As more and more major studios realize the potential of web-based series, it was only a matter of time before they tapped into the already overwhelming popularity of horror and supernatural content. The latest successful example is Fox Digital's new comedy horror series Wolfpack of Reseda, which its creators describe as "True Blood meets The Office." That's actually a pretty good "elevator pitch" for the show (as the industry suits like to say), but the writers of Wolfpack have dug a little deeper than that, using the social dynamics of a wolf pack as a metaphor for the dog-eat-dog world of the modern corporate landscape... with a pinch of Fight Club-style anarchy for spice. But don't let my film snob pseudo-intellectual nonsense distract you from the main point: Wolfpack is an insanely funny sitcom that genre fans really should be checking out pronto.
I got a chance to chat with the show's music composer, Timothy Michael Wynn, who already has an esteemed rep for work on video games like The Punisher, The Simpsons and the Command & Conquer series, and whose TV credits include genre mega-hit Supernatural. Timothy told FEARnet about the fine art of balancing laughs and lycanthropy in his latest project...
FEARnet: So how did you come to be involved in Wolfpack of Reseda?
WYNN: I've scored a bunch of projects with the producer, Gary Bryman, and Steve Hein, VP of Production at Fox Digital. Those guys are unbelievably talented and always seem to have projects that have unique stories. They introduced me to Chris Leone the director, and we hit it off. Chris is a great guy to work for, super-smart and insightful. We also enlisted another composer, Corey Jackson, to get the project done in time. I've worked with him over the years and he's fantastic.
Do you approach music differently for an online series, compared to a TV series?
Not really; it's essentially the same beast.
But it does seem like the lines are blurring more and more between the two platforms, doesn't it?
I feel like all of the lines are blurred... that's one of the reasons I was so excited to do this. I think the direction of shows starting out on the web could be a big trend.
I love how Wolfpack keeps both feet firmly in comedy, even when the horror cues start to come in. How did you balance the laughs and scares musically?
I've worked on Supernatural for many years through my partner Chris Lennertz, and it has many of those elements as well... sometimes it's scary, and sometimes it's funny as hell. I personally love how those styles relate to each other... when I'm scared to death, I'm always cracking jokes to ease the tension.
Much of your music is dark and epic in scope, but Wolfpack is much lighter and has a quirky groove to it. How did you approach that?
It turned out as retro-horror: when Corey and I started to come up with themes, there was this ‘80s 8-bit motif that we came up with that seemed to fit.
Which would you say is more challenging: underscoring comedy or horror?
I guess comedy, but horror can be challenging as well. It's great fun to be able to do both in the same project.
Has Fox talked about doing a second season yet?
Composers can be the last folks to know [laughs], so no news yet. There's been talk of lots of venues for the story developing, but nothing concrete. Gary and Steve can get anything done, so I wouldn't be surprised if this is the tip of the iceberg for Wolfpack. Not to mention Chris Leone's direction on this... he's going to be one to watch, I bet.
By the way, I got a chance to listen to the soundtrack CD for Darkness II, and it's one of the biggest-sounding game scores I've heard.
Thanks... I tried to make it huge, because the story requires it. After I first read the script, I wanted the score to focus on the Jackie and Jenny story. It's a tragic love story about loss and love. Without that, the carnage of the rest of the game can become meaningless. If the music can help you buy in to the story, I've done my job.
I read that you've studied under Jerry Goldsmith, who also scored horror on a huge scale in films like Alien and The Omen. When it comes to horror and dark fantasy, what scores and/or composers inspire you most?
Jerry is the master. He really defined the horror genre, along with Bernard Herrmann (Vertigo, The Birds, Psycho). Herrmann is unbelievably good at winding themes into horror. Two contemporary names I'd also like to mention are Chris Young (Hellraiser, Drag Me to Hell) and Elliot Goldenthal (Alien 3, Interview with the Vampire). Their scores are also very unique.
2012 is obviously off to a great start for you.
Thanks... it's been a busy start.
What do you have lined up for the rest of this year?
I'm currently working on a couple of pilots that have potential. I'm also in the midst of finishing my new recording studio I built with my partner Chris Lennertz. On the other fronts, I usually have to sign documents to keep my mouth shut, so even if I had great stuff on deck I can't share!
The initial eight-episode run of Wolfpack of Reseda is nearing completion (the finale posts on April 5th) but you can stilll catch up from the beginning at the show's official MySpace page. It's fast-paced, funny and takes some odd turns that you might not expect from a werewolf story... so be sure to check it out!