“Wicked Workout,” the latest endeavor from University of Rhode Island student filmmaker Chris Anderson ‘18, leads him away from short films and into the world of episodic television. Anderson says he just finished the final draft of the “Wicked Workout” pilot.
As suggested by the title, the show takes place primarily in a gym owned and operated by the main characters and is shot and written in the realistically humorous style that emulates hit shows like “The Office” or “Parks and Recreation.” The setting of a gym provides a lot of possibilities for background gags and physical humor. The show’s main cast consists of Russell, the head trainer and most grounded employee, along with the gym’s upbeat owner, Tracy, and a half dozen other loveable characters, including the sarcastic Shane and the overachieving Val.
Anderson has been searching for his eight stars throughout the New England Film website as well as Facebook groups for acting and actors. While the cast is close to assembled, he is still waiting on final casting calls before jumping into filming. Discussing his approach to developing a cast of characters for the audience to grow with, Anderson says he tries to find something within a character that he can relate to and a second attribute that he hopes another viewer would strongly relate to.
“Even if you don’t go to the gym, you know someone that goes to the gym,” Anderson said. “You know the type of people that can be associated with the gym. It’s not a show about the president, it’s something you can relate to.”
While “Wicked Workout” is using the River Bend Gym in Wakefield to film its interior setting and workplace, the show actually takes place in Boston, or the greater Boston area. According to Anderson, a Massachusetts native, this lends itself to “everything from the vocabulary to [characters’] clothing or color schemes, black and brown or red, white and blue.”
The team is ready to start filming a roughly 22-minute episode in the coming weeks. “It’s definitely almost a picture lock,” Anderson says. In order to get the appropriate setting, Anderson and his team are shooting during the nights.
“We’re going in at nine at night,” Anderson said. “We’re shooting until like five or six in the morning and doing it again the next night.”
The crew consists of Hans Stuting, who has worked with Anderson on many past films including “The Scene,” as the director of photography. Emma Rohnstock is the production designer and Rachel Beusee serves as the producer for “Wicked Workout.” The show is starring, written and directed by Anderson.
“You definitely find people who you enjoy working with,” said Anderson. “It’s a collaborative, creative melting-pot of ideas. If you don’t have good people to bounce ideas off of, you’re in trouble.”
As of now, the team plans to submit “Wicked Workout” to various festivals for episodic series and short films to share the show with as many people as possible and search for a company that will pick the show up for series production. There are even potential plans for how the show can progress throughout its initial season with a rising conflict, character revelations and potential budding romances.
More information for “Wicked Workout” and its production can be found on their Instagram @wickedworkouttv or on the “Wicked Workout” IndieGoGo page, https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wicked-workout.