After falling in love with the stage at Madison West High School in the early 1990s, J.D. Walsh did what many ambitious creative types did before the almighty Internet cast its web worldwide. He headed to a coast.
"If you want to make a living as an actor, it's still easier to do it in L.A. or New York," he says.
Since leaving Madison to pursue acting in Los Angeles, Walsh has appeared in dozens of commercials, movies and TV shows, most notably Dharma and Greg, Two and a Half Men and the latest Spider-Man blockbuster. But he never lost affection for his hometown.
"I wish I could live in Madison and just create every day," he admits.
Walsh recently seized an opportunity to practice his craft in Madison from time to time. He has the Internet to thank for that.
He launched his own TV series, Battleground, in 2012. It follows the campaign of dark-horse U.S. Senate candidate Deirdre Samuels, and it was set and shot locally. Though the show was originally designed for Fox, it became the first original programming produced by the streaming-video service Hulu.
Walsh says broadcast networks like Fox are looking for TV shows that fit into two categories: 30-minute comedies and hour-long dramas. Tonally, Battleground is somewhere in the middle. When Fox decided to pass on Walsh's pilot, he learned that emerging Internet TV networks are much more flexible with their programming decisions.
"Luckily for me, Hulu just wanted quality programming, and they dug the [Battleground] idea," he says.