January 18, 2012

Web Series Observer - Up All Night with Kurt Magnum

Created by Jack Swiker

The Story: ‘Up All Night with Kurt Magnum’ is a comedic web series following the greatest late night talk show host you've never heard of. Hot off his long-time gig as a host for the college TV late night talk show "Up All Night", Kurt Magnum has landed a talent agent and is headed to L.A. With delusions of grandeur, he attempts to bring together all the elements necessary to make a hit TV show in hopes of beating his rival, Conan O'Brien, in the ratings race. Unfortunately, as his crew slowly finds out, Kurt really doesn't know too much about making a TV show and is more concerned with his own self-image and making a name for himself. Each of them, with something at stake, decides to stay and help Kurt but have to maneuver their way through a very stressful work environment on and off the set - all in the name of making great TV!

 The Observation: Ah yes, the tragic, yet common tale of a bright-eyed, aspiring artist or performer trying to obtain that, however small, juicy bit of stardom. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out the way we would like it to. So many of us strive for it, and so little of us get much in return. It’s a good thing that downright pessimistic outlook never even crossed the mind of late night hopeful extraordinaire Kurt Magnum.

Up All Night with Kurt Magnum was in actuality (as mentioned in the first episode) a college talk-show, created by and starring Swiker while attending Rowan University of Glassboro, New Jersey. The egocentric protagonist will stop at nothing to achieve his dream of becoming America’s foremost talk show host. He’s egocentric, he’s smooth-talking, and he has no idea what he has gotten himself into. When the former host of a college talk-show gets the call of a lifetime from a Hollywood agent, Kurt Magnum (played by series creator Jack Swiker) packs his bags and heads to the left coast. Despite now being a Paedocyris-progenetica (look it up) in the Pacific Ocean, Kurt hires his own assistant via Craigslist, setting off to meet the man who will aide him in his quest to become the king of late night. Will anything put a blockade in his journey? Oh yes, most definitely.

The Bottom Line: What I expect to be an enjoyable blend of zany humor and the tribulations of trying to make it big in Tinseltown, Up All Night with Kurt Magnum is worth the watch.

The Info: Up All Night with Kurt Magnum premiered its first episode yesterday. The rest of the season will air every Tuesday on http://www.kurtmagnum.com. You can also become a friend of Kurt, like his show on Facebook, and follow the legend himself on Twitter.

The Interview: I had a chance to ask series creator (and Mr. Magnum himself) Jack Swiker some questions about his new show. Have a look after checking out episode 1.

‘Up All Night’ was originally a talk show/sketch show created in your alma mater – Rowan University. What inspired you to revitalize this concept?
Honestly, I really just missed playing Kurt Magnum. He was a fun character to portray in the old TV show, and I wanted to be able to give him a little more depth and see what he would be like in new surroundings and dealing with his crew behind the scenes years after he left the college television scene. It was also a pretty great reason to finally start writing and filming something again in LA.

What means of marketing do you have in store for the show?
We are attacking the social media promotion of the show on all fronts. Kurt Magnum has his own Facebook account, Twitter account, a Facebook group and then of course through our own Facebook groups, emails, etc. I'll also be doing a radio show with a Saturday morning show on WGLS in Glassboro, NJ soon. With the lead up to the show we posted a few promos and might possibly do a live event in Hollywood to help promote the show.

What can we expect in this season? Any spoilers you're willing to hint at?
Well, Kurt gets in a little over his head when he thinks he can take on a major production like a late night talk show on his own. So there are quite a few hilarious problems he gets himself into. One of my favorite problems is when he decides to invest some money in an independent film. That might end up being the most talked about episode.

What advice can you give to other filmmakers trying to produce/market a web series?
Well first of all, make sure you love the material because you're going to be working on it for at least a few episodes, and each of them is like filming a different short film. Secondly, make sure your crew is with you on the project 10000%, because what Kurt doesn't seem to understand is that your crew will make or break you. Lastly, if you're not a producer, get a producer. A really good one. The series was basically dead in the water until Adam came along and kicked its ass and helped me get it off the ground.


  1. Awesome press Kurt/Jack! Congrats, man -- I never miss an episode!

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