Friday, July 6, 2012

Actor Input and Eureka Moments

When we first came up with the idea for the web series, we contacted actors who we wanted in the cast to run the idea past them. I sent detailed e-mails with as much description as I could managed without having a script. There were bound to be questions along the way. Before I actually wrote the script, I wanted to sit down with the leads and go over all that we had in mind. In the case of Garett Maggart, it's great to get input from an experienced actor who has lived with the part.

He is familiar with Highlander, the series. That made explaining the flashbacks easy. The plan is that in each of the flashbacks is a way of challenging Simon on his instinctive response toward behavior that keeps his profile low and keeps Delphi off their trail. But Simon is tricky. Those flashbacks are not necessarily what happened. Joe is smart enough about Simon to know that. The flashbacks will not be at all like the ones on Highlander. The viewer will have to look really closely to see the truth and predict what actions Simon will take. There is also a big, twisted twist to the flashbacks that Garett really liked if the evil chuckle was an indication. I will not spoil those in the blog.

The parody TV shows and films met with approval. I was given some details about True Blood that I didn't know about. We also discussed a few more TV shows and movies that would make good parodies. We still have a long list of titles that we'll have to watch before we write the parodies, but I have a good starting point for a few of them. From that lively discussion, I've decided that we should put Garett's talents as a mimic to use by having Joe mock Simon about the shows he tends to watch.

Sometimes, a meeting with an actor will yield a completely unexpected outcome – and I don't mean the kind that involve the police or a restraining order or turning up in my living room wearing only underpants (That's happened twice.). Sometimes, a single comment can ignite the lightning in a bottle that makes a project really special. This revelation also changed a possible drawback to the casting into an asset. Garett said 'So Simon will be that young guy, Owen?' From that, I had a revelation. While Garett is a very long way from being old, he is a silver haired kind of handsome. We could keep him as he is appearance wise* and use the perception of Joe being older as both dramatic and comedic fodder. When looking at Owen's Simon, it's hard to wrap one's head around the vampire being over a thousand years old. Joe will occasionally forget which way the age difference goes especially when Simon acts like a frat boy in his opinion. That is a good source of humor especially when they are stuck in close quarters while keeping a low profile.

Joe's knee jerk response to Simon's youthful appearance also blunts any possibility of a bromance becoming a romance. “Even if I was interested, and I'm not, I'm no cradle robber,” is how I see Joe reacting to any kind of flirting from Simon. We'll have to keep the bromance at broadcast TV levels as we'll be on Youtube which can be a bit touchy about what's uploaded. Joe's age is also a source of danger for Joe. How long will Simon wait before making a move to keep Joe from becoming aged? There will always be that tension between them of whether or not Simon will actor to keep his companion with him forever. This dynamic is something I had never considered, and it will yield some really nice character moments.

We will be able to use the necessity of having to recast Simon to an advantage. As to how we will handle the obvious change in actors, it was decided that we will handle it the way Star Trek handled the change in Klingons between The Original Series and The Next Generation – no one shall speak of it. Demon Under Glass fans are quite an imaginative lot. I'm sure some brilliant mythos will rise that explains the change in Simon's appearance.

Another issue that came up in our discussion was Simon's wealth. I completely forgot to mention the plan to make fake famous paintings using Costco's service at the meeting. We also developed a source for fine jewelry and valuable knick knacks while developing a different project. This sort of finery would show up from time to time, depending on where they are living. Simon's wealth is also why we would be shopping in thrift stores on the west side of LA where the wealthy people live and donate clothing. We think Joe would have a reaction to living in more luxurious surroundings than he is used to. Perhaps, he'll be vaguely uncomfortable at first then grow to really appreciate it over time.

We penciled in shooting dates at the meeting. It's now set for late December between Christmas and New Year's and the first week in January excluding the holiday. That gives us time to nail down the script and run a full fund raising campaign. Speaking of the fund raising campaign, one of the perks typically offered on a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign is a screening and an after party. I chanced upon a lovely restaurant very near my neighborhood that would be ideal for an after party. The chef is from Tuscany. Her husband and co-owner was a regular on Star Trek Deep Space Nine. The food and the atmosphere are fabulous yet it has a homey vibe. It is a stone's throw away from a very nice movie theater complex that does private screenings complete with a red carpet. It is also minutes away from the Sheraton Four Points Hotel where a fan event for The Sentinel was once held. I've sent the restaurant and the theater specs for a quote.

The web series is definitely gaining momentum.

*Unless a production is paying at least the full daily rate or that actor's customary rate, a producer cannot ask them to change their hair color or hair length, shave facial hair or radically change their weight (loose or gain 50 more pounds). The look they have when they are cast is likely the look they feel will get them booked. Asking for a profound physical change could potentially cost them income. It is unprofessional to ask an actor to do that without proper compensation. Unfortunately, that means a producer also cannot prohibit an actor from engaging in activities that are potentially risky. I've just postponed a shoot, because an actor received a face injury while sparring. I'll cover all of this in another blog about casting.


  1. Hummm, let's seeeeee. Yipeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. I'm so thrilled to hear that this wonderful web series is coming together. I can only imagine the awesome input Garett gave to the project. He has an incredible energy and presence about him that will definitely make this project take off. I love Garett's comment about Owen being the "young guy." Garett may be 43 but he is far from old. I actually think Owen is going to have to run to keep up with Garett. LOL.

    I know Owen's appearance is greatly different from Jason Carter's but Owen definitely has the vampire "look". He has a very pronounced widow's peak in his hairline and the long hair fills the bill for me at least. Just a question about the appearance issue. Vampires have the ability to shape shift don't they? Couldn't you handle Simon's appearance change as him using that ability to change his appearance? Just a thought if not the don't ask, don't tell works too. LOL.

    Well, this was a wonderfully informative blog entry for sure, Deb. Thanks for sharing all this fun information and updates with us. I look forward to them. FULL STEAM AHEAD!!

    1. Thanks for the great comments! Actually, I don't know much about Vampires shape shifting into a different looking human. There are some vampire lore experts on the list. I'll throw out the question on there.

  2. May I add my squee? This is great news. I can't wait for it to start! It'll be wonderful to see Garett again. :D