An Interview With The Creator/Cast of Camp Sunshine

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People have different images of camp. Some depictions involve tire swings and cabins where campers can enjoy s’mores and other camp like activities, or there’s the ones that are located in the city and usually involve a pool, arts & crafts, and sports. Then there’s ‘Camp Sunshine’, a summer sports camp located in Los Angeles that’s run by a diverse group of camp counselors, a group that’s quite interesting to say the least.

Our writer Melisa had the opportunity to discuss the show, ‘Camp Sunshine’, with the creator Kanin Guntzelman and the majority of the cast. All we can say is that if you’re looking for a show that’s full of humor and eclectic characters then this might be for you! Also, be sure to support the show via KickStarter.

‘Camp Sunshine’ is described by Bob Turton (Dean Luger) as “the brain child of Kanin Guntzelman and Beau Mirchoff”, which already has gotten us hooked. Kanin Guntzelman has stated that ” ‘Camp Sunshine’ is a modern look at the ‘summer camp genre’. While most camp TV shows and movies focus on the sleep away, woodsy, by the lake sort of theme, CS is set in a suburban environment at a day camp.” On top of the scenery difference, the show focuses on the counselors instead of the kids which is something you don’t see all the time in films/shows.

Now without further adieu here are a couple questions we asked Guntzelman and the lovely cast of ‘Camp Sunshine’, to give you an insight to what you can expect as well as what their camp experience was like.

Melisa Baykent: What inspired you to write a show about a sports summer camp?

Kanin Guntzelman: I used to be a camper and then a camp counselor. As a camper, I had interesting experiences with less than reputable counselors but it wasn’t until I was a counselor myself that I got to learn of the interesting life experiences and trials of other camp counselors. I found that several of the counselors, like me, did not have this job in mind as their “plan A.” Everyone around me seemed to be picking up the pieces while having to put on the face of “sportsmanship! and fun!” Don’t get me wrong, taking care of kids and guiding them is a great thing. But the summer camp setting is also a wasteland of recent graduates who are deciding what the hell to do with themselves. I found this not only interesting but ridiculously funny. My friend Harry came to me with the idea of a camp script and with all my experience as a counselor built up I was ready to do my best to do justice to the idea.

MB: Since you and Harry Owen are former counselors, does that affect the way the script was written? For example did you base the counselors’ characters off of counselors that you may have known?

KG: [Laughs] Several characters are based on real people. Some characters are based on ideas of people and some characters are traits of people we know in our lives. It really helps that we were both counselors because the reality of camp, how it works and the social hierarchy of things are all well known to us. This leads to a foundation in which traditional story building can take place.

MB: So would you say that the show will give people an insight to camp life if they’ve never experienced it themselves?

KG: I would say that if they have experienced this side of camp life then they wouldn’t talk about it because they would get fired. Everyone knows the stories of terrible camps and counselors who suck, now you get to see it for real.

MB: What is the main goal of the show?
KG
: The main goal of the show is two fold; first, to be funny as hell and second, to be real. I have always loved shows like the UK Office and Summer Heights High where the shows were funny as shit but the humor came from real people dealing with real situations.

MB: Will there eventually be more episodes besides the pilot episode?
KG:
If I had it my way this show would go for 10 seasons! Ha The goal of course is to get picked up and go to series. I just want to make the best show I can make and be proud of that.

MB: Can we expect any guest stars?

KG: Yes you can, unfortunately I can’t tell you just yet…

MB: Since you’ve gone to camp before, could you share with us your experience/an interesting story that took place when you attended it?

KG: I played dodgeball at a sports camp I worked at. As dodgeball usually does, it got competitive. The thing is, all age levels play in the “All Camp Dodgeball Game,” and I accidentally gave a 5 year old a black eye. But it was quite a throw.

MB: Lastly, would you mind telling us how fans can get involved with the show?
KG: The main way fans can get involved is through Kick Starter. We are really trying to make this a grass roots effort and make a product the way we envision it and stay true to ourselves. We can do it with your help!
 
The Cast: 
Melisa Baykent: So would you say that the show will give people an insight to camp life if they’ve never experienced it themselves?
Bob Turton (Dean Luger): I think the viewer will get a sense of the camp life I had. I was a naive kid focused on improving my water skiing and archery skills COMPLETELY blind to the fact that all of the counselors were partying non stop behind our backs. They slept with each other, got drunk all the time, and ended up all trying to kill each other by the end of the 8 week session. I had NO idea these things happened until I became a camp ed myself. The vail was lifted. So definitely. It’s real.
Terrell Battle (Major Cartwright): Shows like ‘Freaks and Geeks’ took their audience back to the awkward moments of high school. We’re doing something similar, but focusing on the irresponsible adults who molded us. The best shows usually relate to a period in the audiences life. Specifically for me, summer camp sucked, but I could only imagine how bad it was for the people responsible for me. This gives them a voice.
George Russo (Phil Allegretti): Yea…About that.

Natalya Oliver (Sydney Mathus): I would say this is good insight on the type of camp you wouldn’t want to attend. Or maybe you’re into that?

MB: I would say that some traits of the characters make them easily relatable to, so are there any traits that you and your character share? If so what?

BT: Dean and I are pretty different. I’m a pretty straight edged workaholic kind of guy with way too much on my plate and not nearly enough time. A lot of stress. DEAN is the guy I would like to be more of. Relaxed. Hard nosed. Doesn’t give a shit about you or anything. Below all of it is a very big and lost heart. Hopefully that will come out in season 12 of ‘Camp Sunshine’. Dean is that friend of yours who has no cares in the world and ends up living until he is 120 years old even though he smokes a pack a day and drinks like a fish.

TB: Major is ultra competitive in every case. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t that way. I hate to lose more than I love to win. I’m a horrible sport, and I can admit that. Major takes it a little overboard, where he’ll cheat if necessary. His bitterness of “almost’ making it keeps him super competitive.
GR: Yes, we are both Lovers of “The Arts”…Thespians, actually . And we both take that responsibility very seriously…

NO: We both grew up in the valley and love our boobs.

MB: Have you gone to camp before? If so could you share with us your experience/ an interesting story that took place when you attended?
BT: I was a big camp brat. Every summer for about 5 or 6 years of my childhood. Oh yeah, I got one for you. I was water skiing once when I was probably 12. I totally wiped out and cut myself RIGHT ON THE JUNK with the ski rope. Bummer. What’s worse? My spotter in the boat was this super hot counselor, I don’t remember her name, let’s say Dawn or something 80’s camp movie style like that. I mean this woman was a BABE. My 12 year old self had been trying to impress her with my wake crossing skills. But then I cut my dick and she had to pull me into the boat and make sure everything was ok…with my JUNK. It was humiliating. We all fall in love for the first time at camp, have our first kiss, and win whatever big race or fake native american secret society award they invent, but not everyone slices their Manhood on a ski rope in front of a dream goddess. Boom.
TB: I had to attend summer camp in middle school, because my mom didn’t want me at the house getting in to trouble, it was like okay, I’ll just go to camp everyday and get in trouble. All I remember is getting into kick ball fights and trying to touch girls butts. To cope a feel back then was as good as getting laid.
GR: Okay, I’ll give you the short version…When I was about 10, my Aunt Lorrain (my mothers’ sister) talked my parents into sending me, and her two boys off to summer camp. It was the worst experience of my life. What a “Scam”…The “OLYMPIC size pool”, turned out to be a 10 by 15’ hole in the ground…”Still under construction” they would say. Wasn’t long before I was writing my mom begging her to GET ME THE HELL OUT OF THERE! In the meantime…send candy, As much as you can send…I needed it to pay for protection. I’d give you the name, but the lawsuit is still “pending”. HA !…”BREWSTER CAMP FOR BOYS”

NO: I went to the Burbank YMCA summer camp from kindergarten to 8th grade. I learned how to master the card game Speed, dye my hair with Kool Aide and make out. Lets be real.

MB: What is the main goal of the show?
BT: To me? I’d love it to be on TV. I think it’s a solid show. Solid cast. Kanin and Beau really have their shit together and I think they can pull it off. To me it would be so rewarding to see a show that these guys created go to the big show. There are a million web series out there, but I think it’s time for unknown creatives like the ‘Camp Sunshine’ crew to start creating television content. I really believe in this show and I would be thrilled to see it snatched up and blasted out into the world.
TB: To be super HILARIOUS?!? To point the P.O.V. at the miserable people, responsible for horrible children. Nobody wants to be at summer camp, and we refuse to shy away from that.
GR: I would think… to show the true value, and benefits of spending “quality time” with youngsters in need of nurturing.

NO: To make you laugh.  And cry. From laughter.

MB: If you went to camp, what kind of counselor or camper were you? 
BT: As a camper I was a lover. Summer was all about love for me. Escape from the parents. Figuring out who I was. My favorite thing about camp is that the smallest and most mundane thing like Pizza Friday becomes the most important thing in your life. It’s all that matters. Nothing else is important. We have pizza tonight. I have been looking forward to this all week. I’m gonna drink two Pepsi’s. Life is AWESOME. As a councilor I was disillusioned. Tired, hung over, dealing with relationship issues and college stress. Adult stuff. I wish I was still a camper. I used to have dreams all year that I was back at camp. When I finally was….It was awesome.
TB: I was actually a counselor for pre-high school students..I would’ve been the counselor who sold the kids weed, if I smoked weed at the time, I guess maybe I tried too hard to be cool with them. I so didn’t want to be that guy who took his job too seriously. Like its 100 degrees in July get a life homie.
GR: I was a “Camper”… I was not happy…I was not a happy camper.

NO: I was the camper that bonded with the counselors. I knew all their drama. I lived for that shit.

MB: Lastly, is there anything you would like to say to the fans of ‘Camp Sunshine’?
BT: Get. Fired. Up. We have a fantastic show here with a ton of gung ho talent. This is gonna be one for the record books. Oh also, if you have any noted on my performance please let me know via DEAN’s Band website. That’s wearebolddragons@earthlink.co.uk.net.
TB: Super awesome show, creative, original, FUNNY. There’s definitely a void this show will fill. LADIES, I promise Beau Mirchoff will end up taking his shirt off in an episode, it’s in his contract! (smiley face goes here).
GR: Yes, I think I mentioned before that I’m an actor…I’m also still looking for a strong “Theatrical” Agent. Thank you.
NO: Thank you to those who have taken the time to support, share and donate. Please continue doing so. You rule.
Twitter: @thatcampshow
Facebook: Camp Sunshine
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