Rob Underhill, an award-winning director and N.C. State alumnus, could have been mistaken for a giddy child Wednesday night. He flitted from person to person, shaking hands and greeting them all as old friends; a huge grin plastered on his face all the while.
This wasn’t without good reason, though. The event, which the College of Living Arts hosted, was the screening for the series Underhill worked on, along with cinematographer Aravind Ragupathi and father-son writing team Al Julian and Paul Julian, entitled Fever Dreams.
Both episodes filmed so far, “The Agent” and “The Cameraman,” played and preceded a question-and-answer session with the cast and crew at the screening. In all respects, both on screen and off, one thing was evident of the team members: They had a huge amount of respect for one another and worked very well together.
“We shot ‘The Cameraman’ in two days of 10 to 12 hours each,” Ragupathi said. “We get things done, and then spend a lot of time in post-production, where we pay attention to all the details.”
Because the cast and crew had full-time jobs that were unrelated to the project, the filming itself was done at a rapid pace.
“This crew is incredible,” Ragupathi said. “We have a realtor, a school bus driver, a curator of a museum, we have a scientist. They’re all like super-men and -women because they pursue something very serious to keep a daytime job, but then still have this passion for the art.”
As if all of that was not impressive enough, most of the talent that makes up the cast and crew are residents living in and around Raleigh.
A remarkable crew is not the only thing that makes this show stand out. In terms of theme and storytelling style, Fever Dreams promises to be unlike anything that has been on television in recent history.
“Fever Dreams is Twilight Zone meets Tales From The Crypt,” Underhill said. “Besides being a huge fan of both of these series’, there is a noticeable lack of either type of show in our large, diverse and growing television markets today. This is a void I’ve felt driven to fill.”
Underhill said he aims to hone in on the thriller and suspense elements, while not indulging in the blood and guts shock-device of a lot of other popular television shows that can exploit R-rated material.
Due to this unconventional and drama-driven storytelling, the producers said they believe the series is highly marketable. Toward the end of the question-and-answer session, they expressed interest in a number of possibilities for the series.
First, they want to have the series bought by a major network or other outlet, such as Netflix. Underhill describes his plan of taking “The Cameraman” out on the film festival circuit in hopes of introducing it to interested outlets. He said he was particularly excited about showing it at the Cannes Film Festival, taking place in France in May.
Production of the series will continue through this process, though. A third episode, entitled “The Producer” is currently being written.
According to Al Julian, the writer and executive producer of this series, plans for a feature length have been discussed as well.
“We also want to spin this all into one feature film by wrapping three or four episodes together,” Julian said.
This third episode will require an all new cast, though. Like Twilight Zone, Fever Dreams features a new setting and set of characters for each episode. This means that new actors must constantly be auditioned.
“Each time we have video auditions,” Underhill said. “So we look through hundreds of submissions, select our finalists, then we’ll do a Skype call-back, and narrow it further. If we really love them, we’ll have them come in for more, or we’ll offer them the roll at that point.” Whether you are a fan of dark, suspenseful storytelling, an aspiring actor or both, Fever Dreams is certainly a series to keep your eye on as it finds its place in television.