Everything about Web series, eh?

Spooky web series Spiral connects college pals to past lives and murder

College is the place people tend to begin friendships that last a lifetime. But what if those friends you made turned out to be buddies from a past life? That’s the gist of Spiral, a new seven-part web series debuting Sept. 6.

Kailey Spear, Cody Kearsley, Corteon Moore, Louriza Tronco, Angela Palmer, Brennan Clost, Alexandra Beaton and Enuka Okuma topline the project about college students who realize they’ve been connected over multiple lifetimes … and the murder of a classmate threatens them all. For co-creator and executive producer Andrew Williamson, who has worked in reality television with projects like Gastown Gamble and Emergency Room: Life and Death at VGH, Spiral has been a long time coming.

Spiral is an idea that I’ve had for a really long time,” Williamson says over the phone from Vancouver. “This idea that friends could be joined by something that had happened in the past. It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in.” He adds that writing isn’t his strong suit, so he contacted Karen McClellan—currently co-showrunner at The Next Step—to flesh out the idea. After securing development money from Creative BC, the pair set up a writing room in Toronto with McClellan, Daegan Fryklind, Ian Carpenter and Felicia Brooker with Jocelyn Cornforth as story consultant and story editor. Then Telus stepped into the picture with web series funding and filming began in and around Victoria, B.C.

“They’re the only people commissioning original digital content in this way,” Williamson says. “This project was inherently meant to be for a digital audience.” Spiral is aimed at the 13-21 demographic, the same group Williamson says Facebook is targeting with their online videos. He hopes the unconventional storyline Spiral offers allows for a deeper connection with the online audience and encourages discussion about whether or not past lives are a reality, if dreams can be portents and if someone you’ve met for the very first time and connect with means you’ve known them before.

The first episode of seven introduces Emma (Beaton), Clark (Clost), Alex (Palmer), Sophie (Spear), Grace (Tronco), Davis (Moore) and Josh (Kearsley), students at Victoria’s King’s College who build friendships and make quick connections. By episode end, one of them is dead, and the dreams the group members have been experiencing are explored to unlock the mystery.

“One night over a few bottles of wine, they discover they have all had this dream in common from different points of view and the suggestion is it could be a past life they’ve all shared,” McClellan says from Toronto. “What they discover is that they’ve shared many lives together and that they’re a soul cluster: souls who have travelled through time.” Each eight-minute episode brings the viewer deeper into the mystery; McClellan tackled writing a web project the same way she does a traditional television series, breaking it down into acts and posing a cliffhanger at the end of each act.

“It’s looking for that hook,” she says. “What’s going to drive your viewer to click to the next episode? And by the end of the 70 minutes, you feel satisfied … but you also want more. TV is still my first love, and always will be, but being able to tell a serialized story through a web series and test the concept is very exciting and the closest we have in Canada to shooting a pilot.”

Spiral‘s seven-episode first season will be available online beginning Wednesday, Sept. 6.

Images courtesy of Off Island Media.


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Link: Workaholic Vancouver native Kelly McCormack embraces digital weirdness

From Dana Gee of The Province:

Link: Workaholic Vancouver native Kelly McCormack embraces digital weirdness
McCormack joined the cast of the hit Space/Syfy series Killjoys. She is on board for new Comedy Central/CBC series Crawford, directed by Mike Clattenburg (Trailer Park Boys). She is in the digital original series How to Buy a Baby (CBC), and is back for season three of the digital series That’s My DJ.

At this very moment you can go online and see her in action in the hilariously weird CBC digital series The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island. McCormack also produces the series under her Floyder Films banner. Continue reading.


Link: Actress Kelly McCormack Talks “The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island” and SyFy’s “Killjoys”

From Occhi Magazine:

Link: Actress Kelly McCormack Talks “The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island” and SyFy’s “Killjoys”
“It’s not secret that this industry has a lot to learn with how it treats women and working mothers. But some of the hardest working people I know in this industry happen to be both.” Continue reading.


Kelly McCormack does double duty in CBC’s The Neddeaus and Space’s Killjoys

Like many Canadian actors, Kelly McCormack was plotting a move to Los Angeles this past January for pilot season. She was so busy packing for the trip, in fact, she almost missed a call from her agent, informing her the audition she’d done for Killjoys had scored her the part of Zeph.

“I’d read the character description and it said, ‘farm girl turned androgynous science nerd,’ and I said, ‘Well this is me,'” she recalls with a laugh. “I walked in with no makeup on, dressed in a black hoodie with a Dillinger Four t-shirt on over top—teenage boy from the 90s in my jam—and I went as weird and eccentric as I possibly could.” A week later, she was prepping for L.A. and had slept in. Her agent had been trying to contact her. She’d booked the role on the Space drama and had to be at a table read in an hour. McCormack’s Zeph has made an immediate impact on the trio of Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Johnny (Aaron Ashmore) and D’avin (Luke MacFarlane), acing her initiation test and now part of the Killjoys squad. The Vancouver native couldn’t divulge too much information about Zeph’s Season 3 adventures other than to say she’s in awe of Dutch and runs afoul of Johnny in her season-long arc. (The whole running afoul of Johnny happens this Friday, BTW. It is awesome.)

McCormack as Eloida Neddeau and Zeph

The fast-paced shoot-em-up of Killjoys couldn’t be more different than McCormack’s other project, The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island. Currently streaming on the CBC’s website, the 10 episodes are comedy’s version of the found-footage genre that exploded thanks to The Blair Witch Project.

Created by Aaron Schroeder and produced by CBC and McCormack’s Floyder Films, The Neddeaus is presented as a controversial 1970s documentary lost in the CBC’s archives. Stories of it were spoken of in hushed tones at the network, with folks like David Suzuki, Graham Greene and former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien all speaking on-camera about the series. The hook? It’s all fake, but like The Blair Witch, comes off as totally authentic.

Schroeder, an acquaintance of McCormack’s gave her a call one day, seeking a producer for his project; it was weird enough to catch her interest. After shooting a pilot, showing it to friends and being told it was amazing but too strange to be made into a series, they pitched it to CBC, who jumped on board. The result is an odd, engaging and ultimately heartfelt look at a faux family eking out a living on an island in Northern Ontario. Descendants of the Acadians, the Neddeaus utter an odd Newfoundland-ish hybrid language sprinkled with nonsense sayings only a family living away from the rest of the world would use. Cameras—and narration from Colin Mochrie—capture the day-to-day life of son Elmer (Schroeder), daughters Elène (Caitlyn Driscoll) and Eloida (McCormack), father Bichon (Tim Walker) and mother ‘Vangeline (Tara Samuel), who carry on the religion of their forefather and subsisting entirely on potatoes. Once a year they trek to town via boat to stock up on supplies they need to survive.

Aaron Schroeder as Elmer Neddeau

The key to making The Neddeaus seem real? Introducing each episode with the old CBC logo from the era it’s set in, keeping the cast’s names off the credits until Episode 10, the wardrobe, and extensive post-production work. McCormack says everyone involved pored over old CBC and National Film Board documentaries to get a feel for what The Neddeaus should look and sound like.

“It’s a comedy show, but it’s made by cinephiles,” McCormack says. “We spent hundreds of hours making sure we coloured the footage the way 70s footage picks up the blue and green in a way that HD doesn’t. We looked up how, when a camera is moving at this speed—or at what temperature—will a frame be blurred?”

Even more fun than the 10 episodes themselves is Not for Broadcast: The Lost Documentary The Neddeaus, where the aforementioned Greene, Suzuki, visual researcher Elizabeth Klinck, journalist Nerene Virgin and Chrétien all weigh in on the fabled project. Landing Chrétien was a major coup for McCormack, who was allowed five minutes with the former prime minister to explain what the heck she was making and what he needed to say.

“I’m sitting there, explaining a fake documentary about a fake documentary to him,” she says. “I nudged my cameraman and said, ‘You better be rolling!’ I was drenched in sweat and so nervous. But it was gold.”

All 10 episodes of The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island are available on CBC’s website. Killjoys airs Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on Space.

Neddeaus images courtesy of CBC. Killjoys image courtesy of Bell Media.


Web series Forgotten Corpses takes a bite out of the zombie genre

At first glance, one would assume Canadian web series Forgotten Corpses is just another addition to the zombie genre. And, in some ways, it is. In the pilot episode, there is a farmhouse, a lot of mist, a guy and girl walking quietly, speaking in hushed tones … and then doing battle with a gaggle of undead brain-eaters.

But where shows like The Walking Dead and Z Nation are showing signs of serious wear, Forgotten Corpses sets itself apart not only for how professional it looks but the scope of the series. Don’t believe me? Watch the pilot episode below. These folks have lofty plans for their web series and seem to be on the right track. Their supporters are certainly insatiable: they blew past their Kickstarter goal and are plotting the filming of 13 episodes this summer.

“Caine Chow filmed the pilot episode and is the only original person to come over to the web series,” says writer Whitney Kitchur. “Everyone else is new.” Megan Laursen, who played a zombie in the pilot, has joined Chow as a producer and director on Forgotten Corpses. The duo had writers lined up by last December, including Kitchur, story editor Candice Wong, executive story editor Brandon Laraby and writers Michael Lake and Jessica Peng.

Forgotten Corpses focuses on Joyce (Lee Lawson) and James (Greg Willmot), two strangers who meet after the zombie apocalypse. They’re together, but only because they need to be. James is timid and not ready to fight anyone, let alone a zombie. James hasn’t adapted to the post-apocalyptic world yet. Joyce, however, is ready to kick some butt. In the world of Forgotten Corpses, we already know you take the undead down by a headshot and Joyce does it with aplomb.

“There are some twists that I can’t reveal,” Kitchur says of upcoming scripts in the 13-part web project. “But one of the biggest differences between this and other zombie shows is that we’ve taken modern science [into consideration]. There are some recent scientific developments and testing that will really scare people.” The other angle being explored? The mental health of folks ranging around a world inhabited by zombies. Season 1 will focus on the characters’ mental health and how they’re dealing, or not dealing, with this situation.

“We thought that eight-minute episodes were perfect,” Kitchur says. “We didn’t want to have a lot of filler story. We wanted to really focus on these two characters because we think that character-driven story is a lot better in this sort of situation.” Joyce and James will encounter other survivors during their Season 1 cross-country travels. Episode 1 begins with a survivor radio broadcast that launches the pair’s journey. Forgotten Corpses really is a guerilla project surviving on a shared love with everyone involved. Kitchur says almost everyone is currently a student, has a daytime job or a family; story breaking and writing was done after work hours or on weekends.

Next steps for Forgotten Corpses is a table read on April 15 with filming in May and release date on—fittingly—Halloween. A second season is also in the cards.

You can find out more details about Forgotten Corpses on their website.

Check out the pilot episode of Forgotten Corpses!