Sunday, May 22, 2011
Liquid Lunch: How I Made A Web Series
Here's the first post on how I made Liquid Lunch, my 6-part webcom. It's not a definitive guide on how to make a web series, more how I made a web series. Still, there should be some useful bits of info if you're considering making a web show, and the same basic principles apply if you're thinking of making a short film.
1. THE IDEA
So, like, dude, where did it all begin? Good question. As with a lot of my projects, it begins with a title. I've always liked the title Liquid Lunch. It's catchy and punchy. Yes, it's a commonly used phrase but I was surprised that no TV show or film or whatever had nabbed it to spin a story. At least, none that I had heard of.
After spending a squillion pounds making Origin, I was itchy to (a) direct again but (b) didn't want to burn as much money. And then, over a vodka or three at the London Screenwriters' Festival, Piers Beckley challenged EVERYONE* to make a short film with these simple rules: it must last between 3-5 minutes, not including credits; it must have no more than 5 actors in it (counted as anyone with a line, onscreen or off); deadline for completion is St. Patrick's Day (17th March 2011); you need to either write or direct the film, or both. It was October at this stage, so EVERYONE* (in their drunken euphoria) thought it was a cinch, and agreed to the challenge.
Liquid Lunch seemed like the ideal short film to me and yet, when I started writing it, I couldn't make the story work within a 5 minute duration. But the bet had spurred me on to actually commit something to paper about the idea, and the characters and theme that emerged really struck a chord with me ('don't just talk about what you're going to do, get out there and do it'). I didn't want to give up on it. In the end, I lost the bet because I didn't make the short within the agreed timeframe (kudos to Tim and Piers for that achievement). Instead, I set about developing Liquid Lunch into a comedy web series.
Next up: the writing and casting process.
* Me, Tim, Piers, Brendan and Andy, although I think Brendan and Andy might have been amused by our enthusiasm for the bet rather than agreeing to do it.