Talking to the characters in The Last Man(s) on Earth was great, but I wanted to learn about what goes on behind the camera. Thankfully, Brady Bloom and Charan Prabhakar, the actors behind Wynn and Kaduche, were gracious enough to take a few more minutes and talk about what goes into producing The Last Man(s) on Earth.
Unfortunately, the audio for this part of the interview didn’t come out well, so it won’t be available. Don’t worry, this time around it’s much shorter and well worth the read.
Dave: One thing that I noticed and really like about your series is that it has a very cinematic feel that I don’t really see on YouTube very often. Is that something you guys cultivated from the start, or did that just build once you started developing it?
Brady: We didn’t release the first one or two episodes that we made because we were still finding ourselves. So it wasn’t as epic as it really should have been; it wasn’t as cinematic. We were still developing the characters and everything. We are going to release those so people can see them. As we’ve gone forward, we’ve learned a ton about making films.
Charan: Our cinematographer, Eric Dove, loves shooting things with a lot of style. When we came up with the series we wanted everyone involved to be able to use their skills. We wanted Aaron [Hultgren] our writer to showcase his writing ability, we wanted Eric to showcase his ability to shoot kind of like Michael Bay. We just got a Canon 70 and would just go out and do stuff. And to contrast the reality/epic mode we made sure Eric used that [Michael Bay] style. So that first episode we shot [laughs], we were really kind of embarrassed about it. Especialyl because Brady’s married, and his wife was going to be disappointed. I have no wife to go home to.
Brady: I was topless for most of it [laughs].
Dave: I was actually going to ask whether you guys were married, and what your wives or girlfriends thought about all this.
Charan: Well I don’t think I will get married after this.
Brady: I’m lucky I got married before it came out, is the thing. My wife loves it though. She loves the series; she loves what we’re doing. The only thing is the amount of time it takes filming and editing, because I help do the editing as well. She’s like, “Sometimes you have to spend a little bit more time on your real job and actually make some money” [laughs].
Dave: So what goes into making an episode? Just ballpark, how much time and effort going into producing one of these?
Brady: Pretty much all the webisodes were filmed in one day.
Charan: For the zombies episode we had to do a little bit more.
Brady: The zombies episode was a little bit longer episode, so we had to take an extra day to shoot that. So one day of shooting, and then it takes – with the time that we have because we have normal lives and normal jobs – it takes a week or two to get the editing done. Special effects, thank god for Kevin from Video CoPilot and Freddy W. and all these guys, because I had never made an explosion before we started filing this series. Or gunshots, muzzles flashes, and all these other things. So I’m thankful to those guys for putting that knowledge out there and helping us to pull this off.
Charan: It’s funny; we get the script and then all the preparation, the props and stuff, come the day of the shoot. Aaron emails us and we decide the day of the shoot which episode we’re going to do.
Brady: It’s extremely professional [both laugh].
Charan: So there’s just three of us: me, Brady, and Eric, who shoot it. We look at the script and ask “Do we have this? Do we have that?” We usually have to go to our local grocery store and pick up some stuff. Usually we spend and hour or two figuring out how we’re going to do things, and then we just go for it.
Brady: “Signception” I came up with in the shower the morning of the shoot, because we didn’t have a script that week and we still wanted to film something. I was in the shower and I came up with the idea, and then we just brainstormed and built from it.
Charan: Brady gets a lot of ideas in the shower.
Dave: One thing you guys do in the series that I think is really clever is there is sort of two different worlds your characters are in: there’s the real world, and then there’s the vivid world of your imaginations where your characters are much more badass and can do all sorts of crazy stuff. Where did that idea come from?
Brady: Eric the cinematographer, he lives in a place called Hemmit, which is in the middle of nowhere in California. Desert all over the place. He saw a dust twister one day and decided that he wanted to make a web series about two guys that chase dust twisters, and every episode would be that they didn’t find a dust twister because they’re just completely unreliable. It was just these two lame guys.
Charan: But the thing was Twister had already been made so it was a little derivitive.
Brady: Joe [England – Producer/Writer of the show] came up with the 2012 and end of the world idea. We mashed that together with the lameness of the two guys chasing dust twisters and with how huge the end of the world would be. And that kind of brought together that these guys are really lame guys, but they think they’re really cool. So in that belief, they go into this “epic mode” where they are in camouflage and they have guns and explosives and all these sorts of things going on.
Charan: And the thing is in the web series we’ve explored epic mode a lot more than reality mode. So when we cut back from epic mode we’re sitting in the living room in a fake car, pretending they’re driving or whatever. Each episode is a standalone story, but in the movie there’s a full-on plot. There’s an actual, huge storyline. So a lot of things do take place in real mode, and a lot in epic mode. So we go back and forth. There are more characters in the movie than just us; in the web series we make mention to a couple people. We make mention to a girl named Violet that I’m kind of in love with. We make mention to my nemesis Marcus, and also the Oracle. All of those characters are in the movie.
Dave: You mentioned that 2012 was sort of instrumental in creating the series. Are you worried that it’s going to put a sort of expiration date on The Last Man(s) on Earth? What happens January 1st, 2013?
Brady: We’re screwed. Honestly, if we do start making money from this thing at any point it’s going to stop then [laughs]. But the nice thing is – I don’t know if you followed The Rapture – the expiration dates can change. Now there’s supposed to be a new Rapture. But we have thought about it, and that’s why we rushed making the movie. We had the idea to make the movie in January, and Aaron wrote a script in February, and we started March.
Charan: We raised on money in February to pay for filming the movie, and we started in March. It was crazy. We finished in May, with some re-shooting.
Brady: We worked 18 to 20 hour days. It was a crazy shoot. The reason we did that is because this year is building up to the 2012 hype, so releasing the film in the fall of this year will really help use the hype next year to help promote it. We’ve started brainstorming ideas of what we could do after the 2012 thing is over. The thing is, people will always believe in the end of the world, and that it’s going to come – I do, I mean, come on. You have the Y2K thing, 2012, you have a lot of different things. Kaduche and Wynn will still believe.
Charan: We do mention the 2012 thing in the movie a little bit, but it’s mostly “the end of the world”. We’re trying to make it generic. Like Brady was saying, it’s always going to happen.
Brady: I’m just glad that the Mayans, and the Hopi, and Nostradamus predicted the end of the year 2012. At least that gives us twelve months.
Charan: Harold Camp predicted October 21st of this year. I hope he’s not right, otherwise we’re screwed [laughs].
Dave: Are Wynn and Kaduche based on anyone in particular? Are they more archetypical characters? Where do they come from?
Brady: That’s a big word, Dave.
Charan: That’s a huge word. First, define that word [laughs]. In the very first episode we just had Kaduche be just a little bit more of the serious type and Wynn was more of a sidekick. The character has definitely evolved, especially in the movie you’ll see that. Kaduche is just so… how do I describe it? He’s so unnecessarily intense [laughs], you know what I mean? And I have definitely met people who are that intense, and it’s just funny to me. It’s like, “Dude, you just gotta lighten up. You’ve gotta relax.” But I feel [Kaduche] feels inside that he’s really inadequate, so he overcompensates in a major way with his intensity and his need to be an alpha male, but he feels miserable. That comedy kind of plays through the whole time with him just trying to be huge, and not. I’d say there are definitely people I’ve met before who are that intense, but I wouldn’t say I based Kaduche on anyone.
Brady: I want to make clear that when [Charan] is saying “intense”, he’s not talking about campers, or gypsies or anything like that. Not, “in tents”.
Charan: Circus fires are in tents.
Brady: Wynn, as far as that goes, kind of started out that Wynn was going to be that archetypal dummy kind of guy. So he wasn’t as smart, and Kaduche is the smarter one. What it developed into, and what I’ve gone for with Wynn is that he’s just very, very innocent. He just believes, and that’s just kind of how he is. Both of the characters are inadequate. Kaduche is kind of a closet inadequate. With Wynn, he knows he’s inadequate and he’s okay with it.
Charan: He’s a typical Leave it to Beaver character.
Brady: He’s pretty much always happy, even when Kaduche – who’s pretty dominant over Wynn – is putting him in his place, coming from his own inadequacy. Wynn lets him do that, but at the same time, Wynn still does know his stuff, even though he’s innocent and he can come off as as a little ironically dumb.
Charan: In the movie you’ll see a lot more of this. You’ll see a lot more of their backstory.
Brady: A bromance. A big bromance.
Charan: And you’ll also see my relationship with Marcus, my nemesis. We make mention of it [Marcus is the egg thrower], but here you’ll see [Kaduche]’s relationship with Marcus, and how it had deteriorated from what it was. In all honesty, Marcus is so much cooler than Kaduche, so I think a part of his desire to dominate Wynn comes from him realizing he’s not that cool deep down, so he overcompensates majorly. I’ll have to say, Aaron our writer is just hilarious. The first time I read the script for the movie I had to set it down a couple of times because I was laughing so hard. I could see exactly how the characters were and how their relationships worked.
Dave: So what are you guys thinking for movie distribution? Pay for download, DVDs, how are you going to get it out there?
Brady: D. All of the above.
Charan: I think what we’re going to do with the movie, well, we’ve got several options. We’re hitting the film festivals pretty hard. I used to work at Sundance Ski Resort, so I have some connections there and I’m going to see if I can push it into the film festival there. So we have different film festival options; we also have different LA options, which is great. We have some people who are big producers and heads of distribution for studios and whatnot. Maybe even a sort of Paranormal Activity type of thing where they sold it to someone. Steven Speilberg saw it, he loved it, he bought it.
Brady: Just not as scary.
Charan: Not as scary. I’d love to go theatrical. If we could go theatrical I’d do that.
Brady: It’s got an indie feel to it, so it’s going to be interesting to see how it’s received. We’re excited to see that. If it flops, we’ll still love it. I mean, I’ll watch it once a week and we’ll be happy about it. We’ll definitely go the route of a B movie distribution. I’ve done a couple B movies in the past, and it’s not bad. Hoepfully we’d go Netflix or Redbox. It’s nice because there really are a lot of avenues to get a movie out there now.
Dave: What about behind-the-scenes features and things like that. Are you guys going to do anything like that to promote the movie before it comes out?
Charan: We’re doing a lot of different things for promotion. That’s a pretty good idea.
Brady: Why weren’t you here beforehand, Dave [laughs]? We have some footage that we’ll be able to use for small behind-the-scenes features. But because of the limited budget, the limited crew, and the limited time that we had to film the movie, we aren’t able to do that as strongly as we wish we could have.
Charan: There are plenty of outtakes.
Brady: We do have some featurettes that we’ll be releasing over the next couple of months as we ramp up for the film. Those will be distributed on our web channel through YouTube.
Dave: I’m looking forward to that. I love behind-the-scenes stuff, so that’s why I ask.
Charan: There’s definitely a lot of outtakes and thigns like that.
Brady: We will definitely have, on the DVD, a Wynn and Kaduche cut. Like a director’s cut of the movie where we’re talking over the whole thing and explaining everything in character.
Dave: Lawsuits. Do you ever worry that some idiot is going to watch you show and try to duplicate what you’re doing? You know, try to blow up a propane tank or something like that? Is that a concern that’s ever come up?
Brady: All the time [laughs].
Charan: I have never thought of that, because I never thought this is something someone would actually be doing.
Brady: Can you flash a disclaimer right now?
Disclaimer – Don’t do dangerous things like Wynn and Kaduche. You will die.
Dave: I ask that because my wife is an attorney. I saw the show and I came home and said “Honey, you’ve got to watch this. It’s absolutely hilarious.” So we sat down and watched – I think – the whole series, and she kept saying “What happens if someone tries to do this? What happens if someone tries to do that? These guys are going to get sued!”
Brady: [Both laugh] We tried to do all that stuff and we didn’t get hurt, so go ahead public [laughs]. I’m just kidding. We should probably put a disclaimer up. “Wynn and Kaduche aren’t really invulnerable.”
Charan: Where are you located, Dave?
Dave: Right outside of Detroit. So if you ever need post-apocalyptic training you can come here. It’s pretty close to the end of the world now.
Brady: I’m sure it is.
Charan: So what are you doing? A comic?
Dave: I have a little webcomic, a zombie comic, that I shoot using LEGO because I’m a nerd. I have a ton of fun with it.
Charan: That’s great. How did you hear about [Last Man(s) on Earth] to begin with? Did you just stumble upon it?
Dave: I saw a link somewhere. A Reddit or a Digg; one of those sites. I don’t normally watch a lot on YouTube, but something about it said “This is worth watching”. So I checked it out and I wasted two hours at work watching all that stuff.
Brady: Oh man, I just love bringing work forced down, you know? Being able to give people something to do at work when they wouldn’t be doing anything anyway… it’s awesome.
Dave: Yeah, you killed me productivity for the afternoon, I’ll tell you that much.
Charan: That’s what we’re all about, man.
Dave: Do you guys have any other projects you want to talk about, or pimp a little bit?
Charan: Sequels maybe will come in the future, depending on the success of this movie.
Brady: We have been brainstorming a couple of ideas, but we haven’t started even the beginning of production. Just with that same group of the five core guys, we’ve started brainstorming some ideas to do some other projects together. [Even] if it’s not a Last Man(s) on Earth sequel, we will be doing another movie together, and more web stuff. Just under different characters and stuff like that. That might be one of the solutions to the end of the world, 2012 thing.
Dave: Well I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. You’ve got a hell of a team.
Charan: Thanks. We have been very blessed with a good team and it was a lot of fun shooting. We’ll keep at it, for sure.
Brady & Charan: Wynn and Kaduche, out!