Robert Chapin talks about his new project
By 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
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
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
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 concept.
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 awareness of
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
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
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 site.
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
If you're interested in the rest of the gory details, check out
the ongoing Hunted saga online at www.thehunted.tv - Behind the
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
JL: What other projects are you involved in at the
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. Thanks guys!