Looking Back at Production

Jason Armstrong, creator of Swerve and 9 Days with Cambria took the time to share with us his experiences working on the popular series and some of his final thoughts looking back on production. Take a peek into the writer's mind and all around amazing human being, in our first Creative Corner piece below!

Swerve came along in two ways. At first it was vague pulses of heat lightning. You see it out of the corner of your eye, but never turn fast enough to really look straight at it. After we finished 9 Days with Cambria, I spent some time looking inward and knew I wanted to do more short-form, serial story-telling.

I knew I wanted to work with Sharon (Belle), Emily (Alatalo), and Kat (Inokai) on it and I knew it wouldn't be light, sketch-comedy fare. The first round of idea was cool, but just didn't sit right. I walk a lot and as I was walking, probably listening to TwentyOnePilots or Celldweller, the second round of inspiration came at me like a vicious lightning bolt.

Stephen King talks about how some stories come fully-formed. This was an example of that. Don't misunderstand me, even an inspired, functional story needs refinement, but I was able to walk along with Elise (Belle), Stevie (Alatalo) and Jen (Inokai), and just observe how it was going to go down. I transcribed these things as honestly as I could. Next was pitching to the girls and they all jumped in head first. Then along came Jason Leighfield who played Koppen and we were off to the races.

We filmed over the course of four days, three of those in a wilderness camp with only generators for power and no running water. This was challenging, but perfect and Emily was the superpower who brought that together for us. Our crew was very small, with just myself, Stephen Ceballo, Mike Klassen, Reid Goobie and our actors. A lean crew makes things tough, but also simplifies a lot of nonsense including no extra mouths to feed.

We spent one day shooting in my hometown in Tillsonburg, Ontario (a first for my career) and Jason was the central force that made that part of the shoot come together. We also had Kat as producer and general fire-putter-outer throughout the whole shoot, in addition to her acting duties.

A mountain of fantastic musical artists contributed songs to our incredible soundtrack, which Mike and I tore through post in a couple of weeks. It was incredible to go from writing to sharing so quickly (under two months). And mostly it gave us the itch to do it again.

I'll be back, if Michelle will have me, with one more piece diving into the characters of Swerve and where they might go from here. In the meantime, you can watch the entire series today.

Meet the Author
Jason Armstrong has written and directed several films and web series, but never a decent bio. That is unlikely to change anytime soon. Follow Jason on Twitter.