Herman Wang: Writer/Director "The Spell Tutor"

(Herman Wang) #1

Herman Wang is the writer/director of the Harry Potter-based web series The Spell Tutor, currently shooting its 4th season. He started off making music videos before plunging into the web series world, screening at various web festivals around the world and placing three consecutive years on the Web Series World Cup.

Questions about filmmaking, music videos, showrunning, using someone else’s IP or special effects? Ask here!

We've got an AMA for that!
(Bri Castellini) #2

Welcome to the host side of the forum, Herman!! First question is the basics… when did you get into filmmaking, and into web series in particular?

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(Bri Castellini) #3

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(Meg Carroway) #4

How “Harry Potter-based” is The Spell Tutor? Do you use any existing characters, or just the rules of the world, or something else?

(sam lockie-waring) #5

hey man- great to have you here all official like! what kind of music videos did you make? for local bands/ people you knew, or as proofs of concept for bigger bands?

(Meg Carroway) #6

Links or they didn’t happen :wink:

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(Anna Bateman) #7

Hey! I recognize your name from the VFX articles on here! Thanks for doing this! What’s the Web Series world Cup?

(Herman Wang) #8

I started with making music videos for my band, at the prompting of my friend (who eventually became my DP for a few seasons). Music videos are fun, but they’re quite different from “talkies”, so after a while I wanted to take on doing an actual narrative. The Spell Tutor started off as a short, standalone film, based on a Potter joke I’d had in my head for a while. But once we got it out there people really seemed to like it, so we transformed it into a web series.

(Bri Castellini) #9

That’s awesome! I had no idea you were in a band! Out of curiosity, what’s your day gig right now?

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(Hailey Harper) #10

When you say “show running,” what does that mean? I think I understand it in like mainstream industry, but what does it mean at the indie level?

(Herman Wang) #11

It’s based in the Potter universe, but the characters are Canadian, and all original; that way we don’t have to bother with exposition about how the magic works. Plus, the actors get to flesh out their characters the way they want, without having to fit a pre-existing mould. We’ll throw in the occasional reference to “muggles” or familiar spell names and such, to keep the fans happy.

(Meg Carroway) #12

Cool! So can you talk about using someone else’s IP? How does that work/restrict you in doing stuff the rest of us might take for granted?

(Meg Carroway) #13

OR how does it help?

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(Herman Wang) #14

Mostly for my own band (Delica-m), and I’ve done one or two for friends. I tried to go bigger with getting commissioned for works, but no one really puts a lot of money into music videos the way they used to. I feel it’s kind of a lost art form.

(Anna Bateman) #15

How did you learn editing and VFX? from doing them in your music videos, or somehow else?

(sam lockie-waring) #16

lost art form for sure. when i was a kid that’s what i wanted to do for a career but that’s… less possible than it used to be. hah. question about color correcting from an on-set perspective- how do you make sure white balancing isn’t a bitch in post while recording? especially if your main light source is yellow instead of white and you’re shooting flat?

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(Herman Wang) #17

This one is the one I’m most proud of, even though I hadn’t fully mastered colour correction yet

This one is a fun tribute to Star Trek, one of my biggest influences

(Meg Carroway) #18

Cool!!! Hey why do bands put “(HD)” in their music video titles? Isn’t the assumption that the video will be the highest quality possible? Or do you release HD and SD versions for people with different internet speeds?

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(Herman Wang) #19

Joel Bassaget runs it. It’s essentially a list of web series festivals around the world. He takes the Official Selections, Nominations and Wins from each festival and compiles a score for each series. So to participate all you have to do is submit to some or all of the festivals on the list.

(Bri Castellini) #20

What’s your low budget, high quality secret? What do you prioritize?