While most Vanderbilt students were tucked away in cubicles, taking summer classes or catching up on sleep, senior Ted Moock spent his summer shooting takes through the night with the cast of “Pitch Perfect 2” and sharing fondue with the film’s star, Anna Kendrick.
Last year, a YouTube video of Moock performing a solo on a cover of The Neighbourhood’s “Sweater Weather” with the Melodores a cappella group made its way to a lawyer working with the Pitch Perfect franchise. After receiving an invitation to audition for the film’s producers, Moock was ultimately cast as a member of The Treblemakers, an all-male a cappella group, in the film’s highly anticipated sequel.
Though he had known about the opportunity since January, he didn’t consider it a serious possibility until April of this year, but less than one month later he was in Baton Rouge, La., on the film’s set, rehearsing music and choreography that would be filmed starting June 2. As it turns out, his first task wasn’t too different from what he’d been doing at Vanderbilt. Before he even arrived on set, he received a homework assignment — to learn the film’s music.
“When they sent the music out, it was like, ‘This is actually happening,’” Moock said. “I’m thankful I had an a cappella background, so I could learn it pretty quickly, because that’s what we do with the Melodores all the time.”
If the turnaround between his audition to time on set was any indication, the month Moock spent on set moved quickly. He recalled his first day, when, after a dance and vocal rehearsal, he was brought to a studio to begin recording for the film’s soundtrack.
“From the beginning it was like, ‘Alright, let’s go,’” Moock said.
The fast pace also carried over into his social life on set.
“It was kind of intimidating at first,” he said. “You see all these stars and you don’t know how to interact with them.”
But he got the hang of it early on, bonding over singing with one of the film’s co-stars, Ben Platt, who plays Treblemaker Benji.
Moock recalls the first weekend when Kendrick, the film’s female lead, wanted to catch up with Platt.
“That night, I ended up at The Melting Pot with Anna Kendrick, her boyfriend and Ben,” Moock said. “She was super-sarcastic and super-funny. After it was over, I was thinking, ‘I just sat at a table with Anna Kendrick — like, what?’”
Aside from that night, the majority of Moock’s time was spent alongside Platt and the other Treblemakers, but even though they had music in common, their backgrounds are very different.
“Some of them were younger — 18 or 19 — but the majority of people I interacted with had done some sort of film before,” he said. “Other guys have been working a long time to get to a role of this caliber.”
Of the two other Treblemakers also enrolled in college, Moock is the only one who doesn’t study theater, majoring in Human and Organizational Development instead. But that hasn’t deterred him from wanting to pursue more opportunities like this after school.
“I grew up watching TV and movies and thinking, ‘Wow, it would be really cool to do that,’ but it was always a pipe dream. Now I can definitely see myself continuing to do this,” Moock said.
After shooting wrapped, Moock met with the lawyer who had set up his original audition, and they discussed his options for moving forward.
“I want to be able to use my voice,” he said.
But he also plans to take acting classes and look into finding representation at an agency for actors and singers.
“This thing literally dropped out of nowhere, but it’s here — I feel like I’m stupid to not try and make something out of it,” Moock said.
Though the movie won’t be released until May 15 — after Moock graduates — he hopes his plans to watch the final product can involve Vanderbilt. “The Treblemakers from the first movie got to go to the premiere, which would be insane, but my birthday is May 1, right when finals end, and I hope I can get some kind of advance screening at Vanderbilt so everyone can see it.”