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Home  /  TV Pilot  /  Transylvania


This project was a historical fantasy pilot episode produced by CGS Television Studios and Midnight Radio.  It was directed by Jason Ensler and production designed by Aidan Leroux and starred Max Ryan, Sofie Pernas, Laura Brent and Luke Allen-Gale.

Set in 1880, the protagonist of this story is a young woman who, in search of her missing father, travels to Transylvania. Upon her arrival she meets a disgraced Scotland Yard Detective and the pair witness the births of some of the most famous monsters and villains in the history of literature.  For instance they encounter Frankenstein while he is still pursuing his Doctorate studies, and introduce him to Igor, a young mute recluse and genius. Also introduced are Dr. Jekyll (before his notorious experiment), and Dracula/Vlad the Impaler.

Visually the style was atmospheric and macabre.  We of course did loads of research into the period and location which brought a lot of richness of detail and a feeling of realism to the look.  It’s a shame that it didn’t get picked up because it would have been a fantastic looking show, and it was loads of fun to work on.  I regret that I was too busy doing graphics to take copious amounts of photographs of all the sets!

About the images:  I did the chalkboard by hand with ordinary white chalk (after mocking it up in photoshop first for creative approval).  I originally wanted to use drawings of a real, quite famous experiment from the 1700s depicting the legs of a dead frog being “brought to life” or at least made to move with the aid of a current of electricity – since it’s exactly the sort of thing Frankenstein as a young doctoral student would be studying.  I’m quite proud of the banner design, which is something I drew digitally.  The imagery was inspired by a book of symbols from the 1500s.  The photographs of the actors were aged to look like very well worn tintypes – they are images of a father and daughter, and each carried the photograph of the other everywhere. Since I had gained a reputation for being “the calligrapher” on Reign, I took on learning to write in Spencerian script for this project, which was more challenging than any of the 16th century styles of writing I had learned!  The image of the Mayor’s itinerary represents my best efforts.