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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.  



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“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.





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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Live in Concert At NJPAC
(NEWARK, NJ) -- New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) presents Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Live in Concert. Don’t miss the fourth installment of Harry Potter in Concert when NJPAC hosts the full-length film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, projected in high-definition on a giant screen, with Oscar-nominated composer Patrick Doyle’s masterful score performed live by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 2:00pm & 7:30pm. 
Hopewell Theater To Celebrate Halloween With Fright Fest Week of Horror Films
(HOPEWELL, NJ) -- For an entire week, Hopewell Theater will celebrate Halloween with, Fright Fest, a mini fest of classic Halloween horror films from October 25 - 31, 2018. The slate of films are icons of horror cinema, and will be displayed in all their gory glory on the big screen. 
Golden Door International Film Festival To Present A Screening of "The Pretender"
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- One of the most popular sports films in history is Rocky - a film that mirrors the real life experience of professional boxer Chuck Wepner from Bayonne. A new independent film called The Pretender takes viewers inside the life of Mike Kunda, a “Rocky” fanatic since the movie’s release nearly 40 years ago. The film explores Mike’s fascination with the Rocky Balboa character and how it continues to impact his life, and the lives of others, in interesting and unimaginable ways. The film screens as part of the Golden Door International Film Festival on Sunday, September 23rd at 12:00pm at the Landmark Lowe’s Jersey Theatre (54 Journal Square Plaza) in Jersey City, NJ.
"Therapy, Bro" To Screen At Golden Door Film Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Open Iris Entertainment’s Therapy, Bro will be screened at the Golden Door Film Festival on September 22, at 1:00 PM in The Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. The short comedy film stars Wally Marzano-Lesnevich (Almost Paris), Francesco Nuzzi (Star Crossed Lovers), Heather Brittain O’Scanlon (House Broken), and Garry Pastore (HBO’s The Deuce) and was directed by John Hedlund (Three Minutes to Air).
2018 Westfield International Film Festival To Take Place September 20-23
(WESTFIELD, NJ) -- Anybody can go to a movie theater to watch a film, but the Westfield International Film Festival is bringing movies to the mansion with its sixth season at the James Ward Mansion in downtown Westfield from September 20 - 23, 2018!  The festival will span a four day weekend and will include Q&A sessions with actors and filmmakers, networking opportunities, and red carpet parties.


Michael Gallagher’s terrific comedy Funny Story Premiere’s at the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, September 14!
Michael Gallagher’s terrific feature Funny Story Premiere’s at the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, September 14!
The Luring: Fear & Neurosis In Vermont
“As a kid, I was always drawn to the darkness,” said filmmaker Christopher Wells.  “I’d think, ‘Why can’t monsters protect me? If I’m friends with the monsters then I don’t have anything to fear.’”
REVIEW: "Searching"
A few weeks ago the body of a 14-year-old schoolgirl was discovered around the corner from where I’m sitting writing this review. Within hours of the tragic discovery, two 13-year-old boys had been arrested. The police had their work simplified by a series of damning posts across social media which pointed to the guilt of the boys in question. Increasingly, when young people go missing or have their lives taken from them, police investigations are now focused more on trawling through the victim’s internet history in search of clues rather than the pavement pounding of old.
REVIEW: "The Children Act"
Earlier this year saw the release of On Chesil Beach, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centered around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Now we get The Children Act, an adaptation of an Ian McEwan novel centred around a wealthy musician who can’t bring herself to have sex with her husband. Both are scripted by the novelist himself, and both suggest McEwan should stick to the literary world.
New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 Preview
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 runs from September 14 to October 26 on the Rutgers University Campus in New Brunswick, NJ. Showcasing new international films, American independent features, animation, experimental and short subjects, and cutting-edge documentaries, the New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2018 will feature over 30 film screenings.  The Festival runs on select Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings. For the complete schedule visit www.NJFilmFest.com. Here is a look at the screenings for September.






Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


MUSIC

Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm


Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm


Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


DANCE

SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


LITERATURE

Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

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