FilmCourage: Where did you grow up?
Manny Luke: I mainly grew up in Colorado, doing kindergarten all the way up to 7th grade. But we moved to Texas when I started 8th grade, and then to Albuquerque, New Mexico for high school. My dad owned a business so we were always moving around. But I enjoyed it. I guess you can say that we were your typical family who ate dinner together in the evening, and saw whatever popular new movie that came out in theaters each weekend.
FilmCourage: Who in your life would you like to thank and for what?
Manny: I am always going to be grateful for my parents. In a world where you see and hear about people encouraging each other to drop everything and follow their dreams, my parents always have committed themselves 100% to their children. They seriously spoiled us, and they still do. Even as most of us are adults now, they still do everything they can to make sure we have what we need. Without their support I’d be in a very different place today.
FilmCourage: What was the best vacation you embarked on as a kid?
FilmCourage: What was the worst vacation you embarked on as a kid?
FilmCourage: Favorite theme park ride?
Manny: My favorite theme park ride will always be Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye! Back in first grade is when I was first introduced to the Indiana Jones movies, and I absolutely loved them! However, this was also a time before the internet was such a common thing. So we showed up to Disneyland without previous research as to what it had to offer. My father and I were riding the Jungle Cruise when the skipper mentioned the Indiana Jones temple right next to us. My mind kind of blanked out the rest of that cruise, because my memory immediately jumps to us running over to that ride.
FilmCourage: Best and worst theme park food?
Manny: I would love to visit the Disney Parks outside of the USA. One thing I love about their parks is that they make each and every one unique. While the layout is always similar, they fill their parks with different flavors unique to each country. And even if they have a similar ride of the same name, they change it in a special way that makes you want to immediately fly over there and check it out! So far I haven’t used YouTube to spoil any of the surprises yet. Hopefully I can keep it that way!
FilmCourage: What is the longest amount of time you’ve stood in line at a theme park? Was it worth it?
Manny: Being the guy that’s supposed to know all about theme parks, and how to avoid pesky things like lines, you’d think that I’m pretty good at avoiding them. However, one time on my birthday I showed up with a group of friends to the Magic Kingdom to find an hour-long wait for Space Mountain. I made us all enter the line using my birthday excuse, and it was certainly worth it! Usually people are opposed to waiting in long lines, but I don’t really mind. It’s an excellent opportunity to hang out and bond with who ever is in your party. Perfect if you’re on a date 😉
Manny: I spent 2 and a half years working for theme parks! I worked in attractions. Normally, people think that it’s a fairly easy task of pushing buttons all day long. I suppose they’re right. But you need to know exactly which buttons to press in what order depending on the situation you find yourself in. And if you press the wrong buttons in the wrong order, you risk breaking the ride. Suddenly everyone who’s been in line for two hours will become very unhappy, and you are tasked with letting each and every one of them down as easy as you possibly can. Attractions sound easy on paper, but it’s really a very daunting customer experience role where you are constantly having to handle guest situations while making sure your ride operates to its full potential. It’s the most fun I ever had in an hourly day job.
FilmCourage: What is it that you absolutely couldn’t live without?
Manny: Being someone who needs to constantly write new things to entertain the lovely people of this world, I rely on my computer and that connection to social media! While everyone else is blabbing about every little thing, I’m constantly, silently reading and learning all about what people currently care about. It almost sort of guides me whenever I’m writing, because I want to stay relevant. But at the same time, I want the things I create to be timeless. The trick is finding something to say that people today will instantly get and enjoy, while making sure I still have an audience 40 years from now.
FilmCourage: How did you meet Kyle and Erin of the MewNowTV team?
Manny: After graduating and earning my BFA, I moved over here to LA find something to do in my desired field. After hours upon hours of filling out endless applications for various internships throughout Hollywood, Erin eventually emailed me saying that the MewNow team was interested in meeting me. I met up with Kyle shortly after, and ever since then, we still meet up and talk about our awesome plans for the future!
FilmCourage: What made you know you wanted to join the MewNowTV team?
Manny: I’d like to think that we’re currently living in a transitional period of entertainment. Ten years ago the thought of two high schoolers creating a multi-million dollar entertainment brand off of a few silly internet videos was probably crazy talk. Today those two high school kids are extremely successful adults who run 5 of the most successful channels on YouTube. Our entertainment is slowly morphing into the internet age. More and more popular shows are moving to the online platform. When I met the people of MewNowTV, I saw a dedicated group of passionate artists who simply wanted their own space on the internet to tell their own amazing stories. These guys work harder than anyone else I know in my age bracket, so I was honored when they offered me the chance to be a part of it!
FilmCourage: What is your part at MewNowTV?
Manny: Oh boy. I do a lot of things. I do a ton of writing for the Manny show, and future shows that will go into production soon. I am behind the camera when most of the shows are filming, performing various tasks. I also do a lot of editing for various shows. Sometimes I sit in on creative meetings for different shows and offer input whenever I’ve got an idea for something.
Manny: I actually really enjoy The Joe Show. When I watch it, I see a guy who just doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. This guy has something to say, and he’s going to make sure he’s heard loud and clear. Sometimes his points are valid. Sometimes I think he’s just making it up as he goes, but it doesn’t matter because it’s so entertaining to watch!
FilmCourage: How can someone watch MewNowTV?
Manny: All of our shows can be accessed at Mewnowtv.com. Recently, a lot of new episodes for all of the shows were made available to non-subscribers. So if you’re feeling brave, get in there and check some of the shows out! The library is ever expanding, and it’s always getting better!
FilmCourage: Did you have to audition for MewNowTV? If so, what was this like?
Manny: I actually never auditioned for anything! I think it was just a simple matter of me hanging out with the group and them seeing my natural personality. There were a lot of moments where we would randomly improv different things while brainstorming for different shows, and along the way Kyle thought, ‘Wow! Manny would be great for a show about theme parks!’
Manny: As of right now, there are 8 episodes currently online. There is a brand new episode every Friday, so I’m always trying to stay on schedule. As of right now, 16 are filmed, and 20 are written. So It’s always a fun race against time to stay ahead of the curve!
FilmCourage: What is the show about?
Manny: The show is simply an informative script about different topics that will save you time, money, effort, emotion, and stress while exploring different theme parks. It’s accompanied with cute little drawings that are animated in the background while I talk about the different topics. Generally I try to keep it funny and engaging. Every now and then I’ll get into an argument with one of the animated characters. It’s always fun to interact with cartoons.
FilmCourage: What is your role in the show?
Manny: I do a few different things for the show. I write each episode out, making sure they are all entertaining while maintaining that perfect balance of education. After that, I get into costume and they film me reading these scripts in front of a green screen. After that I take the footage and stitch all of the best takes together. I then take the static drawings, plug them into Final Cut Pro, and animate them around. All in all, about 5 hours combined to produce a single episode!
FilmCourage: How long did it take to film?
Manny: Filming is always the easiest part for me, and the most fun. It’s when I finally get to stop worrying about perfecting a script, or editing footage, and I just get to read what I’ve written. We film multiple episodes at a time. To read through one entire episode only takes about 10 minutes. Kyle likes to do several takes for safety, and sometimes I mess up because I’m reading the script off a teleprompter. It’s all about maintaining that perfect speed so that I can read the script good enough for it to sound natural.
FilmCourage: Where did you shoot it?
Manny: We film it right there in the studio, where all of our other talk shows are filmed. That’s the beauty of green screen. One spot can be millions of different locations!
FilmCourage: Who wrote the script?
Manny: During my time of working in the theme parks, the script naturally wrote itself through each and every experience I went through with those jobs. When I sit down to write, my brain sort of just vomits the words onto the page. It’s stuff that I’ve always wanted to say. Its very natural that way.
Manny: For the first 8 episodes, I got a wonderful artist, Juliet Fellner to do all of the art. I’ve known her for several years, and knew that she’s always had a knack for drawing things. For the show I wanted a cutesy cartoonish look to it. She started pumping out all the wonderful illustrations you see. Hopefully I can get her again for future episodes, but availability and deadlines are always troublesome.
FilmCourage: What’s the shooting/editing process like for Manny’s World to add the illustrations?
Manny: As I said before, the shooting process is fairly simple. It’s the editing process that always gets me. Once I stitch all the good takes of an episode together, I then need to re-watch the entire thing and decide where animations will go, and what they will be doing. Once I figure that out, I create a list of new things that need to be drawn for the episode. Once those are drawn, they are scanned into the computer, and imported into the editing software. After that, I need to mask out each and every new drawing. After that, I can FINALLY start animating each and every little segment. It’s a very simple little tool within the editing software that moves the images around. I just takes a very long time to make it look right. What is the different between acting on a live set and acting in front of a green screen?
When you’re on a live set, there is usually a very specific direction that the director wants you go in. It’s really fun and I’ll always enjoy it. But for a show like this in front of the green screen, it’s all about the information that is being presented. As long as I clearly and correctly say everything that is written on the script, then Kyle and I know that most of the episode will be filled with animations anyway. I really enjoy this, because it gives me the freedom to act and move any way I want as long as it flows with the episode and what is being said. I really do love it.
FilmCourage: How are you and your Manny’s World character the same and how are you total opposites?
Manny: The version of Manny that you see in World of Color is the version that I had to keep locked up inside my head whenever I was faced with various guest situations when I worked in the parks. It’s that sarcastic, witty person that you absolutely cannot be when you’re on stage. In reality, I would just smile and try to help the guest while still making them feel good about themselves. In the show I get to let everything out, and say it exactly how it is! Real Manny is polite and mindful of everyone’s feelings. Show Manny doesn’t care, and will say anything that needs to be said.
FilmCourage: What is your favorite theme park movie?
Manny: I’m not too sure this counts, but I’m going to go ahead and say Zombieland. That is one of my all time favorite movies. The finale in the theme park is always going to be one of my favorite scenes. If I ever have the opportunity, then Manny’s World of Color will get a feature length theme park movie on par with that level of action, comedy, and violence! I mean, come on! It would make perfect sense, right?………. Right?
FilmCourage: How would you describe your perfect day?
Manny: I perfect day for me is to wake up whenever I feel like it. Call up whoever I feel like hanging out with. They answer the phone and is totally available to hang out. We go to Chipotle, and they forget to charge me for guacamole, and then we go to Disneyland where all of the lines are very short. I think that’s a day well spent.
Manny: I know that my show is all about planning and making sure you’re actually ready to embark on the vacation you’re about. But the biggest, absolute worst thing you could ever do to your vacation is over plan! NEVER OVER PLAN! Theme parks are crazy wild beasts that you can never tame! Lines will get long. Rides will break down. Bad weather will kick in. Parades will get cancelled. Your kids will get too tired to walk. These are all normal things that happen daily across all theme parks. But when you over plan, these normal things will appear as life-threatening dangers that want to kill you. They’re not. Just be sure to have a back up plan for when life happens. Take a deep breath and don’t loose your cool! Remember, you’re here to have fun! Complaining to the nearest staff member about your predicament will not solve anything. They honestly don’t care. They’re waiting for their bump out to come so that they can meet up with all of the other theme park staff members at the local hangout spot and make fun of you. Let life happen. This vacation will be over before you know it, and it will just be a memory. Make sure it’s an amazing one!
FilmCourage: What’s next for you creatively?
Manny: I’m going to continue making sure these World of Color episodes turn out as awesome as they can. It is slowly but surely gaining more momentum as time goes on. I am also working on a video game based show that will premier on MewNowTV, along with a few other scripted shows and feature length movies that hopefully get to see the light of day eventually. It’s a long exciting road, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings!
Manny earned his BFA in Creative Writing for Entertainment at Full Sail University on October of 2014. He moved to LA and joined the MewNowTV team in March of 2015. He currently writes and animates for Manny’s World of Color. He also edits other shows for MewNowTV, and is writing numerous shows and feature length films for future production.