‘Terriers’ stars visit campus with free screening and student discussion

The newest FX series “Terriers” is not about cute puppies or breeds of small dogs. The show has nothing to do with animals, but a duo of illegitimate detectives who venture into the streets of San Diego solving cases for an unlicensed private investigation business.

Donal Logue (“Sneakers,” “Grounded for Life”) and Michael Raymond-James (“True Blood”), the show’s stars, visited the University to speak with theater students about the show. The actors also presented a free screening of a recent episode.

They told the students that breaking into the film industry, or any business, takes persistence and commitment. Paul Callahan, a graduate student in FAA, said this advice stood out to him.

“The one good thing that Mike (Raymond-James) pointed out is the whole aspect of something that you need to do versus something that you want to do,” Callahan said. “If it’s something that you need to do, be active in it, push yourself for it.”

Raymond-James studied theater at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York. The training helped him with his career, but everyone doesn’t have to study theater to make it in the business, he said.

“Certainly the training I had affects the work I do and how I approach the work I do,” Raymond-James said. “But you don’t even know the depth of your talent until you start to learn a craft and you apply it to your instrument.”

Logue attended Harvard and studied history.

Raymond-James said that their different college backgrounds do not change the way the two approach their roles and the work they produce together.

What the cast has produced so far is critically acclaimed, James said. The ratings tell a different story though, showing only 1.6 million viewers for September’s premiere episode. The way in which the show was marketed may have created a confusing first impression for viewers, Raymond-James said. Early promotions featured Terrier dogs running and barking at cast members.

“That’s really not what the show’s about,” Raymond-James said. “So we’re trying to educate the public a little bit.”

The show is also looking for the right target audience in order to help the show survive to see another season, which seems like a longshot that’s slipping away, Raymond-James said. This is why they have included the University on its promotional tour.

“It’s an opportunity to bring a lot of college students on board who could maybe help us raise the awareness of the show through social networking sites,” James said.

Social media is how Holly Smith and Aaron Smith, recent graduates, heard about the screening.

“I actually saw it on Twitter this afternoon,” Holly Smith said.

Fans of FX’s “Nip/Tuck,” the Smiths saw promotions for “Terriers” and started watching the show. The free screening of the latest episode was a review for them, they said.

“(We’re) big fans of the show,” said Aaron Smith, adding that he is also a fan of Logue. “When we saw it today, we just knew we wanted to come and check it out.”

Raymond-James said he wants more college students to become fans like the Smiths, but knows many students don’t have time to watch it on television each week.

“I know it’s hard for anybody in college, anybody in America nowadays, but especially college students, to sort of set aside a night at a particular time, every week to watch something on television,” Raymond-James said. “But there is so much access on the web now to content.”

The show’s fusion of comedy, drama, mystery and romance is appealing to many people. Raymond-James said. What younger audience members, like students, will find unique is the way the show feels like a weekly independent film, he added.

“I really think if college kids had a second to watch the show, they’d dig it,” Raymond-James said.