Hello, fellow thespians. You’re here because you’re ready for your own acting journey. I, Philip Johnson, star of the short film, “Two Two-Topping Pizzas For Only $7.99 Each” will be your sherpa as we climb the Everest of Acting.
Welcome to my MasterClass.
We’ll kick off Lesson One by asking questions of your character, just like I did preparing for my starring performance as “Shlubby Dad.” I spent hours staring in the mirror pondering what kind of beer comprised his beer belly. I wondered, is his Hawaiian shirt a breezy summer outfit, or is he longing for a tropical vacation as a respite from the stress of suburban fatherhood?
I channeled Daniel Day Lewis and went full method for this role, a process we’ll discuss at length in Lesson Two. I spent six months eating nothing but Dominos. Then, I went on an ayahuasca detox retreat and had a breakthrough.
I discovered that Shlubby Dad was facing a midlife crisis and that the two toppings he selects for his $7.99 pizzas represent the two paths his life could have taken. The pepperoni is his current status as a family man; the Italian sausage, an imagined life where he followed his passion and became a professional frisbee golfer.
In Lesson Three, we’ll discuss how the script is just a framework for your talent. Any bozo can simply say, “My wife is out of town and I forgot about my daughter’s soccer game! And—uh oh!—she’s hungry!”
It takes a true Artist to convey the devastation Shlubby Dad felt when his dinner predicament reminded him of his tumultuous relationship with his own father. Listen to my voice in this short clip. Can you hear the internal torment as I order my pizzas?
Lesson Four is all about crafting a backstory for your character. Although the script for “Two Two-Topping Pizzas For Only $7.99 Each” only referenced a daughter who played soccer, I invented an additional son Shlubby Dad had with his first wife, Kathy, a neurosurgeon who left him for a professional chef. Shlubby Dad is failing his son as a father, falling short in his eyes as Kathy’s new husband always has a satisfying dinner on the table.
But then, one weekend, Shlubby Dad brought home pizza, earning his son’s respect. The cheese in the crust represented the fatherly love that is buried within the bread-like confines of modern patriarchal society.
This is why backstory is so crucial. My character’s motivation for calling Domino’s was not just desperate hunger. He is trying to show his daughter, like he did with her step-brother, that he is a Provider who can track down the best deals on pizza, even if he can’t read a calendar.
(Although we’ll do extensive exercises to build backstory, procuring your own ayahuasca is recommended.)
We’ll also dive into improvising with props in Lesson Five, such as smearing marinara on one’s chin as a metaphor for loneliness or holding up a limp breadstick to symbolize sexual inadequacy.
Lesson Six—our final lesson—will discuss the heavy burden Actors face telling the hard-to-swallow truths about life and society. When I, as Shlubby Dad, said, “This deal is c-c-c-crazy,” I was not only speaking to the incredible value of the 2-for-$7.99-each deal. I was winking at the absurdity of being a god damn human being. How can Shlubby Dad ever know if he has fulfilled his cosmic purpose? How can Domino’s essentially give away these pizzas? We must force ourselves and our audience to confront these unknowables.
Future Actors, I’ve been in your shoes. Although you may never appear in a short film as popular as mine, which has been streamed hundreds of thousands of times by Hulu subscribers who don’t want to pay for the ad-free tier, I know you have it in you to show the world your acting chops.
I’ll be there with you every step of the way. Let me be your guide with my MasterClass.
Plus, I’ll let you in on an acting secret: how to use my exclusive promo code for free cinnamon twists with your next order at Domino’s.