Erin Good is bringing the web to life with Jade of Death
Jade of Death is dark, funny and sexy as hell. Awarded Best Drama Series, Best Directing and Best Ensemble Cast at the International Academy of Web Television.
Before its screening at Queer Screen: Mardi Gras Film Festival we spoke with its writer and director, Erin Good.
How did the web series come about?
I was in distribution for a short film, which is a weird time for directors who go from so busy on production and in post, to then waiting for festivals to get back to you. It was my fifth short film so I knew what I was in for.
I just wanted to keep working, but I was also completely done with short films, so I started to think about what longer form projects I could actually get off the ground quickly. I knew I wanted to do something genre, and I wanted the narrative structure and characters journeys to lean towards television. I knew I wanted to make something for an audience, not necessarily for a film festival, so I took a TV series idea that I’d had for a while and turned it into Jade of Death.
Can you tell us about the themes you explored in Jade of Death?
There’s a few themes explored through Jade’s character including feeling like a freak and like you don’t fit in; and being scared of yourself and what you’re capable of and not capable of. But overall, I’m using the supernatural genre to explore the violence that men perpetrate – it’s hard to talk to this theme more without giving too much away, but Jade is a victim of male violence and she has a long way to go to recognise the trauma she’s suffered and to find her power, and that’s the core of the series.
And what else did you want to achieve with this series?
I want to be creating, writing and directing television and I needed a way to prove that I’m good at working in that format, so I basically created Jade of Death as a mini television series to show what I can do.
You teamed back up with producer Taylor Litton-Strain, who you have been working with since meeting at the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) back in 2009. How has your partnership developed over the years?
We’re both really ambitious, which means we’re always progressing, working hard and moving forward in our career whether we’re working together or not. And I think that’s the hallmark of a long-term collaboration.
Can you tell us about production of the series? How did you approach a production of this scale on a small budget?
I was continuously rewriting in between shoot blocks. Some rewrites were a collaboration process with new cast and some were based on feasibility - specifically locations. As we went into each new shoot block and found the best locations we could get – I would rewrite scenes to suit those locations. It never felt like a compromise, it was more a way to take full advantage of what we could find.
How did you approach post-production of the series?
Our post process was pretty standard with the exception of music. There’s a lot of music in Jade of Death, not just score but also diegetic music – all of which is original and written for the series. We had four key creatives in the music team, two of which came on board before we even started shooting. I had a lot of ideas for music in the development process and so I brought on board two musicians I know, Chris Hogben and Yoshi Hausler, and we shared references and ideas. They even wrote some music sketches that I then used for inspiration for the shoot. Music influenced everything in Jade of Death. Nicholas (who plays Wilkins) and I used Richard Hawley’s song, There’s a Storm Comin, as inspiration for the character of Wilkins. I think without that song Wilkins could have been a very different character.
Where can we see Jade of Death?
Our upcoming premiere is at the Sydney Mardi Gras Film Festival on Friday 23 February. After the screening there will be a Q&A with myself, Taylor, Bernie and Jordan (who play Jade and Maya, respectively). And after that there’s a special showcase party for the series.
You are now in development for a second season of Jade of Death. Can you tell us how that has come about and what are your plans for the next season?
In Season 2 the story world is opening up into the underbelly of the city. Jade is introduced to ‘her people’ and is led down a dangerous path as she indulges in her powers. Thematically the season explores how women recognise and use their power in a world that’s trying to snatch it away. I’m also co-writing season 2 with writer Huna Amweero which is such a fun process. Huna and I have worked together on other projects and she has a great creative voice that really suits Jade of Death.
See Jade of Death this Friday 23 February | 7:00 PM |Event Cinemas George St: http://bit.ly/2EVDQZJ
Images: 1. Producer Taylor Litton-Strain (left) & director, writer Erin Good (right)
2. Scene from Jade of Death