Circle of Eight, the thriller series that aired on MySpace, is out today on DVD and digital download exclusively from Blockbuster. I sat down for a quick interview with the series’ director, Stephen Cragg, via the magic of the internets.
BB: Circle of Eight is obviously a unique film, not just because of the distribution model, but because it represents a new era of audience interactivity. What drew you to the project?
SC: Adding the relatively novel elements of interactivity and the internet seemed a wonderful way to deal with the fairly traditional thriller/scary movie genre. The ability of viewers to click on previous webisodes before looking at the latest release is also very appealing to me. It was interesting to see viewers interactively finding clues that would help them figure out what would happen next.
BB: What were some of the challenges and the benefits inherent to working on a new kind of film like this?
SC: It was challenging to break the story into short webisodes, to have each one end in a way that seemed to be an exclamation point and yet lead to the next one. That challenge was also one of the benefits, because it turned out to be great fun.
BB: One of the cool things about Circle of Eight is that the audience can affect the story. Did you have a favorite ending?
SC: I don’t want to be a spoiler for anyone who may read this but hasn’t seen it yet. Having an “alternate” ending seemed luxurious, a kind of secret benefit. Given the time and money, I think we could do several more endings.
BB: Are you interested in working on another “webisodic” movie again?
SC: Oh yeah. Definitely.
BB: Do you think that both the distribution strategy and the elements of audience interaction of Circle of Eight will become more common in filmmaking in the next few years?
SC: What I know about and enjoy doing is telling stories, making movies. I leave the distribution model to the folks who enjoy doing that. But I suppose the internet will become more and more a mode for getting our work in front of audiences.
BB: Can you share any details about what you’re currently working on?
SC: Right now I’m having a good time directing an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Thanks to Stephen for taking the time to answer my questions. You can rent Circle of Eight on DVD or download starting today.