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MAJ STATE CAPITOL.JPGSacramento filmmaker John Kenneth Wagner didn't have to look far to find the subject for his next project.

As a 57-year resident of California's capital, Wagner has heard plenty of stories about the role of lobbyists.

He decided to shine a spotlight on Sacramento's influence peddlers in a new fictional Web series he's calling "The Lobbyist."

Wagner plans to produce and post 13 episodes, each 10 minutes long, for the first season of the show, which chronicles the professional and personal dealings of the fictional Elliot Richards.

But as with politics, money is the mother's milk of the movie business. So Wagner put three of his actors' lobbying skills to work during a six-minute video seeking cash for the project.

Elevator jazz accompanies their pitch on a crowd-funding website called IndieGoGo, which you can watch here.

Actor Brian Jagger, who plays Richards, describes the series as a " 'West Wing' meets 'Dallas' take on the California political structure."

In what could be seen as method acting, the three spend much of the video embracing the talents of the locally sourced cast, mainly themselves.

"Yeah, they're fantastic actors, but damn it if they don't look good, too," Jagger says.

As it turns out, Jagger has experienced the rougher side of the rough and tumble of politics first hand.

The former aide to Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler pleaded guilty in 2011 to scheming to steal more than $20,000 from campaign accounts of Uhler and two other candidates running for local office.

Jagger's defense attorney said at the time that he had suffered from personality changes after experiencing substantial weight loss and sustaining a concussion in a fall, according to a report in The Auburn Journal. He was ordered to pay a restitution and a fine and was sentenced to 36 months' probation, including six months of home monitoring with a GPS ankle bracelet.

Jagger said in an interview that dealing with medical issues he says contributed to his behavior in the wake of his arrest has allowed him to pursue his passion for acting.

"A project that happens to combine politics, a world I was very intimately familiar with, and acting was a great avenue and I'm excited to bring my experience -- both good and bad -- to the project," he said.

Wagner said he was aware of his run-in with the law, but has had nothing but positive interactions with the actor since they began working together last summer.

While Wagner hopes the show focuses more on the personal relationships behind lawmaking than political corruption, he said Jagger's past could make the character even better.

"Every actor draws on his or her experiences in life and work and business and that sort of thing," he said. "I think it's a tool that he's going to use."

EDITOR'S NOTE, 5:45 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about Brian Jagger's court case and adds both his and John Kenneth Wagner's comments about it.

PHOTO CREDIT: The California state Capitol in Sacramento, Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008. Michael Allen Jones / Sacramento Bee file photo


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