Stoke on Trent is a funny old place. I saw my first ever concert there, (Twisted Sister in 1984), it’s famous for it’s Oatcakes and Pottery. Hence the local area being called the ‘Potteries’. Lemmy was born in Stoke, so was Slash AND Robbie Williams.
It is also the setting for Blood, Bone and China, a chilling new web-based Vampire story.
Each episode is between 5 and 10 minutes long and available to watch online. It’s Victorian setting is an homage to the golden age of horror and suspense. After 3 episodes it is beginning to shape up very nicely.
As part of our Monster Movie Month we spoke to the brains behind it Chris Stone to find out more.
What gave you the idea to broadcast it online?
It’s a way to potentially have the whole world see your work instantly, without having to deal with distribution. Also, breaking the story down into small part makes a web series much more manageable to shoot than a feature film. A web series is interactive too, meaning that people can give feedback on what they have seen so far,
give suggestions and opinions and keep up with whats happening on the production as it’s being made.
Can you see more productions like this being made for the web?
Absolutely, more people watch YouTube now than watch TV. It’s easily accessible, free and can be watched on the move (via iPhone etc.). Big studios are starting to cotton on to the medium, there is a new Keifer Sutherland web series starting soon for example, which I’m really looking forward to seeing.
How hard was it to recreate Stoke on Trent in the 1800’s?
Stoke-On-Trent has a very rich history. In the period in which our story is set, it was the world centre for pottery. Our ceramics were shipped all over the world. The people of Stoke are very proud of their heritage and there are a lot of museums dedicated to it. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to film at some of these museums, which act as ready made sets. Stoke itself still retains a lot of it’s Victorian architecture and period features, so it’s the perfect time period for the series.
How long have you been filming for?
We started filming in November and are currently filming Chapter 8.
How do you hope to recover the costs of making the series?
It’s being made on a very tight budget and there are no plans to recoup the costs. The series is more about getting worldwide publicity and acting as a showreel for everyone involved (myself, actors, locations and the band) rather than making money.
Can anyone watch it?
Yes, if you can get YouTube in your country you can watch it. I would say the series is suitable for people over the age of 12.
What is the most challenging part of making the production a reality?
Trying to avoid modern features in the period settings has been a bit of a nightmare! Also, we have to film in the museums when they are open, so often we get people walking through in the middle of a take and talking, causing problems with sound recording and distracting the actors.
Are you a fan of the old Hammer films?
I remember seeing bits of the Hammer films as a kid and I’m rewatching them at the moment. I’m a huge fan of Sleepy Hollow which was also inspired by Hammer. I love big adventure films such as James Bond, Indiana Jones and Star Wars too. If you watch Blood and Bone China you’ll see influences from all of these films.
Why do you think Vampires are so successful on film?
People have had a fascination with vampires since they were first introduced into mainstream culture. They have a lot of sex appeal being both dangerous and (usually) physically attractive which is no doubt the reason they are so successful in film and television.
What are you working on after this?
If the current series works and is successful then series 2, which would be Chapters 13-24.
The latest episode (Chapter 4) will be online on Sunday 3rd April 2011 at 6pm. That gives you plenty of time to catch up with the story so far on www.bloodandbonechina.com