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Isle extras take it all off for 2 minutes of fame


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A shout from the director sparks a flurry of activity on the set: “;We need the running team, the soldiers and the nudists again!”;

Affable and quiet off camera, comedic actor Rob Schneider glances out the window at a group of men running around screaming in the Punaluu yard with nothing but socks or pieces of stocking covering them, and shakes his head. “;That's ridiculous.”;

Unfortunately, he's dressed the same way.

When “;Naked Dawn,”; a parody of a cinematic trailer, is up and running on FunnyorDie.com this week, the socked areas will be mercifully blurred on screen. The video is an entertaining contribution to Funny or Die, but the 2 1/2-minute piece also is an effort to generate buzz about “;Big Stan,”; a movie Schneider directed and starred in, released on DVD and Blu-ray this week.

The trailer “;is pretty stupid and funny, so that's why I'm here wrapping myself up in a towel,”; says Schneider. “;They showed me several ideas, and this is the one I liked best.”;

Jake Szymanski, a director with Funny or Die, jumped at the opportunity to travel to Hawaii to make the satire based on the 1980s classic “;Red Dawn.”; “;We're playing it straight like a war action movie, except with everyone nude,”; he says. “;We're just running around to all of these amazing locations; it's gorgeous, so we're literally trying to fit in everything we can.”; Completing the project here has been “;a really nice added bonus.”;

When asked what he looks for in Funny or Die projects, producer Mike Farah explains, “;It needs to be short because people's viewing habits just aren't at a place where they'll stick around for much longer than two to three minutes. But there are definitely things that lend themselves to more Internet-y ideas. Movie trailer mash-ups are just a popular thing because they play off an existing movie. It puts it in a good position to be passed around. I would love for people to wonder if this is a real movie.”;

Shooting with a red camera, which yields high-quality footage, will help. But most of these projects are done quickly and with the kinds of limited resources that rely on friendships and connections.

“;We're always really low budget,”; says Josh Simpson, an associate producer for Funny or Die, who adds that they are constantly pushing the envelope. “;It's like YouTube. We pretty much do whatever we can get away with. ... The Internet is nice because there aren't those rules. We're lucky that our writers have an idea, and we can do it how we want to.”;

Though someone screens everything submitted to the site, anyone who posts has a chance to be seen — and evaluated — by thousands of viewers.

Cinematographer Shawn Booth, who also works on “;Lost,”; says participants stepped up to turn the lack of glamour into a couple of days of fun. “;This is Hawaii, and the locals came out in force,”; he says. “;Everyone's been amazing.”;

Back in the house, wrapped in a towel and wearing an indigenous necklace from the Amazon River, Schneider doesn't seem fazed by the ascetic conditions; indeed, he appears to view them as a way to enjoy the island setting even more.

“;If you're not affected by the majesty and the beauty of the emotion of this island, you're not alive,”; he says. “;It's impossible not to be swept up in it.”;