campaign is or was vital to their project. What made you choose not to follow that path?
I believe that a successful crowdfunding campaign can be vital for some projects, but I’m in a community of actors, filmmakers and musicians and I feel like every week another crowdfunding campaign is popping up, a bit oversaturated, so it’s hard to generate real interest unless you have a name actor attached ala Zach Braff or a huge following like Rooster Teeth. Personally, if I am going to spend my time reaching out to friends and folks, I would rather ask them to watch an episode instead of donating $5. It puts the financial weight on my shoulders, but ultimately, the goal is the have more viewers and genuine fans down the road.
When you mention the “phase” idea popularized by Marvel, do you mean we should expect other stories and characters operating within the same world but not exclusive to the main story line?
Yes, absolutely. You will find over the course of the first season, characters that appear in episodes that could exist in their own world. Without giving too much away, in episode 3, we are creating our own celebrities, that could potentially be spun off into their own project, this really excites me. To be able to have Under Covers, give birth to another show or project. We are creating the world of Under Covers, and as we bring these characters in, they may garner their own following outside of the main story line.
You can find out more about Under Covers on Funny or Die.