Andrew West Spills About His Time at Club Rockville   

Andrew J. West as Hunter in ROCKVILLE, CA (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thorp/Warner Bros. Television Group)Rockville, CA will be opening its doors tomorrow morning at 9AM EST on TheWB.com and we’ll have four episodes, with four bands, to enjoy. And I’m looking forward to it. Have been looking forward to it since I first heard about it.

The web series, from Josh Schwartz and Alex Patsavas, is set in a fictional Los Angeles rock club and follows the lives of a group of twentysomethings who gather there regularly to hear their favorite bands, blow off steam, fall in love with the wrong people, and talk about doing all of those things.

Andrew West, who we’ve previously seen on Privileged and who we’ll be seeing this spring on Greek, plays Hunter, the hipster-cute smart guy who has recently graduated from Brown University. He meets Deb, his philosophical nemesis and eventual love interest, at Club Rockville and we get to see their relationship progress throughout the series. Late last week I got the chance to chat with Andrew briefly about the series. Check out our interview below for more on what it was like to film a web series, the music on the show, Andrew’s favorite character, and which episodes he doesn’t want you to miss.

Thank you for taking time to talk to me today. I’m really excited for the series to start. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for it!

Andrew West: Good, good, me too, I’m very excited myself. It’s a matter of days at this point.

Have you seen any of the episodes at all at this point?

AW: Yeah I’ve seen final cuts of the first three or four episodes and rough cuts of some of the ones after that.

I’ll start with the question I’m sure you’ve heard a thousand times already, what was it about this role that interested you?

Andrew J. West as Hunter in ROCKVILLE, CA. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thorp/Warner Bros. Television Group) AW: I got a chance to see the first episode – I think the first two episodes actually – during the audition process and the dialog is what jumped out at me initially, especially my character. I mean, it was a really fleshed out character – the character that I play, Hunter. You can kind of almost see his personality on the page which was exciting because that’s not always the case when you get a script. A lot of times the character’s aren’t as fleshed out as that or as interesting or dynamic. So, right off the bat, the first episode starts with this long monologue about one of the bands that’s playing and it was just really funny and really well written. And it was exciting and I knew that it was going to be kind of a high octane character which is fun. That’s what initially interested me.

Did the fact that it was a web series play any role in your decision to take the part?

AW: The web series aspect … I didn’t really know much about web series prior to this project. I had never worked on one and I hadn’t really watched one before either. So, um, I mean it was interesting because I just didn’t know what that was going to entail but it was more the material than anything else. That’s what really drew my attention. The fact that it was a web series was kind of interesting too just to kind of figure out what that was going to be all about.

Had you watched any web series before this?

AW: I’ve seen bits and pieces of some here and there. Not too many, I haven’t had a chance to really delve in too deep. But it’ll be interesting to compare ours to some of the other ones. From what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen, I think Rockville’s pretty unique as far as the concept goes. Sort of how it is set up.

I agree. I was just telling a friend today that this series is definitely more ambitious than most and a perfect mix of ideas. So many bands these days are leveraging the Internet to garner attention and get their music out there in a way they couldn’t before without a major label. Kind of like web series let filmmakers do the same thing.

AW: I think it’s a great medium for this kind of entertainment because it sort of is half music and half narrative storytelling. And I think the web lends itself well to this kind of thing because, you’re right, it’s great for the bands on the show and it’s great for… The show is really helped out by the bands as well. I figure people who are interested in the show will probably get introduced to a lot of great bands and people who are interested in the bands will introduced to our show. It’s a nice trade-off. What’s cool to is that each episode has a live performance but you don’t see the entire two songs but you can find the two whole songs on the website as well. So you can watch the whole live performance of the band afterwards if you want, after you see them in the episode.

Ahh, which means you guys got to see the entire performance when you were filming it, right?

The Kooks perform at Club Rockville. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thorp/Warner Bros. Television Group)AW: Yeah, that’s what was really interesting about this job. I’ve never had a job quite like it where we show up to work in the morning and it’s like going to a concert. The bands would perform right there in the club and they would film them and it was like any concert I’ve ever been to, it was great.

Did you discover any new musical favorites while filming?

AW: Yes, absolutely. I got introduced to several bands that I hadn’t heard or that I had been acquainted with before but I grew to really love. White Lies was absolutely fantastic. I hadn’t heard of them before. They came on the show and they really blew me away. The Kooks were great. They were another band that was new to me that I’ve really grown to love. Those two were probably my favorites. But, honestly, we got compilation discs when we first started working, I think on the first day of shooting, and all the songs are great. I was so excited after I listened to the CD to kind of get a taste of who was going to be on our show because it’s a lot of really good rock bands.

That’s awesome! I’m jealous; I’d love to have a soundtrack from the series myself. Can you talk a bit about the differences in filming a web series vs. television or other types of projects?

AW: Yeah absolutely. It was quite different from TV. It was a little bit smaller. It kind of had the feel more of like an indie film set than it did a TV set. First off, none of it was shot in a studio. It was all on location at the Echoplex in Echo Park here in Los Angeles. So we were in a club the entire time, shooting. It wasn’t a stage, it wasn’t a sound stage or anything like that. The crew was a little bit smaller than you’d get a normal TV set and, for TV, often times you get a [different] director who comes in for every episode. But this one was directed by – the same guy did the entire series, Norman Buckley, who was fantastic. So it kind of had the feel of shooting sort of, you know, an indie movie. We were working with the same director the whole time, we were working with a smaller crew, we really got a lot of time to feel out the scenes and do rehearsals and really have fun with it. Which oftentimes you don’t get in TV because it moves so quickly – it’s a little bit more fast-paced – so it was nice.

Does that mean you had a little bit more time than you’d have when doing TV?

AW: It might not even have been that we had more time. I think maybe we didn’t feel quite as rushed because it was just a smaller… there were less hands involved than you get on TV. There weren’t a lot of the writers or studio heads looking in and making their changes to it. It was all just kind of the cast and Norman Buckley and Josh Schwartz, of course, and we just didn’t feel as rushed as TV can.

AW: That having been said, we certainly were on a schedule and we did have to move quickly. We shot about 20 episodes of the series in just about 20/22 days. 20 or 22 work days which is still, I mean the episodes are short – they’re only about 5/6 minutes – but, uh, it basically worked out to shooting an episode a day. Which is a lot of material to cover in any day. It was a little less stressful and I felt like we could work at more of a slow, kind of comfortable, pace on this which was good.

(l-r) Andrew J. West as Hunter, Alexandra Chando as Deb, Matt Cohen as Syd, Jelly Howie (rear) as Callie, Bonnie Burroughs as Shawn and Ryan Hansen as Chambers in ROCKVILLE, CA. (Photo Credit: Pamela Littky/Warner Bros. Television Group)How was it then to work with the cast in a smaller environment like that? Did help to strengthen the bonds between you guys?

AW: It’s always nice to have a big trailer but oftentimes it kind of be a little harmful if you’re sitting in the trailer the whole time and you don’t really spend a lot of time with the cast. We didn’t really have the sort of budget for that sort of thing so we were all just hanging out in the club every day together. Everybody got to know each other really quickly because we were all just hanging out on set and watching each other do scenes and stuff like that. No one was sneaking away to hang out in a dressing room because there weren’t any really. So we became pretty tight, kind of like a family really fast.

Can I go back to it being a web series for a second? Do you think there were any challenges specifically related to this being a web series?

AW: I don’t think the challenges had much to do with the medium we were working in. I think the most challenging aspect of the project was tackling this kind of character. Hunter, the character I play, is very verbose. He’s got a vocabulary and he uses it. The script is packed full of all kinds of crazy monologues about pop culture and about my opinions on everything from brunch to glam bands of the 80s in LA. So the biggest challenge was to get in and make those things real and funny and that kind of stuff. I’ve never dealt with so much dialogue on a regular basis before so that was the biggest challenge I think.

Could you relate to the stuff in your character’s monologues? Like the pop culture references, etc.? Or did you end up learning a lot from Hunter?

AW: I certainly learned some things through the project and through my character, without a doubt, but a lot of it was totally relatable. There was a large aspect of Hunter that very much reminded me of not only myself but a lot of my friends too. It’s easy to fall into these conversations, these fun conversations, just kind of sitting around with your friends and talking about different bands from different eras or different movies or what kind of food you like to eat, whatever it is. It very much had that feel. A lot of it was very relatable and felt very much like me and then there was a large aspect of Hunter that was not like me at all. Which was kind of fun to explore and kind of get in touch with as well. And that’s the perfect kind of character, in my eyes. A character that is like you enough to where you can really relate and it’s fun to kind of dig in and then different enough, also, where it’s challenging and you have to stretch yourself a little bit too.

Ryan Hansen (left) as Chambers and Andrew J. West (right) as Hunter in ROCKVILLE, CA. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Thorp/Warner Bros. Television Group)Which character, other than Hunter, was your favorite?

AW: It’s easy, really. I would say that Ryan Hansen’s character, Chambers, was my favorite. I have never laughed so hard watching somebody act. That guy had me cracking up for 20 days in a row. Watching him work, especially working with him, was difficult sometimes because, when we were doing scenes together, oftentimes I couldn’t even hold it together. He would make me break almost every take. I’d be cracking up which, uh, might have slowed things down a little but I was certainly having fun. But, yeah, I’d say Chambers, Ryan Hansen, he was amazing.

To wrap up, are there any episodes that you really liked and we should watch out for?

AW: I love episode #2, it’s called “The Douche.” Ryan Hansen’s character, Chambers, is introduced in episode two, it’s one of my favorite episodes and I think he’s just fantastic. There’s one called “Codpiece” that I really like a lot, I think it’s really funny. It’s a great scene for Alex and I, it’s just a fun kind of scene. And the finale, episode 20, which I have not seen but I think was just a fantastically written episode and was a lot of fun to shoot. I think it’s going to be really great too. So those are three that stand out but there’s plenty more. From what I’ve seen, especially so far, they’re really good. I’m excited about it.

Me too!

3 Responses to “Andrew West Spills About His Time at Club Rockville”

  1. 1
    Polter-Cow says:

    I think my radio station’s indie show loves White Lies too. I like the Kooks.

    The whole thing’s 20 episodes? Damn! That’s twice as long as a *Guild* season!

  2. 2
    Rae says:

    It is but they also release four episodes the first week and then two every week after that. So it lasts about as long as a Guild season if not even a little less.

  3. 3

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