- Associated Press - Thursday, December 25, 2014

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) - They weren’t discovered at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine sitting in a drug store, but three graduates of Highland High School have found their respective niche in Los Angeles.

Ryan Noggle, Tye Edwards and Tony Lewellen all took different career paths, but the trio has been reunited in Tinseltown.

Recently, the three collaborated on a three-episode Web series, titled “Obedient Artists,” with hopes that it will be selected for future production either online or by a cable television network, The Herald Bulletin reports (https://bit.ly/1veUTYU).

Noggle, a 1995 graduate of Highland High School, received a degree from Butler University and then worked for NBC as a page. That led to a five-year stint with “Saturday Night Live,” where he wrote jokes for the “Weekend Update” segment for Tina Fey, Jimmy Fallon and Amy Poehler. He then contributed to the monologue for Fallon’s late-night show.

He moved to Los Angeles in 2012 and is the head writer of the CBS Diversity Sketch Showcase. With his move to Los Angeles, he reunited with Edwards and Lewellen.

Noggle wrote, directed and produced the three episodes of “Obedient Artists,” calling in lots of favors and investing several thousand dollars to rent the necessary equipment.

“We knew my career would take us to Los Angeles,” Noggle said of the move he made with his wife. “The goal is to get into longer forms of work like network shows and movies.”

Among his writing credits is work for DreamWorks creating lines for “Shrek,” ”Puss ‘n Boots” and one-minute shorts.

Noggle has an agent and manager and is marketing the concept of “Obedient Artists” to several cable networks. The program is about two agents who represent animal actors.

Noggle and Lewellen, a 1996 HHS graduate, lost touch for several years but reconnected in 2012.

“I always knew I wanted to write something for the two of us,” he said.

Lewellen graduated from Ball State University in 2000 and worked in Chicago for four years at the Improv Olympics club before moving to the West Coast.

He has been doing mostly commercial work and independent films.

Lewellen said he met Edwards through Noggle and the three would talk a lot about growing up in Anderson.

“When Ryan pitched the idea, it was like ‘Let’s do it,’” he said. “I thought it was funny. There is the chance to build a character, there are good characters.”

Edwards, a 1991 graduate of HHS, graduated from Anderson University and worked in Nashville and Oklahoma before moving to California.

“Our paths never crossed,” Edwards said of Noggle and Lewellen. “We communicated through Facebook.”

Then Edwards got a call from Noggle.

“Ryan (Noggle) was the head writer for the CBS Diversity Sketch Showcase and called me up,” he said. “He asked if I had any diversity, which I do. I auditioned for the show and was added to the cast last year.”

“Ryan has a knack,” Edwards said. “He has a real future. I love his style.”

Edwards said he thought the scripts for “Obedient Artists” were pretty funny.

“It sounded really quirky and I knew I would enjoy it,” Edwards said.

Edwards said there is a large underground comedy world in Los Angeles because sketches can be filmed with little finances.

“The opportunities are out there,” he said. “You have to take a lot of opportunities as they come along.”

Edwards said since it was Noggle’s first attempt at directing his style was an unknown but that everyone worked well together.

He said they would film a take following the script and then one with the two lead actors improvising throughout the scene.

Edwards said the hope is that a network will fund six episodes for the Web and, if it does well, ask for a pilot script to be developed.

“I knew our paths would cross,” he said of working with Noggle and Lewellen.

Lewellen said the three episodes were filmed in three days.

“I’ve always held the belief that people from Anderson have a unique sense of humor, which is very dry,” he said. “People from Anderson are fun to be around.”


Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com



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