ARLINGTON — Arlington filmmaker Jonathan Holbrook has been shooting throughout his hometown for an online horror series that he aims to have ready in time for Halloween.
“Still” was inspired by an assortment of odd real-world phenomena, from thousands of dead birds that were found around the world two years ago to strange noises connected to solar flares, which Holbrook spitballed into a sci-fi premise about humans being infected by ... something.
Holbrook has found the production of longer features to be a bit tedious, while the shorter films he’s made have felt too fleeting, which was why an ongoing web series, with episodes lasting 10 minutes or less each, seemed like the perfect balance. Likewise, although he’s shot scenes in other locations, including downtown Everett, Holbrook intends to make Arlington the primary shooting location for the fictional Sloughtown, Wash.
“As we were scouting locations for our June 30 shoot, I noticed the friendly, all-American feel of Arlington, which is what I wanted for Sloughtown,” said Holbrook, who thanked Kristin Banfield and Sarah Lopez of the city of Arlington for facilitating shooting permits and locations. “We plan to shoot more scenes in Arlington. We’d chatted briefly with the Blue Bird Cafe about shooting at their location for episode six, but nothing has come of it as of yet.”
Holbrook and his crew already shot episodes one through five from May 4 through June 30, and episode one is ready to air this October. He plans to release a new episode every three weeks to a month, with a total of 12 episodes whose principal shooting he’s scheduled to complete by October. Among his 77 actors and extras, six production assistants, five associate producers, two line producers and two assistant directors, Holbrook has also recruited Kate Dixson, a special effects makeup professional whose work includes the TV show Grimm, and veteran stuntman Joseph Porter, who was Mel Gibson’s stunt double in Lethal Weapon.
“I’m doing several layers for a 3D effect,” said Dixson, as she painted unhealthy-looking veins onto the “infected” actors during the June 30 shoot at the intersection of State Route 530 and 59th Avenue NE. “I really want to make the colors pop.”
“To get hit by a car, you just pay attention to its trajectory, and then time yourself to hop on its hood,” said Porter, whose “infected” character was struck by a car as part of that day’s shoot.
As a fan of shows such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Killing and Game of Thrones, Holbrook hopes that he can duplicate the same experience for his own audience, of “how I would get sucked into the characters and stories in each episode, and how they would keep me wanting more.”
To follow the progress of “Still,” check out its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StillTheWebSeries.