Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Twisted Showcase Series 3: Part 1

September was busy. If you didn't notice Twisted Showcase Series 3 was rolled out, 5 new weird episodes. I use weird as a positive as well. If you do too you'll probably like the series.

Over the next few weeks I'll be showing some love to this slightly neglected blog, by writing a series of blogs on Series 3 of Twisted Showcase. The inspirations for the episodes, the build up to releasing them, the feedback,  and anything else I can remember about that insanely paced month that took us from a strange box to an empty sofa.

So, today see's us 'repeating' series 3 on our site. I say repeating but it just means we host the episodes in order of transmission on the home page again, you can watch the episodes whenever. They're constantly there for you. Anyway, today is the start of that happening, and Series 3 begins with Payback. If you've not seen it, here's the episode for you to watch before I go and blow all the twists for you by discussing it below.

To digress again slightly, the series didn't really start with episode one for us, a few weeks earlier we released the trailer for the series, which in itself created quite a bit of buzz and was a pain to put together. I truly hate editing and only editing along to the music of Secateurs made it bearable. To cut what could be a long and arduous story short, I like the finished trailer, it's odd with some great shots to sell the series.

And onto Payback, which again starts by going back in time, because it's the oldest idea of Series 3. It goes back to before Twisted Showcase even began. It was the first thing myself and Rhys Jones were going to work on.

It began as an angry rant against banks. We all know they're evil, well one bank in particular took money off me and shouldn't, at the time I was in a tight spot, but years later I've got that money back and changed banks. At the time I really wanted this story told so I sent Rhys the script, as it was then, and he was going to direct. It was a lot longer, a bit more noir like, and riddled with cliches and overwrought dialogue. We liked it at the time though, but Rhys was struggling with what he wanted  to do, wasn't sure if he wanted to direct it. It stagnated and after writing some other stuff together we hit upon the Twisted Showcase idea. And somehow Payback got forgot about.

I could be wrong, but I believed we felt it didn't fit our domestic setting remit, it felt like it took place in a movie world more than our down to earth domestic weirdness that Twisted Showcase provides. Plus it had effects shots, how the hell are we meant to do those.

How it didn't get picked up by us for Series 2 baffles me, especially when you see some of the things we did choose to make for Series 2. What were we thinking?

In planning series 3 we realised we needed to up our game after we rush released a lot of series 2. We needed great actors to lure people in, and we needed to re-establish Twisted Showcase, which we felt we had started to do come the end of Series 2, but to take that further we yet again went back to the start of our series. We needed to get Gareth David Lloyd back.

We knew we needed a script with a great lead role, something worthy of a Gareth's acting talents. some of our ideas are all about the idea rather than the central role, Eyeball for example. For this we needed the role the whole film would hinge on. I think this thought influenced other episodes this series too, but it stated here. And one day I called Rhys after having remembered Payback and questioned him about the idea and how we could make the script better and beef up the lead role.

Mainly this occurred in the opening scene of them playing computer games, which also led to needing someone who can match Gareth and appear to be friendly whilst on rewatch's being obviously sneaky. We'd worked with Ally Goodman on Clone Alone where he pulled off dual characters well. So we knew he could handle this.

The other scene which changed the most was 'the feet' scene. I really tried to push the darkness, but also the black comedy of that moment. You can either be horrified there or have a dark laugh at it. I love scenes which challenge you as to how to react.

The main influence from the start with this one was Stephen King. I'd just finished a collection of his short stories, I think it was Night Shift, when I started Payback and loved the economical ideas that tapped into day to day fears in extreme ways. I thought this would be a good little twist for us as we have usually mixed the domestic with either the bizarre of the offbeat, but to mix it with something completely extreme would be something different. Which was why we decided to launch the series with this one.

We had a great preview clip to the episode too, which was really tense, too tense for SFX who decided not too host it, but they did help out next week. Starburst were fantastic with the series from the off, they really embraced it this year and hosted this interview with Gareth David Lloyd.

I hope that's provided some insight into Payback. come back next week for Toilet Soup.


  1. Payback is terrific. We all can be Chris easily. So this episode and the actors are very good.

  2. The feet scene is terrific. I didn´t laugh at all. And i agree with your opinion about banks, they´re evil. Poor Chris!