New to the web series community comes Haunted or Hoax, a series that revolves around the mysterious Grantham House and its history. The series premiered today and netTVnow had the opportunity to connect with the creator and writer of the series, Natalie Forward. Check out what she has to say on her latest project.
netTVnow: Can you tell me about your background in the industry?
Natalie Forward: I completed a degree in Professional Writing, Copywriting and Journalism. I went on to do a film internship at a production company in LA and then on to write plays while working a day job in the UK. Now that I’ve come back to Melbourne, I’m back in the film and television industry full time.
netTVnow: Oh wow, so you’ve been all over the place!
NF: I have, I have. I’ve lived and worked in a lot of different places. It’s good, you get a lot of different views working in the industry in different countries. It’s been great.
netTVnow: That’s great! Is this the first web series you’ve written?
NF: It’s the first I’ve written but I’ve worked on a lot. I’ve done a lot of production on others but this is the first one that I’ve written myself.
netTVnow: How has writing for a web series differed from other styles of writing you’ve done?
NF: It is very different actually (laughs). I personally don’t think it’s the easiest medium to write for. I think web series - to write that concise five minute, on average, episode, is really not easy. It’s challenging to tell a part of a story in that quick amount of time.
So the audience understands that, you hope, and you try and cram as much in, but it’s definitely not the easiest medium to write for. I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of cutting down and making the episodes whole in their own right. It’s been interesting, it’s been quite an experience.
netTVnow: What surprised you most about the writing aspect for the series?
NF: I’d say the amount of editing I had to do was probably the biggest surprise (laughs). You obviously edit anything over and over again but getting the pacing right, meant a lot of going back over things and editing. That was probably the biggest thing was getting the pacing right for the web series through the editing.
netTVnow: You own your own production company, trudot, how did that come about?
NF: I worked for so many different people and companies and I just wanted to start being able to produce my own content. I still work for other production companies as well but I’m a huge believer in producing your own work and trying to get your own writing out there.
So I just decided to go for it, take a risk and hopefully it’ll work out. We’re working on a couple of other projects at the moment as well so hopefully we’ll go from there!
netTVnow: Let’s talk about the series, where did the idea for Haunted or Hoax come from?
NF: I have always been a huge fan of the genre, especially the classic kind of haunted house genre where it’s a lot of psychological scares rather than just the jump scares. I really like the idea of getting into someone’s mind and letting them kind of scare themselves almost. I always wanted to write something in that genre and this is what’s come out of that.
netTVnow: You went to Kickstarter to help launch the series and successfully raised more than your original goal. Did that play a role when it came to filming or in the writing process?
NF: No, not really. The whole thing was pretty much written ahead of the Kickstarter. In regards to filming, not really, we obviously budgeted as anyone would and included the Kickstarter. But no. It’s really just been a great experience because so many people are now interested in the show from Kickstarter, which has been amazing.
We were so happy that people jumped on board and supported and can’t thank everyone enough.
netTVnow: You’re located in Australia, so how did you end up filming in Toronto?
NF: I started looking for production companies to co-produce with and I wanted Northern Hemisphere for reasons that are pertinent to the script. I won’t spoil it but you’ll find out when you watch the series. So I looked for other production companies to co-produce with and that ended up being in Toronto.
We ended up working with Indigo 7 and Ryan Sheridan so that’s where we filmed and it turned out to be great (laughs). I love Toronto, it’s a fantastic city!
netTVnow: Oh that’s great, so you got to be on set for filming?
NF: I did! I went over and it was great!
netTVnow: Without revealing too much, what would you say is your favorite episode of the series and can you say why?
NF: Wow, that’s a challenging question! I like the last block of episodes a lot. I think it’s like picking a favorite child, isn’t it, picking your favorite episode (laughs). I can’t really tell you why because it’ll spoil too much but I love the characters. I love any episode where you see the characters have chemistry, friction or anything like that. I really, really like those kinds of episodes.
The character relationships are very important to the show, especially the character dynamics. So any episode that’s very character heavy is great for me. I love those episodes and they’re the most fun to film and the most fun to write!
netTVnow: Can you pick which one is your favorite character?
NF: (laughs) Oh....Well no (laughs) I can’t! But you know what? I feel like the audience will feel this as well but I like different characters at different points of the season. So there are points I like Casey a lot more, points where I like Ellia and points where I like Jac but not often all at once! The three actors, Natasha [Negovanlis] , Sydney [Kondruss] and Isabel [Kanaan] are so fantastic, they did a great job. They all really nailed their characters and went on a journey with them.
I think most people will find they start feeling different things for the different characters as they begin to reveal themselves over the season.
netTVnow: Would you say the house itself is a character?
NF: I’d like to think it’s a character. I think it definitely has a personality but I think the history of it, the history of the people who have lived there are kind of what makes it a character.
netTVnow: Why did you opt to go with a web series over a short film or anything similar?
NF: I think the web series is for starters a great way to connect with international audiences as opposed to say a television pilot. Things like that take a long time to get going and you’d obviously have to sell it. So I liked the idea of the web series being a way to reach an international audience and share a story.
I’ve done so many short films and I love doing them but this felt like a story that needed to be told in a much longer platform for me. It possibly could have been done as a film or a television show but then again I liked the idea of it being able to reach people more immediately and it’s been a great experience for me.
netTVnow: If you could describe the series in one word, what would it be?
The first episode of Haunted or Hoax premiered today and will air new episodes every Monday and Friday at 4:30 PM EST on their YouTube channel so be sure to subscribe!