Charlotte Kinzie, Vancouver, BC
I remember when I first heard about “Divine: The Series”. I was intrigued. There were some talented Canadian actors involved; there was a well-known American actor who plays an angel on some cult TV show.
What’s not to be intrigued about?
I got really interested when I read that many of crew from that cult TV show (okay, okay, it’s “Supernatural”) would be working on “Divine: The Series”. One of the most underrated aspects of “Supernatural” is the way it looks. There are some very talented people behind the spooky creatures and quirky interiors on “Supernatural”. As a viewer it’s easy to enjoy the program and forget about all the creativity and imagination that goes into each moment on-screen.
The premiere of “Divine: The Series” was August 28th. I was in attendance at the screening during the Salute to Supernatural Convention in Vancouver. The first episode was well-received. People wanted more of everything: the actors, the gore, the twinge of fear and the unknown.
Ivan Hayden, visual effects supervisor, on “Supernatural” is one of the people behind Maple blood productions. It’s a group of filmmakers: directors, producers, actors, technicians – you name it. Their goal is to produce visual entertainment for what they call “the smart phone generation”.
We anxiously await the second webisode which will hit the internet on Sunday, September 4th, 2011. To soothe our tattered souls, Ivan took some time out of his week to answer some questions we had.
AM: The series reminds me of “Apparitions” on BBC in that some members of the Church seem to be “in” on Divine’s secret. Why does that make it more frightening? Was ‘frightening’ the
IVAN: The debate of freewill vs. determinism revolves around the existence of EVIL… if God is “all powerful, all knowing, and all good” how come there is Evil in the world. So we’re trying to show that there is Evil in the world. It is gory and scary. What’s scarier than a trusted organization keeping things from us? I hope it chills in just the right ways, to stimulate consideration of life, love, the universe, and your place in it.
AM: There are some great actors lined up, but when watching I was struck by the way that lighting, special effects and music had all moved to forefront to become a type of supporting cast. Conscious decision?
IVAN: Definitely. Sound is like 80% of what you are seeing… weird but true, the music creates as much mood as the story and filming does. The lighting, effects, and gore are all part of it.
AM: This project was a true labor of love – what can you accomplish with a web-based series that is different from regular broadcast shows?
IVAN: We feel that internet is the future of entertainment and it offers the next evolution in storytelling. Divine isn’t a linear A-Z story. It’s non-linear story telling. A person may hear about Divine after we’ve completed airing all 6 webisodes, and start watching the last one first, or get tired of waiting for 56K modem upload and click on Ep.3. So if you create a tale that starts at A and ends at Z they might not get it and not watch more.
The other big thing is what we can show. When on the web, what is too gross? too gory? too naked? when terrorists are posting beheadings, and porn is only a click away, what is too much for art? What aren’t the kids seeing. We push the boundaries but only for the story and actually, both on the day of filming and in post, we found ourselves pulling back from our original plans because when we actually get there… it’s just too much… who knew I’d ever be that guy but… I guess I blame my parents and religious upbringing. 😉
AM: The second episode airs Sunday – how quickly will be learn about Divine? What kind of “being” is he? What can you spill?
IVAN: Every episode provides answers to some questions about the rules of the world. Regretfully, with only 6 episodes in the pilot program if I tell you anything I spoil it. sorry.
AM: Having only seen the first episode I’m already convinced there is going to be a lot of ambiguity in the characters. Faith versus lack of belief, good versus evil. This series isn’t going to be as simple as black and white is it?
IVAN: The series is designed not to take sides and not spoon feed the viewer. We aren’t telling you what to think but trying to get you to think about your beliefs and to discuss them peacefully and thoughtfully. Philosophy is a discussion and evolution of thinking not an education.
AM: Because you were working on a limited budget – did you feel at all like the creative vision was limited? It doesn’t seem like it – how do you get that many talented people to commit to a project like “Divine”?
IVAN: The vision was limited only if we allowed it to be. When budget prevented from original plans, we adapted with it and embraced the changes whole heartedly. I think this commitment drove the story deeper and darker for us.
One thing about Divine the series is that it really took on a life of its own. The budget changes made it a better project, as though not letting us screw it up.
AM: A real effort has been made to include your viewers in the creative process of “Divine”. Twitter, blogs, behind-the-scenes videos and facebook. You’re tapping into a resource there. Do you have a message for your “Divinites”?
IVAN: We definitely took a risk, getting the Divinites involved before they’d seen the
show. If they didn’t like it they would have lynched us. But part of our business pitch is that we know what they want and BTS is as much a part of our pilot program as the show itself. The only message we have is be respectful of other people’s beliefs when discussing and, of course, CONVERT THE WORLD!
AM: We watch it, we love it, what can we do to make sure that we get more “Divine”?
IVAN: Make it viral… tell everyone everywhere all the time about Divine the series. It all comes down to hits, sit activity, likers on facebook, followers on twitter, and activity. Divine is created to be interacted with so get on and take part.
AM: You’ve completed the first episodes. What’s next?
IVAN: sell, sell, sell.
AM:A couple of questions from fans online – When does Mohave appear? And do you
really speak to your phone?
IVAN: Can’t tell you about Mohave until you see the shows but depending on when you post your article the answer may be in the question. BUT… sorry… 6 episodes means anything I say is a HUGE spoiler and all the hidden messages are important.
I’m taking a page out of Misha’s book, not telling… and… as far as phone goes… maybe… 😉
Divinites? You already know what to do. “CONVERT THE WORLD”!
If you’ve been following the official “Divine: The Series” blog you’ve probably mentioned the show so often that your friends might be avoiding you.
If you’re new – please check out the first webisode.
Here is some information for you to help you pass on the “Divine”: