August 15, 2011

Web Series Observer - The Last Man(s) on Earth


Created by Aaron Hultgren and Joe England

The Story: Kaduche and Wynn are survival experts. Now you can be, too.

The Observation: If there is anything we as an audience are entertained by on screen, it’s our own demise. Be it a zombie outbreak or an alien invasion or the rise of some apes, we love an action packed, end-of-the-world romp. For whatever will bring about our own expiration, it is probably a good notion to learn how to survive (for as long as you can) in whatever post-apocalyptic situation we find ourselves in due time. Well, worry not, for we have The Last Man(s) on Earth to guide and instruct us in the necessary methods and tools to endure the apocalypse.

Enter Kaduche (played by Charan Prabhakar) and Wynn (Brady Bluhm), two experts who have seen every disaster movie at least twice, and are here to demonstrate to you everything they have learned to survive every possible disaster we may very well face in the near future. In each episode, the duo provides you with practical tips to survive the “post-world world,” such as the proper method to decapitate zombies, accumulating weaponry using objects right outside your home and even hunting for sustenance.

The show works perfectly as a three or five minute episodic web series. Thinking of how well the show is made, from a creative, aesthetic and technical standpoint, I could see it on Comedy Central or G4 tomorrow. But then I think of how the show plays out. In its three minute run, the audience is met with an explosion of a fast-paced, shaky-cam, quick-talking episode, as if we are right in the middle of the battle. And, before we know it, the show is over, and we are clicking right on to the next one. If the creators attempted to translate it into a half-hour show, I am fearful it may lose that special something-something it has in its short-form. But, then again, I could be wrong, as the creators are making a feature film based on this show (see interview below) and I am confident that they have a strong idea of execution.

What makes this type of web series so entertaining and captivating are how the creators and actors are able to blend legitimate ‘what-if’ information with an over-the-top sense of humor, and produce it with such ease. Their lessons are genuinely practical for a number of what-if scenarios, yet so exaggeratedly theatrical that you can’t help but watch with glee. You can tell the entire cast and crew is having fun with this series; taking what they do seriously, yet not them whatsoever. With artillery of both practical and computer generated effects, The Last Man(s) on Earth is a well-rounded mocku-drama that I highly suggest you watch – if only for your own existence.

The Bottom Line: Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes! Get on YouTube and check out this show! The end is nigh, and this show may be our only hope to see it through. 

The Info: The Last Man(s) on Earth has recently wrapped its 9 episode first season run. You can check them all out on their YouTube page. For more information on the cast, crews, and extra survival tips, visit their Blog, Facebook and Twitter.

The Interview: I had a chance to ask Aaron Hultgren, head writer and co-creator, some questions about his career and his show. Check it out after watching the pilot episode!



How did you get into filmmaking?
I sat in a cubicle for too many years. After studying screenwriting as an undergraduate I took a leap of faith to move from Chicago to LA to continue pursuing my passion for screenwriting at UCLA. That's where I met Joe England. Together, we teamed with Charan Prabhakar (the Golf Pro in High School Musical II), Brady Bluhm (the Blind Kid in Dumb and Dumber) and Eric Dove (who used to shoot rap videos) to start the Last Man(s) web series.

What triggered your quest to teach people how to survive various aspects of various apocalypses?
Two reasons; One: we thought it could be funny. Two: we realized we could film it for zero dollars, which is the combined amount of money we had to spend on season one.

What can we expect from future episodes? Any spoilers you're willing to hint at?
Well we're very excited to announce that Last Man(s) is now a feature film! We shot this spring and are now in post-production! In the film, Kaduche and Wynn find out that the end of the world will be manmade. With the help of the all-wise Oracle, Kaduche's greatest nemesis, Marcus, and Kaduche's love interest, Violet, the guys set out to thwart the world's evil forces. Let's just say they'll be battling domestic terrorists, disenfranchised Russian communists, intern scientists, and zombies.

As for season two of the web series, we're currently in pre-production. Much of the series deals with the two worlds the characters inhabit: Reality Mode versus Epic Mode. In Reality Mode they're normal, non-heroic guys. But in epic Mode, they're as heroic as it gets. In season two, we'll be trapping them in Epic Mode.

What means of marketing do you have in store for the series?
This interview (lol)! Actually, much of our marketing is word of mouth and driven through grassroots efforts via YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. We're in talks with a production company to partner for season two of the series, which would allow us access to their marketing resources as well.

For the feature, we'll be posting official trailers in the coming weeks. Then we'll be going the film fest route to build exposure and, hopefully, secure a distribution deal.

How will the show stand out amongst other series on the web?
The web has so many great series. We strive to stay ahead of the pack with stylized production values and a focus on keeping the audience engaged at all times. With the exception of our Decapitating Zombies episode, no other episode really topped four minutes. Most are in the two to three minute range. We feel that's a great range. For season two, we'll also be moving from shooting on a 7D camera to the higher quality Panasonic AF-100. And we invested in superior sound equipment. So all around, we're making an effort to keep improving upon what we learned as novices during season one. By season three, we're hoping to be in 3D. Or rich enough so that we can retire.

What advice can you give to other filmmakers trying to produce/market a web series?
Go do it! The technology is there and it's affordable. You can create a quality series as long as you believe in it. 

In terms of marketing, try to connect with other web series creators. We try to be super supportive of everyone putting out a series. From there, put in the effort to connect with people on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. We're so grateful to everyone who's given us a chance, whether they've watched all the episodes or one. Hopefully, when the feature and season two come out, we've created something that they're excited to continue to watch.

What other projects are you currently working on? Shameless plug time!
I'm glad you asked! Last Man(s) is in post-production. Once the edit is locked, the film will go to our sound guys as well as our composer. We hope to be ready for festival submissions by the end of September.

Otherwise, Last Man(s) productions is scouting locations for our next feature, a film about Christmas, tentatively titled Santa Claws!

2 comments:

  1. Outstanding interview! I can't wait for the movie!

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete