What would happen if a Frankenstein-type monster-human hybrid was created in the YouTube era?
That’s the premise of a new comedy web series called Phillip Human financed by British self-described “next generation talent studio” Wildseed, which premiered Tuesday on the Wildseed Comedy YouTube channel and lasts for 10 episodes.
Title character Phillip lives in a castle, does mundane cleaning exercises and films YouTube videos while dispensing advice on his own life. However, the feedback he receives via video response slowly makes him realize the origins of his own existence may not be quite what he imagines.
“The idea was inspired by vloggers on YouTube doing advice videos,” says Phillip Human creator and portrayer Paul Neafcy, an aspiring actor and self-published novelist.
“I thought, ‘Who would be the worst person to make a video like this?’ I came up with a character that essentially doesn’t know that they’re living in a horror film. They think that everybody’s life is like theirs. They don’t realize how strange their life is. There’s where Phillip was born – watching too many YouTube vlogs and reading too much H.P. Lovecraft.”
Developing the series with Wildseed creative director Jesse Cleverly, who doubled as script editor, Neafcy says the British series documents Phillip’s growing self-awareness.
“He starts off being quite ignorant of how strange his surroundings and his life are, but as the series progresses, he’s uploading videos to YouTube and getting feedback from people in the outside world. He starts to unravel the mystery of his own existence.”
Each episode is between 5 and 10 minutes in length and is largely a solo showcase for Neafcy’s acting and writing talents, with the exception of Channel 4 TV personality Katy Charmichael, who plays a small, but important cameo role.
“This is the first decent acting job I’ve had,” Neafcy tells StreamDaily.
Neafcy says he made 4 YouTube videos of his own as the lead character, then submitted them by email pitch to Wildseed almost a year ago. When he made contact with Cleverly, they talked about such sci-fi mystery series as Lost and Twin Peaks before Phillip Human was finally green-lighted.
Neafcy says he’s pleased the series can be seen on YouTube.
“For me, it’s designed for YouTube and it’s about YouTube,” says Neafcy, who foresees at least 1 more series of Phillip Human as a sequel.
He feels his older perspective is an advantage.
“I see this culture – it’s full of vloggers and young filmmakers, but I think I have a little bit of an advantage because I’m a bit older. Where most of them are quite young and vivacious, I’m a bit more cynical about stuff and my observations. So for me, I’m quite happy it’s on YouTube, in this day and age. Hopefully people will come around, watch it and tweet about it.”