Filmmaker Keith Chamberlain

DIBS sat down with Filmmaker Keith Chamberlain, the Person behind Aquariarts Pictures, to talk about the success of Herrings Season 1, the challenges of an Independent Filmmaker, possible expectations of Season 2 and a few things in-between. 

DIBS: Give a synopsis of the show Herrings.

KEITH: Herrings is a dramatic thriller about two men who use the internet to disguise their clients’ digital footprint, which allows those clients to hide in plain sight.

DIBS: How did this series come about?

KEITH: About four years ago, I came across an article about a skip tracer who became a skip maker by using the internet to hide his clients’ digital footprint and thought it would make a great series. However, I was working on other projects and I forgot about it until 2015. Once I decided to make this my next project, it took me 2 years to break the story and another to cast the right actors. Once everything came together, the first episode took about 3 days to make. Now, here’s a  little bit of trivia, the first episode was originally a sizzle reel that I was going use to pitch Herrings as an hour-long show. However, when that fell through, I thought the story was too compelling to abandon and thus I adapted it as a short form web-series.

DIBS: What are the themes highlighted in Herrings?

KEITH: ·Season 1: Everyone has secrets and what some people are willing to do to keep them.

Season 2: Secrets may bring people closer... or tear them apart.

DIBS: Does the show Herrings say anything about the world we live in and if so, how?

KEITH: Definitely, this season, the show tackles timely issues like racial and gender discrimination, the MeToo movement, opioid addiction and the state of modern journalism in the digital era.

DIBS: Have you done other things besides Herrings?

KEITH: Prior to Herrings, I wrote, produced and directed four short films. I’ve also worked in shows and films like “Worthless”, “How to Get Away with Murder” and  “Paranoia”.

DIBS: In your opinion, what sort of stories are important to tell?

KEITH: Right now I’m drawn to drama and personal stuff.  Stories about people living real lives that aren’t afraid to be ugly, very in-your-face type of stuff. The characters in Herrings are complex individuals that just like real life, can garner your sympathy at one moment and your scorn at another.

DIBS: As an independent creator, what are some challenges that you face? And how do you overcome them?

KEITH: The two biggest challenges for me has been scheduling and money.  

A lot of the episodes are made based on the availability of the actors. There was a 16-month gap between Season 1 and 2, several of the actors are either no longer in the area, no longer acting or have moved on to other projects. There was also the matter of recasting certain roles and eliminating others that proved very challenging. Also, for Season 2, I had a definite end date of production and that, at times, conflicted with several of the actors, which is why some characters and their storylines are featured more than others. Trust me, there was a LOT of rewriting involved. In regards to money, while many of the cast and crew were fine working for free, I decided not to go that route for Season 2. This was one of the main factors for the 16-month gap as I wanted to pay my actors more than gas money for Season 2. Even though the budget for Season 2 is larger than Season 1, it was still relatively low and I was upfront about the budget with every D.P and Sound Mixer that I contacted. There were a few no’s but surprisingly there were quite a few yes’s. At the end of the day though, it all comes down to sheer will and a lot of faith.

DIBS: In your opinion, what defines success in filmmaking?

KEITH: When your film resonates with an audience, there’s no better feeling, in my opinion. Some filmmakers want name recognition, but I would much rather have my work recognized.  

DIBS: What sort of success has Season 1 brought?

KEITH: The show has won several awards, including Best Cast, Best Drama and Best Actor awards for both Dax Richardson and David Ogrodowski. Recently, the show was picked up by JivewiredTV,  a streaming television station launching on Apple TV in late June 2018.

DIBS: What can viewers expect in Season 2?

KEITH: Viewers can expect a more nuanced look at the characters introduced in Season 1 as well as several new characters that I think audiences will find equally, if not more, compelling.

DIBS: Lastly, in your opinion should filmmaking be used for entertainment or social change?  

KEITH:Why can’t you do both?

Keith Chamberlain is an award-winning filmmaker who currently resides in Blackwood, NJ. Since 2010,  he has written and/or directed several short films. His last short film, “The Burning Tree”, was both nominated and won at several film festivals, including Golden Door International Film Festival, Pittsburgh Uncut Film Festival, and Hang Onto Your Short Film Festival, among other venues. He also was the founder of the Dysfunctional Screenwriters Society, which from 2010 - 2015, paired local screenwriters from the Philadelphia area with actors for table-reads of their screenplays.

Stay tuned for Season 2 coming soon to the Internet

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About Aquariarts Pictures : The goal of Aquariarts Pictures is to produce films, music videos, documentaries with other production companies as well as independent film investors to create challenging and powerful productions and bring those pictures to as wide an audience as possible.

Check out Season 1  HERE

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Still By Cristina Byrne

Still By Cristina Byrne

Still #1, #2, #3 are from Unnamed Photographers -  Still #4 by Cristina Byrne.