What began in the summer of 2001 with an idea to produce a hour long pilot for a cable TV show featuring sword-slingin’ vampire slayers, became a decade of developing one of the longest running web shows online, and one of the first shows based almost entirely on user content.
But after 10 years, I still hadn’t shot the pilot. My original intent was to shoot a few episodes just to get our feet wet, but more and more episodes presented themselves, many of which were golden opportunities that I couldn’t pass up. And the episodes were relatively easy to shoot and cost nothing. And then there was editing, web design, marketing, networking, contests, and other diversions, all of which were extremely time consuming. And life occasionally got in the way which made it virtually impossible to take on larger projects, namely the pilot.
And yes, I was procrastinating big time. I tried. I even held an official casting years ago at the old Westside Fencing Center where over 60 swordsmen and actors showed (which I still have yet to edit into a Hunted episode). But once again, life got in the way and nothing came of it. Ten years later, I still hadn’t shot the pilot and it looked like it was never going to happen. I had been talking about it for so long that no one took me seriously anymore.
To compensate, I started shooting longer episodes in HD – the last three were 20 minutes each. And each of them were shot in a single weekend with no budget (“Con Job 2” and “Slayercon”). And they were damn good. It was then I realized that shooting the pilot was within the realm of possibility.
It wasn’t until 2011 and the advent of Kickstarter did I realize that I could raise funding for the show, which would allow us to at least pay our actors. I also realized that in order to get people’s attention, I wouldn’t just shoot a pilot, I’d shoot a feature! It’s what every web series aspires to, but no one thinks to take that step on their own. They would rather wait to get “picked up”.
I quickly put together an extremely ambitious fundraising video on Kickstarter where I played 20 different versions of myself, and within a few months I had $20,000 and the backing of my friends at New Deal Studios to help produce the show.
Dammit. Now I had no choice. There was no backing out. I had to do this (providing we weren’t hit with a major earthquake or meteor). What follows is over a year of development leading up to the 18 days of hell that is known as principal photography directing my first feature film.
Actually, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…