Today Season Two of Machinima and Lionsgate’s zombie comedy web series Bite Me debuts online, and in honor of the occasion Dread Central recently caught up with series director Jarrett Lee Conaway to talk about coming back for a second season and more.
Check out our exclusive chat with Conaway below to learn what kind of changes are in store for the hilarious cast of Bite Me during Season Two, the vital importance of a good casting department and his thoughts on the recent exciting announcement that FEARnet would be airing Bite Me on its cable network soon after the series’ premiere online.
And make sure to check out the first episode of Bite Me Season Two right below our interview with Conaway.
Dread Central: Even though you’re gearing up for Season Two of Bite Me, I’d love to hear more about how you got involved with the series at the beginning.
Jarrett Lee Conaway: Well, I had made a short film in 2009 called Turbo that was about the world of 4D video games, and that caught the attention of Andy Shapiro (co-writer and producer of Bite Me). He approached me about a project he was working on that had a similar theme to my short – video games – but this was more about how being a gamer would work in your benefit in case there was a real zombie apocalypse. I dug the idea, and six months later I took over a pitch and some storyboards and they liked the ideas I had in mind for the series. And, as they say, the rest was history.
DC: You know, after going back and watching Season One, I have to say I really dug that you had so many charismatic actors working on this; they had great chemistry and their enthusiasm really shows.
Jarrett Lee Conaway: Thanks! Casting is really 90 percent of what makes a project successful and so much of that is making sure everyone has chemistry together. Our casting department really worked hard to get a talented pool of actors together for Bite Me, and I think that’s a huge part of why the series has such a devoted fanbase- everyone just loves these guys and want to see what happens to them with each episode. There’s really someone for everyone to relate to in Bite Me, and the entire cast elevates the material in so many hilarious ways.
DC: How important is the fan base to everyone on Bite Me? Is the fact that the first season did incredibly well (over 14 million collective views) make it easier to give the green light for a second season?
Jarrett Lee Conaway: Yeah, there were rumblings pretty early on that we’d have a Season Two of Bite Me because I think Andy has always had this vision that this story would go over several seasons. Thankfully the fans loved the first season so it’s great to be back again. But what the fans say about the series is incredibly important to all of us- we pay attention to everything, and sometimes it does influence us in terms of making sure we give the fans the best story possible and keep them entertained with every episode.
DC: So what kind of changes do you have in store for Bite Me Season Two then?
Jarrett Lee Conaway: Well, for Season Two the world really opens up a lot for these characters, and we definitely made it with more of a cinematic aesthetic because I think the fan expectation is higher this time around. So the world is bigger and we’re going to see the character all evolve, too; also, this time our heroes have more to worry about than just zombies- they’re facing their first human villain in Season Two so that will be fun to see how it plays out and how the fans respond to it.
DC: I’m sure you were feeling great after it was announced that Bite Me would also be running on the FEARnet cable channel. Are you guys planning on doing the same roll-out for the episodes on FEARnet that you are online?
Jarrett Lee Conaway: Oh absolutely! I think it’s incredibly awesome to be doing a double debut of sorts- both online and on FEARnet as well. I think we’re definitely setting a precedent here, and I’m really excited to see what happens.
The web series will run as 10 weeks of episodes through Machinima’s YouTube channel, but on FEARnet Bite Me will run as five half-hour episodes, which fits better into standard television programming timing. Fans will also get to see a lot of behind-the-scenes interviews and stuff like that on FEARnet which is pretty cool, too; they’re going to have a lot of funny stuff, trust me.
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