34 Days of Drama 3/4

Got some time on your hands? Come with us for a month+ of delightful diversions as we deep-dive into our vast body of work! Each day we’ll be spotlighting projects from D34’s past, present and future, with videos, galleries, and even a handful of live-streaming events. Stay tuned!


Where to begin with this one? It started as a closing number – actually, the first closing number – in A.S.S. (Another Showcase Showdown), when the show was still in its infancy. But David Fickas always knew it would work better as a film. So in late 2002, with Brice Beckham and producer Josh Uranga newly onboard at Drama 3/4 Productions, the team set out to shoot this wildly-uncomfortable sketch.

Now, David had spent his entire childhood in Arcadia hopping the fence next to his house to trespass onto the Los Angeles Arboretum, where he’d run around as if he owned the place, singing and dancing and watching major motion pictures being filmed (such as Three Fugitives, and the Tia Carrere music video from Wayne’s World. Coincidentally, his first professional acting role would also be filmed there, in Fabio: A Time for Romance). Naturally, to shoot this movie in the woods, Fickas convinced everyone involved that it was perfectly acceptable to hop the fence, trespass onto the Arboretum, run around like they owned the place, singing and dancing and etc.

When confronted by security, we told them we were “making a movie for our grandparents’s anniversary.” If they’d watched us roll on a scene for even a few seconds, they would’ve deduced that this was an obvious lie.

The irreverent romp became an official selection of the 2004 Slamdance Film Festival, then circulated around Hollywood on DVD and VHS, eventually landing on a desk at VH1, which eventually brought the network to see A.S.S., which eventually led to The AfterWork Special, which eventually led to I Hate My 30’s.

You just never know how far a parody of one of the most unsettling and violent scenes in cinematic history will take you.

Listen, we can’t always be the ringmasters of our own circus. Sometimes we’re the guys behind the curtain. In addition to all the <ahem> spectacular content you’ve been digesting for the last 17 days, there are hundreds of other projects we’ve only been involved with from the standpoint of POST PRODUCTION. And that’s not even including the gazillion reels we had a hand in editing over the years (such as January Jones, Jim Gaffigan, Sasha Alexander, Tim Blake Nelson, Kiernan Shipka, Karl Urban, The Dan Band and Namey Dropperson to list just a few). Here’s a collection of some D34 post work that makes us particularly proud.

  • Reality Quest (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) – We were engaged by Studio71 to assemble this Christmas promo from Dwayne “The Not Paper Or Scissors*” Johnson’s Seven Bucks channel on the eve of the new Jumanji franchise. Check out those rad game graphics!
    *This is a terrible joke. You’re welcome.
  • Broken Hearts Division – Nicole Feenstra’s spoofy show about a “Love Crimes” law enforcement unit was right up our alley. D34 edited the entire web series, which is available to watch on Amazon Prime!
  • Somewhere Slow – We made the trailer for this moving feature film, directed by our good friend and colleague, Jeremy O’Keefe. Somewhere Slow is available to rent or own on multiple platforms, including Amazon Prime.
  • Limerence – Also streaming on Amazon Prime, Tammy Minoff’s indie feature Limerence, from the producer of Kissing Jessica Stein. Not only did we cut the trailer, we also did some music supervising for this charming movie, recruiting several Mix Tape regulars for the soundtrack.

Stay with us throughout our 34 Days of Drama 3/4 for more collabs… especially this coming Thursday, April 16, when we’ll screen other favorites from our post pile – Natalie & Tara‘s Panic Button, directed by Jason C. Brown; and Leonora Pitts’s Like Holy Wine – as part of our Offline Movie Night – Online Edition.

Watch Broken Hearts Division on Amazon Prime!
Rent or own Somewhere Slow on Amazon Prime!
Watch Limerence on Amazon Prime!

Enough looking backwards for the time being. How about something brand-spanking-new? Drama 3/4 Productions is incredibly proud to present the online PREMIERE of Fulfillment, the directorial debut of our good friend, Marisa Coughlan (Super Troopers, Teaching Mrs. Tingle).

While Marisa has been an accomplished actor and writer for years, this is her first time behind the camera, yet also still in front of it. Fulfillment is the story of two delivery warehouse workers (played by Coughlan and Super Troopers co-star Kevin Heffernan) desperate to find compassion in the face of loneliness and isolation in their everyday lives. The film features a beautiful piano score by Marisa’s husband, Stephen Wallack, and additional music by Nick Pierone, both of whom were in our recent livestream of I Made You A Mix Tape.

We look forward to a successful festival run when film festivals become a thing again. But in the meantime, we have the honor of premiering Fulfillment via livestream, with director Marisa Coughlan and star Kevin Heffernan, hosted by David Fickas.

The livestream is available below, but only for a limited time. Enjoy it now before it’s gone!

Ah, branded entertainment! We were certainly on the ground floor of that movement. Case in point, the first of several partnerships with MSN and Reveille (producer of Ugly Betty, The Office and The Biggest Loser)… our web series for Volvo, Mr. Robinson’s Driving School. The time was 2007, when MySpace still reigned supreme and “social media” didn’t have a name yet. The variables we were given:

  • The amazing Craig Robinson
  • Runs a driving school
  • Using a Volvo C30.

Well, this what came out of our brains! The 16-part web series also stars Jeannie Bolet, Lola Blank, Scott Walker Mullin and Pirates of the Caribbean’s Lee Arenberg as “Boyd Butler” (our world’s Cal Worthington). Keep an eye out for all kinds of D34 regulars including Pam Cook, Liam Sullivan, Kirk Zipfel, David Rothblum, Brice Beckham, plus a sweet dog and an adorable goat. Other side notes:

  • Additional material written by Megahn Perry and Liam Sullivan!
  • Some episodes directed by Mike Horowitz!
  • Filmed primarily at College of the Canyons, where Brice’s mom was once on the faculty!

All 16 episodes may be found below. Binge watch them, they work kind of like one big feature film! Enjoy!

It’s kind of a long story, but here goes… Before there was VH1’s I Hate My 30s, there was a pilot presentation called The AfterWork Special.

Okay, it wasn’t that long of a story. Let’s do the more detailed version.

When VH1 first approached Drama 3/4 about developing a TV show inspired by A.S.S. (Another Showcase Showdown), the team came very close to creating a workplace comedy set in a casting office (the bookends of this concept being Anakin Auditions, and eventually, Chestnut Casting… but we digress). After a competing pilot was greenlit at the network, it was suggested we do something in the “Afterschool Special” teen morality play genre (Brice Beckham had been in one of those, but we double digress). And so, The AfterWork Special was born, Brice and David’s comedic take on throwback, family-friendly dramas full of specific life lessons, but for adults. It became known around VH1 as the pilot presentation that wouldn’t die, until it finally went to series as I Hate My 30’s (more on that later, because triple digression).

Since our glossier, more contemporary sitcom was vastly different in style and pace, we couldn’t really air the original AfterWork Special as a standalone pilot. But Viacom hates wasting money, so the existing presentation was cut up, sandwiched between new I Hate My 30’s scenes and repurposed into a flashback episode. Keep an eye out for CAMEOS FROM THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR, with ’80s icon Tiffany and the late, great Jani Lane of Warrant.

Now, for the first time anywhere other than a network exec’s DVD player… The AfterWork Special.

It’s Pam!! This one’s all about Pam!!

If you’ve been paying any attention to Drama 3/4, you’re well aware of our obsession with the living legend that is the one-and-only Pam Cook. She’s only made a few appearances thus far in our 34 Days (most notably as Fern in The Bulbar Method), but fear not, lovelies, because that is just the tip of the time capsule. You’ll see plenty more of Pam throughout this run, including…

  • The Basement and the Kitchen
  • The Date Game
  • Locks of Gold
  • Buttfucker
  • The HousePlace pilot
  • Fortune Rookie
  • I Hate My 30’s
  • Mr. Robinson’s Driving School
  • Chestnut Casting – Fern returns!
  • Loves Me Loves Me Not

…and later…

  • Down the Middle – NEW SERIES COMING THIS FALL!

“But I don’t want to wait,” you cry. “I must have more Pam, now!” We get it. You love Pam, and so do we! So, to tide you over until her inevitable resurgence (i.e. tomorrow), here are two videos that didn’t quite fit anywhere else in our lineup. First, there’s the magically-meta Acting Out, in which Pam and David do just that. And as a chaser, we have David & Pam’s Audition Tape, in which Pam and David audition for… something.

Your Pam portion is served! Come and get it!

Historically speaking, we pretty much owe the entire Drama 3/4 universe to the Iceman. The Arcadia High Drama 2 stage production of The Iceman in 1990 was a silly, murderous romp, and the very first project ever written and directed by David Fickas (co-written and co-directed by Josh Uranga). Later, after Fickas entered USC’s School of Theatre, he was excited by the idea of mounting a prequel. But he soon discovered that the school was not used to that kind of thing. When he was told The Iceman Chronicles could not be part of the school’s official ’94-’95 season, Fickas convinced them to give him access to the black box Massman Theater so he could put up the play independently. In the tradition of his Arcadia High experience, he called the show a “Drama 3/4” production. (Little did he know that this push to create independent works – along with similar efforts by his classmate, director Michael Uppendahl – would eventually inspire the school to form a sanctioned “ISP” program for Independent Student Productions that continues to this day.)

Fast forward to over a decade later… the now-professional Drama 3/4 Productions, Inc. made a deal to shoot two pilot presentations simultaneously for Fox Television Studios. One was an adaptation of an existing FTVS property (more about that later this month). But when asked what they’d like to do for the other, the Drama 3/4 team – including, at that time, original co-author Josh Uranga – immediately suggested The Iceman Chronicles. The studio agreed, on the condition that the pilot be split into three parts for internet distribution (as it turned out, it would be split into six parts for a run on the web outlet My Damn Channel).

Starring Rick Overton and a mashup of Drama 3/4 all-stars (David Fickas, Christine Lakin, Mark Kelly, Michael Cornacchia, Alex Fox, Leonora (Gershman) Pitts, Andy Hungerford, Mickey Meyer, Stephanie Barnes, Kirk Zipfel, Ric Barbera, Scott Pitts and more), Actors’ Gang alumni (Lee Arenberg, Kirk Ward), Troubies (Matt Walker, Beth Kennedy) and exalted guests (special mention goes to the great Tony Longo, RIP), here is the entire pilot presentation as a single episode, the way it was meant to be seen. Ladies and gentlemen… The Iceman Chronicles.

“We wrote a #1 movie in China in 2015!” …is something you could say if you were Brice Beckham & David Fickas.

I know, we can’t believe it either.

Although Hollywood Adventures is not a Drama 3/4 production, Fickas & Beckham’s screenwriting talents were harnessed by Justin Lin (Fast and Furious franchise, Star Trek Beyond) for a blockbuster action movie that took down Jurassic World at the Chinese box office in the summer of 2015. Here are a few odd tidbits about this…

For starters, we don’t even have a copy of the movie. For another thing, it’s largely in Mandarin. It features the original T-1000 himself, Robert Patrick (star of T2: Judgment Day and stunt double in T2: The Good Version). It has appearances by Parvesh Cheena (D34’s Keller & Sullivan) and Missi Pyle (who you may have just seen in D34’s I Made You A Mix Tape livestream). Finally, for those of you who have attended Fickas’s annual Color Party for September birthdays, the entire climax of the film takes place at the Pink Party. Whuuuuut?

Take a look at the international trailer and the newly-discovered (by us), action-packed German trailer, and ponder the enigma that is this film since you probably won’t ever be able to see the whole thing. Just like Brice and David. What a strange Hollywood Adventure this has been!

You may have noticed by now that, in addition to video production, we do a lot with original music, from A.S.S. musical numbers, to J.A.P.S, to I Made You A Mix Tape. I Hate My 30’s has a completely original soundtrack album, all written and recorded in-house. We even collaborated with Rachael Lawrence on a series of parody songs for every major NBC show in 2012, which the various casts then performed and screened at the NBC Upfronts! Sadly, we can’t make those public, but our Dunder Mifflin tune is still a personal favorite.

What we can share is this Music Video Batch. It includes…

  • Eric Clapton – We made the official music video for “Spiral” and shot an additional lyric video featuring artist Kate Kelton for “Can’t Let You Do It.”
  • Danielle Woodrow – Enjoy this intimate video for the song “Locked” from her debut album, “Turning.”
  • Kirk Zipfel – Kirk has been popping up a lot during our 34 Days, first in HousePlace, then “Trump MADNESS,” then Keller & Sullivan. Here’s another taste of his guitar chops in the video for his original comedy tune, “Lil Ronnie Hubbard.”
  • Rachael Lawrence – Can’t get enough Rachie? There’s plenty more “Amazingness” here! We reserved the “Hollywood Holiday” video from our J.A.P.S posts on Day 5 because it stands so well on its own… and because it’s a mood for #quarantinelife. Plus, we’re bringing you the full music video for “Stickbone12” from I Hate My 30’s, released for the first time in widescreen 720 HD! Shout out to Smith & Lee for their fabulous background animation!
  • Finally, “The Beard IV: Musical Explosion” is not an original song or official video, but… dang, man. You gotta see it.

Crank up the volume for the Music Video Batch!

Sometimes you don’t even have to try to write a great film. Sometimes the Internet hands it to you on a fancy phish plate.

Dramatic Spam mines the broken-English ore from your junk folder and spins it into 24-karat monologues, performed by one of the best, most highly-trained actors we’ve had the privilege to know, Professor Alex Fox. See him tackle three exotic, intriguing, international roles, and if you like his pitch… hey, send him your info. Someone’s gotta get that money, might as well be you, right?

Helen Keller and her Miracle Worker Anne Sullivan are an indomitable crime-solving duo in this send-up of action serials and noir detective films of the 1930s and ’40s.

This sketch by creators Megahn Perry and Liam Sullivan was such a hit when it was performed live in A.S.S. (Another Showcase Showdown), it spawned a sequel and practically demanded to be put on film for ASS Fest, the show’s 10th Anniversary festival. It remains a spot-on satirization of films from cinema’s “Golden Age,” when the disabled were disregarded and yellow-face was rampant in Hollywood… as opposed to today. We’re so woke.

It’s pretty simple, really. Three Carassius Epitheticus get into a small dispute. LANGUAGE ADVISORY (duh).

First created for A.S.S. (Another Showcase Showdown), this animated short quickly became one of our most popular online videos… and most pirated, with some ripped copies racking up 10x more views than our original. Later we put together a BTS film that shows how this absurd concept became an absurd reality. AND NOW, because we can’t leave well-enough alone, we’re bringing you the (almost) HD TRANSFER in 60fps, with better detail and no interlace tearing!

Please enjoy one of the filthiest, silliest, most gut-busting videos we’ve ever produced. NOW WITH HIGHER QUALITY!

Billy Bulbar is a man who needs no explanation. Allow us to explain.

One of Hollywood’s most notorious acting coaches, Billy Bulbar (David Fickas) has been slapping his illustrious technique upside The Industry’s head for over 20 years. He is the author of several books on acting including My Character Animal Can Beat Up Your Character Animal and Emote Like Nobody’s Watching. He gets up-close and uncomfortably personal with his impressionable students, delving deep into the tortured thespian psyche to discover the art of the craft, or the craft of the art, whichever sounds more pretentious. His process: break down the student, bankrupt the student, rebuild the actor, rinse and repeat. This is The Bulbar Method.

It started as a live theatre experience in which audiences could audit one of Billy’s classes (see The Bulbar Method – A History below). Later, it was turned into a web series for Takehollywood Originals. Witness Billy and his naive young pupils exploring such topics as:

  • The Actor’s Instrument
  • Improvisation techniques
  • Being viral… like, in an online sense
  • Choosing a day job
  • Releasing inhibitions

…and more. You can absorb the entire series’s knowledge in the playlist below. Namaste.

Since 2013, David Fickas’s live music show, I Made You A Mix Tape, has been introducing some of the best new and established musicians to Los Angeles audiences. Several different acts do small sets of only a few songs each, giving the crowd – and the other acts – a chance to hear something fresh. Through this intimate performance night, lifelong dreams have been realized, a few careers have been launched, and some stellar collaborations have been born. An all-comedy Mix Tape even went to San Francisco for SF Sketchfest in 2015. Now we’re bringing the stage to you, with our first Mix Tape livestream!

…Well, that was interesting! We had some technical difficulties and were kicked off of YouTube, then had to scramble to get back online! Still, we hope you still enjoyed the show. If you missed it, you can see the whole thing in the video embedded below, or click through to YouTube to see what people were chatting about while we were live.

(First things first: Congratulations to Brookie who recently gave birth to little Ruby Kivowitz Cooper!!)

J.A.P.S – the Jewish American Princesses. What started as a pair of sketch characters in A.S.S. (Another Showcase Showdown) evolved into a short film (basically a pilot), a full album, multiple music videos, an off-the-chain live music act and even a sex tape. Rock till you plotz with Brookie (Brooke Allison Kivowitz) and Rachie (Rachael Lawrence) as they attempt to talk or pay their way out of their musical misadventures.

  • J.A.P.S – the short film (20 mins) – Brookie and Rachie try to infiltrate Puff Daddy’s party to get a puffy record deal and make their own daddies proud.
  • THE FULL SEDER – See the entire, improvised Passover dinner scene, with brilliant comedic hijacking from the amazing Michael Rivkin.
  • HOLD, PLEASE – the debut album – Preview and purchase the EP, including “Recognize,” “Period” and “Toast & Butter.”
  • EXCLUSIVE BONUS TRACK – Listen to the previously unreleased DJ Bricabrac Remix of “Lonely At The Top!”
  • SEX TAPE – These social climbers are doing anything they can to get famous. This is probably what inspired Kim Kardashian. Or was it the other way around?

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