This wasn’t initially intended as a Q&A interview, as we don’t usually do that about a web series that hasn’t even been fully shot yet and doesn’t even have any major distribution lined up. But sometimes you have to break the rules to get to the good stuff. Zack Finfrock makes a great case study of an indie web series creator starting where a whole host of other would-be web stars are too—with an idea, a teaser trailer, limited resources, oh and some unusually talented friends.
Finfrock’s series, Emerson Wild, centers around a young man (Emerson) who’s taken it upon himself to hunt monsters, trudging his way up the ranks of the monster hunting community. We’ve seen similar stabs at this casual, everyman play on superhero bureaucracy, most recently with Captain Alpha Male and The Junior League of Superheroes. As of now only a (long) trailer is out, which could even pass as episode 1. With just over 15,000 views on YouTube since its release last month, a few people have taken notice.
Tubefilter: So what’s the plan for the series – are you shopping it to distributors at this point?
Finfrock: At the moment, we’re looking for funding for the series. It’s funny, I decide to create a comedy web series about something I love, and turns out that it has to have a budget or it can’t be made. Well, unless we half-ass it, which is the last thing I’m going to do. We’re in talks with someone about distribution and funding at the moment, but without the budget, we’ll have no show to distribute.
Tubefilter: Has it been shot yet? How many episodes are you planning and how long?
Finfrock: Like I said, we’re looking to get the money for the show. At least the pilot, so we can really show what we’re capable of. The first season, at the moment, is set for 6 episodes going at about 7-10 minutes each. It’s a little long for your average web show, but with this much story to tell and a new world to see, we don’t want to limit ourselves to 3 minutes an episode. We’re also toying with the idea of making the first season a few more episodes longer. At this point, we’ve still got the chance to change things like that.
Tubefilter: What’s the general overview of the story? Is it a procedural series with a new monster case each episode?
Finfrock: The show is about it’s title character, Emerson Wild. He’s a standard, middle-of-the-road monster hunter who’s trying to push his name into the upper-levels of the monster hunting community. However, his life takes a sharp turn when he’s approached by a young woman who claims she’s in danger and feels Emerson is the only one who can help her. Now, he has to crawl into the depths of the monster world to discover who this woman is, why she’s being trailed and how he stop her from causing so much trouble in his otherwise comfortable life. Think Ghostbusters meets Men in Black, with a dash of both Hellboy and Buffy.
The show will have an overall story arch over the first season. You will get to see Emerson doing his job though-out the show, but it will all involve and deal with the main story. A lot like Ghostbusters. They have there normal job busting ghosts, but we see them deal with one big story arch.
Tubefilter Who did you cast for the series? I noticed the ubiquitous Craig Frank in there.
Finfrock: Hahah, yeah, Craig Frank. Well, we have a great cast and crew list available on our website, www.emersonwild.com. I’ve actually recruited Tim Reise, Brett Register and Craig Frank thanks to my time as Crewman Anderson on The Crew. I met Brett while we were extras on The Guild in season 2. I ended up redoing the backgrounds for Brett for The Crew, and a friendship grew from there.
I’ve also been very fortunate to meet and work with Vincent Guastini, our creature effects creator. He’s a very talented, very professional guy. He’s been in the monster effects business for over 20 years, and his enthusiasm for Emerson Wild has been amazing. If it wasn’t for the fact he also sees big things in Monster Hunter, we wouldn’t have our “lobster” in that preview.
As for a cast, I’m going to play Emerson Wild (as seen in the preview). I moved out here to make movies with my friends and act. I just didn’t expect to be acting in my own creation so soon. Then you’ve got Craig Frank as Eric, Emerson’s somber and sarcastic roommate/best friend. After seeing what Craig could do on set of The Crew, I knew I had to work with him on this. Then we have Katy Stoll as our lead female character thanks to Brett’s suggestion. Brett will also be in this as well, but I’m not going to give too much away on that. I’ve got a bunch more characters, both big and small.
Tubefilter: Do you have your own production company at this point?
Finfrock: I’m under Wayside Creations. We’re new, and we’re hoping Emerson Wild will be our great debut into the web world. Wayside consists of myself, both an actor and artist; Julian Higgins, a very talented director and editor; Kevin Brooks, who I’m sure will be the next Shia LaBeouf; and Vince Talenti, another amazing director/editor combo.
Haha, now that I think about it, I’m only one person short of using the entire Absolute Disaster team as well.