I was connected with Ashley Kate Adams via Twitter, who had reached out to me about her project Rules of Cool. She was amazed by RyeTheNewsGuy.com, and our mission statement; to find positivity in our news and interviews! I knew I had to chat with her after just a few DMs (for all you non-twitter users, that's a "Direct Message") and learn more about her and her recent mini-series Rules of Cool! Ashley is a professional actress who has starred in several productions on Broadway and off-Broadway and most recently has put on her cap as a producer. Ashley was also teaching voice for a period of time, where she developed a close friendship with "Cool" creator, Caitlin Cooke. Cooke had asked her for her opinion and help with a series of sketch comedy scripts that she and her friend Lacey Jeka had written titled "The Cool Girls."
Can you tell me about Rules Of Cool and where the idea come from?
"Rules of Cool" began many moons ago, way before I was even involved. The creators Caitlin Cooke and Lacey Jeka actually created about 3 or 4 sketch comedy scripts originally titled "The Cool Girls". Caitlin, (who is one of my good girlfriends) who I had taught in voice asked me to sit down with her and express if this was something she could really move forward with. I was a bit worried that it was going to be one of those things; you have to look at your best friend's project and say-"Oh it's great, but I kinda can't fit it in right now with my schedule". I was ecstatic to discover I was very wrong indeed- it inspired me immediately as I read about characters Lucy and Kate. I then contacted my friend Tracy Goldenberg, who has producing experience, and immediately began meetings with Caitlin and Lacey to brainstorm on our next steps. Caitlin is an active member of The Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and the that was a great starting point. We discussed a few more storyboard ideas, and Lacey spent a few days behind close doors writing. Pre-Production was on a roll!!!
Wow, that's awesome! So when did you guys actually begin filming?
The Fall of 2013, with post completed in 2014. We also had to decide on how we were going to showcase this project. After ups and downs, lefts and rights- we acquired an agent, PR representation; RULES OF COOL LLC (a SAG, original mini series) began to bubble and everything just fell into place! Even locations; we were only working on a $15, 000 dollar budget, and we had shot the entire 9 episodes in 4 days back to back... 4 DAYS!!!! And for the amount of content we had? That is literally unheard of! We truly want to inspire people, especially women, to follow their dreams, even on a small budget. You can still create something amazing!
Could you tell us a little bit more about the storyline of Rules Of Cool? What is the basis?
RULES OF COOL is the story of two young women in their early twenties who are new to New York and lost in a lot more than the big city. Kate and her friend, Lucy live together in apartment 4E in Harlem. The relatable and lovable anti heroes learn some very valuable life lessons in heartbreak, loyalty, and friendship- through some very entertaining mistakes. The pilot episode launches as the girls are binge watching Netflix, using their parents credit cards to pay for their Chinese food, all the while chugging five dollar wine. An epiphany happens while Kate completes a magazine quiz measuring a person's level of "cool." They score, very, very low... "You know what? Screw this, screw society, screw the world. We are two women with no money and no direction in New York City we're going to knock off this list." And there ensues the coolest journey of a lifetime.
Wow that sounds really great!
Yeah, it's kind of cool right? Haha. Each episode is the title of each "rule". Kinda fancy, no? Haha.
With Caitlin Cooke and Lacey Jeka already placed- what was the casting process like for the rest of the actors?
So the casting process was literally through storyboarding. For example- the neighbor is a man named Norm, a witty, gay male who is exactly my friend Ravi Roth who I've known since college. We met when he was touring on "Altar Boys" and I was studying Musical Theatre at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. Another college era friendship was with Jake Robinson, who at the birth of ROC was starring in the "Carrie Diaries" as an overly feminine overly artistic gay man- and he was looking for some more "leading man" type of roles. Bryan Langlitz, a fellow Broadway member who recently showcased a few roles on "Orange is the New Black" and "House of Cards" was also available and a great addition to the cast. It was great opportunity to surround ourselves with our most talented friends and have the experience together. Allen Kendall who plays "Landlord Joe" was also a former cast mate, and Jake had actual seen our production of "The Great American Trailer Park Musical!" Small world. And for the roles we didn't have initially, we placed a casting notice. Standout performers cast from this notice, such as Robert W. Smith (who plays "homeless man"), are now an amazing part of our ROC family.
Where will we be able to watch the series, a set release date and time?
The first 3 episodes will launch January 26th at 9pm, and then for the next two Mondays leading up to Valentine's Day three more episodes will be released all on our website: www.RulesofCoolSeries.com.
This is all very exciting with Rules of Cool, and you are no stranger to this entertainment world. You have been on Broadway, and run your own production company AKA Studio Productions. Can you tell us about it, and a little more about you?
I grew up in a performing arts household and I started getting paid as an actor at the age of 3 (I still have my first paycheck hanging up on my wall!) I attended CCM which is the cream of the crop for musical theatre education! When I initially came to NYC I was able to gain representation quickly and by 23 I landed my first Broadway role in "La Cage Aux Folles." I am so grateful for that experience; I got the opportunity to perform alongside the actual book writer Harvey Fierstein who is so incredibly talented and a wonderful individual.
Upon closing, I knew while standing in my dressing room that I was also destined to do something more! Fast forward a few years, my friend Ari Wilford (who just closed ONCE on Broadway) and I to begin investing in small projects- even "Godspell" on Broadway! Even when landing a role in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at Paper Mill Playhouse I still hadn’t felt quite fulfilled. We decided to begin our own production company; penny by penny, favor by favor, and now we have Rules of Cool, and many other projects which we are working on that I cannot release information about, but they are very exciting and I am getting to work with many people that I have admired in the industry for years! I am equally both a producer, and an actress; I'm so lucky to be able to do both!!
Don't forget to watch the premiere of Rules of Cool on January 26th at www.RulesofCoolSeries.com! To keep up with Ashley Kate Adams visit her website, and to check out her production company click here!