Tea Time with Tony Noto
Hello, lovely people!
As you may or may not know, I’m a big fan of web series and have been ever since beloved classics like The Guild and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries made their internet debuts. My friend Destiny Soria and I even tried our hand at a Shakespearean mash-up a couple years ago, and we’re currently shooting a brand new follow-up series.
Web series are such a unique storytelling medium, and I’ve seen some mind-blowing projects over the past few years. One of my all-time favorites is Classic Alice, which just finished its second season a few weeks back. During the season two Kickstarter campaign, I was lucky enough to snag a tea time session with Tony Noto, who plays Alice’s best friend and possible . . . romantic . . . interest? I won’t get too spoilery here.
Since I know several of my friends and readers just so happen to be fellow Ocelittles, I thought I’d share my interview with Tony on the blog. And for those of you who haven’t yet glimpsed the fun-tas-tic Classic Alice, check it out here!
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
SERIOUS, PROFESSIONAL INTERVIEW
K: Hey Tony! So, it was pretty brave of you to offer to Skype with random strangers during that Kickstarter. You never know who’s going to be on the other end. It could be a serial killer.
T: I guess that’s true. I mean, if you want to claim the Creepiness Prize, go for it.
Is totally not creepy and begins interview.
K: Okay. Inquiring minds want to know: When did you first know you wanted to get into acting?
T: My freshman year of high school, I came down with flu. I couldn’t go to school for a week and was stuck at home watching TV. TNT was doing a Braveheart marathon, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I was sure then that I wanted to be an actor and a filmmaker. Even so, I didn’t really pursue acting for another three or four years. In high school, you can be unsure of yourself and not willing to take a big risk like that. But I took my first theatre class as a senior in high school and then more acting classes once I was in college, pursuing a film degree at UT-Austin. After that, I moved out to L.A.
K: And how did you get involved with Classic Alice?
At the time, I was teaching fencing in Burbank, and a fellow instructor said, “Hey, I’ve got this friend who's making this web series. She’s looking for a particular character, and I think you’d fit the bill.” So she introduced me to Kate Hackett (show writer, who plays the eponymous Alice), and we met up in person. That first meeting, Kate got right to the point. She placed a script in my hands, told me what pages we’d be doing, and asked me to look them over really quick. She sat there watching me as I read the script for the first time, and then we read through the lines. When we were done, she said I was a perfect fit, and that was that. Kate and I have a really natural, easy banter, and I think that helped a lot when it came to our onscreen chemistry. (Side note, guys: It totally did. That chemistry is on point.)
K: What was the most unexpected thing about filming a web series?
I think the biggest surprise to me was how quickly it took off and found a fan base. I’d done a few web series before that didn’t have much success, but with Classic Alice, so many viewers interacted and wanted to know more about the characters and actors. Others offered to help with social media or asked about interning. When so many people see what you’re doing and want to be a part of it, it’s an amazing feeling. So that was a surprise, but Kate was constantly on that and really great about keeping in touch with the fans over social media.
K: Absolutely. One of my favorite things about Classic Alice is how much care you guys took in really connecting with and engaging fans on a personal level.
So, you mentioned fencing. Do you wield a sword? What’s up with that?
T: When you’re an actor living in L.A., you’re always on the lookout for good part-time work. One day, I saw an ad looking for instructors for “Jedi class” at L.A. Swordplay in Burbank. Basically, you’re teaching kids discipline and self-control and . . . also how to use a lightsaber. I’d always been athletic growing up, though I didn’t have experience fencing or sword fighting. The instructor there really took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. I taught Jedi class for about six months under the identity of Qui-Gon Jinn and then taught fencing to kids for another two years after that.
K: That’s the BEST. And what are you up to currently?
T: Right now I’m working the velociraptor show at Universal Studios. I got to be one of Dr. Seuss' Whos for Christmas, which involved a lot of makeup and walking on stilts. As far as film work goes, I recently got cast in a film being put together by the Church of Scientology. I’m also working on my own web series concept, which I’ll be going public with in the coming months. Meantime, I’m auditioning and doing the occasional editing work.
K: Jedis, Whos, and velociraptors. Best. Résumé. Ever. And I’m sure fellow Ocelittles are waiting with baited breath to hear more about this web series.
What are some of your favorite shows at the moment?
T: My favorite television show in the entire world is Game of Thrones. I just finished season 4 of New Girl, which continues to be hilarious. I’m also a bit of a history buff; I recently watched Turn on Netflix, and I love this podcast called Hardcore History. I’m currently listening to a six-part series on WWI, and I can’t get enough.
OH. And Downton Abbey.
K: shakes fist about spoilery Downton Abbey things
So, I imagine you’re a big Tolkien fan, as well?
T: Absolutely. I mean, if I could have Viggo Mortensen’s job . . .
K: sage nod
And on that note, we concluded the interview.
Fascinating stuff, right? If you guys want to follow Tony on Twitter (c’mon, how could you not), you can find him at @TheTonyNoto.
And if you haven’t watched Classic Alice, what are you waiting for? It’s filled with badass characters and BOOKS. What could be better?
Until next time.