Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Production Diary # 1: The House Between

Seven days and no posts here? What's going on? Where have I been, dammit?

Well, I am thrilled to report that there was no personal medical emergency this time; and no looming book deadline either.

Instead, I spent eight glorious and utterly transformative days "on the set" with a committed cast and crew. Our mission? To shoot seven black-and-white episodes of an original live-action genre series entitled The House Between.

This is a genre enterprise (sci-fi/horror) that I wrote and directed. My producer is Joseph Maddrey, one of the producers on The Discovery Channel series A Haunting, and also the author of Nightmares in Red, White and Blue.

Together, we worked with a committed cast & crew of a dozen or so folks -- all of whom bunked at my house and worked for grueling, sixteen hour days to bring this new vision to life. I am forever in their debt for what they accomplished in this time period. I've never been with a more selfless or driven group of talents. Everyone "rowed in the same direction," from my DP and lighting crew to the stunt coordinator and cast members. I've likened the experience to "boot camp," but even that doesn't describe the commitment of The House Between team.

Why did we spend our time, money and energy on this enterprise now? Well, more than ten years ago, the independent film movement blossomed in America. Thanks to advances in technology that made film production affordable to the average joe, we saw a new direction in cinema (and practitioners like Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino).

Today is the time, I believe, when we will begin to see a similar movement exploding in TV production and that's what The House Between is. It's an original TV series that will be made available for streaming Online as soon as editing is complete.

The House Between
is the creepy story of five strangers who awake to find themselves in a stark, lonely Victorian house...with no furniture. They don't know where they are; they can't escape; and they don't know who to trust. Is the house actually Heaven or Hell? Or something all together different? It's a mystery and more, and one that gets resolved a piece at a time.

The House Between story is partially inspired by Jean-Paul Sarte's existentialist play, No Exit, but there's also a lot of genre inspiration here, given my proclivities and history. There are resonances in The House Between of everything from Land of the Lost and Sapphire and Steel to Star Trek, The Prisoner and Space:1999. And yet hopefully - as you will see - it bears a distinctive and original voice all its own.

In the days ahead, as editing begins in earnest, I will feature more behind-the-scenes details of The House Between here on the blog, but I thought I would begin today with a few photographs from the last, intense week.

Left: Our first cast/crew reading of the debut episode, "Arrived."

Around the circle, we're looking at the back of Lighting Co-Director Bobby Schweizer's head, producer Joseph Maddrey (with the green binder), director of photography Rick Coulter (in tan shirt), and in blue, Lighting Co-Director Kevin Flanagan.
Left: Kim Breeding, the lead singer for Cured by Porno plays "Astrid," our tough-as-nails "lead" in The House Between. Astrid is the character we follow from the start of the series.
Left: Jim Blanton (who plays a character named Arlo), rehearses a fight scene with Kim Breeding (Astrid) while our stunt coordinator, Rob Floyd (back to us), puts them through their paces.
Left: Alicia A. Wood joins the series for the second episode, "Settled." She portrays the enigmatic woman named Theresa. Here she's preparing to shoot a scene with Jim Blanton, now in costume as Arlo.
Left: Anthony Mercer (left) plays Bill T. Clark, The House Between's stalwart "man of science." Beside him (right), is Lee Hansen, who plays Clark's loud-mouthed foil, the fly-in-the-ointment named Travis Crabtree.


  1. Is that a ghostly orb on Lee's tie? On top of everything else, was "the house between" also haunted?

  2. Wow, sounds really cool. I look forward to seeing it.

  3. How horrible... I opened my eyes and woke up at this 9-to-5 desk job surrounded by people in suits. I think I liked the old House better. ;-)

    Thanks, John!

  4. Eight glorious days? How 'bout gruelling? They were only glorious because Astrid was there!