A new web show is in the works that is prepared to change everything one knows about television. Guardian Liberty Voice sat down with Orphan creative director, Ian Hinden, and costume designer, Chris Chiu, to get the exclusive interview on the exciting new series that is breaking boundaries.
Orphan tells the story of Jason Diego, who was orphaned after his father’s untimely death. Jason Diego inherits a document called the escapist manifesto, which is supposed to be an account of genesis written by Eve. Jason must get the document translated; this leads him to the fictional city of Gaikoku, which in the web show is a territory that is claimed by no country. Gaikoku is actually Japanese for foreign country, and the fictional inhabitants of Gaikoku are just that, foreigners in their own land.
Much of the story in Orphan revolves around identity, and anonymity. Creative director, Ian Hinden, has a unique way of looking at identity. Hinden was born in his parents’ home, with the assistance of a midwife, who later revealed that he had been drinking all day. Hinden’s father did not want Hinden to become part of “the system” and contemplated never registering his son’s birth. Hinden’s mother won the battle of registering the birth, and Hinden received his birth certificate. When Hinden was older and was told the story of his birth, the concept of identity became a theme in his life.
“So much of your identity is tied to your family, and your name,” explained Hinden, discussing identity and Orphan. “The first thing you think of when you hear orphan, is you think of someone who doesn’t have parents, who doesn’t have a family. It’s all kind of an allegory for this happening on a larger scale with countries, and with the internet.”
Hinden spoke of concealed identities saying, “The reason that people go anonymous is because they feel they deserve their privacy. There is a demand for the safety behind this mask of anonymity.” He continued, “There is a danger in it. Some use it for good. Some use it for bad.”
The internet plays a major role in Hinden’s plans in a variety of ways. One of those ways is happening now, the internet must be used to promote the show and get funding. Orphan is on Kickstarter trying to obtain funding to make a pilot. The use of the internet will not stop there for Hinden, who plans on using the internet to build a community for Orphan.
Hinden’s plans are based on the evolution of television, and he will use Orphan to break boundaries. Hinden wants to deliver content in a way that is fair to the audience. He acknowledges that “television is not on the station’s schedule anymore. It’s on demand.” Netflix is a prime example of how shows are now being developed differently. Shows created for Netflix are created differently than shows that air on cable or network stations. Hinden explained that these shows do not have to plan for commercial breaks, and they have the option of making their show as long as they want it to be because they do not have a particular time slot to fill.
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg predicted the downfall of the film industry in 2013, saying that movie theaters would end up with very few movies, and that mostly everything else would be available in the living rooms of the audience. Hinden agrees and feels that the internet can, and will continue to, play a large role in how people get their entertainment, “It’s impossible to imagine someone watching television without their phone and their laptop on them.” Audiences will often pause a show in order to look something up on the internet.
Orphan plays to that aspect, and will give the audience more than they have had before. Hinden is tying all aspects of entertainment together on the internet, including film, music, games, and fashion, “It’s all about building a world.”
This world will include an online community that can influence the direction the show goes. Each episode of Orphan will include a game for the online community to solve; solving the game will open up other aspects of the show, revealing secrets, to the community. Speaking of secrets, Hinden and Chiu revealed a secret just for Guardian Liberty Voice readers. One of the upcoming challenges will call on viewers to pay close attention to the desk of Lukella de Vore, one of the character’s on Orphan. Hinden said to pay close attention to everything on her desk. Chiu gave more detail for Guardian Liberty Voice and explained that there is a hidden video there.
Hinden’s eventual goal is to create an environment where everyone feels like they can contribute. The online community will be involved in the fashion of Orphan, blogs, and challenges. Hinden explained that the film aspect is plot A and the online community is plot B, and plot B can influence plot A. Plot B can determine the direction the show goes in.
When questioned what would happen if the audience steered Orphan in a direction that was unplanned, Hinden responded, “Sometimes it gets out of control and it’s better for it. That part, I think, is exciting.” Basing a show on what the audience wants is what Hinden says he likes, what he welcomes.
Orphan shows how boundaries are breaking down, not just through its plot, but how it is filmed. Contributors of Orphan have collaborated together from all areas of the world. Production began in Macau, China, where Hinden and Chiu met. Chiu, who used drafts of Hinden’s to create all of the elaborate costumes for Orphan, spoke of the benefits and challenges in working with individuals in different locations. Just making the costumes took a year because of Hinden and Chiu being in different locations and working through Skype. Chiu also mentioned how they are able to work with so many talented individuals because they are not limited by boundaries. She explained that they had a concept photo shoot in Singapore, produced by Annette Fausboli of Ugly Duckling, with Canadian photographer Scott Woodward, the props department is in Taiwan, there is an illustrator in London, and a model from Russia. The Kickstarter, directed by Nicholas VanDevender, was filmed in Las Vegas.
Right now Hinden and Chiu are counting on getting backing for Orphan by featuring it on the popular site, Kickstarter. Kickstarter is the home of many future projects, including one by Zach Braff. Backers of Orphan will not only be able to help fund the show and get it into production, they will also have the possibility to receive clothes from GarbAge, the fashion line on Orphan, a walk-on spot on the show, and other items. Without funding, Hinden’s project cannot continue, and the online community will not be built.
Hinden asks the audience to question what types of definitions his characters break. He asks, “What do they change about our perception of the world?” The video on Kickstarter introduces the audience to one of the main characters, Jason Diego. The Kickstarter shows Jason as a child, but in another secret revealed just to Guardian Liberty Voice, Hinden stated that if the project gets funded, “You will see more of these characters [featured in the Kickstarter] but they might be different ages.” Check out Orphan, the new web show that is breaking boundaries, on Kickstarter.
By Ashley Campbell