Interview with MIDPOINT TV Launch 2016 graduates and the HBO Europe Award winners, Anna Stoeva and Till Kleinert, about their recently released show and TV Launch alumni project, Hausen.
Interview with Hausen series creator
Sky Original Hausen is a ground-breaking haunted house series from Lago Film, Sky Deutschland, and Sky Studios, distributed by NBCUniversal Global Distribution.
After the death of his mother, 16-year old Juri (Tristan Göbel) and his father Jaschek (Charly Hübner) move into a run-down tower block hoping for a fresh start. While Jaschek tries to get a grip on the dilapidated building as the live-in caretaker, Juri gradually discovers that the house has a vicious life of its own, feeding on the suffering of its inhabitants. To fight it, Juri needs to untie his neighbours in a desperate revolt against the house itself – even if that means confronting his father who has already fallen deep under the building’s corrosive spell…
Anna Stoeva & Till Kleinert Interview (MIDPOINT TV Launch 2016)
Q: How long have you been carrying the main idea for Hausen in your head?
I first had the idea in 2006, while I was still in film school. Having lived in a socialist apartment block as a child, I had always been looking for a vessel to convey – and maybe exorcise – the fears and sense of isolation that living in that block had imposed on me.
When I met Till in 2016 he had already been brewing the idea of a living evil apartment block for quite a while. Having spent my childhood in a typical Moscow 16-story block it immediately resonated with me. I saw the real behind the fantastical and this is what really excited me for the project.
Q: In what stage of development have you entered the TV Launch program?
There was a palette of strong character concepts and a very clear mission statement – a gothic horror story about a block that feeds on and multiplies the misery and alienation of its inhabitants. There were no actual organized series documents of any kind, but the key elements of the story were established – and they remained the spine of HAUSEN going forward.
We knew that the teenage son of the block's new superintendent would gradually realize that something is very wrong with their new home, and he would have to fight it in order to save his father from its spell.
The first actual scenes were written for the MIDPOINT application.
Q: Could you name what were the most valuable things you have learned?
It is a bit of a platitude that structure is everything in screenwriting – but nowhere does it apply more than when shaping a long-form series. While we never suffered from a shortage of ideas, structuring and organizing those ideas into an episodic format is where the true challenge of writing for a series lies.
Therefore, breaking the pilot with the help of our tutors and fellow participants was an amazing learning experience for me – and one that created an immensely solid and reliable blueprint for all our work going forward.
One of the most valuable things of MIDPOINT is actually the time between the sessions – the time in which you retreat, loaded with new ideas, insecurities, questions and critiques to spend the time to edit your project to the next level.
Apart from the invaluable scriptwriting and development experience, for me putting yourself in the context of other TV series being developed – and all the series presented to us in case studies – was a huge switch in how we saw our project, how you see yourself positioned while still checking the boxes of what makes strong and engaging TV. The other extremely valuable thing we learned was what is that our concept was communicating – and was exciting people. This gave us a lot of extra drive and confidence going forward.
Q: To whom would you recommend to apply to TV Launch?
As more and more series are being produced all over Europe, there is a great opportunity to get stories out there that would never have been produced before. As storytellers, we have a responsibility to hone our craft if we want our ideas and our voices to come through in this brave new world. It should never be just about 'making it' in the industry – but also about realizing the full potential of what we have to say. To me, MIDPOINT TV Launch has been a place to allow me just that.
Everyone should apply to MIDPOINT TV Launch! For sure everyone who has a series in development that they want to dissect and then reassemble back together into a stronger, more streamlined and more marketable project.