Photo (c) Chris McLaughlin, Warner Bros
Meet AJ Buckley and Travis Wester together and hilarious chaos is bound to ensue. They riff off each other and have the chemistry of old buddies on a common mission. You hear a lot of times that actors just portray extensions of themselves, and Buckley and Wester truly fit the bill with their Ghostfacers characters. Case in point? When asked how Edd and Harry have changed, grown, or evolved since we last saw them, the response went like this:
"We have an insane workout program. Season six, we're going to show up and be bigger than Jared and Jensen," Buckley dead-panned.
"Yeah, they'll be tall, but we'll be wide!" Wester ran with the bit.
"Our cameras will look really small because we're really huge. We'll have deeper voices and longer hair."
"And my jaw's going to get somehow more square. I don't know how that will happen but...jowel implants!"
Okay, in all fairness, I was the one that suggested the implants to him. What can I say? They bring out the goof-ball, fun-loving side in everyone! But honestly, just when you think you're getting a little hint of something real, there they go with the humor. Chatting with them is literally like hanging out with the Ghostfacer guys themselves, who manage to bumble their way through even some of the darkest scary situations.
But in truth, Buckley and Wester are on a common mission: the mission of bringing unique, original, creative content to the web, living in a world that also exists on the slightly larger screen of television. It's not the easiest order, especially when each episode has to be able to stand alone and have a "punch" at the end, but they still have to flow well enough that someone can sit down and watch all ten back to back, as is common with short form and internet programming in general.
Buckley started to explain the arc of the characters in their ten episode web series that premieres tomorrow. "We wanted to laugh with the characters and cry with them and be afraid with them all kind of at the same time. Each character has its own journey; there's the lightheartedness of the Ghostfacers but they have real scares and real drama and...there's this whole bit that we tied into losing Corbett and how that affected each character's dynamic and what that means. If another one of our Facers is in trouble, how much higher are the stakes?"
Cut to Wester: "[Pathos] was something AJ kept demanding in the writer's room. And we were like, "But it's supposed to be funny." "Pathos!" I was like, "AJ I don't know what that means!" "PATHOS!" I looked it up and it turns out it's a thing-- it's a real word-- it exists. We don't want Ghostfacers to just be this slapstick, laugh out loud thing. They're real people with real emotions, and they're facing real tension-- killer ghosts. You can be funny to a point, but at a certain point it's time to face up and take a look at what you're dealing with, and it's intense."
Buckley picks up where Wester left off as if they share the same train of thought. It's no wonder their scripts seem so real: as writing partners they seem perfectly matched in humor, wit, and mind. "It's the same environment like Paranormal State-- seeing it through the cameras and on the fright beats and stuff," he spoke of their shooting style. "There were some set-ups of some scenes that blocking them-- seeing it on the monitors, watching it while we're rehearsing-- there's just something scary about that kind of voyeuristic camera thing. That type of vibe is a fun way to play the ghosts and see how they appear...We have to justify every angle because we're shooting it, so creatively from the filmmaking side, it's kind of a real brain-turner." This may just make Buckley and Wester the hardest working talents in Hollywood. Not only did they write originate the characters, write these short-form scripts, direct the scenes, but they also shot the footage themselves on handheld POV cameras. Breaking all sorts of union rules, sure, but the web is still so new when it comes to original content there really no rules set yet. Buckley and Wester, therefore, are helping to make the rules for that medium.
"No one really understands this territory," Buckley explained. "Even when we were going through the writing stuff, we were calling the WGA, and they didn't really have the answers...No one kind of really knows, so to be a part of it right out of the gates and figuring it out as we go along is exciting because there hasn't been a series that's really defined what it is, so if we can be a cog in the wheel to help do that, that's great. It's a whole other bag of tricks. My niece and nephew have such a different take on new media."
Wester, once again, echoed the sentiment: "To them it's not new. When we're on the plane, I hand the iPhone to my daughter, and she just watches Winnie the Pooh, and to her that's completely normal. For us...it felt so organic for the show to live on the web because of course in Ghostfacers the pilot didn't work out, so we're not going to be on TV, but that's not going to stop us!"
Within the web series, the characters are saying acknowledging that they have a web series, as well, so the guys get to play with self-reflexivity and breaking the fourth wall, which is becoming more and more popular through faux-documentary style. The web itself becomes it's own character in the series.
And just what about comparisons to others in the crowded paranormal reality genre? "It's the difference between flag football and the NFL. We're the NFL," Wester put it simply.
Oh and if you're keeping track, both Wester and Buckley are on Twitter, as are their characters of Harry and Edd, respectively, though neither guys, nor Warner Brothers actually runs those character pages. Wester admitted he has checked them out, and they are scary accurate, but they're not sanctioned by the studio, so for now just stick to the actor's personal pages!
Ghostfacers premieres on TheCW.com this Thursday, just in time for the 100th episode of Supernatural. Today is the last chance to enter my Ghostfacers giveaway, as well.