‘Blair’ helmer tackles TV

Myrick to use professional thesps, locals on show

“Blair Witch Project” co-writer-director Daniel Myrick is taking his bootstrap filmmaking style to the TV world, shooting a pilot with a significant online component.

“The Strand” follows an interlocking set of characters on Venice Beach, including an elderly actor, a yuppie couple and a homeless man. It will feature professional actors working alongside local inhabitants.

Katherine Helmond, who starred in “Soap” and “Brazil” and has a recurring role on “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has been tapped to play a ’40s movie actress dating a 19-year-old immigrant.

Pilot, budgeted at less than $500,000, will be self-funded by Myrick’s Pasadena-based production company Gear Head Pictures. Although production just began, a Web site with behind-the-scenes information, exclusive footage, and interactive components has already launched.

Noting the desire to build an online fan base, Myrick decided to produce the pilot on his own before approaching networks.

“Because we’re using a lot of method techniques like in ‘Blair,’ it’s a tough pitch if we don’t have something to show,” he said. “We also saw the value of a real interactive fan base with ‘Blair’ and want to work with their feedback and demonstrate that same kind of enthusiasm to networks.”

If Gear Head isn’t able to secure a network partner, Myrick said the company may produce several more episodes and sell them as a DVD package or Webcast them.

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