The talented young actress who plays Courtney Clovercock talks about the web series, the interactivity and upcoming films
I've always had a thing for very cool names, as in if I think your name is cooler than most, chances are I'd remember it more than the more garden-variety name out there... most of the time. That being said, if I were to run into a woman named, oh, Courtney Clovercock, which is the character that Nora Kirkpatrick portrays on the hit web series Dorm Life, I could pretty much guarantee that's a name I wouldn't forget. Dorm Life has become an internet sensation since debuting in February of 2008 and the show, now in its second season, is airing an episode per day this week for its Spring Break series. I had the chance to speak with Kirkpatrick over the phone about this hot web series, and here's what she had to say.
So you had acted in a few other things before, so can you talk a little bit about how you met all these guys and how you came on board the show?
Nora Kirkpatrick: Yeah. I was in the theater program at UCLA, and Chris (W. Smith) who plays Mike, I think one day he side-mentioned to me that they were starting a college web series. He had me come in and do some improve and read for Courtney. Then I don't know. They just asked me to do it and we kind of went from there.
Jim (Brandon) said you came up with the last name of Clovercock, which I just love, so where did that all come from?
Nora Kirkpatrick: I think Brittany and I were driving together to the set one day, and we just said that we can't just be people who have one name. That's just crazy, so we were both just thinking of our names and she thought of Wilcox, because that was one of the exits off the freeway. The Clover thing, I don't know, it just came to me and I was so excited that I thought of it, because my character is releasing an album, so Four Leaf Clover is just the perfect name for my album, so it all just kind of worked out.
So how close would you say your character is to your own collegiate self?
Nora Kirkpatrick: Oh, so so far away (Laughs). I think I went to one frat party my entire college career. I graduated early and went to Africa, and was totally not involved in college life. Courtney is just obsessed with the whole system. She loves her sorority and the fraternities and dances are the only things she can think about. The social world is the most important thing about college, that's what she's learning the most about. That's why it was so fun for me to play it, because I could live that life that I didn't ever want to live.
Just going through the motions once more.
Nora Kirkpatrick: Yeah, but it's really fun.
Can you talk a little bit about these Spring Break episodes? Does it get as crazy as it might be depicted on other shows or is it more of a real take on it?
Nora Kirkpatrick: I think everything, all the episodes are based on things that happened to people in college, or at least loosely based. All the big parties and the games we play, the pranks, the talent show, all that is stuff I feel, somewhere along the line, you have to do. We just took it from there and found the comedy in that. Then in the Spring Break episodes, we did a lot of improv, and all our webcams are improv, so that was our moment to speak our subconscious, for what you were feeling, during the episodes. Otherwise, I would say it's all based in reality somewhere.
Jim was talking about the freedom of doing a series like this. You don't have corporate ties to answer to or anything like that, so how much more of a freeing experience is it to work on a show like this?
Nora Kirkpatrick: It's so fun because you feel like there's no hierarchy going down that you have to please, of some sorts. There's no director or producer above you who are like, 'No, we shot it this way and it needs to be this way. We have an audience who wants this.' It's kind of like, hey whatever you want, make this funny for you, make this fulfilling for you. I think even more so on Season 2, the characters we developed in Season 1 were written in that way, so it really was a personal experience. I think how they were written on the page, and how they turned out at the end of the day were very different, and I think that was very wonderful for everyone. In my personal experience, doing my Fanmail Shmanmail section, which is like my improv webcams, those were really fulfilling for me because it was whatever I could ever want to do, and to see people react to that is nice.
I read you're at UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade) now, so that must be pretty good training for something like this.
Nora Kirkpatrick: Yeah. I've been doing UCB for awhile now, but it's just such a wonderful thing. I think a few people from the show have done UCB.
When you guys first started this, did you even fathom that it would be this huge? Getting 5 million hits on Hulu, stuff like that?
Nora Kirkpatrick: No, I don't think we did. I didn't even know what a web series was. This is the first web series I'd ever watched, was the one we were doing. I didn't kind of know the possibilities of it all, but by our second season I kind of realized, when I would be recognized on the street a lot, like in different cities, that this thing was a big deal and people were really liking it. That felt good because it felt that we made it, that we had a big stake in it. You just weren't hired, you had something to do with the whole thing, so it was good.
Jim was saying there were talks to bring this to broadcast or cable. So much of the show revolves around the interactivity of the internet community, so do you think if it does get picked up, you'd keep rolling with that, with the webcams and that kind of stuff?
Nora Kirkpatrick: I think for sure. I don't know if that's going to happen or not, but I think that would be a great opportunity to kind of bridge that gap. If it does go to TV, I think we still would be able to interact with our fans the same way we do now. We do the Facebook stuff, we do Twitter, I think we keep it up, because it's bringing the two together. I don't know if other shows are doing that right now, but I know The Office did a web series shoot-off, so I think that's possible.
What's the coolest fan interaction that you've had since doing this series?
Nora Kirkpatrick: Let's see. People send great messages. Some people made a mock video, of a mock video that I did. We did a mock video making fun of Abby, and someone did a mock video making fun of us making fun of Abby. I thought it was really funny, so that was nice seeing it's going to that place where people think that much of it that they want to sit at home and make a video about it. That's nice.
You have a few films in the works, with How to Make Love to a Woman, Growth and of course that Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen movie that people have been talking about. What can you tell us about those different films?
Nora Kirkpatrick: Yeah. It's been a really fun year. I've got those two indie films, How to Make Love to a Woman and Growth, and they were so wonderful to work on. They have some great people and I think they both just got distribution, so I've kind of gotten to work in a lot of different mediums this year. Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, which was just crazy to work on and then the indie films which would have good budgets and would look so much better than the budget, which is really impressive, and the web series, which didn't really have a budget, but the quality is so wonderful. I think getting to work in all those kinds of mediums, and I did do a few days on an HBO show, so it's just interesting to see how everyone works, and I think Dorm Life, out of all of them, is the most interactive, with the creators, the crew, the cast, so that's nice.
So is there anything that you're kind of looking toward joining now?
Nora Kirkpatrick: There are some things in the works that I can't really talk about, but I've been playing music a lot. I play in a band and we're kind of going on tour. That will be nice. But I think Dorm Life is going to have a future, which would be nice.
So when are you guys planning on doing a third season? Are you planning on starting to shoot that soon?
Nora Kirkpatrick: It has not been decided yet.
OK. Well, finally, what would you like to say to people who might have heard about the show and who haven't watched it yet, to have them check it out online?
Nora Kirkpatrick: I think we have so many different characters that are relatable. They're archetypes, in a way, but they're original archetypes and I think that everyone can find someone on the show where they're like, 'Oh dude.' Either, 'That is me' or 'I know that person.' It's so wonderful to see them do that. That's the most important part about liking a show, is finding something on it that is true to you... and is funny. So I think it would be good for everyone.
Excellent. We actually have the show on our site, so hopefully we can get some more hits for you guys.
Nora Kirkpatrick: Wonderful. That's so nice of you.
All right. Take care, Nora.
Nora Kirkpatrick: OK, thanks!
You can check out the brand new Spring Break episodes (and a LOT more great stuff) over at Dorm-Life.com, or if you want to catch up with the first season of the show, you can CLICK HERE to watch all of Season 1 (and most of Season 2) right here!