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Unpaid Actors: Local Improv Web Show Creates Outlet for Actors


Photo credit: Unpaid Actors

Written by: Communicator StaffMarch 26, 2014

Miranda Wheeler, cofounder of an up-and-coming improv troupe in Fort Wayne, said that her biggest inspiration to bring a creative outlet to town was her love for “American Idol.”

For years she had watched the show diligently and thought it was a great forum for people to expose their talents and provide entertainment for mass audiences. When “So You Think You Can Dance” came out, she was excited that acting, her chosen art, would be showcased on television next.

“There’s nothing for actors and there should be. I just kept waiting for Hollywood to do it and I got tired of waiting,” Wheeler said.
Inspired by this frustration and the lack of a market for actors, she decided to create her own improv group.

Wheeler met Josh Hart as a suggested “like” on Facebook for his film company Black Hart Films.

“Yeah, I met a guy on the Internet and it [facebook] told me we should make a T.V. show together,” Wheeler said.

As they met they began mulling over the idea, and Unpaid Actors, what Hart describes as “‘American Idol’ meets ‘Fear Factor’ for actors,” was conceived.

Actors who pass the audition process will be given a series of challenges where they must improvise on the spot. These challenges will then be recorded and uploaded to the internet. All of the web series are unpaid, thus creating the name.

“There is a lot of talent here in Fort Wayne that isn’t tapped into yet,” Hart said.

Wheeler hopes the web show’s first season will weed out the talent and help her to choose carefully who will be on the show.

“It’s a show, more of a competition with all the actors, that all who are involved will compete in different scenarios that we come up with…they will compete in groups to test their acting, test their improv,” Hart said.

Part of their challenges, drawing upon inspiration from Fear Factor, will be to ask their contestants what their fear is.

“You know, if you say you don’t like snakes you might come into having to work with snakes to see how well you can improvise through it… I won’t be at that show because I don’t like snakes,” Hart said.

At present, members of unpaid actors are filming at several locations, including CS3 in Fort Wayne. They are also considering presenting their auditions to live audiences.

Hart and Wheeler both agree that they aren’t developing this project for financial gain, as the name of their group suggests. Instead, they are doing it for their passion of acting and to share that passion with other actors in the Fort Wayne area.

They encourage anyone interested in being a part of the Unpaid Actors team to like their Facebook page, Black Hart Films, and get in contact with either Josh Hart or Miranda Wheeler.

Story by: Logan Hursh