Interview: Elize Morgan – writer/producer Pretty in Geek, The Society

I first came across Elize thanks to Pretty in Geek – which, by the way, you should watch πŸ˜‰ After that, I watched The Gate – which you also should go see.
So a few weeks ago Elize announced her new project on twitter, and I got interested at first because the previous two shows, plus Elize’s blogs, and chatting to her a little on there, have given me reason to take notice. So I went to see the trailer, check out what was going on – after which I was hooked. I love a good conspiracy, I love random stickman drawings, where’s the bad?
The Society, well Elize will tell you a little more about it below, but it’s going to be doing some pretty brave things.

So before we go on, here’s the teaser you need to see:

If that peaked your interest, there’s a code for you to solve: aHR0cDovL3RoZXNvY2lldHlzZXJpZXMuY29tL2pvaW4v

And now, here’s Elize! Say hi :)

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1) Introduce thyself! Tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Elize Morgan, and I’m a writer and erstwhile producer and sometimes player of games. Mostly I pretend to write while I play games. Or maybe it’s all about the fact that I’m a writer.

2) How’d you get started writing webseries?

As someone who wanted to get a few things out, it seemed the right place to start. Most of my favourite shares through uni were web series – from the Guild to Red VS Blue to Strongbad – and, when I first made Pretty in Geek, there was also the added element of having all the things needed to do it: a room, some cast and a lot of pluck. Since then, as a wee writer, I’ve learned to produce, do other things along the way (mostly almost all the things) and met some awesome folk.

3) Tell us about The Gate and Pretty in Geek.

Pretty in Geek is a comedy about a group of hardcore D&D players who mostly take themselves way too seriously. A sort of The Office meets D&D, it’s mockumentary in style, with an overarching love story that I won’t spoil. It’s very tongue in cheek, and we had a lot of fun with it. It can be checked out at http://www.prettyingeek.tv

The Gate is a web series about St. Peter, the pearly gates, and how much indentured servitude sucks. He also deals with Jesus, a pot smoking Saviour, Death, a sort of insane sociopath, and Lucifer who is all about breaking into Heaven and stealing souls. It’s an office comedy about what it means to be at the office all the time. That can be found at http://www.thegateseries.com

4) You also ran an ARG game a while ago, all very transmedia and complicated – what was that about?

The game itself was fairly low-key as ARGs go. Sister got stolen, and older sister attempts to find her. It was an intro experience for me, and I made all of the clues myself, learning as I went at a time when the same audio mixing programs and editors weren’t around. It was a lot of fun, though!

5) Finally your book: “How to Make a Webseries”, which draws on some pretty successful experiences from yourself and others. Top advice for the people with the ideas and the desire, but hesitating and unsure about how/what/where/etc?

The book is, off the top, free, so go download it at http://www.elizemorgan.com/p/how-to-make-web-series.html – it has interviews with Jane Espenson (Husbands, Firefly), Red VS Blue, Clutch, Pretty, Out With Dad and way more. It came out of my desire way back in the day to see how everyone else was doing it so I could learn off of them – I had so many interviews done that I decided to put together a lot of the blog articles I already had.

prettyingeekPretty in Geek

6) Let’s just stop for a second so you can explain “Transmedia” to the people looking confused. What’s the idea?

Trans = change/through (root)
Media (from Medium) = Meaning “intermediate agency, channel of communication

Beyond the fact that was just an annoyingly technical description, it helps the process. Basically a transmedia anything is something that goes beyond one medium (i.e. television), though technically everything is transmedia now as every television show/film/series has more than one platform it lives on. What that means for the Society is that it can play across a variety of layers.

7) OK, let’s get to “The Society”. What’s the story behind it?

The Society is a series about siblings Kate and Josh who have misgivings about their father’s death. It’s claimed he died of a heart attack, but these two know it’s not true. As they look into it, they discover that their father was part of a secret society, that they’re involved with this massive conspiracy theory, and that beyond all of it the fate of the world may just live in their hands.

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Vikki Humphrey (“Kate” in The Society)

8) The promise of clues, and adaptating the story based on audience participation – that’s not just radical, that’s damn gutsy! How scary is that going to be?

It’s a bit terrifying, because you never know how users are going to fall on ideas and concepts. But we’re going to find every way we can  make it possible for people to be a part of the story, and mold the story their way. That doesn’t mean we’re going to take every suggestion along the way (some things, like giant nuclear explosions with everyone dead may involve a bit of blocking) – but the things that make me excited about being part of digital series and watching them is that you get to be a part of it. The divide between what audience and creator is can shift a lot.

9) You’ve been playing with hashtags and vine, I know – what are you looking for from the audience, without us having actually seen anything but the teaser?

I’d love to see what people would want to see from the show from the teaser. What makes you excited about the concept, what makes your ideas go? Comments and views are our bread and butter for this, and we’d love to hear what people think, share and share alike. Also, the #StickmenConspiracyTheories and #TheSocietySees hashtags are to send crazy conspiracy theories and ideas – we’ll make it into a stickmen conspiracy vine video just for you!

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Max Morrow (“Josh” in The Society)

10) What’s your hope for The Society? How do we get to see it?

Our hope is, obviously, to get hype created and to get the funders on board to make it. Part of this is a proof of concept video to prove we have an audience that is into the concept, so that’s up to you guys! And the how is going to depend, we’ll be using DailyMotion as a primary platform because they’re our partners for the show, but other platforms will be involved. Let us know where you want to see!

11) Anything else going on we should know about? What’s in the near future?

Lots of new ideas brewing! Keep in touch

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So there you go! Join me in tweeting your favourite conspiracy theories (or doing what I’m actually mostly doing by this point and making them up myself) to #TheSocietySees: get a free ‘StickmanConspiracy vine video, or send them your thoughts and ideas. Watch the trailer. Tweet and say hi to @TheSocietySees. Get other people to tweet the hashtags and watch the teaser. Get involved, from, right at the start – right now – and help build this thing!
And don’t forget to follow and say hi to @ElizeMorgan on twitter too.

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