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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Creating Something You Love

When Clint dropped into the course of casual conversation that he wanted to do a film project again, my brain went into spin cycle.  We had done both short films  (Perspective, Dogmatic Siblings, Discharged) as well as feature length projects (Making the Mob, Violent Karma).  Never heard of them?  Neither has most of the world.  Hence my concern about another video project.  They require a great deal of time, dedication, and since we are funding them out of pocket, it means that things we want to do (like replace the old car) get put on hold.  But it has been over 5 years since we produced anything.  Actually, that’s not true.  We have produced a lot.  We started a marketing company, and have been producing TV commercials and promotional videos for corporate clients.  But it has been over 5 years since we have produced anything truly creative.  And for anyone who is, or who is married to a creative individual, tempers tend to get a bit short if the creative steam doesn’t get vented in a timely manner.  For the sake of his sanity, and the general mood of our home, we had to consider our options.

I wasn’t overly thrilled at the prospect of investing time and our limited resources into another film.  But the thought of doing something online intrigued me.  When we were making films the distribution options were limited.  You had the film festival circuit, DVD release, and if you were very lucky, a limited theater release.  But the advances in technology changed all of that.  People are watching videos on their phones, their computers, their tablets and laptops.  They are watching in planes and trains, at the park and on the beach.  You don’t have to be in your living room or a theater to enjoy videos anymore.  So with that unlimited market came many possibilities.  So we tossed around a couple of show ideas that he had set aside, but nothing struck our fancy.  Instead, we took a step back and looked at it from a different angle.  Rather than what would we like to create we asked ourselves what we would like to see.  Which brings me to:

Creating a show that you want to watch.
You are your first fan, the one who has to see the thing dozens of times as it is being written, filmed, edited, re-edited and edited again.  If you don’t like the story you have told, you are in for a miserable time!  For us, we took that step back and assessed our interests.  Clint is a fan of dark crime stories.  I, on the other hand, tend to lean toward the sci-fi/fantasy genres.  (Hmmm…wonder how much of that dichotomy provided a point of reference when he was creating our cynical lead character and his bubbly assistant.)  And so the basis for Shotgun Mythos was born.  Our series blends those two genres, creating a series with a hard edged PI who must unravel the mystery of a murder and kidnapping, when he discovers there is more going on than he ever could have imagined.  We drew on Biblical references, Classical Mythology and Celtic Folklore to create a back-story that could support the show we wanted to create.  Which brings me to:

Doing your homework.
Thought you left that phrase behind when you finished school didn’t you.  But doing your homework is critical.  People expect shows to be accurate.  That means if you are doing a police procedural, you need to understand police procedure.  If you are doing a medical drama, you need to know the difference between your cranium and coccyx. If you are doing a sci-fi or fantasy show, you are not off the hook.  It is called science fiction for a reason…there is science involved.  And your fantasy world is most often based on mythology.  Messing up the oldest stories in the world is just asking for trouble. That’s not to say you can’t take some creative license, but be sure that you create a plausible explanation.  And, if you are doing a war movie, talk to military men to see how they would handle a given situation, and please, please have them show you how to properly hold a gun.  Nobody who is serious about shooting holds a gun sideways, gangsta style.  There is a reason for that. Which brings me to

 Enlisting Expert Help
Ask for help.  For Shotgun Mythos we have a former Marine on set when there is a fight scene involving firearms.  He is there to make sure that we don’t do anything stupid for the sake of coolness. And for hand-to-hand combat we have an MMA fighter who trains our guys before they do anything, and explains what we should and should not do.  He has explained which moves are risky, and if they go awry can cause serious damage, as opposed to those that are safe, relatively speaking.  And things do sometimes go awry.  In one scene, the actor leaning into a punch and the actor delivering it miscalculated by a bit.  The result was an all-too-realistic sounding blow, and an actor on the floor holding his nose.  Fortunately, the blow didn’t break anything, the actor shook it off, laughed and insisted that the take be included in the final cut.   But if we had been staging a more risky move, the results could have been bad.

With our concept decided, our homework done and our experts in place, we plunged bravely into the world of web series. And the time has flown by.  We have just celebrated the release of the first episode and are on schedule to release weekly.  Now begins the task of finding an audience who loves the show as well.  To see more about the creation of the show or to watch  episodes, visit us at Shotgun Mythos or at our Blip.tv channel


  1. Congrats on the recent release of your series, and thanks for sharing your story and experience here!

  2. Jeremy, Thanks! It has been a wild ride. But we are excited and making progress, which is always the goal. Now we are headed to Sci-Fi conventions and doing the media circuit. And filming resumes tomorrow! Thanks again! --Darla


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