The second season of Holliston starts tomorrow night and I recently had a chance to talk to Adam Green and Joe Lynch about what we can expect this time around. For the first part of our feature, I have my interview with Adam Green, who told me about switching to a 30-minute episode format, working with Bailee Madison, and an upcoming animated episode:
The biggest difference people will notice right away is that the show has changed to a 30 minute format. What effect has that had on the creative process and do you prefer it to the longer format of the first season?
Adam Green: Last season was weird because it wasn’t really an hour, but it wasn’t really a half hour. When we started cutting the first episodes together, we just made them however long they needed to be, depending on what we liked out of it. Because we had more of a proper season this time around with ten episodes, we were more strict with keeping it to a half hour with commercials.
Creatively, it’s more challenging because we can’t go on random tangents like we did before. I was so lucky last season, because I could make the episodes however long they needed to be. It helped with establishing characters and the tone of the show. This time out, we’ve already done all of that and we don’t need to explain who everyone is again, so we can just go with it.
If I had to set the world up and stick to thirty minutes, it would have been harder. Now, everything has been set up, and I’ve been given more episodes for the second season.
I had a chance to stop by the Holliston panel at Comic-Con last year and it seems like the show has a pretty devoted group of fans. Did you take fan feedback into account when coming up with the story for Season 2?
Adam Green: Their feedback is everything to us and we really listen to it. We didn’t know how people were going to respond to the first season. It’s a very unique kind of show because it’s a traditional sitcom with horror elements. We knew horror fans would be the first line of our viewers and we didn’t even know if they would give a sitcom a chance. We also didn’t know if mainstream comedy fans would be able to handle an exploding head in the middle of a sweet and tender moment. We learned that the audience was into it and that horror fans appreciated the heart. That came as a little bit of a surprise to me. What fans seem to appreciate the most is that Holliston shows horror fans as real people.
Many of the letters we received were thank you letters, with fans telling stories of their own personal struggles and talking about how the show gave them hope. Off of that feedback, we really went with something more sentimental for the Christmas special. It’s not like Season 2 is Dawson’s Creek or anything, but the feedback gave us a whole new level of confidence.
Last season, we saw Adam and Joe’s attempt to get their filmmaking career off the ground with Shinpads. Will their push into filmmaking be a bigger part of Season 2?
Adam Green: You will see more of the filmmaking process, but it’s not as much about them physically making it as much as it is about what the struggle and rejection is doing to them. At the start of Season 2, they’ve decided that the mock trailer was probably a bad idea based on John Landis’ reaction and they set out to make an actual short film for Shinpads. As the season goes on, it takes more of a backseat. You know that they are working on it, and they talk about it, but it’s more about what it’s doing to them and their relationships. To me, that’s more compelling and interesting. It’s not just Shinpads though, because we do the same thing for Joe’s bedroom or the creepy neighbor. People want to see those things, but what people are picturing is probably a lot funnier than if we actually showed it. We don’t need to show them… at least not yet.
I’ve heard that there are a number of special episodes created for Season 2. Can you tell me about the animated episode that was created?
Adam Green: We have this amazing playground in this show, where we can break the rules left and right. It might be as simple as breaking the fourth wall or doing something you usually don’t see in a sitcom. Back in 2007 or 2008, I created a claymation series for American Eagle. We were talking about ideas for an episode where Laura mixes paint together that turns into a blob and attacks Holliston. Very quickly, all of the ideas started coming together, and I sat down with the animation studio Six Point Harness. It’s really cool and comes out of nowhere toward the end of the season.
We also have a found footage episode that was really fun to make. All of the show is filmed on a sound stage in Hollywood, but we went to Holliston, Massachusetts for this and it was great. There were so many tropes we could have with, in terms of how beat-to-death found footage movies are. We even have them doing it because they think it can make money, which is our statement on where Hollywood is right now.
Another item I wanted to touch upon was guest appearances. In the first episode, you have Kane Hodder and I also caught the episode with Bailee Madison. Can you tell our readers about some of the guest appearances and how you got Bailey Madison to take part in that episode?
Adam Green: We have tons of great guest stars this season, including James Gunn, David Naughton, Sid Haig, Seth Green, and they’re always a blast to have on set. Getting Bailee Madison started back during Season 1. I was presenting Emma Bell with an award for Frozen at the Eyegore Awards, and Bailee Madison was accepting an award for Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. After the ceremony, I felt a little hand tap me on the back and it was Bailee wanting to say hello. Just listening to the way she speaks, you can’t believe she was twelve at the time. It sounds like she’s college educated.
I kept thinking about that, and told Joe, Corri, and Laura about my idea for the episode. What if Adam dates a girl who is blatantly underage, but he can’t see that? To take that one step further, what if NO ONE can see that except for Corri?
Some of this is funny on page, but then you have a twelve year old girl sitting next to you and I’m sweating, but she was so professional. I’ve never been more intimidated by another actor ever, and she’s laughing and her mom’s laughing. She made us step up our game a little bit and we learned a lot from her.
If Holliston Season 2 is successful, do you already know where you want to go with the third season?
Adam Green: One of the hardest things about television is that you have to have a roadmap and long term plan, but all of it could end at any moment. We try to take it as it comes, but even with Season 2, Joe and I knew what was going to happen ahead of time. Usually, we’ll get together for weeks or months and throw around story and joke ideas. I’ll go off to write it and then we bring in Corri and Laura to read through the entire season.
They didn’t know certain things were coming, like the Christmas special or the season finale. They got slightly emotional during the season finale table reading and were crying. Every now and then I’ll slip, and say we can’t do something because of what will happen in Season 5 and they’ll say, “what???”
As far as Season 3 goes, it’s not likely that we’ll be getting into Season 3 any time too soon because everyone is so busy. Corri is going to have a baby in a few weeks and that’s the top priority for all of us. That baby comes first for all of us and we don’t want rush her back to work. Joe also has a new movie that starts shooting in a few weeks and I have a movie that’s shooting now. There could potentially be more time between the second and third season than there was between the first and second, but, of course, there needs to be a Season 3 order first.