Community Critique: Or So the Story Goes


(Melissa Malone) #1

Hi guys!

I’m Melissa Malone- the creator of the series, Or So the Story Goes. In addition to creating the series I also co-write, edit, produce and act on the show.

Or So the Story Goes is an anthology horror web series. Each season retells a different classic story from children’s lit with a dark, modern twist. Beginning as a project to teach teen filmmaking, the series uses real teens, working together with adults in the cast and crew- including a 15 year old assistant director.

Initially starting using just what we had laying around, each season has seen an increase in production value. Our most current season is our first season with a professional DP and camera.

This season, Golden Rule is an homage to 90s teen slashers, based on Rumplestiltskin. The people of Kingstown fight for their lives, as a masked killer begins targeting people close to a previous victim.

We can currently be seen on our website, YouTube channel and also streaming on SeekaTV (available on their website, Roku and Apple TV).

I’ve included the first 3 episodes here for easy access, and a link to the full season in case you’re interested in watching it all the way though. It’s roughly 90 mins total so be warned. lol.

Each season is a completely new story so I guess we don’t need much feedback on the story itself (although it’s more than welcomed).

We do work as an acting company, with our actors playing new roles each season so would love to hear which actors you particularly like.

Feedback on the pacing, look, and feel of the series would be great.

Also, what are your thoughts on our using real teens and creating horror safe for tweens/teens to watch? Is it still scary without the sex and gore? If not any ideas on how to keep the series interesting for adult horror fans without going into a R rating?

We are aware of our sound issues and looking into finding an on set sound mixer next season.

Honestly, we would just love to hear feedback and what you guys think so we’re open to whatever you have to say- the good, the bad and the ugly (but secretly hoping there’s not a lot of ugly… ha). :slight_smile:

Thanks for taking the time!

Full Season Playlist:


(sam lockie-waring) #2

damn your camera moves are smooth as hell. and that blue hallway lighting is dope. really digging the look of this show. i’ll watch the rest a little later on but good start.


(Melissa Malone) #3

Thank you! Look forward to hearing what you think about the rest. :slight_smile: I’ll pass word along to our DP and Gaffer. lol


(sam lockie-waring) #4

i don’t know why, but even though the actual words in your dialog are fine, they seem slow. maybe it’s just the actors are talking more slowly, or the edit is too leisurely in between shots of coverage, but the pacing is definitely off once you get into the talking parts. you could also probably shave off some of the dialog- it’s a 15 minute ep that could probably be closer to 10 without losing anything.

love the ginger teacher in the purple from ep 1. she’s got great timing and ‘young demons’ made me laugh a lot.


(Meg Carroway) #5

This was really fun to watch, especially since I’ve been reading your articles on here too! I agree that the detective’s wife is fantastic. “The DVR is at capacity” absolutely SLAYED me.

I do agree that pacing seems off but can’t put my finger on why. I do know that I keep getting introduced to characters with no notice and no explanation- like the babysitters in episode 3- did we even get their names? Why was their conversation so long when their main purpose was to discover a body? It seemed unnecessary when there’s all this other great stuff going on that I’d rather focus on. I’d also like to know more about the characters who are actually plot relevant- the lead teenager girl (the daughter of the principal) hasn’t really been fleshed out in the first three episodes- she has a boyfriend she seems to be neutral about at most and friends she seems to hate and that’s basically all I know about her, yet her and her reaction to events gets a lot of screen time. I want to root for her but I don’t have enough info yet!

What story are you guys doing next??


(Melissa Malone) #6

Thanks for the feedback, Meg! I’m so happy to hear you enjoy Diann Gogerty’s performance. She’s crazy talented and I’m thrilled to have her on our team! And the “DVR is at Capacity” line is one of my faves- I have to thank my wife for that like because that scene was all her… lol

As far as characters are concerned, I get what you’re saying. I agree with your comment about the babysitters. It’s one of the few things that bothers me when I watch the season now, as well. The scene should have been cut in half at best. As far as everyone else, our goal was to introduce most characters in episode 1 that would be part of stories further down the line. If you keep watching in the future, I’d love to know if you feel like you eventually get to know the other characters (the lead girl, Taylor, etc) throughout or if you feel they are never quite fully developed. I think this season, we were going for a giant ensemble TV feel and some things may have gotten lost in that.

Next season we are using a much smaller cast (Closer to 10 people total, with about 6 main roles) so I think the character development happens sooner and more fully (I hope). We are doing a home invasion genre version of “Jack and the Beanstalk.”


(Melissa Malone) #7

Thanks for the feedback! It’s good to have in mind for the rewrite of next season’s script as far as dialogue goes. It could also certainly be in the editing, as I’m self taught and sometimes not super efficient there. I also love that ginger! :slight_smile:


(Melissa Malone) #8

Also- thanks for reading my articles on here! I apparently love to “hear” myself talk… :wink:


(Meg Carroway) #9

THAT SOUNDS SO COOL


(Melissa Malone) #10

Thanks! We are really excited about it! The script is finished and it’s a hell of a lot scarier and edgier than anything we’ve done so far so… nervous but also very excited.


(Bri Castellini) #11

actors I loved: Teacher/detective’s wife, detective (haay Melissa), Becky, the mean ginger teenage girl

I think what everyone is noticing about the pacing is that when there are dramatic beats and silences, it’s not played in the same cut, it cuts to someone different, which usually means something’s about to happen, like a movement or a line. But when you cut from silence to silence it feels longer than it actually might be. The actors also tend to pause a lot in delivery where there doesn’t need to be pausing- just in the middle of phrases and lines. It stops the momentum of the lines and the moment even amongst some really great performances.

Really love your camera work and your camera moves- I would lean into that more, honestly, because your shots are fantastic and when you go more cinematic you really hit your groove.

My favorite shot so far was the one of Becky walking down the hallway, and that continuous shot with all the movement, and there was so much character work packed in to those small moments as you go down the hallway and I would have loved to see more of that- showing/experiencing things instead of telling the audience things.


(Melissa Malone) #12

Thanks so much for all the feedback (I know it’s getting repetitive for me to say it every reply but hey, it’s true…)

Seems like the biggest pacing issue is in the editing which is a great note and something I can 100% look at with the next season so thanks for that!

That damn Becky hallway shot was insane to film but also one of my very favorite moments of the entire series. I was hiding in holding, shoving food in my face while it was happening TBH- because obviously if you weren’t in the scene you needed to be outta the way but insane props to our DP, our director and the patience the cast had for making that happen! lol

All this praise of Diann is gonna go to her head… but she deserves it. :wink: