This issue, Fandom Wanderers is pleased to present an interview with filmmaker Lewis McGregor, who’s leading the team behind the upcoming web series ‘Grim: A Tale of Death’, which is currently raising funds to begin production later this year. Already, the team have been invited to attend the Marseille Webfest 2012 – not bad for a work in progress! Lewis very kindly took a few minutes out of his fundraising schedule to answer some of our questions.
Could you tell us a bit about ‘Grim: A Tale of Death’?
Well, a lot could be said for Grim! But in a very small nutshell it follows a group of Grim Reapers. The Grim Reaper, Angel of Death, Father Time, Shinigami are widely known across many cultures and religions as the personification of death and guides the souls of those who have recently died to the afterlife… or the underworld. Our story focuses on what happens in-between these guided trips. The stories these beings encounter in the in-between realm. We want to tell a unique and original story, not compiled full of fast edits, CGI and blaring gun fights, just a comprehensive and fulfilling story.
How would you describe the tone of the series?
Grim. Very Grim. The Reapers are constantly around death, while that may be in some certain circumstances dying of old age or from an illness, there are some nasty stories in the world and the reapers are witness to them all.
Where did the original idea come from?
A song actually; it was Blue Oyster Cult – Don’t Fear the Reaper. I had a quick dream while listening to the song where there were a bunch of Grim Reapers chasing another and that was it, the entire world has been built from that.
How does the mythology of Grim work? Have you drawn from other mythologies or other media?
Grim’s mythology has been completely created from the ground up. The only mythology we have leant on is that of the Greeks. Instead of the Grim Reaper being a skeleton clothed in a black robe the Greeks who gave death a human and friendly face. Thantos, who was described as being quite handsome.
How does it feel to have a fandom forming around an unmade series?
Amazing, so amazing. We’ve really gone through a lot of trouble to get where we are at now and to see support really makes us proud. I’ve always wanted to be a part of a fandom but to be the creator of a fandom is something entirely different.
How crucial is fan support to a crowdfunded project like this?
You have no idea! We have the story, we have actors, we have the locations, we just don’t have the funds to put it together, the only people who can are the fans. At current the fans hold Grim in their hands. We need you!
Do you think social media is an efficient way of raising support? How are you using it?
For our campaign different members of the team are using different methods, most of them rely on social media though. Either to get the word out, interact with the fans, give support to others, send out daily updates. This campaign wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
You’ve been working on Grim for a few years now – what’s it like to independently make a web series?
Stressful, tiring, painful but highly rewarding! When you spend years writing, planning scenes and then go out to film it and it plays out exactly as you planned there’s such an amazing feeling that comes with that.
What’s been your favourite thing about the project so far?
How everyone has become like family, we all started off as strangers but over time we’ve come to be like family. My girlfriend and I only met because of a casting. It is really that life changing.
Do you have any advice or tips for readers looking to start a similar project themselves?
Time, you need a lot of it. I’ve had to drop out of university for a while so I can progress further with the series. You need support from your friends, they’re the people who will back you when you feel like quitting.
It’s been mentioned in one of your videos that you think people will write fanfiction for Grim. What do you think makes it so ripe for fanfic?
We’re not too sure really, I think Josh [Hopkin, who plays Shax] was just going all out with his pitch, you can hear the emotion in his voice. However we have actually had a few pieces of artwork submitted, so we definitely think fans are going to get involved and submit pieces of art.
The original shoot used all local residents of Barry – will you be continuing this for the new shoot? Why, or why not?
Yes, the series is a community project and it’s always been our plan to involve as many people as we can. It’s not often you can be part of a massive scene including 50 other extras running through a field and shouting war cries without going through a rigorous casting process. We want everyone to get involved.
Is there anything else you want to say?
Well I’ve been campaigning 18 hours a day for the last week I’m not sure anything I say will make sense at this point, but come on over to our Facebook page, we have plenty of updates and promo pictures going up with a great bunch of fans!
If you’d like to help make Grim happen, or would just like to learn more, we recommend hitting up their indiegogo campaign page, where you can find videos and links to lots more information. We can’t wait to see the first episode!
Lewis McGregor was talking to Eleanor Musgrove.