Interview with Sandeep Parikh

Sandeep Parikh is known best for playing the high energy character, Zaboo in the web series “The Guild”.  The web series is incredibly popular and is entering its fifth season this Summer.  Movie Mikes had a chance to chat with Sandeep about the series as well as his other projects.

Mike Gencarelli: How did you get involved with “The Guild”?
Sandeep Parikh: We all sort of hung out in the same improv circle and were in a group together. I’m now shooting a bunch of shorts for Channel101.com which is a kind of independent on-line festival of television pilots.

MG: What is the best part of playing Zaboo?
SP: I really have a good time with Zaboo, he’s such a ridiculous guy. It’s easy to characterize him…to bring the energy for him. I think that one thing people notice is that when I improvise I like to play really high energy characters and do a lot of physicality. Because I’m not as witty as everybody else I have to rely on being silly and more comedic. Zaboo is just that usual high energy, enthusiastic, impish, funny guy. I like that he’s sort of pure of heart, even if he’s inappropriate. It’s a fun character to play and, out of all of them, he’s the one that’s evolved over the course of the seasons of the show. Every season he’s had a real distinct arc…him becoming a man in season two and this past season him becoming her best friend. He’s always having new experiences. He’s evolving and changing and that’s always fun. It’s a fun challenge every season.

MG: You have been apart of various other web series. Do you enjoy working in that format?
SP: I’d be lying if I said I came out to L.A. to create web series. They didn’t really exist when I came out here in 2004. I started out to be a writer/director and actually shot an independent television pilot myself. That was my aim. The acting was sort of an accident. I took improv because I wanted to feel what it was like on the other side or on stage. To feel the experiences an actor goes through. As for the web series thing…when I came out here I did that pilot. That got me representation at William Morris. It didn’t do well but I traveled around with it. Not that I didn’t do well…I ended up at one of the top five agencies in L.A. But it didn’t get picked up. I went around and pitched it and everybody seemed to like it…”it’s funny but it’s not for us.” I wasn’t famous enough. When I became involved with Channel101 I realized that I could continue to make new projects. But also I learned not to fall in love with my one sole project and put my eggs all in one basket. The whole thing is that you make a new show every month. And when the show gets cancelled by the audience…the audience votes on what show it wants to see come back with another episode…as soon as the show is cancelled you make another one. I made one called “The Legend of Neil,” which is about a guy who gets sucked into “The Legend of Zelda” video game. That show was shot for Channel101 but ultimately it didn’t run on Channel101. Then someone told me they loved the show and had put it on YouTube where it got half a million hits. I mean my in box exploded it was awesome. Later I went to all of the offices where I had pitched my first pilot to. I told them “here is my next show…it’s already got a fan following and they want to watch more. Of course most of the comments that said “more” were spelled “m o a r” but I was like “this is a no brainer for you guys.” And every meeting when I walked out I had an offer. And that showed the power of the internet…of being able to generate your own fan base. It’s great to be a part of something new…to be on the cresting wave of the web revolution. It’s pretty radical, as Charlie Sheen might say.

MG: Any chance you guys will shoot another song for new season?
SP: We’re already talking about giving them a special video. I don’t know if it’s going to be a music video or what but most likely I’ll just be acting in it since they rotate the other opportunities through the cast. The last one was my idea. I love “Avatar” and thought wouldn’t it be great to make a “Bollywood” version. Bollywood and Indians are so hot right now. “Slumdog” had just won the Oscar. That idea hung around for a while and then, during season four, I got a call that said “hey, do you remember that Bollywood thing?”

MG: What other projects do you have in the works?
SP: Right now I’m just doing a lot of writing. The success of “Legend of Neil” led to a pilot deal with Comedy Central. I’m hoping that will be successful. I hope it shows that there is a real upside to making contact on the web. I’m not saying that making contact on the web will always lead to television but being successful on the web has to lead to more
success in order for this to be a viable project. It just happens to be television. I’m convinced that the web and television are going to collapse soon any way (laughs). But it proves to me that having my own audience is invaluable. I’ve also just started to pitch a digital project that will be coming out. It’s still in the early stages. Then “The Guild” starts shooting in May. I’m also going to be in my first feature film, called “Leash.” which is a thriller. I’ll be shooting that over the next couple of months. I’m also writing a feature film with my co-writer/co-star of “Legend of Neil” and writing the Zaboo origin comic for “The Guild” for Dark Horse comics.

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