No man is an island. But Colin Hyde is trying his best. The son of a celebrated English novelist, Colin has written an action thriller under the pen name ‘John Blackstaff.’ That was the easy part.
Secludio is a new online dramedy that traces Colin’s efforts to lock himself in a small house somewhere in America to write the sequel. His intense writer’s block is only amplified by an isolation in which his only contact with the outside world exist via webcalls with significant others – and others of significance. In his quest to find another book inside himself, will he finish more than one chapter? Will he win back his ex-girlfriend using only a webcam? And who is the mysterious figure outside the house?
THE MAKING OF SECLUDIO
Peter Stray, an actor and screenwriter from London, was alone in the wilds of Westchester County. He and his wife had moved to New York for her new job. The previous year Stray had appeared on Lost and a TV movie with Firefly’s Summer Glau, and was looking forward to taking meetings in Manhattan. Then an ice storm hit, stopping trains and making even a trip to the store an epic journey. Stray started writing Secludio.
He was inspired by the HBO series In Treatment. “On paper it shouldn’t work – two people sitting across from one another, just talking. It’s the situation and the dialogue that makes it riveting.”
Stray had already launched a successful online-series in Downstage Confessions, the story of actors trying to make it in DC’s regional theatre scene. The series garnered praise from The Washington Post, and Washingtonian Magazine. Stray steps outside of DC and aims for something more universal in Secludio. His new series calls on an international cast from London, Toronto, New York, New Zealand and LA, including Sophie Aldred (‘Ace’ from Doctor Who), Jonno Roberts (Flight Of The Conchords), and Anthony Arkin (Damages). To make the webcam sequences authentic, his cast taped themselves on iphones and flipcams and sent Stray the footage to edit together. “With Downstage it was about a specific environment and we used all local actors. This time I wanted a story to take place in the isolation of one location, and the vastness of the online webscape. It kind of takes place everywhere and nowhere.”
“This has been a labor of love,” concludes Stray. “What’s reassuring is, when I started, an online series was all about jokes and skits, and my mission statement was ‘bring some HBO to the www.’ Now that’s happened with shows that Netflix and other companies are doing, and people are a lot more open to streaming something with a bit of substance. You will laugh, but you might also cry – perhaps both at the same time.”