Talks & Interviews — January 17, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Web-series producer: “Horror Hotel” is a character of its own (exclusive)

Horror Hotel Poster 2Meet the “Horror Hotel” – new horror web-series, that are set to premiere on January 31, with the pilot episode titled “Houdini’s Hand”, directed by Brandon Thaxton of Supremacy Films in Atlanta.

Web-series are getting more and more popular these days, and “The Horror Hotel” fits right in, as it is an anthology series with stories inspired by Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock.

Horror Hotel was created and produced by Ricky Hess who also directed a number of the episodes including the Hitchcock style “Bookworm” which was shoot in living black and white under the supervision of Cinematographer Donovan Henneberg-Verity. He also directed “Tilt”, a sci-fi tale about an abused android, with Director of Photography, Torey Haas.

As the producer of the series Debbie Hess told BZFilm exclusively, each episode is set to run for 12-20 minutes, and until the premiere, “Horror Hotel” will wrap up shooting episode 4 on January 19th, 20, 26 & 27th.

“We knew going into the series that we would be working on a tight budget and all our expenses would be out of pocket,” Ricky Hess told BZFilm.

“Many industry professionals believe in the series and have volunteered their services. Having stories inspired by Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock, which so many people have loved over the years, has garnered great support in the production.”

Horror Hotel pic BookwormHess noted, that the filmmakers custom built a set for the interior filming, shot on location, and also were able to work with local students from Atlanta area colleges and recent graduates.

“These students need quality projects and experience with other professionals. Horror Hotel is a great outlet for them,” he said. “Moving forward, we are looking for sponsorships and distribution so we can continue making the series.”

“We knew going into the series that we would be working on a tight budget and all our expenses would be out of pocket,” he added.

The director added that many industry professionals believe in the series and have volunteered their services.

“Having stories inspired by Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock, which so many people have loved over the years, has garnered great support in the production,” he said.

Speaking of the reoccuring characters in the series, Hess revealed the ideas that filmmakers had at first, and how it changed at later stages of production.

“When we first started this series, we planned on the manager being a reoccurring character. So we wrote him in on earlier versions of our stories,” he said. “But after scripting the episodes, we realized that he took up too much time without any actual contribution to the story.”

“As a webseries, we have to be very conscience of how much time we have to tell a story. But as the series evolves, I’ve realized that the Hotel itself is its own character. And that’s always reoccurring.”

Hess said that there is a lot of promotion planned for “Horror Hotel”, as the pilot episode will screen in Atlanta on January 31st to local area filmmakers at a networking venue.

“From there we certainly plan to submit it to a number of premier web series festivals around the country to include the Streamy Awards, LA Web Series festival and a host of others,” he said.

Horror Hotel Pic Houdini's Hand“We are a dramatic series, and the greatest majority of web series are comedies, so hopefully that might actually help us,” he noted. “Maybe there won’t be quite so much competition! We feel that our story telling and production values will be noticed.”

Further on, the “Horror Hotel” director spoke about why in particular a web-series format was chosen for the story.

“A webseries isn’t a totally unique idea, but it is a fairly new one. It’s like a TV show that you watch online, only you aren’t limited to just watching it on TV,” Hess explained.

Hess added that there are a diverse number of platforms you can distribute on giving you a wider viewing audience and chance for exposure.

“Horror Hotel could live on for a very long time on the web available to the whole world, anytime, day or night,” he said.

“Many digital strategists believe this new digital media will eventually replace traditional entertainment methods, not to mention the fact that they can be commercial free. That is very appealing to many people. It is just exciting to produce original content with so much potential,” he added.

Horror Hotel pic TiltHess said that the crew is currently working on finishing up this first season which will be about seven episodes running around 12 – 15 minutes each.

The 4th episode now filming entitled “Invader” is a sci-fi tale directed by Kyle Kukshtel and will have a retro, Ray Bradbury look and feel to it. The episode will air in black and white.

“We’ve certainly learned a lot from the first season and already have plans for the second season,” Hess agreed, noting that Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents were very big inspirations for the series and they both had narrators introducing the episodes.



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