“B.J. Fletcher, Private Eye” Wins AfterEllen.com Web Series Contest

A few months ago, AfterEllen.com announced a contest to find the next great web series, and we were deluged with terrific entries from professional and amateur filmmakers alike. Thank you to everyone who submitted something — we have some very talented readers!

We ultimately narrowed it down to our top two, and today we proudly announce the winner of the series: B.J. Fletcher, Private Eye, written, directed and produced by Regan Latimer from Toronto, Canada.

Regan is Director of Toronto-based production company, Bee Charmer Productions. A postproduction specialist, Regan’s credits include Emmy award-winning promo spots for Colorado’s Rocky Mountain PBS and video editing work for Denver Center Media.

The series stars out actress Lindy Zucker as the questionably competent private detective B.J. Fletcher, and Dana Puddicombe as her best friend and sidekick Georgia “George” Drew.

Lindy Zucker (left) and Dana Puddicombe

A Toronto actor, writer, performer, curator, and freelance theater technician, Zucker is perpetually trying to find the balance between being on stage and behind the scenes. Puddicombe, a Toronto stage actress originally from Newfoundland, is proud to make her internet debut wearing a kilt.

The series also features Natasha Gordon in a recurring role as Fletcher’s ex, Marjorie, and Karim Morgan as Fletcher’s friend on the police force, Joe Magnum.

To introduce you to B.J. Fletcher, we asked Latimer a handful of questions about making the series. Read on to learn more, and then follow the link at the bottom of the page to watch the first episode (we’ll be posting new episodes every Tuesday).

AfterEllen.com: How did you come up with the idea for B.J. Fletcher, Private Eye? What inspired you to make it?
: Lindy and I had been talking about doing short film project together for sometime because we wanted to work together. When I saw the contest on AfterEllen.com, I called Lindy and suggested we create a project specifically to enter in the contest. She was hesitant at first but after I promised to take up lots of her time and pay her nothing for her services, she couldn’t help but say yes. We brainstormed and developed the concept for B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye.

Both of us being fans of such shows as C.S.I. (the original, although David Caruso is a huge inspiration for Lindy’s sunglass maneuvers), Murder, She Wrote and Laverne and Shirley, we thought we’d combine the mystery with the comedy and started filming immediately.

Why did you cast Lindy and Dana in the lead roles?
Lindy’s talent and ideas have been an integral part of creating this series, as I mentioned above. In casting the character of George, I knew we needed to find someone who could match Lindy’s talent for comedy. Lindy suggested her theater school roommate and good friend, Dana Puddicombe.

At the first reading of the script the comedic chemistry between them was amazing, and working with them on this series has been a hilarious experience — I’m considering doing an outtake reel.

Were there any budgetary challenges to making the series? How did you work around those?
The only budgetary challenge was that we didn’t have one. Everyone working on this series donates their talent and time which means we had to work around everyone’s paying jobs, auditions, and location availabilities. I shot and edited the whole thing using my own equipment.

What did you learn in making the series that you didn’t know before you started?
Get. Money. First!

What advice would you give other people thinking about making a web series?
See question #4. Seriously though, if you have no budget, it helps to have a well organized project that people are willing to invest themselves in no matter what happens. It also helps to start with a good solid yet feasible idea.

Plus you would be amazed at the technical magic, a couple chinese lanterns from Ikea can pull off.