Friday, December 11, 2020

|Podcast| Second Team - Ria Pavia

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Ria Pavia’s career in the entertainment industry launched with performing gymnastics in a tampon commercial in the ‘80s. This stint propelled her into acting in TV commercials, guest spots, and film roles. Next, Ria donned her scribe hat, working as a staff writer on Ask Harriet (starring Ed Asner) and Pauly (starring Pauly Shore) for FOX. Additionally, she has scripted television pilots, features, plays, and content for various digital platforms. She served as a “punch up” writer on many feature films. Ms. Pavia’s career then segued into directing for the stage, where she has helmed more than 20 plays and musicals. Second Team marks Ria’s film directorial debut.

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Second Team was birthed after I logged thousands of hours in dozens of video villages over three decades.

On season two of a recent gig, instead of wandering to crafty for yet more unearned snacks during down time, I decided to stay put and study the unsung heroes on our soundstage; the stand-ins for the leads. This group was markedly more dedicated than any I had encountered. Despite being overworked and underappreciated, they’d spring into action each time the words “Lighting Mode” were uttered.

This 30-45 minute span of time meant cat naps in trailers for some lucky stars, casting future episodes off of self-tapes for producers, and potty breaks for the rest of us. But for the stand-ins; also known as SECOND TEAM, this is where their real work began. I was their captive audience; impressed with their patience in helping to set up perfect shots for their counterparts, even know they knew they’d never be seen onscreen themselves. “Move over there,” “Try not to look down,” “Could you not laugh?” were commands barked at them. They took direction like champs. Always patient and committed.

We had a super early call one day, which started with a “second team rehearsal,” where the stand-ins marked the scene while the leads were getting camera-ready. These second team ladies were completely memorized, and they were good. Like really good. It was that morning I decided it was time to shine a light on these underdogs.

What especially struck me was the fact that they seemed content in their roles, which were less than glamorous; never attempting to overcompensate. These ladies did not seem to have the need to be competitive with one another, nor with the stars. Not even the guest stars.

What’s that like, I wondered, to be perfectly satisfied with where you’re at in life? Even if, on paper, it may not seem impressive to some. What is it like to not need to be first, but to be at home with being second… team?

… that wasn’t in the script…
A scorned stand-in actor for a hit TV show distorts the script to publicly undress her costar.

Second Team swept all the categories it was nominated in, winning Best Picture, Best Narrative Film, Best Comedy, Best Editing and Best Cinematography.

Second Team also won both the judge and audience awards for Best Indy Short in the Film Series at Cine Gear competition, and received the Best Comedy/Drama Short designation at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.

Pavia’s short had its world premiere at the 2020 Just For Laughs Eat My Shorts film program, part of the biggest comedy festival in North America. Second Team is also an Official Selection for the 2020 HollyShorts Film Festival, an Academy Awards® qualifying festival.

“Ria’s ability to break down story, understand characters, comedy and motivation puts her at the top of her field. She enhances every scene and is a wonderful sounding board because when you talk to her about a scene, she’s already in your head with a perspective that’s spot on. I can’t wait to see what she does as a director. I believe it will be nothing short of spectacular.” —Eric Dean Seaton, TV Director

“Ria has a wonderful understanding of how to take performances from the page to the screen!” —Linda Mendoza, Film & TV Director
“How lucky am I to have worked with Ria! All you have to do is watch her work one day on set to know she’s ready to be the one running the show. Thoughtful, decisive and supportive, she’s the type of director you want to have behind the scenes. Very excited to support and witness this new chapter in her career!” —Samantha Bailey, Writer/Director

Photo Content from Ria Pavia
Francia Raisa is a Los Angeles native of Mexican and Honduran descent. Currently she plays a college student named Ana Torres on Grown-ish, the hit spin-off following the success of ABC’s Black-ish. In 2018 she starred alongside Tyra Banks in the feature film "Life-Size 2". Some earlier credits include her role as Adrian on "The Secret Life of The American Teenager" and her role as Leti in the feature film "Bring It On: All or Nothing," released in 2006. Raisa dedicates herself to causes like ending human trafficking by supporting organizations like Unlikely Heroes.

Danielle Savre
Born in Simi Valley, Danielle is an American actress and singer. She is known for her television roles, such as her lead performances in the 2007 MTV music drama Kaya and the 2016 TLC drama Too Close to Home, and for her roles in the films Wild About Harry and Boogeyman 2.

Photo Content from Ria Pavia
Gigi Zumbado
Gigi Zumbado is quickly establishing herself as a sought after talent. Her previous credits include supporting roles in FOX's 9-1-1, CBS’s CRIMINAL MINDS and MTV’s SCREAM. Gigi currently resides in Los Angeles.

Greer Grammer
Greer Grammer is an American actor and a former beauty pageant winner. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She made her acting debut in 2010, with the sitcom ‘iCarly,’ playing the role of ‘Tancy’ in one of its episodes. The same year, she made her film debut with ‘Almost Kings.’ She had her major acting breakthrough in 2011, when she was signed to play the key role of ‘Lissa Miller’ in the teen comedy–drama series ‘Awkward.’ In addition, she also played a major role in the series ‘The Middle.’ After making her film debut in 2010, she appeared in films such as ‘Chastity Bites,’ ‘Life Partners,’ and ‘Altitude’.

Phill Lewis
Phill Lewis is an American actor, comedian and director, known for his role as Mr. Moseby on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck. Lewis has also appeared in series such as Lizzie McGuire, Friends, The Wayans Bros, Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother.
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