Chapin talks about his new project
Jan Lopreste & Lyria Wollich
JL: Tell us about "The Hunted" ~ how it came to be,
what process you have gone through to create it, what hats you wear
(writer, director, actor, producer)? Whew What are your hopes for its
future….where would you like to see it go?
RC: I originally came up with the idea for "The Hunted" as
part of a class project for the Acting Action stage combat workshop that I
was teaching with Anthony DeLongis. I always thought it was important to
have a performance venue for class, and for three years we had performed
live shows at local renaissance fairs and special events.
The live shows, however, didn't draw as much attention as a short video
spoof I produced called "The Ultimate Deathmatch Workout" which
received over 250 submissions. I soon realized that film and video
projects were of more interest to my students, myself, and the rest of LA,
so I set out to create an ongoing project that I could produce myself.
I had always wanted to start a production company which would allow me
to utilize all of my skills (writing, acting, directing, editing, and
composing), but like most artists in LA, I lacked the capital to make it
happen. I had several feature films projects like "Ring of
Steel" sitting on the shelves waiting for financing, but I was
getting tired of waiting. I was also tired of wasting my time and energy
working on "freebies" - no-budget shows produced by arrogant
first-time directors/producers whose only achievement was that they got
the ball rolling. I decided it was my turn to get the ball rolling.
At the time, I remember hearing about a show that Bobby Lento had put
together for public access called "Have Sword Will Travel." It
was a no-budget fantasy / action show shot on video. I never did see it,
but I saw the interest it generated, and realized that I could produce a
no-budget show myself and make it really cool if I came up with the right
The show would be set in modern day to avoid expensive costuming and
locations. At the time, "Blair Witch" and reality TV shows like
"Cops" were in full swing, which allowed us to shoot without
expensive cameras or lighting. Our production value would have to consist
of action, acting, and clever storylines. The tough part was justifying
the swordplay, which was one of our main resources. The vampire legends
already included decapitation, and swordfights on "Buffy" and
"Highlander" had already set the stage for us.
The show would follow a group of ordinary people in LA who had all been
bitten by vampires. To protect themselves from recurring attacks, they
band together, train in the use of swords, form support groups to cope
with blood addiction, and develop a website designed to promote the
vampires in our society. Unfortunately for them, however, everyone thinks
the website is just another internet series and is never taken seriously.
I began writing a pilot for the show in early 2000. The original intent
was to release the show on cable access, but the internet proved to be a
much more exciting medium - instant distribution of a show on an
international level. I approached several internet content providers for
financing, but the response wasn't encoraging. Most wanted see a
"proof of concept," which meant shooting the show and putting it
online. Of course, if I went through all that trouble, what did I need
them for? I began shooting episodes by the end of the year with no budget,
editing the shows on my home PC with Adobe Premiere, and taught myself
enough html to put up my own website (www.thehunted.tv).
Unfortunately, to make all of this happen, I had no time for several
other pursuits which included teaching, which is why I originally came up
with the idea. Several of my students are still part of the project,
however, and have been invaluable to the production.
To date, the site has still not been officially marketed or released
since my plan is to edit the episodes I've shot (over a dozen so far)
before shooting the actual pilot. This is no different from most TV
series, which typically shoot a few episodes to get the feel of the show
before shooting the pilot. Once the pilot is ready to go online, I'll
begin focusing on marketing and driving as many viewers as I can to the
Many folks ask me if I'm hoping the show will be "picked up."
It would be nice to get a big paycheck for doing what I love to do, but I
don't think the success of the show depends on that. I'm planning to
continue to produce the show with whatever budget I can muster. My only
fear now is the bizarre response I'm expecting from the internet
underworld when I finally release the show to the masses.
If you're interested in the rest of the gory details, check out the
ongoing Hunted saga online at www.thehunted.tv - Behind the Scenes: News.
JL: We understand, from talking to Andrew Helm, that he is writing
several of your episodes? What can you tell us about how the two of you
became associated and what is it like working with him?
RC: This sounds completely unlike me, but I believe I first met Andrew
at a bar in North Hollywood where Mark Ryan was having a get-together. I
had no idea that he was working on Queen of Swords at the time. I just
know that I felt a bit out of place and I think he did too. We got to
talking, and I can't
remember what we talked about, but we seemed to hit it off.
Andrew has been invaluable to the show - not only for helping me
rewrite the pilot episode, but for developing characters, episodes, story
arcs, and the overall concept and bible. I must also give credit here to
Kerry Glover and Gillian Horvath, who helped me develop the idea from the
day I proposed it at lunch after class one day.
JL: What other projects are you involved in at the present time?
RC: Sheesh, you'd think that acting, writing, directing, producing, and
editing your own internet series would be enough, but hey, we all need to
make a living somehow, so my day job still occasionally includes work as a
visual effects artist for feature films and TV.
JL: If you could say anything to your fans (and you can) what would it be?
RC: RC: The Hunted has not yet been officially released, but we
have several episodes online, we are in production, and we're currently
being supported and "kept alive" by the fans. So if you'd like
to help, please buy a t-shirt or any of our official merchandise online
under our "Stuff" page at www.thehunted.tv. All proceeds go
towards vampire awareness, and to insure that future episodes don't suck.