Ellen Wroe and Emma Bell have set the standard for musical food parodies. It’s been over a year since we last sat down with the two young LA-based actresses to discuss their video project The Food Ditty – a “spoof Rap/Jazz/R&B parody mocking the dichotomous viewpoints of the American health food craze,” which is every bit as hilariously absurd as it sounds – (Think Lonely Island meets the Monsanto debate and Super Size Me.) And, after months of brushing up their dance moves, almost spoiling a whole food truck and finally, nabbing a feature relationship with the comedy video website Funny or Die, the misses E-Wroe and Emma Bee are finally ready to torment farmer’s market and county fair-goers everywhere with – what else? – song.
The Food Ditty is largely influenced by the girls’ Los Angeleno surroundings and sketches a world plagued by overzealous vegan hippie chicks vs. junk food rappers on food trucks, but no matter what side you fall on, you have to admit, the ditty’s catchy as f@#k.
Check out the full interview plus the whole video for The Food Ditty and behind-the-scenes below:
How do you feel having finally released your baby out into the world? Scared? Excited?
What would you say the Food Ditty is actually “about”?
Ellen: The Food Ditty is basically one big rant in which Emma and I make fun of our respective upbringings: my stereotypical Texan family that scoffs at any item marked “Organic” or “All Natural” versus Emma’s equally passionate family that wouldn’t ever think of even looking at much less stepping foot inside a McDonald’s.
Emma: It’s looking at the world’s current food war through a humorous lens. What kinds of foods we buy and eat has become as political as a presidential election. We are bombarded with anti GMO seed petitions, vegan crazes, McDonald’s ‘healthy’ food menu and 24 hour all you can eat buffets. Obviously, through our characters, Emma Bee and EWroe, we take this argument to the extreme, but that’s the point: To poke fun at it all. It’s food! Something that shouldn’t be at the center of so much debate. Eat delicious and healthy foods that make you happy but don’t make you ill, that’s all. We as a society have made food preferences a divisive issue, and Ellen and I thought that was pretty comical.
Do you have any funny/scary behind the scenes stories you can share? Any ravenous trips to Dairy Queen?
Ellen: Nearly spoiling an entire food truck full of food, that was scary. Our power outlet adapter for the food truck turned out to be incompatible. After two failed trips to Home Depot (one after closing hours as I banged [cried] ferociously on the door until they caved), our gaffer was able to successfully “jimmy” the outlet. PHEWPH.
Emma: That pretty much took the cake.
I’ve got to ask about the rolling ETA – first October, then February, now you’re finally done, May 2013. What happened exactly?
Ellen: Long Answer: There are hundreds of pieces to the puzzle that is film production. And when many of the pieces are fixed (budget, location, talent, crew) the piece that ends up being compromised is often the schedule. There were so many talented members of our crew that we simply weren’t willing to give up. So we often changed the schedule to ensure that everyone we wanted would be available.
Short Answer: I’m the eternal optimist and I never think things will take as long as they do.
Can you walk me through the general post-production process? How long did everything take?
Ellen: Our post production process consisted of three elements: Editing, Visual Effects, and Color Correction (to be completed in that order). We could not start the second step without the finishing the first, so multi-tasking was not an option. Music videos are born and killed in the editing room, so we took our time draft after draft to ensure we had every cut, split screen, and font choice exactly right. Once we had a picture lock, we began tackling the VFX debacle which proved much more difficult than imagined. Color correction was actually the easiest and quickest step taking only two days!
Are you happy with the finished product? Is there anything you would change? Anything that turned out better than you’d hoped?
Ellen: I could not be happier with the final product. It’s exceeded even my highest expectations.
Emma: We are both so proud of all the work that went into this project from every facet of its creation. The final product is amazing!
Do you think the food scene has changed at all since you first started planning this video? Or do you find the themes are still pretty relevant? How so?
Ellen: Mmm this is probably an Emma question…
Emma: The Food debate just continues to rise. With the Monsanto Protection Act being signed, to huge protests against GE foods and in support of GMO labeling, coupled with a rise of obesity and health issues, I’d say it’s even more so.
How does a personal project like this feed into your professional lives? Or does it not really?
Ellen: Work begets work. No matter what the work. Over the past decade the entertainment industry with its formally strict gateway to distributing content (via a major studio or production company) has made way for a vast world of online avenues for Do-It-Yourself-Media. And what’s great about these avenues, is that good content (or content filled with cats) will be watched! So why not do it yourself and see what opportunities may arise?
How did you get in touch with Funny or Die?
Ellen: Friend of a friend of a friend . . . and a lot of persistence on our end 🙂
Why decide to run with the Funny or Die link instead of your personal Youtube pages?
Ellen: Funny or Die has a much better filter for good, comedic content. YouTube…well, not so much.
How has feedback on the video been so far?
Ellen: Most of the feedback follows this sequence, “wow those sets were incredible. And so was Emma’s voice! . . . oh and Ellen . . .you really have a lot of energy.”
Emma: Don’t be so modest! Ellen has the most fantastically hilarious raps I’ve ever heard. And to think it’s all around Food? That’s a feat!
Do you plan on doing any follow up videos in the future? Perhaps with a different subject matter but using the same characters? (Ellen got the Gatorade Rap; can we expect a kale ballad from Emma any time soon?)
Ellen: We’re cookin’ up a few ideas . . .
You mentioned Emma was in New York checking out the theatre scene. How have misses Emma Bee and E-Wroe been spending their time since last we spoke?
Emma: I co- run a Philanthropic urban farming organization called Unitepeople. We are launching a summer campaign entitled, ‘Organic is Light’ which is all about how living sustainably and organically benefits ourselves and the world around us. It’s been incredibly fulfilling!
What’s next for the both of you?
Ellen: Emma’s returning to Dallas for Season 3 of the TNT show. And for me . . . who knows!
Emma: I’d say total world domination.
Images via Ellen Wroe