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The way that fans interact with their favorite serialized entertainment brands is shifting and changing all the time in this social media era but the goal of actually incorporating fans into the creative process in a meaningful way has been the most elusive of social media’s many promises. An intriguing vanguard on that front right now comes from the Facebook Watch series Sacred Lies, a Blumhouse TV production that has hard-wired its fan community into the show’s Season 2 writers’ room.

Sacred Lies, the evocative story about an amputee and cult survivor, has harnessed its robust Facebook footprint (661K followers and 38.5K members) by opening up the writing and show-running process in a way that is more instructional than purely promotional. The most active fans are likely candidates to join the ranks of the show’s “Keepers,” which means they have an active voice in some casting, designing and narrative choices.

The setting of Season 2, for instance, will be Colorado, a choice made by fans. The mystery man that arrives in town in the sophomore season will be named Hunter, anther choice made by fans. All of it speaks to the Facebook Watch stated goal, which is “to be a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience and build a community of passionate fans.”

The point person for the Sacred Lies fan outreach has been Raelle Tucker (True Blood, Jessica Jones, Supernatural), the show’s Creator, Executive Producer and Showrunner. She candidly admits that she was not thrilled by the prospect at first. “I was prepared for the absolute worst,” said Tucker, who was a relative neophyte at social media pursuits but knew enough to expect animus and vitriol. “I was totally surprised. I couldn’t have been more wrong.”

Tucker’s anxiety was only heightened by Sacred Lies and its subject matter. The ten-episode, half-hour drama series was based on the award-winning namesake YA novel by Stephanie Oakes, which is a modern take on the Grimm fairy tale about “The Handless Maiden.” It unravels the mystery of a teenage amputee named Minnow Bly (Elena Kampouris), who escapes a cult after the death of its radical Prophet and finds friendship, hope, and redemption in the most unlikely place: juvenile detention, where Minnow finally learns that true freedom begins with the power to decide your own beliefs. Daniel Diemer portrays Cole, her love interest.

Even with filters in place Tucker anticipated (and dreaded) inappropriate, insulting or hurtful topics and comments but she said in practice that simply hasn’t been the case despite thousands or interactions at this point between the show and its Facebook Watch audience. Now Tucker is a steady presence reaching out to fans, explaining the behind-the-scenes creative process and its principles, and also surveying the active audience for its input on the show’s unfolding tale.

Even more unexpected, the Sacred Lies forum has created a haven for young people to share their own stories about amputation, disability, incarceration, or cult experiences. Tucker found herself in the jarring position of hearing from fans who “did not realize that they had been in a cult — or that they had grown up in a cult — until they found this show and this community.”

Blumhouse TV describes Sacred Lies as the first scripted show centered around a physically disabled female character. The description continues: “It addresses Minnow’s trauma and triumph as a double amputee from a grounded, emotional, and inspiring perspective. The show tackles deep, real life issues: from the institutionalized incarceration of children – the school to prison pipeline – to white supremacy, to the seductive allure and dangers of religious extremism.”

Asked for a takeaway on the experience, Tucker said that she believed the key has been presenting “an authentic message” and taking a risk on presenting “an earnest message” in an ironic age. “People respond when they sense that you aren’t hiding or holding back, even though holding back is the instinct we have.”

Source: Deadline

March 11, 2019        Posted by Ann        0 Comments        News , Sacred Lies




Facebook has renewed four original series for second seasons, financing shows that build community and spark conversation on the Watch platform — features that the social network sees as differentiating its video service from rivals.

Five Points, Huda Boss, Sacred Lies and Sorry for Your Loss will return to Facebook Watch. These shows, which collectively drew nearly 1.3 million followers, join an increasingly diverse slate of programming that includes Jada Pinkett Smith’s breakout talk show Red Table Talk, the interactive game show Confetti and the planned return of MTV’s The Real World.

“With our originals, our aim is to give people programing that not only serves to entertain, but to also bring them closer together,” said Ricky Van Veen, Facebook’s head of global creative strategy. “We’ve intentionally focused on content with the potential to have an extended life on Facebook beyond the initial airing of the shows, that sparks conversations and two-way interactions.”

Huda Boss attracted some 400,000 people interested in following the life of beauty blogger-turned-entrepreneur Huda Kattan, while Five Points, Kerry Washington’s high school drama series set in Chicago, found an equally large audience.

“We were delighted by the positive conversation that S1 generated on Facebook Watch,” said Five Points executive producer Jon Avnet, of Indigenous Media.

Blumhouse’s Sacred Lies series was inspired by the young-adult novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, a young woman whose hands are chopped off in punishment for refusing to wed a self-proclaimed prophet. It returns for a second season with a new mystery and cast of characters.

Elena Kampouris, who starred as Minnow Bly, returns in a new role, with a story inspired by a new Grimm tale, “The Singing Bone.”

“I think with all the divisiveness in our world right now – people are hungry for positive connection and interaction,” said showrunner Raelle Tucker. “I have never seen thousands and thousands of people come together on the internet in such a harmonious, celebratory and positive way.”

Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Sorry for Your Loss is a dark comedy exploring the life of a young widow struggling to put her life back together after her husband’s unexpected death. Van Veen said Facebook was struck by the grief community that formed around the show, in which people supported one-another online.

“Seeing our audience embrace and champion Sorry for Your Loss and reading the comments and posts from people who feel seen and understood watching our show, has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life,” said executive producer Kit Steinkellner.

Fidji Simo, Facebook’s head of video, wrote a blog post where she described her philosophy on original programming. She wrote that in an age of “peak TV,” shows need to be more than simply entertaining. They need to provide cultivate passionate fan followings with stories they can’t get elsewhere.

Facebook provides the platform for personal connection; a place where engaging content meets its community. That’s the criteria it used in renewing the four original shows.

“These shows all cultivated deeply engaged fan bases who came for the episodes, but stayed for the conversations — and are a great example of what can happen when content and community come together seamlessly,” Simo wrote.

Source: Deadline

December 13, 2018        Posted by Ann        0 Comments        News , Sacred Lies




Elena Kampouris (Before I Fall), Kevin Carroll (The Leftovers), Kiana Madeira (Dark Matter), and Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary) are set as leads in Sacred Lies (working title), a half-hour drama, that has been given a 10-episode series order by Facebook Watch. It hails from former True Blood executive producer Raelle Tucker and director Scott Winant and Blumhouse Television.

Based on the classic Grimm Brothers tale The Handless Maiden and Stephanie Oakes’ novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, and adapted and updated by Tucker, Sacred Lies is about a handless teen who escapes from a cult and finds herself in juvenile detention, suspected of knowing who killed her cult leader.

Kampouris will play Minnow Bly. Physically and emotionally scarred and handless, Minnow is now in juvie for brutally beating a young man.

Carroll will portray Dr. Wilson, Minnow’s mental health coordinator. He’s a forensic psychologist working for the FBI, who’s not your typical on paper psychologist.

Madeira is Angel, Minnow’s roommate in juvie. A science buff (her hero is Carl Sagan) and a convicted murderer (who claims she acted in self-defense), Angel is intrigued by her handless new roommate and her background.

Robbins will play Samuel Bly, Minnow’s father. Once a weak and susceptible man, he joined the cult hoping for a better life for him and his family. Fully believing that the Prophet speaks to God, Samuel instantly becomes the Prophet’s second-in-command.

Kampouris’ credits include features Before I Fall and My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and series American Odyssey. She’s repped by ICM Partners.

Carroll played John Murphy on HBO’s The Leftovers and recently appeared on Lucifer, Wisdom of the Crowd and Snowfall. He’ll next be seen in feature Blindspotting. He’s repped by Innovative Artists

Madeira had guest roles on Dark Matter and Wynonna Earp and will be seen in an upcoming role on Taken. She’s repped by Ambition Talent and TalentWorks.

Robbins played the series regular role of Henry Foss on Sanctuary and recently recurred on Ghost Wars, Van Helsing and Pure and next will be seen on Snowfall. He’s repped by Play Management and Sanders Armstrong Caserta Management.

Source: Deadline Hollywood

March 3, 2018        Posted by Ann        0 Comments        News , Sacred Lies