Taryn O’Neill is the star of the original Sci-Fi web series, After Judgment, and she is also a producer of the show. The series is about a group of post-apocalyptic survivors searching for an elusive entry into paradise. It premiered in October of 2008 and this year is nominated at the Streamy Awards.
The Vancouver, Canada native has also appeared in such films as Summers Gone, Dreamkiller, and Falling. Her television credits include NCIS and Lie To Me alongside Academy Award nominated actor Tim Roth.
Our Prattville Publisher talked with Taryn about her web series:
How did you get involved in After Judgment, the web series?
I was in Vancouver at the time actually auditioning for a couple of months and I started writing a TV series with a film maker that I had just worked with and we started collaborating on some projects together.
His name is Michael Davies – he’s the writer, director of the series and he forwarded me a bunch of scripts over email of After Judgment and I couldn’t stop reading them! I said, okay, we have to make this. That afternoon I started figuring out who I knew in Hollywood and professional contacts who were involved in the web world and within three months we had shot an episode. So it kind of came together rather quickly.
What is the premise of the show? It is science fiction, right?
It is. Science fiction, post-apocalyptic…the end of the world has basically happened and most of the world’s population has disappeared. The story takes place about a hundred years after judgment day passes. It seems like it has rapture religious connotations, but it is technically just a science fiction show.
But there are a few people left in this fictional city that looks a lot like Los Angeles where we shot it and they are led by a cosmic anti-hero named Steven who is the last remaining boy on earth and he’s the key to redemption and finding paradise. So it’s a kind of an eclectic quirky group of strangers that bond together and nobody can die and nobody can bleed a and energy doesn’t work and then things start happening again…the world starts working again and they go on an exciting voyage.
Are you finding it difficult to wear both hats, as an actor and as a producer?
No actually, I think it’s wonderful to be able to wear a lot of hats. When I first started out in L. A. and I found that when I was just acting solo you can just be an actor. You can just go in and audition and then everything’s out of your hands. You have no control, you have no power – everybody’s just trying to fit you in this little box and I’m just a fan of great storytellers…to be able to be involved in the actual storytelling process and to be behind the camera and in front of the camera is incredibly gratifying…so I found it works well for me. I always had people who told me I should produce and then the right project found me…and the web support people wear multiple hats.
I think more original TV shows will be on the internet soon.
I think that it’s the incubator. I think we’re all having to be careful that the networks and the studios don’t come and snatch up our good ideas because they see what works. Now anybody from anywhere who has some expertise in writing and film making don’t have to be in L.A. – you don’t have to be able to have some big advertiser behind you sponsoring you…you can do it yourself.
You can watch the show on the site at www.afterjudgment.com. And also on You Tube?
We only have four episodes up on You Tube. The other big distribution sites that are partners of ours have all of the episodes up – one is called Koldcast.tv and the other is Blip…they are both phenomenal sites. After Judgment is our main site and then we also have a secondary supporting series which we shot called Before Judgment which is more of a video diary that explores the back story of our characters, both before judgment day and during.
I read that you were a figure skater for a few years. How did you get from there to acting?
I was a competitive figure skater and I was living in Montreal, training, and I was on a junior national team and I blew out both knees so that stopped it…but my partner went on to become world champion. We’re still actually good friends, so I was incredibly proud of him. It was just a natural progression..figure skating, obviously, is a sport but there is also a huge performance component to it and that was the part of it that I loved.
So, it seemed the natural thing when I had to go back to Vancouver and become a regular kid again I went back to dancing class, I went back to choir, I did musicals and it’s just something that I love. There is just a joy that I derive from it. With that part of my life and skating over, it seemed like a very smart choice. The acting bug kept working its way back up and I ended up moving out to L. A. because I spent a semester at USC in the film program. I have a minor in film as well.
Are you pursuing other television or film roles at the same time you’re doing After Judgment?
I am when they find me. I’m pretty busy commercial wise. I’ve been shooting a lot of commercials recently so hopefully they will all air soon. When it comes to theatrical stuff I primarily focus on the web series.
I did have a part in Lie to Me last week and people have mentioned on set that is was a recurring role so I haven’t heard about that. …which is fine…so once, I think, the Streamy awards are over and we’re in the midst of trying to seek sponsors for financing of season two, I’ll definitely focus on finding a new agent to get back to somewhat of a TV life because I love working. I love to be able to be on set.
Congratulations on being nominated for a Streamy Award. And the show has five nominations or six?
Thank you. Five, plus the Audience Choice finals, so technically six. There are ten finalists for the Audience Choice Award and all of the finalists are highly different. It’s a great way for audiences to check everything out who may not be familiar with the web. Thanks for supporting the Streamies because I am really proud of them. Everybody who has put them together is trying to do a lot for web television and to give it exposure.
Interview by Melissa Parker
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