Audible comedy-horror series ‘Catchers’ is a creepy conclave of Orlando alumni | Arts Stories + Interviews | Orlando

The a single-two punch of social media and the coronavirus has very much place the kibosh on the principle of the course reunion. If you want to know what the honors grads of the Orlando arts scene are up to this Halloween season, Audible is the punch bowl you need to have to be hanging around.

Maintain your ears peeled for Thursday’s drop of “Catchers,” an eight-episode audio drama from the minds of Central Florida expats Ben Rock and Bob DeRosa. These proverbial local boys manufactured great have worked up a monster film without having shots, in which two mismatched animal-command employees (Billy Gardell and Herizen Guardiola) responding to a simply call occur face-to-snout with creatures that are considerably much more unsafe than Aged Yeller.

“The story of ‘Catchers’ is really a great deal about persons compared to nature,” Rock claims. “And like a whole lot of horror tales, it is really about men and women obtaining more than their own dissimilarities to fix an inexplicable difficulty.” It truly is also an immensely exciting pay attention — and a all-natural advancement in the imaginative collaboration Rock and DeRosa have liked for over a quarter-century.

“Anything we do is rooted in our friendship,” DeRosa states, “which is completely rooted in our shared record of getting aspiring filmmakers in Orlando.”

They met in the mid-’90s, when they both equally had films in the Brouhaha indie-flick showcase at Maitland’s Enzian Theater. Rock was about to make the changeover from studying film at UCF to home-handling at Enzian, whilst DeRosa in people times was an improviser and budding screenwriter whose ubiquity on the local scene would get him pointed out in virtually each individual issue of this publication amongst 1997 and 2001.

As their friendship progressed, they professional expert windfalls that in the end took them to Los Angeles. Rock parlayed a gig as manufacturing designer on his college pals’ watershed The Blair Witch Challenge into a directing vocation of his own (including 2008’s smooth and confident feature Alien Raiders). DeRosa, meanwhile, capitalized on connections he experienced produced doing the job for the Florida Film Festival to generate the ensemble indie drama The Air I Breathe, and later penned the Ashton Kutcher–Katherine Heigl vehicle Killers.

All through it all, the two have continued to operate jointly frequently — on late-night time plays for L.A.’s Sacred Fools theater company, the horror/comedy internet sequence 20 Seconds to Stay and the horror fiction podcast “Movie Palace.” A request for a pitch from Audible created Rock imagine of an expertise he had experienced a few several years earlier with an particularly laissez-faire pet catcher.

“I just experienced the thought of how dark or how amusing it would be if an individual with that frame of mind experienced to deal with one thing,” Rock claims. So the action of “Catchers” takes location on the last day of get the job done for an apathetic cynic (Gardell) who’s handing the baton to his much less overwhelmed-down successor (Guardiola, the fantastic Gen-Z foil). Jointly, they have to try out to preserve a besieged loved ones from beasts whose origin is as mysterious as their assaults are vicious.

The general outcome is as if John Carpenter had prepared for Arch Oboler’s previous “Lights Out” radio system — not surprisingly, as Rock and DeRosa both of those cite Carpenter as a big affect, and Rock listened to Oboler’s operate and other classics of horror radio as a kid. (More touchstones pointed out by the pair involve the movies Tremors and even Repo Gentleman). [Editor’s note: Oboler’s “Lights Out, Everybody” is also available on Audible.]

“It truly is funny, audio narrative has been all around as long as radio and never seriously stopped in places like the U.K.,” Rock states. “[B]ut with the rise of podcasting and expert services like Audible, it can be likely as a result of a quite thrilling reinvention in The united states proper now.

“For us, it was entertaining as hell to discover a massive monster tale like we may have seen growing up in the 1980s, but to use contemporary audio technology to tell the tale in a entertaining, visceral way that audio does improved than everything else.”

Their composing approach, they say, was old-school, with tale beats written down on be aware playing cards and pinned up on cork board for evaluate. Then each and every person would script the episodes to which he felt finest suited. Last but not least, they would rewrite each other’s perform into a cohesive complete.

“The goal is to get to a point wherever we cannot don’t forget who at first wrote what,” DeRosa states. “I typically guide with my heart, so there is a whole lot of me in Blair, our youthful doggy catcher trainee, even though Ben is an qualified at writing filthy, cantankerous dialogue, so he was uniquely suited to writing for our about-to-retire doggy catcher, Collins.”

When it arrived time to file, the old-dwelling-week vibes bought even more powerful. Keith Hudson, an previous pal of Rock’s who experienced acted in his 1st small films, flew out from College or university Park to snag a component as one particular of the innocents Blair and Collins have to rescue. (Hudson’s in depth display screen credits include Rock’s Alien Raiders, Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight and Logan Lucky, and copious amounts of Tv set.) The largest title in the solid, even though, is Gardell, who met Hudson and Rock when they had been all members of Winter season Park Significant School’s Thespian Troupe 850. Considering the fact that then, Gardell has turn out to be a bona fide sitcom star: He was the “Mike” in Mike and Molly and is presently the “Bob” in Bob Hearts Abishola.

“Functioning on ‘Catchers’ with my large-university buddy and friend of 30 several years, Ben Rock, was like we hadn’t missed a working day,” Gardell states. “It is really a present to get the job done with men and women you commenced your desire with, and I think that magic came into participate in on this venture and people are gonna appreciate it.”

Even though the scourge of COVID forced the manufacturing to be a minor considerably less personal than every person would have most well-liked — with components recorded by using Zoom alternatively than in the exact studio — the close final result however seems normal and convincing. And behind the scenes, the individuals all say, the homecoming ambiance definitely prevailed.

“It’s truthful to say that Orlando — or at minimum Maitland and Winter Park — are in the DNA of ‘Catchers,'” Rock states. DeRosa concurs:

“I talk about it all the time out listed here, and men and women are just mystified that we experienced such a vivid neighborhood back again house, and now so several of us are out here building remarkable movies and reveals and we are even now buddies. It’s seriously a testament to a special time in a unique spot.”