Hi! I’m Darek Kowal, creator of the comedy/horror web series ANYTOWN, USA! My show tells the story of an every-day, All-American, modern family … of cannibals, living in suburbia and dealing with rude neighbors the best way they can … by eating them. Our first 10 episode season is available at our Official Site and Episodes 1 &2 are streaming on Amazon Prime!
As the wind howls outside at a speed that tells me the collapse of my garage is inevitable, I’m even more pleased that we did our location scouting YESTERDAY.
My DP took me to a part of South Chicago that can best be described as bleak, if not downright dystopian. I’m not sharing a photo of the location because, well, I want the opening shot of the show to be that much more impactful.
But the experience did make me think. Anytown, USA is an obvious satire of sitcoms and suburban America. The locations are typically homes, yards, and the one time we used a theater to shoot paint out of a guy’s butt. But The Tide, my new project filming this winter while I wait for the Anytown actors to be available in the spring, is a completely different animal. It’s so visually and tonally different. The sound design will be otherworldly. The themes are heavier. This is a longwinded way of calling it ‘Cinematic’, to the point that it feels like I’m shooting another feature.
And this location, that I’ve already dubbed ‘The Wasteland’, is surreal. Picture Las Vegas from Blade Runner 2049, all for the low low price of ‘Free’.
So, the only lesson I have today is: Get out. Scour your neighborhood and surrounding areas for the most interesting locales possible. Prior to yesterday, the opening of the series was set on a beach. That all changed when I stepped into the wasteland.
Remember, you’re not just location scouting. You’re hunting for production value.
I have a lot of questions rolling around in my head today and, honestly, my mind is in full ‘creator’ mode. So, I want to hear from the community instead of just ranting.
Here are my questions:
Having made a web series, have you considered making a feature and self distributing on YouTube? What, if anything, is standing in your way? What do you see as the Pros? The Cons?
What locations around you can inspire stories and change your way of thinking?
What do you do to amp up your production value?
And now, I’ll sit quietly, and wait for some answers.