Welcome to Retcon, your first choice for a second chance.
The first season of Retcon, released online as an independent web series, leaned into the restrictions inherent in the coronavirus lockdowns around the world.
Written, produced, and shot from my laptop in my flat in London — before we returned home — with a team of Australian collaborators, the show hinged on that distinctive call. The last thing travellers do before they leave.
The series had both benefited and suffered from the Zoom-shot format restrictions. Scheduling became simple, production was streamlined, and we experimented with the format to avoid the ubiquitous video-on-black screen we’d all become unpleasantly used to. Opting instead to present Retcon as an out-of-time piece of software, I made opening titles, closing credits, and title bars for the videos with the characters’ desktop backgrounds beneath to add character, colour, and style to what could have otherwise been a basic formula.
The series suffered from, ironically, that dream of conditions — a show without outside input, each of the collaborators just taking your script as it’s written, and pushing through without question. I had feedback as we developed but I am not a professional writer — at least, in the entertainment industry — and so the show lacked a cohesive narrative structure, the overarching story only coming into play in episode 5 and then weaving too overtly through just the back half of the season, distracting viewers from the calls themselves at the heart of the show’s ethos.
Retcon is ultimately more about the people who make the calls than the people who pick them up but the first season focused a bit more on the character who picked up the phone — perhaps treating him as a control variable (and an author insert).
For further development of the show, for what would ideally become a broadcast adaptation of the series or secondly a sequel season online, I’d like to craft a strong overarching narrative that drives each episode together with mystery outside the innate question, ‘Who calls next week?’ I’d also like, with the broadened scope of physical production back on the cards now I’m back in Australia, to explore the lives of the callers before and after some more, so we get a sense of the context of their choices outside of strictly dialogue — which I’d also like to improve.
In the Christmas special, I also changed the title sequence music as I felt the original was too aggressive. Along that vein, I’d like to upgrade the show’s visual presence through stronger production design of the various on-screen elements — which would allow us to show, for example, scrolling through Retcon’s endless Archive of networked folders on screen — and add moving background assets rather than just still imagery.
Retcon is my third web series and, while it’s a huge step up from the previous two, I still have a lot to learn about the episodic craft and I’d like to learn as much as I can from those more experienced than me so I can take them into a career in television in the future.