Exclusive Interview: Pete Karinen Talks About FCU: Fact Checkers Unit
The comedy web series, FCU: Fact Checker’s Unit is not only currently in its second season, but has also garnered a pretty impressive roster of celebrity guest stars. And if you haven’t seen the series yet, you probably should. In fact, you can watch it all right here on Web Series Channel (or Hulu), so there’s no excuse.
But in case I haven’t convinced you yet, maybe this fun interview with one of the brains behind the series Pete Karinen will change your mind.
How would you describe Fact Checkers Unit to someone who had never seen it?
Pete Karinen: I would tell them it’s a comedy series about two fact checkers who take their inconsequential jobs as seriously as homicide detectives. If that doesn’t work, I would tell women that James Franco is in an episode and men that Karolina Kurkova is in an episode.
What was the inspiration behind the series?
Pete Karinen: Brian [Sacca] came up with the idea to spoof shows like “CSI” and “NCIS.” Then Brian came up with the idea to make it about fact checkers. Then Brian came up with the title. Then Brian wrote the first episode. Brian is kind of like the brains and the brawn of the operation — I’m pretty much the guy who goes on beer runs.
Why did you decide to distribute the series on the web?
Pete Karinen: Because web series are so much more lucrative than TV shows and movies.
You have been able to get quite a few impressive guest stars in the series, how did you manage it?
Pete Karinen: We put ads up on Craigslist. You’d be surprised how many movie stars and supermodels are looking for work there.
One of your latest guest stars is James Franco, can you talk about your experience working with him and how he got involved in the episode?
Pete Karinen: James was a blast. The first thing we shot with him required him to lie on a dirty sidewalk, and he was completely game to do it. That’s when I knew he would be up for anything.
How did you come up with his character’s storyline?
Pete Karinen: Brian came up the idea to do something with special effects. Then Brian came up with the storyline. Then Brian wrote the episode. I got the beer.
FCU is now in its second season, if you could go back and talk to yourselves at the beginning of the series what would you say?
Pete Karinen: I’d say, “Pete, you could lose a few pounds. And you’re going to have a beautiful moustache someday.”
What was the most surprising thing about creating FCU?
Pete Karinen: Definitely how fun the celebrities are to work with. For the most part, they are totally willing to put themselves out there and just have fun with it. Alex Trebek had the idea to wear a Buddhist monk’s robe – I mean, that’s awesome.
What advice would you give to someone who would like to make a web series?
Pete Karinen: Just make what you think is funny and what would like to see. I knew I would want to see a video where Donald Faison vomits, so we wrote a scene with him vomiting. And sure enough, I enjoyed it. Thoroughly.