"UNDERWATER" - poster
Independent writer/producers NATHAN MARSHALL and MICHAEL TRAYNOR are proving television projects really can be created at a fraction of the cost with all of the quality of a studio venture.
Their new half-hour comedy pilot “UNDERWATER,” features a witty concept and an impressive cast that includes: RACHEL NICHOLS (Alex Cross, GI Joe: Rise of Cobra, Continuum, Criminal Minds), BARRY BOSTWICK (Spin City, Cougar Town, Rocky Horror Picture Show), BROOKE NEVIN (Breakout Kings, Call Me Fitz) and co-creator Michael Traynor.
Prior to teaming up, Marshall and Traynor each built a solid resume in Hollywood. Marshall previously licensed scripts to CBS, Hazy Mills Productions, FilmNation Entertainment and others. While Traynor has been a writer on top-tier videos games, including Area 51, Spy Hunter and Shrek 2, and an actor in the Emmy Nominated web series “Imaginary Bitches” and numerous indie films.
I recently had a chance to catch up with the seriously funny Nathan Marshall and Michael Traynor to chat about their new TV pilot “Underwater.”
HOLLY: Tell us a little about your new half-hour TV comedy pilot “Underwater”?
Marshall & Traynor: “Underwater” rocks! It’s a show about a couple who are so underwater on their mortgage that they can’t afford to get divorced—so they keep living together while starting to date new people. It’s kind of a modern day “Odd Couple” — minus the latently gay bachelors — and stars Rachel Nichols, Barry Bostwick, Michael Traynor and Brooke Nevin. It has the feel of shows like “Californication” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — comedy inspired by everyday situations we all find ourselves in.
HOLLY: How did you go about securing some of Hollywood’s favorites for the cast?
Marshall & Traynor: It’s amazing how you can motivate people when you own the only copy of their sex tape! Seriously though — we started this process with a script we were proud of and a lot of big ideas for cast. We cold called people, begged favors, shared the script with everyone we knew in LA — and incredibly, some of those casting long shots actually happened for us. We couldn’t be happier with our amazing ensemble.
HOLLY: What brought the two of you together to work on this project?
Marshall & Traynor: We met at a party, realized we made each other laugh, and thought — “Hey, let’s spend the next year of our lives together struggling to produce an indie pilot!”
HOLLY: As the creators, what was the biggest challenge with “Underwater”?
Marshall & Traynor: To be honest, the money. We didn’t want to make “Underwater” unless we could produce a show capable of competing with the majors. It had to look great, sound great, and deliver the laughs. At every step, we had to figure out workarounds to achieve the quality of a professionally-produced series — so our challenges were many.
HOLLY: Did you experience any surprises along the way, either good or bad?
Marshall & Traynor: Both. The best surprise came early on. We’d spent months writing a script that we felt passionately about, but when the time came to start showing it to other people — we were both incredibly relieved and excited to garner so much positive feedback out of the gate. The bad surprises were mainly to do with craft services.
HOLLY: Now that the pilot is completed, where do you go from here with it?
Marshall & Traynor: To the Emmys. Duh?!
I certainly hope so, guys! And, thanks for sharing a bit of the behind-the-scenes antics of getting “Underwater” off the ground!
Behind the scenes of "UNDERWATER"