Interview with Fraser Coull (Cops and Monsters)

Fraser Coull Photo

First off tell me about yourself and the role you play in the series?
I’m the showrunner, so I came up with the initial concept for the show, and now I oversee everything from scripts, story, casting, crew, filming, editing, visual effects, music, sound and promotion.

And please tell me about other key members of the Cops and Monsters team? And is there anyone in particular you’d like to give a shout out to?
All of the team deserve a shout out. From the runners, the AD, producer, DOP, editors, sound recordists etc. Without these wonderful, talented people, we wouldn’t have a show. And we’re constantly getting better at what we do.

Where did the Idea for the Cops and Monsters series come from?
I’d always been a fan of shows like Buffy, Angel, Roswell, Taggart and Being Human, so I kind of just mashed them all together and made it Scottish. But as the show goes on, the idea of being in a world of immigrants and refugees, albeit supernatural ones, and keeping your place in that world, staying human, or whatever it means to be human, just appealed so much to me.

If you can share some little teasers that’ll get people excited for watching the show?
For the upcoming series we’ve got a lot to look forward to – in episode one we meet a zombie who doesn’t quite realise they’re dead, in episode two we’ve got a hybrid monster made up of werewolves, zombies and vampires. Episode three sees a rock star vampire called Stevie Kaliban who has a stalker and flirts with our latest character, SPIDERS soldier Colin Bissett. Episode four sees Alexis, our wanted werewolf, taking the lead on a case with returning characters Alicia and Grace, episode five introduces us to zombie security guards and Bissett’s vlogger daughter and her very vampire boyfriend and in episode six I blow it all apart!

How do you feel the first season was received?
Mostly positive I’d say. The reviews on Amazon are mostly fair and the fans of the show really enjoy it. We’re quite cult-ish really, with a small, but loyal fanbase. Series 1 was written as we went along, but series 2 has been meticulously planned out and it’s more of an “episode of the week” feel, where series 1 was one story told over 6 parts. We’ve listened to what people have had to say and hopefully we’ll give them what they want.

What lessons have you learned from making the first season that you’ll apply to the second season?
That you can’t rush things. We spent about 6 months working on the story and the scripts for each episode, a luxury we didn’t have before. We know how to shoot things better and to block out locations and episodes, rather than an episode at a time, where possible.

What has been your favourite episode to make so far?
It’s either “Trapped”, which is my own minisode. It harkens back to the “base under siege” story that Doctor Who did so well back in the day and I just love everything about it. But our opening episode of series 1, written by Wolfblood creator Debbie Moon, is just astounding. It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s emotional and it’s action packed.

How many episodes are there in total and do you have an idea planned for the end for the series?
Series 1 has 8 episodes – 2 minisodes and 6 main “story” episodes. They’re all on Amazon Prime now. Series 2 will have 6 x 20 minute episodes, and if we’re lucky, we’ll do a Christmas episode too. There’s no end game planned, we’ll just keep making them as long as the money keeps coming in to do them. I’ve always said 2 seasons would be enough, but a 3rd could be fun.

What has been the most difficult part of getting the show made?
Raising the money. Creative Scotland don’t back us at all – or any web series – despite us being on Amazon Prime and having healthy viewing figures for an indie – so we have to crowdfund the show an episode at a time. It takes around 30-60 days per campaign to raise about £3000 or £4000 so we can afford to shoot for 2 days and pay the cast and crew. It’s mentally exhausting and we’re always having to go back to the same well. Hopefully we’ll get some more fans and supporters for series 2 and the money will come in quicker.

What’s next for the show overall?
To finish series 2. We’ve got episode 1 under the belt, with scenes from episodes 2, 3, 4 and 6 shot also because we were at the locations those scenes took place in. Next up is to find £4000 to shoot episode 2, and anything else we can shoot at the same time.

I understand you’ve attracted some big names to star in the show, care to talk about that?
In order to boost the profile of the show and to get people watching it, we’ve approached actors from our local soap, River City, and shows such as Wolfblood, Doctor Who, Raven, Harry Potter etc. It’s either a case of me knowing the actors or following them on Twitter and just asking if they want to be in an episode, or approaching their agents – agreeing a fee and then booking them. Everybody seems to enjoy themselves and are very complimentary to the team, so we must be doing something right!

How has crowdfunding been going and would you recommend it to others looking to put out their own content? Also feel free to share links to your crowdfunding efforts?
I think my answer about the most difficult part of the show covers this. But it’s hard, really, really hard. You need to be mentally prepared for it.

Where can people watch the show if they are interested?
We’ve got clips from series 1 and trailers at and on our YouTube channel. Series 1 is available on Amazon Prime UK, US and Amazon Instant Video.

Feel free to share social media for the show?
Facebook and Twitter.

And lastly If you could sum up the show in a tweet length pitch what would it be?
Cops and Monsters is an ongoing, award winning supernatural drama following a dedicated police force in charge of the supernatural community in a near future Scotland. But how do you stay human in a world full of monsters?


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