ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For the past nine weeks, viewers have watched.
With three episodes left, the New Mexico Web series “Flock” is ready to cap off its 12-episode dramatic run. The series premiered online on March 28 and is produced by Albuquerque-based Black Shepherd Productions.
It follows Paul, played by Dean Strober, who is a Bible school dropout turned con man. He travels the streets along with his manipulative wife, Beverly, played by Alexandra Boylan, selling door-to-door salvation.
But when a harmless con leads to a girl’s suicide, Paul must find a way to pay the impossible debt demanded by her dangerous father. Add in Alice, played by Meggie Maddock, who enters the picture and adds stress to Paul and Beverly’s relationship.
“We had a lot of brainstorming sessions and we wanted to come up with something different,” says Dan Mathis, the director and a writer of the Web series. “As we came up with the idea, the story line began to come together and we felt confident that we had something very strong.”
The series also includes J. Ryan Montenery, Mark Furini, Matt Page, Dennis Foulkrod and Kristen Gandy. “Flock” is written by Mathis, Catherine Doughty, Malik Daniels and Justyn E. James and is edited by Jor-el Morales. Doughty is the producer and Morgan Estill is the director of photography.
Mathis and his crew shot in and around Albuquerque for eight months – usually on weekends – during the past year. He says while most Web series are shot on a singular episode basis, he and his crew shot all 12 episodes at once.
“We went into the project like it were a feature film,” he explains. “Shooting it this way allowed us to save money because we didn’t have to keep renting rooms or going back to locations.”
Mathis says the motel room that was used in the series was filmed for four days of the shoot.
“If we had shot it episode by episode, we would have been in and out of there every weekend just to get a couple shots,” he explains. “Shooting it as a feature film also saved us a lot of time, and we knew that we wanted to do this on a weekly basis.”
While monetarily it made sense, Mathis admits to the process having some pitfalls. There was the pressure of taking nearly 70 minutes of complete footage and dividing it into 12 episodes.
“We didn’t edit any of the episodes until we were completely done,” he says. “We did have to reshoot a little, but since we were shooting it all in sequence, it wasn’t too difficult – but we wanted to keep the story line intact.”
The episodes of “Flock” run anywhere from four minutes to nine minutes, and the next one airs on Wednesday, May 30.
“So far the response has been good,” Mathis says. “It’s different and not what the typical Web series would be. There are cliffhangers and the viewers are going week to week waiting for the episodes. Even with us being weekly, it’s still not fast enough for us to get a new episode out.”
Mathis says he is a strong proponent of the independent film industry and wanted to utilize local talent on the series.
“We all can count on each other and the idea that one of us breaking through can help all of us,” he says. “When it came to casting, we held a typical casting call and the majority of the roles that were filled were last-minute auditions. Many of the actors just blew us away; that’s why they were cast in the series.”
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To catch up on the Web series “Flock,” which was created in Albuquerque, visit www.blip.tv/flock