Internet movies lead to dream job

” In 2001, Akiva Schaffer never foresaw working on the show that he grew up loving. Now, not only is the 29-year-old a writer and director for Saturday Night Live, he just wrapped up his full-length directing debut, Hot Rod, out Aug. 3. Hot Rod stars Andy Samberg of SNL, as a self-proclaimed stuntman who wants to pull off a big jump to help his ailing stepfather.”

Now, not only is the 29-year-old a writer and director for Saturday Night Live, he just wrapped up his full-length directing debut, Hot Rod, out Aug. 3.

Hot Rod stars Andy Samberg of SNL, as a self-proclaimed stuntman who wants to pull off a big jump to help his ailing stepfather.

We wanted to make the smartest dumb comedy, Schaffer said.

Schaffer, Samberg and Jorma Taccone, all from Berkley, Calif., have known each other since junior high school, but went their separate ways in college.

After graduation, they reconvened in Los Angeles and started filming sketch comedy shorts in hopes of getting noticed, and that’s exactly what happened.

Fox signed them on to begin a show called Awesometown, which never made it past a pilot episode.

The group got its break writing for the MTV Movie Awards the year SNL alumnus Jimmy Fallon was host, and recommended the trio to an SNL producer.

Schaffer then came to New York to audition for a writing gig at SNL, even though he performed on the Lonely Island shows. Samberg and Taccone auditioned as performers. Samberg and Taccone were so nervous they vomited before their audition.

The trio has continued working together on SNL, coming up with sketches. Samberg said having a long friendship helps their comedy.

The fact that we know each other so well and trust each other helps us bring out the best in performing, editing and directing – all that sort of stuff, Samberg said. It’s immeasurably helpful and fantastic for us. It’s like a dream come true.

Schaffer has also directed four music videos. He’s most known, though, for his directorial work on the SNL Digital Shorts, which he writes and directs along with Taccone and Samberg.

Most famously, Schaffer directed the Lazy Sunday short, the rap video with Samberg and Chris Parnell rhyming about The Chronicles of Narnia and cupcakes.

Schaffer said there were pluses and minuses to working on a full-length movie instead of a two- or three-minute SNL skit.

In an hour and a half, there’s a lot of room for someone to get bored, he said. You have to keep people’s interest, whereas, in two minutes you can do whatever the hell you want.

One of the best things about doing Hot Rod for the trio was having financial backing from a movie studio.

To have something in the script that says ‘and then this thing explodes,’ and then show up on set and the special effects guys have full-on explosives, Schaffer said. You get to actually blow something up, that’s the craziest thing.

Schaffer also said craziness is involved in just getting to work on a movie and SNL.

The fact that we’re here now is the craziest, he said. Honestly, that was the unattainable. That’s why people move to L.A., to do that dream.