ParaAbnormal is coming!
Created by Jamie Nash and Eduardo Sanchez, this web series does for ghost hunting what Reno 911 did for Cops.
If Eduardo’s name sounds familiar, he was the co-director of a small film you may have heard of, The Blair Witch Project. So you know this is going to be good.
Jamie is a successful screenwriter and director who most recent project was, Altered, a sci-fi/horror film.
They both live in Maryland (my home state) and shoot the series with local crews and actors. This also goes to prove that you don’t have to live in LA or NYC to still do what you love.
Here’s the run-down: “Losers by day – ghost hunters by night. In each episode, our heroes confront para-abnormalities that no other team would dare — busting ghosts caught on sex tapes, braving motel rooms that kill (and have no cable or turndown service), and seducing succubi.
They are not normal… they are para-abnormal.”
Hey guys. I’m sitting here with Jamie Nash and Ed Sanchez, and they are the creators of the new web series Parabnormal.tv. Can you guys tell me a little bit about it?
Jamie Nash: It’s basically a new web series that, it’s a lot like the Ghosthunter television shows you see on television nowadays except with a comedy spin, so the way I usually describe it is you know Reno 911 meets Ghosthunters. Improvisational, much like Reno 911 and it’s told in little, I’d say, 2-5 minute chunks on the Internet.
I was watching some of the previews, and you’re completely right, it is totally like a mash-up of Ghosthunters and Reno 911. It’s great.
JN: Yeah. I was doing a lot of Ghost or watching of these paranormal shows and I couldn’t help but sit around and you know make fun of them, so you know, it was ripe for parody.
That’s how you came up with the idea?
JN: Yeah, that was pretty much it. I shared the idea with Ed, and he thought I was onto something, and we went on from there.
You guys seem to be pretty successful outside of the web series. Why did you decide to do something like this?
JN: Ed, do you want to take that?
Eduardo Sanchez: I’m sorry I’m doing some baby stuff. My wife is about to have a baby, like tomorrow.
I know, I can’t even believe you agreed to do this interview right now.
ES: No, no it’s cool. I’m just taking some boxes down and trying to find some stuff. But you know what, Jamie and I both live in Maryland.
And you know what, I’m from Frederick [MD], as well.
ES: Oh really? Cool. I grew up in Tacoma Park, and I moved to Frederick about 7 years ago, and my wife and I love it here. And you know, I met Jamie when we collaborated on the first film I did after Blair Witch called Altered. And he happened to be the brilliant writer that lives like 25 minutes away from me, so we’ve doing a bunch of stuff ever since. And we’ve always wanted to do something local. There’s a lot of talent in the DC area. And when he threw this idea at me, I was like that’d be cool, that’d be great. Let’s go out and do it. He mostly put it together. And I think it came out great for you know for what we were doing.
Well, I think it looks great. I’ve watched a lot of these webseries, and they just look like crap. And just from watching the previews that are on your site right now, I think it looks great.
JN: I think that is part of the reason that attracted us to this idea was that you know Ghosthunter shows are generally, they’re night vision. You don’t have to worry about lighting. A lot of natural light. They’re handheld, often, you know, because you’re just following guys around. So we could easily mimic that style in a very fast and easily producible way.
You mentioned improvisation. Was this fully improve-ed or were there scripts written out or how did that work?
ES: Jamie you know wrote the episodes but you know it was mostly like an outline like okay this happens and then this happens. And the first episode you know started out a little rough. Nobody – the characters – it’s just like every series you see like the pilot of a popular series are completely different than what the series looks like even at the end of the first season. But Jamie basically wrote an outline and then we would just follow that outline and then everything else improvisational. And so there is a basic structure to the shows, the beginning, middle and end, but a lot of the stuff… these are just really pretty talented local actors that are just really good at improv. And coming up with stuff they come up with… It was just, Jamie and I both run cameras on the episodes we shot together and it was just sometimes where we’re just have to like put our hand over our mouth because we’re just cracking up and we don’t want to ruin the take.
But it’s kind of it’s a kind of a cool mixture of improv with a little bit of structure. Most of the stuff is just coming off the top of really our heads and their heads, too, because we’re just coming up with why don’t you do this and let’s have you come in here and that really is what the fun part is. You’re creating on the set. It’s the best kind of shooting I’ve ever done.
Now Jamie, since you said it was structured into one, two and three parts for the episode, would you ever have to stop somebody and say, hey can you not say this, we want to save that till the end?
JN: You know, not too often. Mainly because the beats were structured, so they knew like where the box was. And then it was just a matter of them doing whatever they wanted inside of that box for the particular scene.
How did you guys go about casting? When you were writing or when you were thinking up the series did you already have people in mind?
JN: It was kind of funny how that happened because we actually did audition people because we didn’t know hardly any of the actors if any when we auditioned and we took the best of the bunch and then we sort of tailored the characters around them. So, it kind of gave a complete improvisational style because just the very actors we cast, they help to tailor the characters in that way and then as we progressed episode to episode, I think we discovered more and more about their strengths and the direction they were going with the characters and we were able to tailor the story even more to that.
What’s the plan, how many episodes do you guys have planned for this first season?
ES: There are 4 cases, so they go to basically 4 different locations to try to find a ghost. And then there’s about what is it, Jamie? About 6 or 7 episodes per?
JN: Yeah I guess.
ES: 5-7 episodes per case. So there’s somewhere like in the 24-25 episodes basically will be the first season. And then we don’t know what we’re going to do. We really like the group we’re working with. We work really well together. What we’re hoping is we get enough people watching it that it warrants a 2nd season and maybe put a little more money into it this time. Like basically any money. And then just try to expand the stories. Like I say, we’re having just a lot of fun, but it would be could to kind of monetize it in some way because everybody right now is working for free.
How did you guys, you said for one case there’s 6 or 7 episodes. Would you film that whole case in a day?
JN: That’s exactly what we did. We’d film the whole case in a day. This is pretty incredible. We filmed about a 20 minute to 25 minute television show in a day. And we even edited them into you know 20-25 minutes when we did our first cut. So, it shows you how fast we shot it. It’s just, we could box everything into that little 20 minute thing.
ES: It’s the same way, similar to what we did on Blair Witch. When we did, you know, we go so much footage from Blair Witch. And on Parabnormal we’re shooting on two cameras, and we’re averaging probably 6 or 7 hours per case. Something like that. A lot of footage. Same thing with Blair Witch. Blair Witch we had like you know 25-26 hours of footage. And the great thing about it is that it isn’t just multiple takes of stuff. There’s entire sections of scenes that we had to cut out, so another plan of ours is a possible plan is enough interest we might put out a kind of special edition DVD with a bunch of extra footage and maybe director’s commentary. Because there’s just so much footage. There’s just so much funny stuff. We just kind of have to cut out the best stuff. But also sometimes we have to cut stuff out that doesn’t move the story forward. Like Jamie said, it’s fast shooting, but we also get a ton of material.