We tend to avoid covering crowdfunding campaigns. There are just too many of them, plus we figure that those which are worthy will eventually cross our paths anyway. At the same time, we’ll confess to having a soft spot for locally produced television, from old school network gems like “Spenser: For Hire” to more recent grassroots independent projects like “Quiet Desperation.” So when Caitlin Graham, a Boston via Brooklyn filmmaker who’s working with a local cast, asked for help spreading the word about her new crime drama, “The Naturals,” we felt compelled to inquire further about how her team plans to portray the Hub on the small screen.
What’s your elevator pitch for the series? How do you explain to people what you’re doing with this project?
The series is about the daughter of a Boston hitman who’s drawn into the family business after he dies. “The Naturals” takes the traditionally hypermasculine crime genre and turns it on its head, placing a queer female lead at its center and making her the driver of the action. Much of the first season is going to be devoted to exploring how she navigates this world that she was born into but isn’t quite a natural part of.
What’s your background and the background of your team?
I grew up in Brooklyn, NY but went to college and grad school in Boston, so I really learned how to be an actor and a filmmaker here. My MFA is in Film, but the majority of the work I’ve done in film over the last 10 years has been as an actor. I actually met most of my crew for “The Naturals” on a local indie film I acted in last summer called “Sundown.” I sort of looked around and thought, “Wow, these people are all great. I should poach them!”
We opened auditions to both Boston and NYC, but we ended up casting almost all Boston-based actors. The only exception is Michael Indeglio, for whom I had written the role of Michael.
What’s the plot, who are the main characters?
After being estranged from her parents (Paul Meredith and Lyralen Kaye) for years, Fallon Esposito (Caitlin Graham) returns home to mourn the death of her hitman father and, feeling the call of something deep and unnameable, decides to stay in Boston longer than she planned. As Fallon spends time with her father’s partner and former protégé (Charles Linshaw), she learns the grim details of how her father kept a roof over her family’s heads all those years—and begins to discover the killer inside herself, causing a rift between her and her brother (Michael Indeglio).
Where’d the inspiration for “The Naturals” come from?
When I was still in New York, I wrote-directed-produced a dark comedy series called “No Method,” and Michael Indeglio got cast as one of my actors. We ended up not being able to secure funding for the rest of the series, at least at that time, and Mike approached me and said, “You should write something for us.” So, I wrote a 10-minute play of Michael and Fallon cleaning out the basement of the family home after their father’s death—and that ultimately became the first scene of the pilot. We had to trim it down considerably though.
These characters have been kicking around my head for years, in some form, so it’s thrilling to see them finally coming to life.
Where have you filmed and where will you be filming?
Well, we’re an ultra low-budget production, so we film wherever we have access. So far, we’ve filmed in Melrose, Hingham, Somerville, and Medford. I would really like to expand our reach further for the rest of the first season. That’s definitely a goal.
What are your goals for the series? Short-term? Long-term?
Short-term, our goal is to secure enough funding to complete the first season! Long-term, I would love to gain enough of a following to be able to approach a digital platform like a Netflix or a Hulu or an Amazon Prime. I think that’s always the ultimate goal with a web series. I think the furthest it can go is either getting picked up by one of the platforms or even a network. But it’s a long road, and right now my main concern is making the show and making sure it’s good and represents the Boston indie community well.
This is “Boston-based,” but doesn’t seem to pack in many of the old Boston crime drama clichés.
Yes, and that was intentional. I love the crime genre and all its tropes, but I love playing with honoring some of those tropes and subverting others. As the season progresses and Fallon and Michael descend further into this world, we’ll have plenty of clichés—and Boston accents—and they’ll be coexisting with newer, unexpected elements and characters, sometimes peacefully and sometimes not.
Are you going to be looking for actors and people to get involved?
Yes, there will definitely be another round of casting for the rest of the first season in September. And we’ll likely be needing more crew as well.
How can people best find out more about and support this?
You can read more about the show and our team on our Seed & Spark campaign page, where we’re raising enough budget to fund the rest of the first season.