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Creator's Corner » Posthuman - Lyndon Horsfall
Tell us about your sci-fi web series.
Posthuman is the future story of Charlie Porter, a down and out private investigator who is given the chance to reclaim his life in the same Ghetto he lost it, when he is given a new case by a mysterious woman. He begins to explore a rumoured subculture known as the "Memes," one he has been obsessed with since the disappearance of famed nano-roboticist Dorothy Ascher. The Memes may be a cult worshipping Dorothy, or wanting answers about her disappearance, or they may be planning a revolution against Capital City from the heart of the Ghettoes. As Porter searches for answers, he will question his past, his sanity, and what it means to be human.
Where did the idea/concept for your web series come from?
The concept for the series has been a long time in the making. I was a low budget independent filmmaker many years ago. However, the technology you could afford on an extremely low budget back then was not technology you could make an adequate film with. I was constantly disappointed with a vision I had being compromised due to budgetary and technological restrictions. Just to get some depth of field in your image could be an arduous task. This disappointment led me to put the camera down for awhile and focus on my writing. I have always been a lover of science fiction, so I made many attempts at science fiction stories. However, in attempting to write feature length screenplays, I could never seem to get past the 45th page or so. It seems I could come up with great ideas, but I had trouble carrying them to the end in stories about intriguing characters. I had a whole lot of neat sci-fi ideas, but I always focused on those ideas more than the characters, so the stories always lost their way. Thankfully, I think I'm a much better writer today for learning those lessons.
Then a few years ago, Canon came out with their Hi Def DSLR cameras, particularly the T2i. Suddenly, you could get great HD footage, in 24 frames if you so desired, with interchangeable lenses. Suddenly, for less than a thousand dollars, you could shoot something that looked really pro. When those came out, I knew it was time to get back in the game. I just needed a story to tell.
I thought about a detective character named Porter that I had always wanted to write about, and I wrote the character for Jason Martorino, my friend and a brilliant actor. I just needed a story for the character to inhabit. I wanted it to be a future noir story, but I didn't know what story to drop him into. Another friend of mine suggested that I take all the interesting ideas I had in all my various sci-fi scripts, and drop every one of them into one story and use that to build a world. It was at that point, Posthuman came together. It suddenly all made sense. All the ideas complemented each other, and a story to drop Charlie Porter into became clear. As soon as Jason got on board, it's been a go ever since.Writer-Director-Excecutive Producer Lyndon Horsfall
Name some of your sci-fi influences. Any favorite movies, TV shows, novels?
My favourite movie is The Empire Strikes Back, and that is what made me want to be a filmmaker. I'm usually the geeky one to argue that it's not science fiction, but fantasy, but I think we can include that here. I also think it influenced my slightly dark side (no pun intended) in the stories I like to tell. The most influential piece on Posthuman in particular is most definitely Blade Runner. It is also one of my favourite films of all time, and I always loved the way it used a detective story to allow the audience to discover things the same time the main character did. The detective is looking for information he doesn't have, and when he gets it, he's been informed the same time the audience has. It's a great tool in telling a science fiction story, so as to avoid talking heads unnaturally explaining to each other how the fictional technologies work. A detective getting those explanations makes sense and fits thematically. I think science fiction and detective movies and film noir are perfect fits. I in no way want to compare Posthuman to the brilliance of Blade Runner, however.
In terms of other favourites, I also have to mention the new Battlestar Galactica, Firefly and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Those are my favourite science fiction shows of all time. Just amazing drama, amazing fun, and they do what I think the best science fiction is meant to do...use the conceit of sci-fi to comment on the human condition in a unique and interesting way.
Tell us about the technical production of your show. What camera & equipment did you use? Editing software & hardware? For visual effects, etc?
We're a pretty low key, low budget operation. As I mentioned, I use a Canon T2i to shoot with. My main lenses are a Canon 50mm, a Canon 28mm and a Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens. I find I can get what I want with those three lenses, most of the time. The next episode we're shooting, I think I'm going to want a 24mm...so we'll see just how low that budget is. I also use an Azden boom mic put into the T2i through a BeachTek adapter, which works brilliantly. I've been shooting handheld pretty raw so far, but I just got a Foton shoulder support that I'm really eager to use on the next shoot.
As for editing, I use Final Cut Express on a 24" iMac/13" PowerBook. I do some sound scrubbing on SoundSoap 2. I convert the footage from H.264 to AIC using MPEG Streamclip. My friend Anil Ibrahim does the graphics for the show using Photoshop.
Can you tell us any interesting facts or trivia about your show? Any funny stories?
Peeing was a bit of a problem on episode 3. All the actors were basically drinking the whole shoot, either ice tea or fruit flavoured vitamin water. By mid-day, there were many pee breaks! We also had to watch our continuity with the levels of drinks in both glasses and the serving bottles. We had a case each of both these drinks, but we weren't sure how much we'd go through, and we didn't want to waste too much by pouring it down a drain, and the actors could only drink so much. So in between takes we had a funnel that we would use to pour the drinks from the glasses back into the bottles. As the shoot went on, we would lose track of the funnel, and throughout the shoot you'd constantly hear people yelling; "Funnel!?!" "Where's the funnel!?!" Oh...and Sara, who plays Gina, is wearing blue fuzzy slippers the whole time.
Another interesting thing that I feel the need to give credit to is an exchange in the first episode, "Strain Theory." When Porter says to Ricky; "They were all bad guys," and Ricky responds with "Were they?" That exchange is a testament to the brilliant acting of Amanda, because it was that line reading that forever changed Posthuman by inspiring an idea in me...one I can't divulge yet, unfortunately! Those are the moments I love, and why I do this. It's those magical moments of inspiration that I live for. The idea that line reading inspired in me made Posthuman so much more that it was, and I'll forever be thankful for Amanda and her talent, even if she has no idea what she did!
Posthuman can be found online and on Facebook.
Posthuman - SciFinal Page
Check out the behind the scenes video about the making of the Posthuman episode "The Past: Promises Reckoned":
More pictures from the set of Posthuman below:
Jason Martorino as Porter
Joanna Haughton as Dororthy
Sara Mitich as Gina