Even with the world of television viewing expanding through the creation of new online streaming services, finding directing jobs can be difficult. The search is even harder for women.
Vera Miao – a 42-year-old actress from Guam looking to make the leap into directing – found what looked to be a perfect opportunity in an online post for the new Warner Bros. Digital Networks' Stage 13, which was looking for female directors. All it said was that a major studio was starting a digital enterprise and was interested to talking to women and/or people of color who are working in the genre space.
"So, of course, I responded, and, of course, thought nothing was going come of it," Miao says.
She was wrong. The studio jumped at the idea for her "Two Sentence Horror Story."
Miao's idea to make an anthology horror anthology series where each episode is a standalone story inspired by the viral fan fiction phenomenon on Reddit – where you tell a horror story in two sentences – was greenlit by Stage 13.
An example of a two sentence horror story would be: "There was a picture in my phone of me sleeping. I live alone." The series creator was inspired by the Reddit posts but all of the stories she's doing in her digital series are her original ideas.
"I found the Reddit thread as a fan, and I just love the setup. And so that formed creative inspiration but each story is its own," Miao says. "Sometimes I would have the two sentences in my brain and then I would write the whole world around them. Other times it was the other way. For me, I go with whichever writing process is working for me at the time."
Her "Two Sentence Horror Stories" debuted this month on the new digital content brand that is part of Warner Bros. Digital Networks and Verizon's mobile entertainment destination go90. This is the second series to debut on the new digital platform; "Snatchers" launched earlier this year.
It was natural for Miao's "Two Sentence Horror Stories" to be tales of terror because she has a great love for the horror genre, particularly psychological horror that allows for the exploration of the deepest and most primal fears, such as films like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Shining." Miao's love of horror was blended with her love of the craft of moving pictures. She's also tossed in a look at contemporary social and political issues. All of this is possible because Miao opted to create the series in an anthology format that opens the doors to going in a variety of directions.
"This first season covers a range of issues, using the genre as a way of exploring racism, queerness, cyber bullying, the objectification of woman and the pursuit of beauty. Different things like that," Miao says.
One of the advantages of making the series for the new digital service is that Miao was not confined by the kind of time limitations that come with a network series. Each episode falls in the neighborhood of being 15 minutes long allowing her the freedom to tell the story exactly the way she wants. One thing that was always the same was that Miao never looked at the series as if it would only be available on a new digital platform but shot it as if it was going to open on a movie screen.
What she's created can be seen through the newest addition to the Warner Bros. Digital Networks. The five-episode series will be available on go90.com, part of Verizon's global media portfolio of video content and platforms with a new episode available every Tuesday.
Miao originally pitched 10 scripts for the first season of the anthology series but really only felt strongly about eight of them. When Stage 13 ordered five episodes for the first season, the director/writer knew she had at least three scripts ready for a possible second season.
There's already a hint a second season is probable. Diana Mogollon, SVP and general manager for Stage 13, says: "Vera Miao and the creative team behind 'Two Sentence Horror Stories' produced five chilling and twisted episodes with a cinematic aesthetic that will keep horror fans on their toes and wanting more. The series features stories and characters that reflect the diversity that young audiences crave, which is what Stage 13 and go90 are all about.
"I got to say it's pretty cool that a big media company like Warner Bros. is doubling down and creating a game changing entertainment brand for today's social and digital landscape. Especially one that's rooted in a great storytelling legacy of a studio."
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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