Interview: Progress the Series

Oscar Lerwill, a Victorian hacker in a button-up shirt and newsboy cap.Progress is an upcoming web series about Wiki-leaks style adventures on a steam-powered Victorian internet. I chatted with the creators about some of the inspirations for the series. Check it out at their website; you can also support their IndieGoGo campaign!
Tell us a bit about the world of  Progress. How does wiki-leaks happen in a 19th century style world?
Armando: How could it not happen?  In the 19th Century technology advanced much faster than law or society norms.  Inventors (the original hackers) were breaking barriers every day and challenging all beliefs.  It’s only logical that, if they had the means, they would have created a channel to expose corruption and hypocrisy.
What were some of your inspirations for Progress?
Armando: During one of the many Wikileaks scandals last year a couple of TV pundits were bashing the whistleblowers: “”these people are nihilists!” “Terrorists!”  “Murderers!” “They’re like Jack the Ripper with Internet access!” — and we thought “hey, that’s a great idea for a series!”
The main character, Oscar Lerwill, is in trouble with the government for exposing Jack the Ripper. Why? You’d think they’d be thanking him!
Armando: Oscar is a hacker and, like all hackers, he does the right thing the wrong way.  He breaks protocol and asks no one for permission.  This is seen as a serious offense in Victorian times (good thing those silly repressive laws change, don’t they?)
Progress includes some transmedia elements – can you tell us about those?
Armando: We’re developing a lot of stuff with other steampunk enthusiasts, including a virtual world with a steam-powered web — but, in the meantime, we can tell you that everything in Progress is a clue wrapped in a riddle.  The names of the characters, for example, can you decipher them?
Nicole: I think the transmedia elements are going to be awesome! We have two companion websites that we are developing to go along with the story. Once the series airs, fans can log into the pages and decipher clues about who the killer is and who the next target will be! These puzzles will keep you guessing! Like Armando said, we are developing a lot of stuff with other steampunk filmmakers and designers too! Stay tuned as we will soon be releasing more details about these developments!
Who’s your favorite character in the series?
Armando: Everybody has a favorite.  Fans identify with Oscar Lerwill because he’s a heroic hacker; producer Nicole identifies with Lila DeClide because she’s a smart girl hindered by a retrograde society; screenwriter Armando identifies with Adam Rhett because he’s a troll… and wait until you meet Mr. Humbbaugh!
Nicole: I agree with Armando, everybody has a favorite! Lila DeClide has a lot of fans already! Our character Mr. Humbbaugh wasn’t introduced in our teaser video but just wait until you see him in the series — he is hilariously controversial and some people have desribed him as a 19th century Rush Limbaugh!
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