‘Beetlejuice’ Producer Larry Wilson on Moving from the Big Screen to Web Series

/ Oct 13, 2014

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Larry Wilson, who co-wrote “The Addams Family” and “Beetlejuice” (along with co-producing the latter) has decided to take his talents to the web with a new series, “Cindy.” Like the feature films, it draws upon family values in ways you wouldn’t necessarily accept (though you might expect the dark humor and twisted relationships as seen in said films).

We caught up with Wilson to figure out why he’s going digital. There are certainly unique challenges to creating content for the internet as opposed to going the the traditional, Hollywood route, which he’s been traveling for some time. However, there are definitely plenty of upsides to creating for the web, as well, which Wilson explained in answers to our questions.

Why did you decide to look to the internet for your latest project?

I had the idea for “Cindy” a couple of years ago. I took it to Nickelodeon and pitched it. They said “they loved it but…” I can’t tell you how often you hear “I love it but…” in Hollywood. Then I realized I had this great daughter who is also a great actress (Autry Haydon-Wilson, star of “Cindy”). I had become fascinated with this DIY web series movement and it was time to put my money (or no money!) where my mouth was and create something for the internet.

What about this particular storyline adapted it to the internet?

“Cindy” is, in some ways,  a soap opera, and it’s definitely got elements of a reality show. So it is a continuing story.  We’re already thinking about a season two, but first we’ve got to finish season one.

What are some of the biggest freedoms you noticed writing/producing for the web as opposed to feature films/TV series? How about the limitations?

It’s such a cliché, but the biggest freedom was the absence of “suits” — executives who think they know what’s best for your movie/show but often don’t. Everyone involved in the creative process of “Cindy” was directly involved in making it. How about the limitations?  Money, budget. Hence, our Kickstarter!

So you’re remedying the whole budget issue with crowdfunding. How did you choose to use it in funding “Cindy,” and how has your experience been with Kickstarter so far?

We chose it because the price of creative freedom is controlling the purse strings. As for Kickstarter, talk to me in 18 days! But seriously, it’s been amazing reaching out everywhere and having people reach back. 

How big is the cast and crew involved in “Cindy”? Were there any challenges getting people to work on a web series as opposed to a project meant for TV or theaters—especially considering that you’re still actively working to crowdfund the series?

The cast — eight.  The crew — about 20, some at different times in the process. The challenge is that you’re asking people to work really hard, as hard as they’d work on a film with a budget of zillions. And you’re asking them to do it for very little money. I have been writing, directing, and producing in Hollywood for over 30 years — and my personal philosophy when it comes to your cast and crew is: “Don’t be a jerk.” And if you’re paying what you can pay people on a web series; REALLY “Don’t be a jerk!”

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  • Chuck X.

    So you’ve been a successful producer in Hollywood for 30 years and can’t afford to self fund your own web series? Why didn’t you ask him about that. This guy’s car probably cost more than the cost of the entire web series production budget. Does he use kickstarter for that too?

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