Flaunting a flowing blond bowl cut, Cody Ross Pitts stars as Lance in Yale’s new security video. Lance is the personification of the stupidest, most unsafe tendencies in Yale students. Pitts did not go to Yale. Rather, he graduated this spring from Monmouth University in New Jersey — with a cumulative 4.0, he told scene. As an undergraduate, he double majored in Chemistry and minored in physics and musical theater. Monday, he was on his way out the door to present an academic article at a musical theater conference (the “Song, Stage & Screen” conference) in England. He said he is taking the year off to relax a little bit to work on his paper and pursue a bit of acting. Pitts may be Phi Beta Kappa material, but massive chunks of the video’s inception and intention still remain a mystery, even to him.
Q: Where did this video come from and when did you first get involved?
A: It was Thom Stylinski that first contacted me and I sent him back a thirty second I did for a Hienz™ commercial and for the Onion™. He said ‘I’d love to cast you.’ The other girl is a friend of mine; she just showed up in New Haven, and – bam – magic happened.
Q: Who is Thom Stylinski? Is he a Yale student?
A: I honestly don’t know. He works in broadcast somewhere, and he called me up and orchestrated everything. He mentioned a name, and there was something, either the head of security, or someone he contacted and work this out with. In the past, Yale has only done a couple different skits that they’ve worked out… They hope this is going to last, and they won’t have to worry about putting it together again.
I think this is why he did that ’80s theme, because everyone remembers in their high school when they saw this ridiculous video that was kind of outdated. His whole concept, playing off how ridiculous these PSAs were, was just genius.
Q: It says in the credits that the video is copyrighted in 1977 and 2010. What part of this was copyrighted in 1977?
A: That’s a darned good question. I don’t know if that was a joke or perhaps they took some of the music from 1977. I’m not sure.
Q: What was the mood on set?
A: Very relaxed. Very comedic. It was a great opportunity for improv on the actors’ part. I contributed a few things to the script myself. The whole typing idea was mine, the line “But I only carry hundreds.” It was very flexible, very fun, probably one of the best short films that I’ve worked on in a while.
Q: Were you paid for your work?
A: Yes I was. Or to be paid, apparently it’s still being processed.
Q: What about the old guy? Everyone wants to know about the whole guy?
A: I know absolutely nothing about the whole guy. He is so incredibly old and so incredibly appropriate for the film. I wish I had met him. I wish the guy was my grandfather. I wish I knew.
Q: When did you guys film this thing?
A: This was actually I think the first week of august. I think Thom had it edited and fixed in literally a week.
Q: Do you still have the same haircut you sported in the video?
A: Yes, yes I do. I’ve actually a very similar haircut for the past 22 years. There was one time for an independent film that ultimately fell through when I had to get a perm. That was a dark, dark time of my life.
Q: Was that why the film fell through?