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‘Stockholm’ Syndrome Gets Its Web Series

Aymar Jean Christian October 5, 2012 Spotlight 1 Comment
‘Stockholm’ Syndrome Gets Its Web Series

If you want to shoot a web series you have to be creative about keeping costs low. A number of shows — e.g. Tiny Apartment — solve that dilemma by setting the action in a confined, small space.

Scott Brown carried that tradition to its natural ends: a romantic comedy about a serial killer who tries to woo his abductee. Thus, Stockholm was born, and is currently airing episodes on Blip.

“If there is an over-arching theme to what I’m trying to do as a storyteller I would describe it as attempting to find real moments in absurd worlds,” Brown said.

Stockhom is, indeed, pure absurdism. In a recent episode our killer (Zack Gold) asks his captive (Brittani Noel) on a date. She asks about her options.

“Saying yes or a painful death,” he replies.

She takes the date.

Nonetheless, Stockholm is inventive, the most recent offering from the insanely productive Brown, whose projects have nabbed audiences, awards and big development deals. Brown is currently directly veteran anchor Larry King in his Hulu series Larry King Now.

I spoke with Brown about how Stockholm came about, how Larry King is acclimating to the web and whatever happened to Asylum‘s BET pick-up.

Aymar Jean Christian: How did the Stockholm project materialize?

Scott Brown: Brittani Noel, who plays Jessie in the series, had worked with me on Blue Movies. She approached me about helping her create a scene for her acting reel, and I ended up getting excited about a premise that turned into Stockholm and before I knew it I had a 30-page script. We shot the whole thing with just me, two actors, three lights, and a lot of hard work.

AJC: What were your inspirations?

SB: I wrote a monologue for a class at USC years ago that had a character vaguely similar to the serial killer/lover in Stockholm. The idea of this guy who could not deterred from love, even though he couldn’t be considered a suitable mate to anyone. Years later I was thinking about a character for Brittani, and I’m always interested in characters who have difficulty allowing love into their lives. Love is such a natural and healthy thing yet it’s one of the things we screw up most often. That’s really interesting to me. As I was thinking of characters to put up against this girl with closed doors the idea of someone who could potentially use violence, but instead uses love to open her up, really started to feel compelling.

AJC: The show is at once intimate and edgy. Were you hoping to get both rom-com and horror fans?

SB: Here’s the way I look at storytelling in any medium. You just have to tell an honest story that you’re excited about and tell it the best you can. The inherent risk of the job is that you might not resonate with people. It’s a bittersweet truth. I don’t write something to reach a specific audience. I don’t target. Rather, I make something that excites me, I put it out there, and I see what audience it finds. In a way, I feel that finding an audience is the story’s job, and I just try to facilitate that.

But I’m glad you saw that juxtaposition. If there is an over-arching theme to what I’m trying to do as a storyteller I would describe it as attempting to find real moments in absurd worlds. Stockholm is, then, an exercise in that. I wanted to take an absurd premise, a serial killer trying to convince a woman to love him, but be able to bring it back to something that is emotionally grounded: Love. Trying to go to both edges of that spectrum yet never lose consistent tone has been an experiment that has been very fun.

AJC: How is it working with Larry King in an newer medium than he’s used to?

SB: I am fortunate to work closely with Larry on an almost daily basis. As I write this I just wrapped coverage of the first presidential debate with him live on YouTube. He is awesome. He’s professional, he trusts his people, and he is an intensely principled journalist. I have a lot of respect for the guy.

As far as a new medium he trusts his people, and he goes into it every day with all his energy. He started in radio, and he was one of the early pioneers of TV news. Taking the next leap forward in terms of the shifting landscape of new media was surprisingly natural to him, and he says all the time how much fun he’s having and how liberating New Media is.

AJC: Any news on Asylum on BET?

SB: I’ll be honest, BET elected to allow the option on the show to expire and we won’t be producing more episodes of the show with them. It certainly wasn’t the news we were hoping for, but they were great partners throughout the experience and we wish them success in the future.

AJC: Do you have any interesting projects in the pipeline?

SB: I have a couple web series in the works, probably the one I’m most excited about is a feature length musical comedy broken up into 12 chapters for the web. It’s the story of a slacker genius who, when his brother is diagnosed with cancer, must finally use his smarts to give his brother his dying wish: be blasted into space on a home-made rocket. It’s called Space Race: The Musical! and I’m doing my best to find someone willing to take a chance on a really different idea.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

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