MUST COME DOWN screens Friday April 5 at 6pm
Acknowledging our addiction to video games, pop culture and surreal humor, we here at OMBG have been fans of the popular web series “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin?” for a while now. The series, created by the sibling duo Anthony and Ashly Burch uses sibling rivalry, social themes, and poop jokes all wrapped up in a video game package.
Ashly’s portrayal of herself in the series comes off as manic, off kilter, and quick on the draw makes for very funny comedy.
So when we saw the trailer for “Must Come Down” it took us a second to register the familiar face. Doing a little homework, we discovered Ashly Burch isn’t just a wisecracking video game addict, but a writer, actress, and singer with a lot of stuff going on.
Even better, we found out she was going to be in Victoria TX for the Victoria TX Independent Film Fest, so we decided to reach out to her before she got here to scratch the surface on this very funny lady…
TD: We first heard about you by “HAWP”, from what I understand it was originally just skits you and your brother started making. Did you ever expect it to take off the way it did?
AB: We really didn’t, we were just messing around and Anthony was trying to learn how to use his camera. We didn’t realize that people would respond to it as much as they did. But of course we’re really happy it panned out like it did.
TD: You maintain a terrific blog called “How Games Saved My Life” which publishes testimonies from gamers and pushes the positive elements of gaming. As a social issue, do you find it is getting more accepted in the mainstream, also do you feel it has peaked or will ever peak and run it’s course?
AB: The more time that goes on, the more games become embedded in our culture, and I think that’s a trend that’s only going to continue. It’s slowly becoming a pastime that isn’t met with raised eyebrows or pre-conceived notions. The more people that play games, the less they’ll be used as a scapegoat for societies ills.
TD: You also did a study called “Gender Redemption” focusing on the female responses to male centered roles and narratives in games. As a female gamer and enthusiast, did you find anything new or unexpected from all the data you collected from various women gamers?
AB: The female experience of the game fell a bit more within gendered lines than I anticipated. The participants were almost all exclusively morally noble in the game, and they enjoyed exploring the scenery on horseback and progressing the narrative, as opposed to engaging in more aggressive, and thus more typically masculine activities, like killing NPCs, setting things on fire, etc. It was a really interesting discovery and helped me develop my own views on gender.
TD: Your role as Holly in “Must Come Down” seems to be a 20 something girl in a critical and messed up time in her life, very unlike your comedic portrayal of yourseld in HAWP, was that a stretch for you?
AB: No, not at all. Holly and Ash are very different characters, but I can see pieces of me in each of them. It’s just a matter of accessing those things.
TD: How has the response been to the movie?
AB: It’s been very positive. People seem to really relate to Holly and Ashley, and the strange aimless feelings they’re working through over the course of the film.
TD: You are also a voice actress, with most recently a credit in Borderlands 2. How does the voice acting experience differ from camera work?
AB: I really like voice acting, because it gives you opportunities to play characters that you wouldn’t necessarily be suited for in a theatrical context. I don’t think I could pull off a 13-year-old on camera, but my voice can. I would never be cast as a soldier in a live action film, but I was able to lend my voice to Reid in Aliens: Colonial Marines. Of course, there are pros and cons to both forms of acting. All the physical nuances of a live action performance are lost when you’re voice acting, and, except for certain rare cases, you don’t get to act against anyone when you’re performing vocally, which is a big draw and a large part of the fun of a live action shoot.
TD: What projects do you have coming up?
AB: I’m currently in the Game of Thrones parody web series School of Thrones — the last episode airs on March 24th, right before the new season of GoT starts. There’s also some voice work that I can’t talk about unfortunately, but you’ll know when it comes out!
TD: I have to ask. What are you playing now, and what games are you excited for?
AB: Haha, I’m currently playing Binding of Isaac, Spelunky and SimCity and I’m really excited for Battleblock Theater and Bioshock Infinite.
TD: Where can people online go to keep up with you?
AB: I’m most active on twitter (heyashwp) and you can also catch me on facebook and instagram (instagram.com/ashlyburch)
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