Interview: Image Killer Creators Talk Serial Killer Web Series

Interview: Image Killer Creators Talk Serial Killer Web Series

March 27, 2018 0 By Jeff Fountain

Recently, I had a chance to talk with James Young, Nik Benn, and Michael Davidson about their new serial killer web series called Image Killer.

Why don’t we start with everyone introducing themselves and the part they play in the creation of Image Killer?

James: Sure, sounds good. My name is James Young, I’m one of the co-creators, co-writers, and co-directors of the show.
Nik: I’m Nik Benn and I share the exact same duties as James.
Michael: I’m Michael Davidson, I’m a co-writer and social media strategist, but we’ll get to that later.

Ok, so who wants to explain what Image Killer is all about?

Michael: Yeah, I’ll take that. So Image Killer is a gallowed humor series about a social media serial killer. She posts clues about who she is going to kill next and then posts the results online for all to see.

Where did this idea come from?

James: I can take that one. So back in the day when Nik and I started Spiderclown in 2011, I had been kicking this idea around in my head for a while about a serial killer, just in general, then I got talking to Nik last year about the idea and we realized that we wanted to do something interesting with a serial killer that would be fun and new. We agreed on the social media serial killer angle, originally it was Instagram Killer but we thought well, we probably can’t use that. When Michael came onto the project he was like guys, why don’t we make it a web series, it seems like it’s perfect for that because there’s so much more content you can actually show when you do a series.

Nik: That’s when it switched over to being more of a series of short films, so the whole premise with it now is we’re looking at the hours leading up to a victims death, to follow kind of a new character in each one but it’s introduced with that kind of style of narration that comes, in the beginning, bookends it.

Is this more a comment on the serial killer idea getting a little stale or our fascination with social media, or is it a bit of both?

James: A bit both, yeah. I mean, for me specifically, I found that social media is incredibly fascinating, especially now with the whole thing going on with Facebook, the scandal with the data harvesting. You know, we put so much out there I’m surprised there hasn’t been someday who has done this for real. Everyone knows when we are on vacation, we post pictures and on Instagram and Twitter, so it’s pretty easy to follow someone’s life very closely.

Horror fans are incredibly loyal but they’re also a pretty smart bunch. What do you think is going to both grab their interest and keep them interested in Image Killer?

Michael: I’ll take this one as I’m sort of the social media perspective on how exactly we’re planning to engage our fans. We sort of have three streams that we’re pitching right now, two of them were going to do for sure. So the first stream is the web series itself, which will be the core content and live action. In that one, it’s essentially an investigative podcaster who is trying to piece together who he thinks the Image Killer is and so through that we’re going to meet a lot of different people that could potentially be the killer. We love to develop different streams where theoretically people could make a case for each one of them. The other way is the official Image Killer Instagram page, being run in character by the serial killer so the photos we have up there are kind of like Instagram horror scenes. The third one is we’re also recording the podcast that the investigator is producing himself, which is also run in character and will paint a fuller picture of what the world is as well.

James: Part of what we’re doing as well is we’ve already started engaging fans directly with our content. We already have some fans which is pretty cool do early in the game for us and one of our first fans is a guy named Ben Hindmarsh. He was really into the idea on our YouTube channel, he kept posting on everything we’ve posted so far and so we wrote a letter to him, through IK, on our Instagram. Thankfully some of this content is really quick to make and has a really fast turnaround, so we’re going to be able to engage with our fans and their theories and play with those, even within our narrative content.

Nik: Also, the fact that we’re doing gallows humor as opposed to super serious content is, one of the bigger things about this is we really wanted to have fun with it. There are loads of really serious projects but a lot of the old horror movies out there that people can relate to, Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, all that old stuff is violent but still has a great sense of humor to it.

Can you tell me a bit about the creative process behind Image Killer? Do you all have defined roles or did you work together and take group ideas and morph them into the story?

James: So how we approach all of our projects is in a very collaborative way. One of us will often bring an idea to the table and then the three of us will discuss it and then continue to develop it. With Image Killer, I dropped the idea on the table and then both Michael and Nik have come on and we started to shape it from there. We will often slip into roles at certain times, depending on what’s needed so right now, Michael is our main social media strategist and co-writer and Nik and I are the ones sort of steering the performances and doing the podcast recording. We have four podcasts that are going to be going up this month and each one of us has been the main writer on each of those and then the other two have come on to do revisions and sort of workshop each one.

Can we expect a lot of blood and gore or is Image Killer going to be more psychological?

James: I think it’s going to depend on the episode.

Nik: It’s definitely going to be a mixed bag of the two, each episode with definitely have its own distinct flavor to it so yeah, there are probably going to be some episodes with some blood and gore and then depending on what director is attached to it, it might more of something that screws with your head.

Are you planning on having a different director for each episode?

James: Yeah, so we’re planning right now, we don’t have anyone other than ourselves currently attached, but we’re friends with the Black Fawn team as well. We’ve got Christopher Grioux, who has been gracious enough to want and executive produce the show with us, so what we’re planning on doing is hopefully bringing on other horror directors to sort of put their stamp on an episode, so if we had twelve episodes six of those would be by guest directors.

Now indie filmmaking is always a struggle, no matter what you’re doing. How hard has it been getting Image Killer off the ground and moving forward?

Michael: It’s actually funny because so far it’s been quite an easy stretch, especially compared to some of our other projects we’ve done. I think because we’ve started with the podcasts themselves, they’re sort of acting as a prologue to the main series so right now it’s been really quick, really fun and easy to do the turnaround because internally we have the means of doing the recording, the visual representation with the YouTube channel. In terms of the live action portion, that’s always going to be the tougher side of things so that’s what we’re pitching right now, through a program called The Independent Production Fund, which funds web series. So right now, in the month of March, it’s about doing as much promotion as we can, try and get the word out there and we can demonstrate that there’s enough interest and a following we’ll look at doing a live action series.

Do you have any sort of timeline in place, in terms of when we can see Image Killer released?

Michael: If all goes well, early 2019. The podcast is already being released so our podcast content, it will continue for the foreseeable future, from this point forward, basically.

James: Yeah, Michael is getting like a runway ready to feed us into live action, whether we end up doing a short film if we get the funding we can do a live action short series so it’s definitely something that we’re starting now and hopefully can only grow.

I want to thank James, Nik, and Michael for taking the time to talk with us