New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media


This article is from our magazine. To view it in its original format, click here

Herrings: A Web Series

By Gary Wien

originally published: 10/23/2017

Herrings: A Web Series

What happens when a filmmaker has too much material for a feature film? That’s the situation Jersey native Keith Chamberlain found himself in with the project Herrings. His solution was to turn it into a serial web series.  He shot six episodes for the first season and has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help shoot season two.

Herrings is an episodic thriller that explores methods of manipulation and the limits of morality. It follows the exploits of Frank Briggs, a former skip tracer, who now acts as a skip maker. According to www.bountyhunteredu.org, skip tracing is an industry term used to describe the process of locating a fugitive that can’t be found at their place of residence or usual hangouts. “Skip” refers to the person being searched for (derived from the term “to skip town”) and “tracing” meaning the act of locating the skip. Skip making serves opposite purpose.  It seeks to help people become invisible.

Along with his colleagues, Milo Gephardt and Darby Shaffer, Frank provides people who are feeling threatened or overwhelmed, peace of mind by disguising their internet identity whether it be from a vengeful ex-lover, an abusive partner, eyewitness intimidation or unscrupulous family members looking for their share of a financial windfall. Frank’s methods allow his clients to basically disappear in plain sight. However, as Frank soon learns, there are some people who should not be allowed to disappear.

Herrings: A Web Series

Herrings was originally meant to be a feature, but I had too much material for a feature and felt it would be better suited as a episodic serial,” explained Chamberlain.  “I also wanted to challenge myself with a larger cast and story than I had in the past.”

The series stars Dax Richardson, Dave Polgar, and Samantha Simpson and can currently be viewed on stareable.com and YouTube. The quality of the show is very good - especially for something created on a limited budget. One aspect behind the show’s distinctive style is the use of an array of fresh, new, and skilled talent from the tri-state area.  



The article continues after this ad

 


“As a black filmmaker, it was an active choice in our casting to display people of all shapes, races, ages, and skin tones,” said Chamblerlain.  “We wanted to be able to show the diversity amongst people of color like the communities we live and work in everyday.”

Their casting work has been rewarded with screenings at several film festivals, including a pair of awards at the WWA - Web Series & Short Film Competition: Best Actor-Drama Award for Dax Richardson and Best Cast-Drama Award. Next on the list is an official selection at the Baltimore New Media Web Fest taking place in Baltimore, MD, in November.

Hoping to build off of the success of season one, they’ve partnered with Seed & Spark to help raise the production levels, obtain better locations, and hire more recognizable actors from stage and screen.  

“As our audience has grown, so should the quality of the show and Seed & Spark has the highest crowdfunding success rate in the world for moving pictures of all kinds,” said Chamberlain. 

Chamberlain was born in Wildwood, but later moved to Pleasantville, NJ. After college he lived in Philadelphia for a few years before moving to Blackwood where he formed his production company, Aquariarts Pictures, in 2011.  That company has launched several short films including Relationship Status, The House of the Wicked and the award-winning shorts, The Friend of Mine Who is Apparently Not My Friend and The Burning Tree.

He says his interest in film began with movies like The Empire Strikes Back, Halloween, and Do The Right Thing.  He counts David Fincher, Spike Lee, and Paul Thomas Anderson as three of his favorite directors.  

Working on a series means facing challenges such as finding shooting locations and coordinating the schedules of the actors, both which factor into the script for each episode. In season two of Herrings, the audience will be immediately drawn into a world of politics, deceit, and crime.  Chamberlain is currently in discussions to direct a short horror film, but says the series has his undivided attention.

“This show has been my life for the past five years and it’s been an absolute pleasure to see this low budgeted web series amass such a large following,” said Chamberlain.  “The ultimate goal is to bring the show to cable networks like Starz, FX, or online platforms like Amazon, Crackle, or Netflix. As a black writer-director with a black lead actor, I feel a responsibility to tell the stories of people who fall outside of the mainstream. It means a great deal to present the complexity and humanity of characters and communities that do not get as much exposure to an audience as they should.”

The gritty series seeks to provide audiences with a thrill each week.  Chamberlain says that nothing is a given with any of the character. Some will live, some will die.  He strives to install a driving tension throughout each episode.

“Our goal for the first season of the web series was to create a quality story and make it easily accessible for our audience,” he added. “Now one of our primary goals is to become a standard for dramatic narrative storytelling on the web series platform. I have unwavering faith that our second season can do that. The intent of the second season is to have a larger scope, more intimate story-lines and more dynamic, complex characters than the first season. Simply put, we are looking to outdo ourselves. The exciting part in all of this is that we have an established audience that is expecting all of this from us.”

You can help by contributing to the show’s crowdfunding campaign.  The campaign features several perks depending on the donation level ranging from signed screenplays to directing a scene from an episode to even having the showrunner get a tattoo of the contributor’s name.





For more by this author, click here






UCPAC Presents Three Classic 80s Films on 35mm Film
 (RAHWAY, NJ) -- A series of three classic films is being presented on 35mm film at Union County Performing Arts Center’s Main Stage theater. All viewings cost a $5 admission ticket that includes a 30 minute pre-show on the theater’s historic "Biggest Little Wurlitzer" organ and free popcorn along with the film screening. The films include The Breakfast Club (January 25), Pretty Woman (February 15), and The Karate Kid (March 8).
Hopewell Theater Hosts Special Valentine's Screening of "Casablanca" With Supper
(HOPEWELL, NJ) -- Hopewell Theater will host a special “date night” celebration of Valentine’s Day with a screening of the classic romance film Casablanca paired with an optional Moroccan supper on Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14. An undisputed masterpiece and perhaps Hollywood's quintessential statement on love and romance, Casablanca has only improved with age, boasting career-defining performances from Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
A Look At New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, in association with the Rutgers University Program In Cinema Studies, presents the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 which marks the festival's 37th Anniversary.  The Festival will take place between January 25 and March 1, 2019. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Spring 2019 will feature over 35 film screenings. 
NJPAC Presents Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert With The NJSO
(NEWARK, NJ) -- The Harry Potter Film Concert Series returns to New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Live in Concert, on Saturday, June 1, 2019 at 2:00pm and 7:30pm. See the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra perform the magical score live while the entire film plays in high-definition on a 40-foot screen.


REVIEW: "If Beale Street Could Talk"
Outside of cinephile circles, filmmaker Barry Jenkins is perhaps best known for his role in arguably the greatest debacle in the history of the Academy Awards. On February 26th, 2017, La La Land was mistakenly announced as the Best Picture winner, only for it then to be revealed that Jenkins’ Moonlight was the actual winner.
New Jersey Film Festival: Spring 2019 - First 2 Weeks Preview
The New Jersey Film Festival - Spring 2019 takes place between January 25 and March 1, 2019 on the Rutgers University campus in New Brunswick. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, experimental and short subjects, classic revivals, and cutting-edge documentaries, the festival features over 35 film screenings. Here is a preview of the first two weeks of the festival. For the full schedule visit www.njfilmfest.com
REVIEW: "Cold War"
Back in 2006, German cinema scored something of a breakout global hit with Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s The Lives of Others, which followed the travails of a group of disgruntled, pro-western artists in communist era East Germany. At the time I couldn’t help view the protagonists of Von Donnersmarck’s drama as the sort of people who would be just as discontented with their lot if they found themselves living in the capitalist west. The grass is always greener on the other side.
REVIEW: "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald"
For better or worse (worse in this writer’s eyes), the success of the Harry Potter franchise is largely responsible for the current Hollywood landscape of endless sequels, prequels and that awful phrase “universe building.” The Potter films showed Hollywood that it was a far safer financial model to hook audiences into returning for instalments of an ongoing series rather than taking a punt on the unknown quantity of original properties.
REVIEW: "Shoplifters"
Earlier this year, writer/director extraordinaire Hirokazu Kore-eda surprised us with The Third Murder, a legal thriller that made for a stark departure from the sentimental family dramas he’s become known for. With his Palme d’Or winning Shoplifters, Kore-eda is back on familiar ground, but this particular family drama shares much in common with The Third Murder. With his thriller, Kore-eda deconstructed the genre, forcing us to question how willingly we place our trust in a storyteller. Similarly, Shoplifters sees Kore-eda lull his audience into a false sense of security, making us develop a warmth and affection towards people who may not warrant such empathy.






Event calendar
Tuesday, Jan 22, 2019

Sorry, no events listed for today.
Here are some upcoming events.


2019-01-23
Rechnitz Halls DiMattio Gallery, Monmouth University @ 10:00am
West Long Branch

2019-01-23
Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University @ 7:30pm
West Long Branch

2019-01-24
New Jersey Repertory Company @ 8:00pm
Long Branch








 






















For more on our awards, click here








New Jersey Stage © 2019 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 | info@newjerseystage.com

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.