Sons of Liars is a webshow created by high school students. The show follows a trio of teenagers who do research into the paranormal. The show will launch on YouTube on 10th February 2015.
Viewfinder talked to Writer/Director Oscar Bartle about the production.
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION AND MOTIVATION TO CREATE A WEB SERIES?
I’ve thought a lot about this in recent times… As in why did I put myself through eleven days without sleep?! Well my motivation is purely my love for cinema and all aspects of it. I watch an unhealthy amount of films which has naturally lead me to attempt to make my own films. As you might expect, all of my early efforts have turned out to be pretty terrible, I competed once in the 48hr film festival, I tried to make films with my friends, but nothing worked. I then realised my major flaw, lack of planning and organisation.
I would want the project to be conceived, written, filmed and finished and spend no time actually making it, I would write it in a day and film it in a day with a camcorder and then edit it over a few days and wonder why it was the worst thing I’d ever seen.
So it was at the beginning of 2014 that I came up with the idea of a web series. I decided I could plan it over an entire year and film it during the Christmas holidays then release it over the next year (2015).
So I set to work writing the web show. I had the idea already in my mind, a group of teens that do research into the paranormal. I then knew in my heart that this was too much for one 15 year old also doing NCEA Level 1. So I asked around and went through two partners before I got to a school mate, Daniel. He really pitched in and this wouldn’t have happened without him.
The reason I chose a web series is because I believe in free content; one because more people can see it, and two because I love free content so it feels like giving back.
“The internet has opened up a lot of new and accessible options for young film makers and we’re keen to make our mark.”
WHAT CAN AUDIENCES EXPECT?
Audiences can expect an experience which looks at the genres of mystery and horror. The basic story follows a group of three teens that discover there’s more to the world than just living and dying. This project is very important to all of us and we know we’re just sixteen and this is our first stab into this industry, but we’re proud of what we’ve created and I’m so happy with the commitment of everyone involved.
There will be ten episodes in season one running at about ten minutes length each. We have structured it like five two part episodes so every ‘full’ episode will have two parts. This was done because we didn’t think we could fit a decent narrative into ten minutes and we didn’t think we could make more than we did. The episodes will be released monthly on the tenth of each month because editing is hard when you have school. So the finale will be released on the 10th of October (part one) and the 10th of November (part two).
“The reason I chose a web series is because I believe in free content; one because more people can see it, and two because I love free content so it feels like giving back. ”
HOW DID YOU GET CAST AND CREW INVOLVED?
The crew and cast is a combination of friends and family. There are twelve core cast and crew members that were there from the end of pre-production and through production and now in post production. These members ages range from 14 – 16 years old. There were about twenty people involved in total. I was the only person who knew everyone at the beginning except for one. The sectors we drew the people from were:
- CAPS – Creative and performing Arts School. Specifically from the theatre sports which me and four other members of our group attend and other acting courses at that drama school.
- Zeal Film academy – Which is a course run by Zeal Wellington which me and one other member attended.
- Family – My brother plays the role of George.
- School – Most of us go to Wellington High school. Other members are from Wellington Girls College, Marsden and Scot’s College.
WHERE ARE YOU UP TO NOW WITH PRODUCTION?
We’re currently in a midpoint in production. We’ve filmed half the season and are currently editing the first half filmed from the 11th of December to the 21st 2014. Being the co-writer, director and editor… and various other roles for example DOP. I have my plate full most of the time. For the editing process we’ve edited one whole episode in anticipation of our release date and most of another.
It’s certainly been an interesting experience working with so many people and doing all the organising and pre-production work.
“Make sure you know how the equipment works before you use it on the day, and have more than one camera as it pretty much halves the work load.”
TELL US ABOUT THE GEAR YOU’RE USING:
The gear that we used was two cannon DSLR cameras… One 600D and a 70D
We used a rode boom mic for audio recording straight into camera. The editing software is Lightworks which is a free piece of software used to edit many feature films. The script writing software is another very useful piece of free software called Adobe Story.
WHAT WEB SERIES HAVE INSPIRED YOU?
There was one that proved to me that you could make a narrative web series on the internet and that was VGHS (Video game high school) made by Freddy Wong. I saw the quality of the product they were turning out and thought well I could do that. So I did, sort of… with the lack of 1.2 million dollars to do it. Our budget was what our parents were willing to give by way of food for the crew, and the rest we provided.
CAN YOU SHARE WHAT YOU’VE LEARNED MAKING A WEB SERIES?
Don’t do it if you don’t have a lot of time and a low tolerance for failure. Make sure you have a supportive team around you that has a good dynamic. We were able to laugh at our mistakes and support each other when it got rough. Make sure you know how the equipment works before you use it on the day, and finally have more than one camera as it pretty much halves the work load. Supportive parents are useful too.
This is a ten part web series made by teenagers from Wellington. We’re very proud of the results and have no idea where this will lead us. From the idea to the writing the 90pg half season to the mothman to the tarpaulin train, we actually made this and I still can’t believe… so no matter how it turns out, I had an awesome time making it and hope I can continue to! The internet has opened up a lot of new and accessible options for young film makers and we’re keen to make our mark.
We know young people love web series and we hope that other people (and not so young people!!) will support our effort with Sons of Liars and follow and like us on both:
SONS OF LIARS
Starring: Peter Mckenzie, Erana James and Harry Bartle
Directed By: Oscar Bartle & Daniel Nodder
Written By: Oscar Bartle & Daniel Nodder
Produced By: Edi Rose