April 26, 2012
Campbell grad finds the humor in job searching, creates a web series on it
BY BILLY LIGGETT
Like many recent graduates, Luke Custer (‘07) has had to deal with the struggles of finding full-time employment and making ends meet during that search.
Only, he’s seemed to have found the humor in it.
Custer, who studied Communications while at Campbell University, packed up and moved to Los Angeles two years ago and is currently writing and starring in a web series, “The Unemployed Mind.” The series is about two unemployed friends, played by Custer and friend and co-writer Timmy Morgan, who will resort to any kind of work to earn a buck in this tough economy.
“It’s a subject I certainly can relate to, and I hope most others can as well,” said Custer, a Raleigh native who developed his acting chops in several Campbell Theatre productions while an undergrad. “Some of what we’ve written has come from real-life experiences we’ve had.”
In one episode, Custer and Morgan’s characters land a job as birthday party entertainers for young children, a job Custer remembers well from high school and college.
“We’d do sword fights and other staged fights for the kids … it’s probably the oddest job I’ve ever had,” Custer recalled. “Of course, in the show, it all goes horribly wrong.”
Custer said he knew L.A. would be in his future plans after visiting the Los Angeles Film Studies Center for a semester while a student at Campbell. He began developing the idea for “An Unemployed Mind” a few years before moving west, and once he got there, he contacted friend Josh Lawn — the series’ co-writer and producer — to begin collaboration.
“We started brainstorming and did a pilot episode with no budget just to see how it could look,” Custer said. “We liked it, we liked working together, and we thought the show had potential.”
The three have taken to a fundraising site, kickstarter.com, to raise the money needed to make a six-part web series. Their site includes a five-minute video where they talk about the show and present clips of “movies” made without a budget (terrible remakes of “Star Wars” and “The Godfather” included).
Custer said his dream is to be an actor, but he realized in order to “make it” in Hollywood, it helps to have writing, producing and other talents.
“The more skills you have, the more opportunities you have,” he said. “It’s nice to create your own opportunities and to work with people who are like-minded.
He credited Campbell Professor Dr. Michael Smith, his adviser, for motivating him while at Campbell and presenting him with opportunities that have got him this far.
As for the show, he said it’s aimed at today’s audience — those with short attention spans who enjoy a good laugh.
“I would hope that after the series is funded and produced, it will gain some recognition and allow us to finance future projects,” Custer said.