I spoke with writer and director Victoria Howell of Systir Productions. Victoria, along with her sister Amy, are raising funds via Indiegogo to for a new fantasy/horror web series, "616." As of today, the Indiegogo is at £250 of its £5,000 goal, concluding on November 15, 2013.
Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us about your Indiegogo.
Victoria Howell (VH): We're running a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for our new fantasy/horror webseries '616'. '616' is developed from a gorefest B movie horror feature concept we had about four years ago. While writing that feature script, we got sidetracked into the story which became our first webseries, but the concept behind '616' is so completely original - a genuinely never before seen concept, so far as we can tell - that we wanted to stamp our mark on it, so we made a short film version using animation for the special effects. However, when asked by Frostbite Pictures to come up with an idea for a second webseries we realised that the story would make a good online series so we have adapted the concept into a more mainstream fantasy/horror series in the tradition of Buffy/Supernatural etc - albeit less glossy as we are British!
MT: Tell us about your company.
VH: Systir Productions was formed in 2008 by sisters Victoria and Amy Howell. Massive movie fans from as far back as we can remember, after years of talking about ideas the time felt right to start making them. Vicky has over fifteen years experience in performing, writing and directing in film and theatre, while Amy has the same experience in business and project management, so the two skill sets complement each other well. So far we have made a multi award winning webseries and three short films, as well as directing and helping produce film and online projects for other companies.
MT: Have you crowdsourced any other products in the past?
VH: We've been part of the team on other Indiegogo campaigns, but this is the first one we have run for one of our own projects. It's hard work, practically a full time job in itself, and made harder by the sheer number of campaigns that there are now. Seems everybody is crowdfunding for everything these days!
MT: How has crowdsourcing changed or influenced your business model?
VH: Crowdfunding is another avenue for sourcing project funding and probably one of the first we'd now turn to rather than applying for grant funding for example. This is largely because there is very little arts funding available in the UK for low budget projects. However, crowdfunding is now a massively oversubscribed concept so it's not something we would entirely rely on.
MT: Why should backers contribute to your Indiegogo? What sets it apart?
VH: We've created an entirely original horror concept which fans of the genre will love. The only way to find out what it is though is to help us get it finished! Like all the best ideas, it is ridiculously simple and audiences will kick themselves when they know what it is...!
MT: What's next for your company?
VH: Last year, we had some interest from a producer to turn our first webseries, 'The Syndicate', into a feature film. He has since dropped out, but as a result of our talks with him we developed a feature script, which we entered into screenplay competitions and got some great feedback, as well as placing in the finals for the Cascade Pictures Writers' Couch in December 2012, the semi-finals of the Bluecat Screenplay Contest 2013 and the finals of the Bluecat Cordelia Prize for best British script. So the next thing for us is to work towards getting that off the ground in 2014. We also have other feature ideas in various stages of development as well as a long term historical project which we aim to start writing next year. As well, of course, as continuing with more episodes of '616'!
MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?
VH: You can find out everything about Systir and our projects at http://www.systirproductions.com. We are also on Facebook and Twitter. There are also Facebook pages for 'The Syndicate' and '616' and a dedicated Twitter account for '616'.
MT: Anything else you'd like to share?
VH: We've now shot our webseries pilot and are onto post-production. There are lots of pictures and vids from the shoot on the various social media pages so please do check them out. We're also launching some limited edition perks in the run up to Halloween so keep your eyes peeled for those!
Interested? You can contribute at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/616.
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