Joe talks to us about his “Crossfit guy” status, getting intimate onstage with a fellow InViolet (Go G-Rod!) and the process of bringing his web series, Life, Coached to the screen.
InViolet: How do you identify in the theater world?
Joe: Actor first. Writer second.
InViolet: Tell us about your journey as an InViolet.
Joe: Troy Lococo was/is a friend of mine and was coworker at the time. We often talked about projects we were working on and he had spoken to me about hi theater company, Inviolet. A bunch of our friends attended a couple of the Inviolet Benefits and had a great time. After meeting a handful of Inviolets, I was asked to audition for Michael Henry Harris’s play, 40 Weeks. After that I worked on Sara Van Beckham’s play, The Oddyasee and Bixby Elliot’s play “Treasure Island”. Our first rehearsal for TI was the morning after my birthday and I had celebrated quite a bit the night before so I was late. I “acted” (terribly) like I was feeling fine and got through the rehearsal but assumed that would surely be the last of my Inviolet endeavors. But, after a few more rehearsals and the performing the readings, all was well again. I attended the next retreat and then was asked to join the company.
InViolet: What’s your favorite InViolet memory?
Joe: This is easy. Making out with and receiving a “HJ” from company member Gerry Rodriguez in a short play that Bernardo Cubria wrote FOR US in a One Night Stand. I have fond memories of rehearsing with Gerry. He was a gentleman through and through but definitely let me know who was in charge.
InViolet: You’ve had a big, busy year launching your web series “Life, Coached.” We were lucky enough to read episodes with you while you were in development. We’re so proud of the amazing finished product you’ve created! Tell us all about the process of bringing this to the screen.
Joe: Overall it’s been about a two-year journey bringing Life, Coached to “Life”. It started as an idea, like so many writers’ ideas, from something I was experiencing in my own life. Around the same time, Inviolet was beginning to entertain the idea of expanding our company into the digital world as well by producing a Web-Series together. A handful of us brought in pitches and we had a wonderful creative meeting about all of these ideas. As I was writing the series, I realized that I wanted it to be, and that it really needed to be something more. So I began, developing the show as a Half Hour Dramedy series. I wrote a full 10 episode Season of Short episodes and workshopped all of them with the company. I also wrote the Full Length version of the Pilot episode. During the development process, I had decided that I wanted to shoot something that would help me pitch this show to Networks. I decided I need to hire a female Director because let’s face it, I’m a bro writing a female protagonist. I met with Chloe Lenihan, a former colleague, who had recently finished the Film MFA program at Columbia. She had some festival experience, was working in film, and I learned pretty quickly just how talented she really was and that she was exactly the person I needed to make the show happen. We all did the work, but without her guidance, the show would have been a disaster. The shoot was pretty great. The cast and crew was an assembly of working professionals who (most importantly to me) like the show and it really created a wonderful working environment. I wanted to create a show that had humor but that also had has heart because that’s how life is. I think that comes across in the show. I hope people feel the same.
InViolet: You’re one of those “Crossfit guys,” yeah? You’ve been known to take InViolet members out into the woods while on retreat and then you all return 30 minutes later looking like sweaty exhilarated messes. What’s the scoop?
Joe: Haha. I haven’t been able to Crossfit in a while due to the amount of squatting in the practice. I have a labral tear in my hip so I had to find other ways of working out that still gave me the intensity I need. Working out is maybe the most important part of my day because it sets the tone for the rest of what I do. I am a more productive actor, writer, editor, friend, son, and husband when I work out.
InViolet: You are one of four InViolet members who have worked as bartenders at Brother Jimmy’s. What’s the deal? Do they grow awesome theater people over there or what?
Joe: There are wonderful people who work there, many whom have become some of my closest friends. The thing for me was that I was always working toward something else and developing a trade so that I could ultimately leave.
InViolet: What’s up next for you?
Joe: Life, Coached is set to start screening at Festivals this week. We have a Network Notes meeting at ITV Fest on Thursday. I am speaking at a Content Creator’s Round Table on Friday for Brooklyn Web Fest, and then we screen on Saturday. We were recently accepted into LA Femme International Film Festival which is a premier festival that focuses on platforming women filmmakers “by women, for everyone”. Being accepted to this particular festival is a testament to the guidance that the women of Inviolet and Chloe gave me during the development process.
You can see the show this Saturday in Dumbo at Brooklyn Webfest. Our screening block is at 3:00. Here is the link:
InViolet: What are the best and worst pieces of life coaching you’ve ever received?
Joe: My mother and father are my first and most important Life Coaches and are the reason I am who I am. But like anyone, you have to figure a lot of stuff just by failing. I think that has been the best life coaching I’ve received. That failure is a good thing.
Instagram: @mancusojoseph, @lifecoachedseries