Monday, 27 February 2012

Web Series Interview 1: Danny Stack

In the run up to Twisted Showcase a web series you may have heard of in the last week or so, I'll be running a couple of interviews with the minds behind some great web content that I've enjoyed.

First up, Danny Stack whose comedy web series Liquid Lunch gained quite a following, and a definite fan in myself. Danny is one half of the UK Scriptwriters podcast and has a great blog that is essential for anyone interested in writing, that can be found here.

So, here's the interview.

You made a genre specific web series , a comedy, we’re going for psychological horror, do you think you have to be blatant with the genre for a web series or should this be a platform to try new things that would never be commissioned for TV and film?
I think it's probably a little bit of both! Genre always helps to classify what kind of show you're doing, and why an audience would be interested, but the internet gives you the freedom to do whatever the hell you like. So, yes, by all means, experiment or really push the genre boundaries. It all depends on the story, though. Stick to story as much as possible. Forget about gimmicks. Or at least, let the gimmicks feed or compliment the story, rather than distract or undermine it. Liquid Lunch was unashamedly a straight forward comedy web series - two blokes chatting in a pub - and I deliberately shot it like a comic strip (like panels in a newspaper). Kept it very simple, and let the story/dialogue be the focus.

Why did you want to make a web series?
I really liked the idea of Liquid Lunch, and knew that I could achieve it on a no-low budget. So, I did it! Initially, it was supposed to be a short film but early on, I realised that the style & story would be far more suitable for a web series.

How does your writing change when writing specifically for the net?
Your style of writing doesn't change (i.e you don't become a different writer), but the nature of webisodes has you looking at story in a slightly different way, in terms of pace and story development. Ideally, web audiences like things short and snappy, and nicely visual, too. And always try to end your webisode on a hook, to keep 'em interested.

What do you think you can achieve with a web series that can’t be achieved in other mediums?
You can do whatever the hell you like! You don't have to wait for permission. You don't need a lot of money. You don't need ANY experience. You can just do it! That's terrifically exciting. The internet is ours! Let's own it. It bothers me when budding filmmakers complain about what's on the internet. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT THEN! Show us what you got.

Are you targeting a different audience on the web than you would be for TV?
Slightly. Probably. Or, more precisely: the audience is the same, but the audience expectation is different. Web audiences can be more forgiving on rough production values, and give something a go based on the idea, and if it's any good. And preferably if it's short. This way, they can feel like they've "found" something, and attach ownership on it, and share it with their mates/network etc, and that's cool. On the flip side, web audiences can be very savaging on what they perceive to be bad acting, script, direction etc. But that's the internet for you.

Will Liquid Lunch have a second series?
Possibly! We could do it 'one year later', when Alex has returned from his travelling. Hmm... Am currently developing it as a pilot for a sitcom, as I still believe in the idea, and think it has loads of potential.

I'd like to thank Danny for the interview, and make sure you check out Liquid Lunch and don't forget about Twisted Showcase which launches on Thursday March 1st.

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