First off tell me about yourself and your role on the series?
My name is Bryn Owen, I’m a writer based in Glasgow. I’ve been writing various film & television projects for years getting the opportunity to work with companies like BBC Alba and some big indies too. I’m the creator and writer of the series. I also play the titular role of the Demonologist. Demonologist For Hire is my first web series project.
Tell me about some of the other key players on the Demonologist for Hire team? And is there anyone in particular you’d like to give a shout out to?
We’re essentially a three man core team, Uisdean Murray is the director and editor. I write the scripts, we co-produce the series together. Ronni Menzies-Stirling. plays a number of roles in the series and works on the production side too. I’ve known Ron and Uisdean for well over a decade and in all that time we’ve developed a short hand and a level of comfort working with each other. If either Uisdean or Ron has a great idea for an episode I’ll take it onboard and write it with their input. This upcoming season there are episodes where the story ideas for episodes come from Uisdean and Ronni.
Our theme tune was composed by a musician called Darren Carle. We actually had the theme tune for the series before we shot the pilot episode as it helped us visual the tone we wanted.
The phrase ‘It takes a village’ totally applies to this production. Though there are three of us working on this day to day there is at least another dozen people whom we couldn’t make the show without. We have a sound recordist who has worked with us on every episode thus far named Alasdair Murray who does a great job and is a major part of the team. Holding a sound boom for nine hours a day may not be a glamorous job but it’s something we can’t do without and it makes all the difference.
And talking of making a difference we’ve recruited a new Glasgow based musician to score our season two episodes named Richard Hunter. His stuff is great and having him aboard will help us kick the series up another level still.
What was the inspiration behind Demonologist for Hire?
I’ve wanted to do a web series like this for years but I knew it all came down to one thing, the concept. We needed something that would be achievable with little to no money, could be a returnable series and would attract an audience no matter how small.
When I came up with the core idea of Demonologist I knew right away it would have horror elements and would (hopefully) be funny. Both of those are popular genres and would be easier to sell to people.
The second had to be the mechanics of how a series like this would work. The problem most web series run into is how do we bring all the elements back together to make additional episodes with no time or money?
Many web series produce a first episode with a big cast and crew filmed over multiple locations. But when they try and bring all those people back, for next to no money, time and again it becomes harder and harder.
We knew right away that we would make sure all our episodes could be filmed in a single day ideally in a single location. That way it becomes more manageable to have people return for subsequent episodes. There is only so much you can ask people to do for little or no money even if they are friends.
How do you feel the first season was received?
The feedback has been positive even though our views online have been modest. It’s so hard to get any traction with scripted projects online as there is just so much of it out there.
Even when I spent months and months researching other web series there were popular series that even I had never heard of before and I felt as though I’d gone through the Internet with a fine too tooth comb looking for this stuff!
In the end it’s all about the content. The bigger the footprint you have the more chance you have of making an impact. Hopefully we’ll have eight episodes produced by the end of the second season, from there it’s all about trying to achieve a critical mass of support so that you can break through.
Needless to say that’s easier said than done.
What was your favourite episode?
Probably the second episode, The Trouble With Deities. We shot that in a beautiful old building in Glasgow known as Film City. It was a really long day, well over twelve hours, and hard work but it was a lot of fun.
We worked with actress on that episode called Leanne Peebles, who I’ve been friends with for many years. She played an ancient goddess, or deity, who is awoken after thousands and thousands of years and she did an amazing job. We have a Priest as a recurring character who is played by an actor who I’ve also known for years named Dave Hughes. It’s great to have people like these, talented people, who are not only a pleasure to work with but eager to be part of the show. It just makes everything so much easier.
Having made the first season what have you learned that you’ll apply to the second season?
When resources, and more crucially, money are in short supply you always have to be mindful of what you can and cannot do. But even with that in mind there is a pressure to go ‘bigger’ with the second series.
We’re going to feature some well known faces in this second season as guest stars. We have Tom Urie, known from BBC Scotland’s River City among other productions, aboard.
What’s next for the show overall?
Our ultimate aim is to bring another producer aboard and try and set the series up at a broadcaster or streaming service. I’ve already written a script for what would be the 30 minute pilot episode of a Demonologist For Hire series.
Looking at series like Broad City, which started life as a web series too, it isn’t about racking up millions and millions hits and breaking through that way but showing that you have a viable product that can attract an audience no matter how modest.
We want to be in a position where Demonologist For Hire has enough episodes/content and we can say this is a proof of concept for what an expanded Demonologist 30 minute show would look like.
How has crowdfunding been going and would you recommend it to others looking to put out their own content?
Speaking to people who have had incredible success on crowdfunding platforms and others, like us, who have had much more ‘modest’ (there’s that word again) success it seems that building a following, if not an audience, is key to really getting a project successfully funded.
The simple fact of the matter we haven’t gotten Demonologist For Hire in front of enough people yet to really garner that level of support. I suppose that it’s like anything else in an endeavour like this, it’s a huge boulder and everyday you have to be chipping away at it until it cracks.
And lastly If you could sum up the show in a tweet length pitch what would it be?
In a world where ghosts, ghouls and werewolves are part of everyday life you would phone a Demonologist to deal with any supernatural problems you have just as you would a plumber. This is the story of one such Demonologist.
First Published on: https://offtherecordblog.org/