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‘Throwing Stones’ Aims at Web

**BMN Exclusive**

What if The Breakfast Club got a lot darker? You’d have Throwing Stones, a new teen horror web series from the minds of Bart D. Van Hammel and Jason A. Wheeler.

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Throwing Stones is an upcoming (5) part teen horror web series just finished filming in Dallas, Texas that stars Lindsay Seidel (The Final), Cherami Leigh (The Mist, Fast Food Nation, HBO’s Temple Grandin), Rebekah Kennedy (upcoming horror features House Hunting, Blood is Blood), Kayla Carlyle (From the Dark), Chad Cox (Powder, ER, The Good Guys) and more.

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When a group of high schoolers have to attend Saturday School they must work together to overcome their differences in over to survive when students end up missing.  The concept of Throwing Stones derives from the sociologist theory on broken windows.  A broken window is left unfixed in a neighborhood; it signals to that community it’s acceptable for that type of behavior to take place. These ideas compound until the neighborhood becomes decayed and unable to achieve its past grander.  Now apply the theory to schools and replace broken windows with broken students, and now you have one hell of horror ride as the antagonist eliminates the unacceptable element that walk the halls of Blair High School.

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In a few weeks, video yearbook diaries will slowly be made available for the viewers to unlock so they can learn more about each character before the web series begins. When Assistant Principal Beckett set out to focus on fixing the “Broken Windows” of Blair High, as an administrator he had a good idea of who to add to his list. However, when the journalism class set out to create a video yearbook for the school – he used them to explore further into the Blair student body to not only reaffirm that his targets were in fact correct, but he also discovered some students who had been flying under the radar and added them to his Saturday School agenda.

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For more info on the teen horror web series, check out their website, www.throwingstoneswebseries.com, follow them on Twitter, as well as Facebook.

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Although Throwing Stones doesn’t premiere until later this Fall, BMN got a chance to sit down and ask the creators, Bart and Jason, a few questions.

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BMN:  Where did the idea for Throwing Stones come from?

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Bart: We met teaching school together.  In that profession you can quickly see so many teachers stop caring because of how the administration handles things with the students.  It became the whole, “What’s the point,” kind of thing.  We always talked about how these certain kids always seemed to get away with everything.  For example – all the teachers in the school knew this one kid known as the so-called “star” football player.  Now, this kid failed every class – and bad.  All of his teachers were pressured by the coaches and the admin to pass him because football was his only ticket in life sorta thing.  But this kid threatened teachers by saying things like, “I’m gonna put my fist through the back of your skull.”

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Jason: Don’t even get us started on how he treated the parents and the other kids at the school.  So we were talking one day about the whole situation with this football player and some others from other demographics, and we were talking about how it could be so easy to give up on these kids.  But what’s their real story?  Why are they the way they are, ya know?  If you don’t put in the emotional deposits to find out – no matter what kind of background kids come from – poor, middle-class, or rich, then perhaps no one will ever learn.  So then we talked about using the school setting as a horror movie – kinda like the breakfast club with the whole Saturday School thing.  But we would need a spin.  We thought about how some administrator had had enough and wanted to take back his school and send a message.  But it still wasn’t enough.

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Bart: We needed something else on how to tie it in that had more “meat.”  So we added in the concept of the sociologist theory on broken windows that made Mayor Giuliani in New York a success. A broken window is left unfixed in a neighborhood; it signals to that community it’s acceptable for that type of behavior to take place. These ideas compound until the neighborhood becomes decayed and unable to achieve its past grander.  Now apply the theory to schools and replace broken windows with broken students.  Someone has to send a message at our Blair High School.  We ended up making a feature script out of it with several versions: a “slasher” version, a “smart” version, a PG-13 version, and a combination of all three.  Then we later loosely adapted the feature into a web series.

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BMN: Is this your first production or have you written/produced past films/shorts/web series?

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B&J: Our first production was a dark comedy short film called BUTTERSCOTCH about how after meeting in a psychiatrist’s waiting room, three suicide-prone patients form a unique bond when they decide to plan each other’s funerals.  The script attracted director Jon Keeyes (Suburban Nightmare, HBO Film’s Living & Dying) and it ended up making it into some nice festivals getting some attention.  Now Butterscotch is in full development as a feature film with Lindy Booth (Cry_Wolf, Dawn of the Dead, Wrong Turn), Debra Jo Rupp (That 70’s Show, She’s Out of My League), Corbin Bernsen (Psych), and Jason Priestley (HBO Canada’s hit Call Me Fitz, Tombstone, 90210, director of The Secret Life of an American Teenager, and more).  We actually wrote Butterscotch for Lindy Booth.  Don’t get us started on her talent.  And we also have another dark comedy short film about to hit the festival circuit called Virgin Mary Christmas that’s about how everyone makes deals with God in their lives.   And Mary always judges others for doing so.   But when Mary fails a high school mid-term, she makes a deal of her own.  We’re just waiting on the titling artist to add the ending credits and it’ll pretty much done.

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BMN: What made you guys want to write/direct movies?

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Bart: When I was a kid I used to make my own cartoons of He-Man and do his own adventures with Battle Cat.  I think it started from there.  Thank you, Hanna-Barbera!  Also, when I was a kid my older cousin Jonathan would come visit me from Boston.  We’d sneak away for hours and I’d force him to tell me stories.  I’ll never forget those stories.  Now he’s the lead scientist tracking the Nepah Virus in jungle in Asia.  Go figure.  Then I moved on to writing dark children’s books that ended up scoring me an agent.  Then I met Jason, and it was like when the chocolate hit the peanut butter!

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Jason: I think I have a pretty similar story.  I am a kid of the eighties and the big VHS home camcorders were becoming popular all across the country with dad’s to film their kids sporting events.  When my dad was not filming my baseball games, I would hijack the camera and shoot outrageous films with the kids from the neighborhood.  They were probably mostly influenced by Spielberg at that time.  I remember spending half the day grounding up the candy “Smarties” with my friends to make fake cocaine for a Superman film we made.  I almost burned down our house trying to recreate a house burning down using a small model of a house I built.  At the age of eight, you have no clue spray paint would ignite that fast on a cardboard mock-up of your real house.  I got more serious when I got older and started to understand film and be able to tell a story in general.  Bart and both really loved film and thought one day, “What the hell…let’s do this.”  We just started to write.  We have another feature called Swisher that has drug references in it.  Maybe Bart and I will be grinding up “Smarties” for that film in the future.

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BMN: What would be the ideal endgame for Throwing Stones?  Adapted into a feature film?  On going series for multiple seasons?

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B&J: We would love to see Stones turned into a feature film.  Who wouldn’t?  But as of right now – the web series version is designed for multiple seasons.  We’re telling you right now – don’t expect the kids at Blair High School in Throwing Stones to have every resolved by the end of episode five.  It all comes down to how well this is received and if we can land a sponsor to finish off season two.  It wouldn’t cost all that much in the scheme of things.

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2 Responses to “‘Throwing Stones’ Aims at Web”

  1. Thanks so much for the interview!

  2. […] can also click here to see our interview with Bart and Jason. Posted in Features Tags: horror, throwing stones, […]

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