Nick Bernardone Swings His “Red Machete”
We’ve all heard of spinoffs, knockoffs. sequels, prequels, and jonquils. Certain TV shows have found new ways to capitalize on their success and continue to entertain audiences. The Walking Dead was a flagship show for AMC and aired for 10 seasons and gathered a large fan base. The Walking Dead Red Machete is an Emmy-nominated, standalone digital series about Rick Grimes’ origin story and the red-handled weapon he used to kill Terminus leader Gareth.
Nick Bernardone, who produced Red Machete shared his thoughts with Creative Screenwriting Magazine. A standout feature of Rick Grimes’ backstory is the visual style which makes dialogue as sparse as possible.
Why was there a desire to create Red Machete?
I think that there’s always a desire, at least from the fanbase (which I include myself in) for content that expands The Walking Dead universe. The exciting element of Red Machete is being able to see something from a perspective that the show wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. There’s only one spoken line of dialogue, you linger in shots that you otherwise wouldn’t, and each little scene can sort of stand alone as its own mini-story.
What viewer experience were you aiming for?
I would say that the aim was to provide additional material for fans, boost Walking Dead awareness, AND in the end have it serve as a standalone spinoff. The idea of only following a weapon/inanimate object allows viewers that aren’t experts on the series to jump in and view it as its own short. However, we also sprinkled in a fair amount of Easter eggs for fans (ex. the Claimers, a brief stop at the Sanctuary, etc.) So, I’d like to think that it was accessible to both fans of the show and folks finding it on their own.
Why did you choose the 9 episode web series format?
There are actually a few different formats available online. It originally aired as 16 one minute episodes during the commercial breaks of season eight. Then, it was broken up into 6 episodes for various outlets on the web. And lastly, you can watch it as 1 full fifteen minute short. Thought was put into each experience. Making sure that every one minute episodes felt like it had its own self-contained story, but also, if you watched it as one long short, there’s a beginning, middle, and end to the entire experience.
How did Red Machete intersect with The Walking Dead series?
There were several points of intersection with The Walking Dead universe. The first, the obvious one, is the red machete itself. In case anyone doesn’t remember, this was the weapon that Rick killed Gareth (from Terminus) way back in season 5. The Claimers (Jeff Kober) was from season 4 and it seemed logical that these guys may have been in a similar place geographically to this weapon. Not to mention that their whole thing is claiming items of value they find out in the world. There are also a few other little ones mixed in that I’m sure some of our more eagle-eyed viewers have caught 😉
How did the fans respond to Red Machete?
I’ve heard a lot of good things. But I’m sure people would lie to me either way!
The viewer figures were phenomenal
I sadly don’t pay great attention to this kind of stuff. That’s the path to madness.
What were the challenges in getting Red Machete made?
The format certainly presented challenges, mostly due to the fact that most of us are used to working in longer form formats. But it was quickly made obvious that tying one hand behind your back can often be a fun challenge that yields surprising results.
What did the viewers find out about Rick Grimes that they didn’t know in Walking Dead?
I would never want to step on the toes of The Walking Dead series, but I would hope that the viewers’ takeaway was that everything — each weapon, the people, even every single walker has a story and a path of how they got to where they are. Even an old taped up, stained machete.
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