America's most beloved high school principal is back in the classroom-but this time, his classroom is on the internet. Dennis Haskins, who played Mr. Belding on the long running television show Saved by the Bell, stars in the new web comedy Acting School Academy (ActingSchoolAcademy.com). Haskins plays Marty DeWitt, an out of touch guru, in this dark and hilarious satire on life at a Los Angeles acting school.
Haskins signed onto the project in 2008, after reading the script and meeting with the show's producers Mo Darwiche and M. Ian Smith. "He nailed the character immediately," says series writer Kris Sharma. "And he really enjoyed getting to play a fun, flamboyant role. And, of course, has excellent comic timing."
The eight episode web series is off to a strong start, receiving over 300,000 views on YouTube and hundreds of Facebook fans in its first week. Fans have responded to the show's irreverent style and a "character universe" that goes far beyond a normal web show.
"We've done something entirely new with this project," says director M. Ian Smith. "In addition to the main episodes, viewers can watch over a hundred ancillary videos. They can even interact with characters on Facebook and Twitter in real time." Co-writer Michael Mayorga adds "We have video blogs, commercials, a music video, and even a fake sitcom."
Acting School Academy also has a unique distribution platform---the show is simulcast on YouTube, Koldcast TV, Facebook, and ActingSchoolAcademy.com. The show is currently on iTunes and will be on Tivo's line-up in the near future. Says producer Mo Darwiche "The tools for creating great content are more accessible than ever for Filmmakers. We feel a web show made by 4 people can be just as funny and well produced as a regular television show."