By Matt Blair
If you still haven’t had the chance to attend a live episode of “You Would,” KVIK’s (Western’s television station) quarterly sketch comedy show, Thursday is your last opportunity to be a part of the studio audience this year. Starting at 7:30 p.m. in the VU Multipurpose Room, the spring episode of “You Would” is unique for a few different reasons, according to “You Would” Executive Producer Nick Andrews.
According to Andrews, the first thing viewers will notice is that the show begins and ends with a pair of musical numbers written and recorded by the KVIK crew. Andrews said that the songs proved to be quite a challenge for many of the crew members who were not necessarily trained in theater arts. They decided to use songs, Andrews said, because it allowed them to put a creative interpretation on a classic Broadway favorite.
“It was a serious challenge trying to write and perform songs because most of us can’t sing,” Andrews said.
The “You Would” crew has a surprise planned after the opening number. While Andrews kept mum about the secret, he said that it directly dealt with four of the crew members, including Andrews, who is facing graduation. The seniors wanted to tackle a particularly challenging theme for this quarter’s episode, said Andrews.
“It’s [the secret theme] so shocking and people definitely don’t want to talk about it,” Andrews said. “We decided that it would be funny to take on, so we’re going there.”
Although this will be Andrews’ final episode as a member of the “You Would” crew, he said that he was glad to have been a part of such a successful project with KVIK.
Since its inception, “You Would” has been the most attended quarterly event KVIK hosts. Live shows typically sell out and in the two years Andrews has been assisting “You Would,” he said that KVIK has also been able to increase the technical capabilities of filmmaking, including new cameras and editing software.
“It’s been completely unreal, working with KVIK,” Andrews said. “The whole station started out as a pea and it keeps snowballing. We’ve gone from being screened in front of 90 people and having the whole thing filmed on handy cams to what it is today.”
Andrews feels that this episode will showcase the abilities of the “You Would” crew, something he has been able to be a part of for the last two years.
“It’s awe-inspiring to work with such scary-talented individuals,” said Andrews.
One such individual is junior Gabriel Conroy, director of last year’s big KVIK premiere “Lord of the Zombie City.” Conroy wrote and directed LOTZC last year with assistance from KVIK. Currently Conroy is working on his second film short for KVIK, a music titled “WWUsical” (sounds like “musical” spoken from the lips of someone that overstates their “M”s, if you flip the “W”s over.)
Following LOTZC, Conroy felt that he wanted a project that used many of the same film techniques but also demanded a different style of narrative.
“The zombie film went by really fast,” Conroy said. “Everything was shot and edited so fast and there was so much action all the time. I was looking for something completely different that shared the same kinetic methods of shooting.”
After he had decided to try writing a musical, Conroy looked for a story to match the genre. He eventually set out to make a loose parody of “High School Musical,” with other references popular teen films such as “Twilight.” However, Conroy only wanted to use parody as one form of the story, adding his own elements to the film, including a girl who is obsessed with Sharpies, her emo friend and even a walking, talking version of death who drops one-liners and plays Nintendo DS.
“Basically I wanted to say, ‘what if death was a character and one person was emo?’” Conroy said. “Those peculiarities excited me about the project. I like to make fun of anything that’s intense or serious and when I passed the idea of a dark musical around, everyone said they’d be excited to do it.”
Having a dedicated crew has been the best asset for “WWUsical,” Conroy said. Many of the scenes were shot at Mt. Baker, a setting that Conroy thought made the film feel more authentic but also brought unexpected challenges. For instance, changing weather and cold conditions meant the crew had to constantly adapt and made Conroy more active in his approach to editing.
“I’m very proud of my cast and crew, especially my actors,” Conroy said. “They went up to [Mt.] Baker three different times; that shows dedication in my book. It ensured that we had interesting and authentic locations.”
Though “WWUsical” was originally scheduled to premiere this spring, it has since been pushed back to next fall. Conroy said that the extra time will permit the crew to do more extensive work and has helped bring coherence to making a musical.
“Once we realized that we weren’t going to premiere in the spring we kind of settled down a bit,” Conroy said. “A lot of what we’re trying to do this time around as opposed to the zombie movie is to stay organized and be prepared. Things often get thrown at you and rather than being rigid and shattering, you have to be flexible and just let the scenes work for themselves.”
For more information about KVIK or to watch past videos online, please visit kvik.as.wwu.edu