STARBURST: What is Cops and Monsters?
Fraser Coull: Cops and Monsters is an on-going supernatural web series set in the not-too-distant future when just as Scotland has become independent, vampires, werewolves and zombies come out of hiding and ask to be a part of the human society. After a year of war and riots, the government put advanced security measures in place, split the country and cities into separate zones and put together the Paranormal Investigation Team Scotland (PITS) to police the creatures.
Why a modern monster setting?
Part of it is due to our budget constraints and because the city we're filming in (Glasgow) lends itself to a modern Gothic environment which is perfect for our stories.
How much are you influenced by Buffy? Or Supernatural?
I grew up watching Buffy, Angel and Roswell so it's fair to say there are some influences there with Cops and Monsters. Being Human, which is one of my all-time favourite shows, and Torchwood had just ended and I felt there was a gap there so I wanted to make something of a similar ilk. Being Human teased the idea of a government agency tidying up the stories of the vampires and werewolves in their world so I wanted to extend on that, get to the heart of the team and see what makes them tick.
What are your inspirations from the world of YouTube?
There's a great YouTuber called TomSka who has a collection of brilliant short films that were technically brilliant and really well put together, which inspired me to keep going with an idea of making a web series. There's also Sanctuary that started off as a web series and eventually became a proper TV show. It gives me hope that Cops and Monsters can go beyond YouTube one day.
You have some interesting actors in Cops and Monsters. How did you get them to agree?
With some of our actors, like Colin McCredie from Taggart and River City, I had worked with him before on another project where he agreed to work on it to help us out. When it came to casting him in Cops and Monsters all I had to do was send him the script and he was in. Billy Kirkwood, who plays our main villain, The Cult of Many Faces, had been looking to collaborate with me for a while, the same with Kirsty Strain who plays PITS leader Eve Mitchell. With everyone else it's a case of finding a role suitable for them and contacting their agents, agreeing a fee and a date and hoping it all comes together. Everybody is really enthusiastic about the show and they do their bit to promote it and make sure people know about it, which is great. Of course there are still some big geek-tastic names I want to get involved such as David Tennant, John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Felicia Day.
Episode 3, which introduces our new PITS member Maya Hedges and her hacker ex-boyfriend Martin Carmichael, is about to go live in day now. We've got the scripts for episodes 4, 5, 6 and 7 based on a story devised by myself, Iain Smith and Amanda Kane, which we want to put together but we need to raise some more funds before we can do that. I want to pay all of the cast and crew SOMETHING for their time, skills and energy so that's why we crowd-fund the show. That way we can pay the team, get the equipment, pay for special effects makeup, costumes, props, visual effects, sound design and music. Our plan is to raise £880 for episode 4 from January to February and shoot it early March.
We'll also be approaching conventions such as MCM Comic Con, Wales Comic Con, etc., to see if we can come along to their event, screen some episodes and do a panel to help promote awareness. It's a geeky show made by geeky people for the geeky audience so it's really important that we connect with the audience and make them a part of it.
Either that or someone comes along with a big pot of money and says "Hey, I love what you do, go make your last 4 episodes!"
How can we help?
Just by spreading the word, letting everybody know that our show is there, get the hits on YouTube up, get more twitter followers, Facebook likes and connecting with more people. The more awareness we have the more likely it is we'll get to finish Series 1 and hopefully we can go on beyond that.