Desturbia: Hoping to become established through a web series
January 31, 2011 by Sarah Casimong
Aspiring filmmakers don’t need a TV network or theatrical distributor anymore: they have the web.
That’s what Allen Kumar, a rookie director and screenwriter, is using for his first project, Desturbia. Desturbia is an independent murder mystery web series, currently shooting in different parts of Metro Vancouver.
“First what I was going to do was take it to a network. I wanted to establish myself and wanted to work as a PA [production assistant] or something, get in there [for] a few years, then pitch it to a network,” said Kumar.
He changed his mind after deciding that he wanted the freedom to make decisions on his own.
“In a web series, I can do it [all] myself,” said Kumar. “I won’t have a big budget but I can show that I can do it. And if I have a show that has people involved and people who are watching it, I can take it to a network and get a web series picked up, which I want to do after two seasons.
“If you look at it now, shows on network TV, they rely on a lot of ratings,” said Kumar. “Because you have a lower budget and you have more control of it, your web series can’t get canceled. Especially not at the beginning. So if you use a web series to get an audience, it shows the network that the show draws in people.”
Three years ago, Kumar started writing a screenplay out of boredom, basing the story on a crime that happened in his life. What started out as a 10-minute short became 30 minutes. Kumar considered making a film, but that idea didn’t last long.
“You can’t tell this story in a movie,” said Kumar. “You have to show the elements and have conflict and all the things building up to make this actually look real. Because if you make this into a movie, it will become some cheesy horror film, which I’m not trying to do. I’m trying to show [the story] and why these people did this.”
Kumar decided that a web series would be a perfect way to tell the story and develop the characters over a longer period of time.
“The internet is the best way right now. Not many people watch TV as much because everything is online with Youtube and MegaVideo. Studios are actually making web series now.” said Kumar.
An example, he said, is the TV series Ghost Whisperer which was canceled and then turned into a web series.
Although he is funding Desturbia on his own, he says sites such as IndieGoGo are a way to get funding. Other ways are through fundraising events or reaching out to businesses.
“It [can be] a lower budget, so you won’t be spending too much. Some web series, you don’t even need a major studio. You can shoot it in your bedroom.”
Although Kumar had to drop an expensive car chase scene from the pilot episode, because of the budget, he is still happy to see his vision played out.
“The best part would be the fact that when I write [the script] I don’t know if it’s really good but when I actually see it, when the actors play it out, I’m like ‘I must be good,’” said Kumar. “I know [the actors] add their own personalities and stuff, but the fact that it’s basically what the scene is actually about and it actually works and you [can] see it, it seems real, like you’re watching something on television.”
Desturbia is set to premiere in December or January 2012. For more information, visit Cyrus Entertainment’s website.