D&D-like show looks to grow
By Cheryl Minns, Senior Columnist
In an age of binge-worthy television and addictive video games, local filmmaker Chelsea Goodman of Water Flower Studios is offering audiences a bit of both in her new fantasy series, Epic Quest.
The live-action show follows Alys the wench (played by Nadya Debogorski) and Sevrin the mage (Tim Zhang), two characters in a medieval fantasy video game who are on a quest to rescue Alys’ kidnapped sister Thea (Alyssa Hanson-Smith) from the king. The pilot episode is currently available to stream for free on the Fantasy Network at watch.thefantasy.network.
“We usually pitch Epic Quest as Monty Python and the Holy Grail meets Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” Goodman said to the Other Press in an online interview.
Epic Quest launched on September 4 with a live premiere on the Dungeons and Dragons Memes Facebook page. Goodman and the show’s producer, David Pfrimmer, attended the event and interacted with viewers. The video has since received over 14,000 views.
Epic Quest has come a long way from its humble beginnings as Goodman’s student short film in 2015. To fund the ambitious project, Goodman launched a Kickstarter campaign in January 2015 to raise $1,600. She and her team finished the campaign with over $1,880 donated.
The short film worked as a student project, but Goodman aspired to take the project further. “We weren’t very happy with the first edit of Epic Quest, so I got it re-edited by a professional editor, a professional digital effects team, a colour corrector, and a sound designer, and it became what it is now,” she said.
In 2019, Epic Quest made its way around the film festival circuit, being screened at festivals around the world. The 12-minute pilot episode has received eight film festival awards, including Best Original Song, Best Webisode, and Best Web Series.
In 2020, Epic Quest was accepted into the Gen Con Film Festival, which is part of a popular gaming convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Due to COVID-19 safety measures, the in-person festival was moved online and streamed from July 30 to August 2.
“Because of Gen Con, we were able to discover the Fantasy Network and they were able to discover us,” Goodman said. “After the film festival was done, the Fantasy Network personally contacted me and said, ‘Hey, we really like Epic Quest. Would you like to be on our network?’”
The Fantasy Network is currently streaming the re-edited version of the short film Goodman made in 2015, which is referred to as the show’s pilot episode, “The Wench, The Mage, and The Thief.”
Over the years, Epic Quest has gained a following of fans, who are eagerly awaiting more of Alys’ and Sevrin’s story. However, Goodman and Pfrimmer are only in pre-production of Epic Quest’s first season at the moment.
“We plan to hopefully shoot in summer 2021. We plan to make six episodes at 25 minutes each for the first season. We’ve decided that we’re going to make it more like an online TV series than a web series,” she said.
Goodman said the team and the Fantasy Network plan to launch a crowdfunding campaign to help cover production costs for Epic Quest’s first season.
“I don’t know if we’re going to do Kickstarter again, but if we are, that’s great because I’ve had two successful Kickstarter campaigns,” she said.
Last November, Goodman and Pfrimmer went to the American Film Market in Santa Monica, California, to pitch Epic Quest to sales agents. To help sell the show, Goodman created an Epic Quest series bible, which contained drafts of the first six episodes, character profiles, an explanation of the show’s fictional world, and lots of visuals. The team was in negotiations with an interested agent, but then COVID-19 hit, and film productions immediately shut down and the deal fell through.
But there was a silver lining for Goodman and her team. With film productions being put on hiatus, she and her friends in the film industry found themselves with more free time to work on Epic Quest.
“When things got shut down, I took what I wrote in that bible and I wrote the first three episodes. My friends and I had cold reads over Zoom where we—and even a few of my actors—read episodes one, two, and three,” she said. “From there, we were able to brainstorm and develop the story.”
Goodman hopes the increasing interest in video game movies and streaming series will work in Epic Quest’s favour. “We’ve definitely made Epic Quest at the right time,” she said.
Check out the pilot episode of Epic Quest at watch.thefantasy.network/tv-show/epic-quest.