|Posted by timeaftertime on June 4, 2010 at 8:00 AM|
In a Time After Time/Soap World EXCULSIVE interview we take time out to get know Marc Hampson the creator of one the most exiting new mystery web series called GOON. It is a web series that has been likened to the ABC cult hit Lost and deservingly so. So sit back, relax, and get know the exciting new face of the web series genre.
Time After Time/SoapWorld: What was the inspiration behind the web series GOON?
Marc Hampson: To be honest the main inspiration for starting the project was opportunity. We had a house become available for shooting in Visallia, CA (about 3 ½ hours from where we are) for a week and my crew and I had just finished our first project together (an independent film, ‘the Kings of Mexico’ ) and were eager to jump into something bigger. So with about two weeks notice I came up with the idea and wrote a script for GOON. It was targeted to be a feature film and it wasn’t until we were into the editing that we realized that it worked much better broken up asa web series.
TATSW: Most web series are generally produced on a shoe string budget and in a short amount of time. Yet GOON as I read took over 8 months to produce. What were the reasons behind the long production schedule?
MH: On GOON we had a total of 4 Crew members; our D.P. (Paul Olson) , our Sound guy, (Ronnie Ursenbach), our producer (Aaron Fairley) and myself as the Director. We all worked on a volunteer basis with no pay and no food or gas money provided by any kind of budget. We really just wanted to prove that we could do it so forthe first week of filming we took time off of our respective day jobs and drove out and shot non-stop for four days. We did this again about a month later, but after that it was whatever time we could grab. When the opportunity popped up to film in a restaurant, we nailed down everyone’s schedule to find a time to do it and so on and so forth. So basically we pounded out a whole lot the first month or two, but after that it slowed way down because of conflicting work schedules for cast and crew.
TATSW: Now let’s get into the casting. Ryan Schwartzman stars as the series lead Brian. The actor bears a quirky resemblance acting-wise to David Duchovny and Matthew Fox. What was your process for casting the series main character and did you notice the acting resemblances I mentioned?
MH: I never made that connection, but that is probably the best comparison I’ve heard yet. Especially having worked with Ryan on a few projects since filming GOON, I can especially see the David Ducovny thing. You know, casting is one of the biggest headaches of the entire filmmaking process forme. I’ve done the open audition thing and I’m not the biggest fan of it and so before I’ll look at somebody for a role I need someone I trust to vouch for them. I’m not just looking for their talent as a performer, but their ability to collaborate and get along with everyone on a stress filled no budget set. Fortunately, you could not ask for a more enjoyable person to work with than Mr. Ryan Schwartzman. Not only is he an enthusiastic student of his craft, but he wants to help with everything. He acts, he grips, he cooks, he carries, and he does it all with a warm-hearted smile. It can get quite annoying! He’s also a great sport. See I didn’t really cast him in this series. I had been writing a different screenplay at the time about an estranged couple that took place in Texas. It was a kind of a dramatic/Romantic/Comedy sort of thing. I had spoken with Ryan, who I met on a Music Video shoot a few months previous, about playing the lead opposite Jennica whom he had just started dating at the time. When the opportunity in Visalia came up, I was having some bad writer’s block and couldn’t finish the script. The solution? Start a new one from scratch, of course. I told Ryan to start prepping for Visalia and got him the first draft of the new script, GOON, as soon as I could but didn’t realize that I had neglected to mention that it was a different film than wehad talked about and that I had already given him the lead role without discussing it with him. I found out later that he got a few pages in, saw that he killed someone in the opening and then set fire to his car, was very confused, but then shrugged his shoulders and didn’t complain. Once we cleared up the misunderstanding, he got really into and found his character.
TATSW: How did you round out the rest of the cast?
As I said previously, Jennica was slated to be in the Texas film that was originally planned and I just moved her over to this project. At the time, Jennica and Ryan were dating, but they were married late last year and now it’s hard to fit their names together on screen. Ryan Schwartzman is long enough, but put that next to Jennica Schwartzman and you’re out of room. Ben Bandalean who plays the British man in episode two is close friend of mine whom I had worked with on ‘The Kings of Mexico’ and was ecstatic to work with him again. Jennica Co-Produced the film and she graduated from Cal State Fullerton’s Theater Program with and emphasis in acting and there is a large pool of talent pouring out there every year so that’s where we go to first. A good portion of the cast that you haven’t seen yet came from that school.
TATSW: GOON has been likened to the cult TV favorite Lost due to its mystery style plot equipped with a flashback in each episode to an unknown event featuring characters whom have a yet to be revealed connection to Brian. Then we watch him adjusting to his life as he waits for “the call.” How you feel about the comparisons to Lost?
MH: When I first read that comparison being made I took it as a pretty high compliment. It’s one thing to try and keep secrets and reveal them later and it’s another to engage and intrigue the audience. This is my first foray into something like a web series, so I’m learning from my audience every week. The fact that people have been drawing those comparisons is pretty fantastic and gives me the reassurance that we’re on the right track, though I must say it puts on some pressure to deliver.
TATSW: Are you a fan of series and was it your intent to mimic their storytelling process?
MH: I think Lost is one of the greatest shows ever (I haven’t finished the last season yet) and I am especially intrigued buy their process however, I honestly would have to say that it’s had no part in influencing what we’ve done with GOON though I welcome the comparisons. Most of GOON’s mystery is driven by the fact that it was written as a movie where you didn’t start seeing where the pieces fit in until the second ACT. That being said, Lost has heavily influenced the production style and ques, for the show.
TATSW: Visitors and members of Time After Time/SoapWorld love to follow ongoing continuing dramas of all types. Yet when first I introduced your series I was skeptical as to how they would respond. But to my great astonishment the reception has been that of great enjoyment and fans waiting on the edge of their seats for the next episode. How has the overall response been to GOON since its debut?
MH: The response has been stellar. I recognize that we’re new to the game and we won’t be able to jump in and pull numbers like the Guild or even Compulsions right out of the gate, but I was afraid we’d only get like twenty views an episode. I was pretty surprised when we got a few hundred in our first couple days. People have been really great about letting us know that they’re excited to find out what happens next and that’s been a real driving force for us to keep tweaking these episodes until literally the moment the get uploaded.
TATSW: Can you give us an idea of the total number of episodes that we have to look forward too?
TATSW: Is this a one-season series or will the plot be played out over several seasons?
MH: GOON is only one season long though after releasing the first episode and doing more research I did realize that we probably could have broken it up into two seasons so that we could take a breather in the middle, but we’re committed to jut keeping putting them out every week until it’s over.
TATSW: If you had the chance to take GOON to the television would you?
MH: That’s a complicated one for me because while I am proud ofthe work we’ve done on GOON, I’ve shot a few projects since then that I would be so much more compelled to push in that direction.
TATSW: I could sure see GOON on HBO where series of this type really flourish. What would be your idea network air the series?
MH: HBO is definitely at the top of my list though I like a lot of what FX has been putting out these past few years with shows like ‘Sons of Anarchy’ and such.
TATSW: I read that you have several other projects in the works. Can you expand upon what those projects are and when we might expect tosee them?
MH: I shot a feature film over a year ago that’s just sitting ona shelf because I can’t really afford to send it off to a bunch of festivals, which was a big motivator in trying a direct to audience approach with GOON.The music is being finished right now by Tom Stillwagon on a pilot I wrote and directed at the end of last year titled ‘Small Town’ that we are looking at launching online later this year as our next web series after GOON has finished it’s run. I am very excited about that project as it came together really well and we got to shoot it on the RED ONE camera system. Right now my focus is getting GOON done every week and gearing up for a feature film titled, ”Tiltingat Windmills” that goes in front of the camera this July. Me and the rest ofthe Brotherhood Pictures guys are really excited about this one as it’s a project we’ve been looking at for years now by a wonderful screenwriter by the name of Joshua E. Mauldin. Though I had my hands in the story, ‘Tilting at Windmills’ will mark my first project as only the director and not the writer which whileI love to write, Directing is my true passion.
TATSW: On a more personal note, what made you decide to become a filmmaker?
MH: As a teenager I was convinced that I was going to draw comics for a living, but then Braveheart changed my life. Not the movie – the DVD special features (though I do love the movie). There’s this big battle scene in an open field filled with countless extras, horses, equipment and crew and everyone is standing around watching Mel Gibson (Actor/Director) talk into a walkie to an actor out of reach. It was just another B-roll clip ina mass of behind-the-scenes footage much like I’ve seen before, but it sucked me in. The way he spoke to one of a sea of character’s feelings at that very moment and the role it played in the bigger picture fully understood only by him had me hooked. I wanted to be a Director.
TATSW: Would you agree that the web has allowed talented filmmakers and actors alike whom would generally have to work many years or hope to make the right connections to geta shot at the big times, the platform to showcase their talent and build an audience from a grassroots approach?
MH: If it wasn’t for this wonderful web community GOON would be just another project sitting on my shelf because I don’t have the funding to even submit it to be looked at by anyone. The web opens up opportunities for meand other filmmaker’s to reach straight out to anyone in their home and say that it’s here if you want to watch it. Don’t get me wrong; it’s hard work. Promotion for this show has become an unpaid fulltime job for me. But I also feel like I earn every Facebook Fan or YouTube Subscriber because it’s in my hands. It gives you a reason not to lie around and bitch about not having the opportunities that others have, because you have your own here on the web. All you need here is drive.
TATSW: Finally, what would you like to say to your new emerging group of fans?
MH: You people rock! If you keep watching, we’ll keep putting them out. Subscribe, friend, fan, like, twitter, or just go tell someone to check it out. And most importantly; Thank You.
To view series click image below
Join the GOON community:
GOON on Facebook
GOON on Twitter
GOON on Youtube