‘NCIS: New Orleans’ Star Rob Kerkovich Has a ’10 Minutes or Under’ Rule for This Reason

NCIS: New Orleans fans know Rob Kerkovich as Sebastian Lund, but the actor has other facets to him. Kerkovich’s talent is seemingly limitless. In fact, the actor has one skill many might know nothing about.

Rob Kerkovich makes short films for the yearly film festival, ‘Smokescreen’

'NCIS: New Orleans'
Rob Kerkovich as Forensic Scientist Sebastian Lund and Scott Bakula as Special Agent Dwayne Pride | Skip Bolen/CBS via Getty Images

With the long hours it takes to make NCIS: New Orleans, it’s surprising Rob Kerkovich has any time to spare. The husband and father of one (with another on the way) also creates genre-mashup short films. He does so for a yearly festival, “Smokescreen.”

The “festival” exists only among Kerkovich and his friend group. However, it’s a tradition that keeps them close, allowing Kerkovich another creative outlet for his talent.

Kerkovich was a theater major, minoring in film, at the University of Southern California. He told Medium, he made friends with fellow film majors and begun dabbling in his own projects.

“By getting in tight with that group, we’d start making our own things together. In fact, by our senior year, we were starting to make stuff and put it on the internet. By way of that, I was forced to learn screenwriting,” he said.

He continued: “At the same time, I was learning how to use Final Cut and getting more of the behind-the-scenes knowledge about things. You could say it’s a backdoor film school just from being guided all those years by people who were learning it more legitimately.”

What is the ’10 minutes or under’ rule about?

A friend of Kerkovich’s, Nathan Budde, started the Smokescreen festival in his apartment. The festival had one rule: “make something 10 minutes or under.”

It sounds simple enough, but Kerkovich quickly felt out of his league. The process, he said, was less than formal.

“So we’d all just show up, get sort of not sober and start pulling names out of a hat and screening each person’s short film in that random order.”

It took him a couple of festivals to find his footing, he said. His creative friends inspired him to do better.

“It wasn’t out of any sort of competitive nature, but because you realize you’re surrounded by people you respect so utterly and completely. You don’t want to let them down.”

By the end of 10 minutes, “you’re getting both the spectacle of the insanity behind the mashup along with something cathartic behind it.”

How is the crew from ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ involved?

Kerkovich teamed up with his NCIS: New Orleans crew for his latest projects

“So one of the show’s gaffers said he’d shoot it for me, and he even showed up with a camera he was able to borrow,” he said. “My stunt guy from the show happened to be in town still, so he showed up with two of his other stunt buddies.”

The day-of process was nothing short of meta, considering the same crew works alongside Kerkovich with NCIS: New Orleans every day. His makeup guy, Mat O’Toole, brought in special effects makeup from The Hobbit movies, and others contributed in different ways.

“I’m getting this mullet attached to the back of my head by the woman who usually does my hair on NCIS: New Orleans,” he said.

Knowing what Kerkovich is doing with all that “spare” time somehow makes us appreciate Sebastian Lund a little bit more. Regardless, that “10 minutes or less” rule seems to be working.

NCIS: New Orleans returns to CBS on Sunday, February 16.