There are a few kids out there, which included myself, who daydreamed about having a double life filled with crazy adventures. It doesn’t exactly happen, or fall into a person’s lap, but that’s the case with Nick Green (played by Jackson Rathbone) in the new interactive web series “Aim High.”
“Aim High” is the story of a young man leading a double life — juggling his studies by day and serving as a government agent by night. This series chronicles the life of Nick Green (Jackson Rathbone),a junior who’s just starting a new school year as one of the country’s 64 highly trained teenage operatives.
When he’s not handling international spies, Nick is dreaming of Amanda Miles (Aimee Teegarden), the most popular girl in school, who’s cool, intelligent and very alluring. Amanda mercilessly flirts with Nick, but before he can enjoy her advances he has to avoid Derek (Jonathan ‘Lil J’ McDaniel), her overly protective boyfriend who threatens him for even looking at her.
Now you may be wondering how this web series separates itself from the others which has to do with where the show’s premiering. The six episode series will be debuting only on Facebook and Cambio on Tuesday, October 18th. Along with that, you can show off the show to your friends on Facebook and be part of the mini web series thanks to a couple of cool interactive tricks.
ShockYa got the opportunity to chat with the star of “Aim High” about producing, acting, improving and fangirls.
ShockYa: How did you get involved with the project? How did this fall in your lap? Did it fall in your lap?
Jackson Rathbone: Kind of, it was one of those things where Wonderland (Sound and Vision), McG’s company, found out I started my production company and I had just produced a film called “Girlfriend.” I produced this movie and it was kind of like this lovely independent gem where I acted, produced and composed the soundtrack. They brought me in, they showed me the project and they had already done a lot of work in pre-production on it. They gave me the pitch, asked me I wanted to be involved as a producer and an actor and I said yeah. I wanted to go out there and create something new, exciting and something more personal for the internet. I wanted to not just do a web series that looked and felt like a web series but we wanted to do a show that was aesthetically the same quality as a network television show. So we figured it out and put it all together and had an amazing time with it. We shot for eight days.
ShockYa: Eight days?
Jackson Rathbone: Eight days, that’s rough.
ShockYa: Well I liked the show, it’s pretty adorable. You’ve got your own band and you’ve composed before for “Girlfriend,” why didn’t you compose for “Aim High”?
Jackson Rathbone: I was a little bit too busy with other work and I had a bunch of different projects going at the same time. Sometimes there are certain projects that you really want to score on. The “Girlfriend” is something we wanted to do because we wanted to make a broken lullaby out of it. “Aim High” was, we kind of wanted to hand it off to someone else and kind of step back. I wanted to kind of step back and do more of an editorial look because if I got involved with the music I’d be really focused on that but not so much on the edit. As producer I had to make sure it’s all up-to-par. Sometimes if you wear too many hats it doesn’t work and that one I really wanted to focus on producing because it’s such a new format with the social integration. I really wanted to keep my head on that level.
ShockYa: With the whole story, it feels in a way a John Hughes-like version of a teenage spy series.
Jackson Rathbone: I like that, I like that.
ShockYa: So with “Aim High,” was one of the main goals was to have people interact with it when it comes to the web series? I’m referring to how the series works in regards to integrating it on Facebook.
Jackson Rathbone: Thinking about it, if you were to watch it with your friend on her computer in her account it would be different than how you’d watch it on your account because it’s being personalized to whatever Facebook page you’re on. If you’re on your Facebook page it’ll be personalized to you and your friends. My mom has Facebook, I really want to watch it with her. I want to be like ‘Mom, there you are!’ That’s funny to me, I would crack up. I think it gives it a unique viewing experience. It’s not like the whole world changes with it, it’s not like — the show doesn’t exist on that. The story is really fun, it’s cute and it’s quirky and it’s dark at times. It’s really fun to watch and the action sequences are really awesome. I really love the last action sequence in the series.
ShockYa: Can you talk a little bit more about working with the cast especially since you guys had only eight days to shoot?
Jackson Rathbone: It was great, everybody was a team player about it and really worked their asses off, that was required. Johnny Pemberton and I kind of got to go a little bit outside of the dialogue and had a little bit of fun with it.
ShockYa: So you still had enough time during shooting to improv a bit?
Jackson Rathbone: Yeah, of course. I think one of the things I worked out on tour before we shot. I like to kind of be spontaneous in every take really, trying something new and at least bring a little something to it. We’d usually do that the first two takes like that then the third take would be this iron clad scripted take. We needed one version of the script that is just exact because we can’t do more than four takes. You get four takes and then you move on, but if you’re doing a big film like the “Twilight” films or “The Last Airbender” sometimes you’re doing twenty takes, you can go upwards with that. I don’t think I’ve ever done a scene that’s been more than twenty takes though, I might kill myself. (Laughs) Nah, I’m kidding. It can be terrifying for a lot of actors to have to get your performance done in three or four takes because a lot of actors aren’t used to that. Everybody came on board, Rebecca (Mader), Greg (Germann), Johnny (Pemberton) and Aimee (Teegarden), it was just incredible, people coming in and supporting one another. It was awesome.
ShockYa: You’ve been doing more producing lately, are you hoping to gradually transition into just producing in the future? Are you still going to keep on acting and just wear both hats?
Jackson Rathbone: I want to get more production stuff going. I wrote a short film last year that I wanted to direct but I ended up losing my time that I had to direct it so obviously I couldn’t do it. Hopefully in January I might be able to do that. I want to do everything, I definitely see myself directing and if I end up acting, directing, producing and composing the soundtrack I’ll do it. I’m not going to edit myself, I’ll step away from that. I’m not going to be (Robert) Rodriguez. I love film, I really do and it’s such an amazing media because it’s all the art forms in one. You have a hundred different artists from different backgrounds coming together to one collective conscious mind and creating a piece of art. That’s f*cking cool, excuse my language.
ShockYa: And you have a couple of upcoming projects coming out soon, especially “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.”
Jackson Rathbone: Yeah well Twilight comes out November 18th, we’re gearing up for that. It’s kind of like the calm before the storm right now.
ShockYa: Have you ever had any scary “Twilight” fangirls?
Jackson Rathbone: I don’t know if I have especially for that, it’s always different. I don’t think anybody likes being groped or grabbed because I don’t. If I’m at a bar and you want to say hi to me, say hi to me. I’m a nice guy, I’ll say ‘Hi, nice to meet you,’ but I don’t know why someone would grab me to get my attention. I’ve had my ass grabbed a whole bunch which is — I wonder if there’s a moment where you think I’m going to turn around and be like ‘I love you’? Where they think it’s good to just grab my ass is just amazing. That’s not cool but everything else is amazing. Just having the support of an amazing fan base, that means the world. if I have to get my ass grabbed every once in awhile so be it.
“Aim High” premieres on Cambio and Facebook on Tuesday, October 18th. For more information on the web series check out the official Facebook page or follow @AimHighSeries and @Cambioconnect on Twitter.