Published: Tuesday, 19 June 2012 14:40 | Written by Christiane Elin
By Christiane Elin
Syfy introduces a new paranormal show, School Spirits, from the executive producers of Celebrity Ghost Stories with Survivor's executive producer, Mark Burnett. The six-episode series focuses on ghost stories from schools and universities. This season the show visits the University of Michigan; SUNY Geneseo in upstate New York; Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA; Sweet Briar College in Sweet Briar, VA; Slippery Rock University in Slippery Rock, PA; and Eastern Kentucky University.
SciFi Vision had the chance to speak with School Spirits executive producers Seth Jarrett & Julie Isogna Jarrett via press conference call. School Spirits relies heavily on first person accounts. The producers found it important to find the best voices for the show. Alumni, faculty, and historians help to substantiate the ghost stories. Executive Producer, Seth Jarrett said, "Some of the voices of the show are people who don't actually want to be found. They're the people who have had, really scary, in some cases life-changing experiences."
The stories featured on School Spirits have a commonality between many of the haunting experiences. Executive Producer, Seth Jarrett comments that, "All of the experiences seem to be connected to some type of tragedy that took place, to people who passed on earlier than they should or in a certain unexpected or violent way."
Tune into School Spirits starting on Wednesday, June 20th on Syfy to see if more goes on at school than just studying.
Syfy Conference Call School Spirits Seth Jarrett and Julie Insogna Jarrett
June 13, 2012 QUESTION: Can you talk about the approach to storytelling in relation to the production value in order to get the most of the stories themselves? SETH JARRETT: Let's see, all of the stories are based on firsthand accounts. They're all students or faculty or alumni. The story is built around their first person storytelling.
JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: And the recreations are meant to illustrate and dramatize their experiences. So we took a very cinematic approach to the recreations that we did on the show. So while these are firsthand stories, we wanted them to feel like movies. So it's factually true, but cinematically, filmacally (sic) visual. SETH JARRETT: Right, we really wanted the audience to be able to go along for the ride. And these are amazing, compelling stories made more compelling by the fact that they're true. QUESTION: And Seth, can you talk about reaching out to Mark Burnett and the potential that he saw in the project? SETH JARRETT: Sure. We had known the guys over at Mark Burnett for a while and had been speaking to them about some different projects. He was actually a big fan of a show that we also do called Celebrity Ghost Stories, and had always told us that he wanted to get into the paranormal space, wanted to get into the recreation space. We had done that before.
And when we came up with this idea for School Spirits, it just made sense to go to him. We had wanted to partner with him on a great project. This is something that he had expressed interest with. So we brought the idea to him. He instantly fell in love with it. And we went to Syfy together. QUESTION: Aside from the location being schools, what sets this series apart from other paranormal history programs? SETH JARRETT: Let's see, I would say what we set out to do is to find multiple voices for these stories, people who could corroborate these stories. It wasn't good enough to have someone, student or faculty sit down and tell us a story. People by nature are skeptical and they want to watch these shows. And again, in order for them to pull along for the ride, they want to believe.
And so right from the beginning we said that all of these stories in some way had to have this corroboration, whether it was a roommate who also saw the same apparition, a historian or a professor who could validate the information that the person was saying. In some cases we checked with police reports, we have reporters on the show.
It was always important for us to bring in other voices who, again, could validate this information. I think many, many of the paranormal shows out there, while they're fun to watch, they rely on one story, one person's voice. And we knew it was always important for us, and especially for the network, to bring as much of this information and multiple voices in there.
So it's not a coincidence that a lot of our stories will be multiple sorority sisters telling similar stories in the house, or roommates in a dorm who saw the same thing. Roommates who haven't actually seen each other for 25 or 30 years, we brought them in to do these interviews, and without a missing a beat they tell the same story note for note. And it's pretty amazing, pretty fascinating to listen to. QUESTION: With all that research and interviewing, how long does it take, beginning to end, to put one episode together? SETH JARRETT: That is a good question. The casting process is a big, big and obviously important part of it. We don't take our (unintelligible) lightly. it takes a while to find people; it takes a while to vet them, to make sure that they are (unintelligible).
As I said, it's so important to the show to have the multiple voices that in some cases we have someone who was there and told the story, and then it may take a few months to track down their roommate or a sorority sister, whoever it is who can really corroborate their story.
I would say start to finish, each of these episodes probably takes about (unintelligible) put together. QUESTION: I'm wondering what kind of response you've had so far from the universities and colleges you have reached out to, and if you've actually been able to film on campus for some of these stories so far? SETH JARRETT: For the most part, the campuses have been cooperative. They've been excited to be a part of this.
Not every campus, but many campuses embrace these experiences. They know that people have been experiencing some of these hauntings over a period of time. And in some cases the hauntings are really deep-rooted in their own history, whether it's the founders of the university or just students or alumni who have been there for a long time.
So we haven't really run into any big problems there. In most cases we'll shoot the interviews with the voices on, or at least near, campus. Some cases we need to bring people in just for logistical purposes, but we always try to go to people, let them be in their environment.
To be honest, recreations are a little harder to shoot on campuses sometimes just because we never want to disrupt an actual campus and our production period was over the last six to eight months, while school was still in session. So of course we try to be as respectable as we can to the actual campuses.
But when we can, we go to the campuses for interviews or to shoot what we can. But the students and the alumni are overjoyed with this. We've had really great cooperation from professors and historians who work with the campus, some of whom are on the show.
So far it's been a good experience with them. QUESTION: When you were going to school, were there any fun ghost stories that were connected to your university? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: Good question. SETH JARRETT: I wish I could remember that far back. With me personally, no. I can tell you that there are several members of our staff who do have some pretty detailed accounts of what they experienced in school. And it's exciting to have them on the show.
But where I went to school in Binghamton, I do not remember any specific hauntings. But that was a while ago and maybe some things have happened since then.
QUESTION: Yes, and we have a list of the six colleges that you visit in the first season, but what's on the dream list of colleges you've heard about that have phenomenal stories? Where would you like to go? SETH JARRETT: Well obviously we did the six episodes for season 1, but in our grass roots research we've spoken to people from many, many, many different schools. A few of the stories that we're investigating right now, Ohio University, Michigan State, Drew University in New Jersey... JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: NYU in New York. SETH JARRETT: ...NYU. You know for us they're all unique in their own way.
I love the big schools, I love that our first episode is University of Michigan because between how many students are there now and how many alumni they must have over the 100 or so years, there are just so many people who have been in these same places, in these same locations where we describe these hauntings. I love that.
But I'll tell you, in terms of that rich history, it does feel like some of these smaller schools like, a Lebanon Valley College or a Sweet Briar, both of them are schools and they're just entrenched in the real history. And in a case like Sweet Briar our spirit is the daughter of the founder of the school. You can't get any more entrenched in the school history than that. QUESTION: When you're doing your research for the different paranormal stories that you cover, are you finding any commonality in the different schools? Death, suicides, tragedy? SETH JARRETT: I would say, yes to all of the above. It does appear that many of the hauntings seem to be connected to some type of tragedy that took place, to people who passed on earlier than they should or in a certain unexpected or violent way; that does seem to be a commonality.
What's always amazing for us, from story to story to story, and again these are people that have never met, that go to school across the country, but the way people describe their experiences; that feeling that they felt, the coldness in the air, the way that they feel fingers on their shoulder because they feel like they're being touched by a spirit.
Whatever it is, it is always eerie to us as we do these interviews that these experiences feel so - they're so similarly described. Almost as if a group of people sat in a room and said, “This is how we're going to tell the story," but these are people that never met and never will.
And that's always been something that's been so fascinating for us, even with the other paranormal series that we do, that it’s hard to deny when you hear these people describe these stories. And they put you back in that moment and describe it, to the note, to the word, almost in the exact same way. QUESTION: When it came to getting leads to take you to your locations, did they come from students, paranormal investigators, where did they usually? SETH JARRETT: Again there's a bunch of different ways that we do it. We have a casting department within our company. And we knew right from the beginning, this was not a show that you cast like a typical reality show. You’re not going to find these people posting to reality casting Web sites the way that you would find people to be on The Bachelor.
We always seriously joke here that the best people for this show, the best voices for this show, are the people who don't actually want to be found. They're the people who have had, really scary, in some cases life-changing, experiences and your first instinct is not to run out there and tell people because quite frankly you don't want people to think that you're crazy.
So we decided that the best way to do this was the grass roots approach - local newspapers, alumni newsletters, school newspapers - places where we could get in front of people who may not be out there advertising themselves as being haunted, but put these things in places where they could see it, and then have them contact us.
And I would say 9 out of 10 times, whether it was through Twitter or whether it was through an email found in a school newspaper, the students and the faculty involved who these experiences had contacted us. And then we followed up with them of course and started the conversation. QUESTION: Do you have any of your own paranormal background experiences? SETH JARRETT: Up until Celebrity Ghost Stories I had absolutely no personal experiences, but just had a complete fascination with the genre, reading a lot about it, watching other shows. Like I said before, always being fascinated that people from such different backgrounds and from different locations would tell such similar stories. That was the birth to origin of Celebrity Ghost Stories.
I would say that most of the people on my Celebrity Ghost Stories staff, including myself, have at least once felt the presence of something. Myself, I felt fingers of a hand touch my shoulders once while we were actually shooting, turned around and there was absolutely no one for at least 20 feet. It was a pretty eerie sensation. And like I said, a lot of other members of our staff have felt something.
But I think it's still that need to find answers, to explore that keeps driving us to do these shows. What I love about the people who are on these shows, and what's really important for our casting process is we don't want people to come on the show who necessarily believe in ghosts, who are out there doing ghost hunts and all of these things.
For us, the most credible voices and the people that I'm most fascinated with are the people who start their story with, “I don't really believe," or "Up until this happened I never believed in ghosts, but after this experience I have to give it a second thought," or "It's now something I need to figure out." Those are the people that you genuinely want to watch and you're interested in where this journey takes them. QUESTION: Since the first show is set at the University of Michigan, why did you choose that particular episode to be the launch? SETH JARRETT: Well, we loved the story. We absolutely loved the story. It has such a great balance of creepiness and nervousness, but also resolves in a really interesting, unexpected way.
I love the fact that this particular story is really rooted in the history of the school. That's always something that's really fun, that journey back in time.
I liked our witnesses, I found them very credible. I like that it was a group of sorority sisters who experienced this together. And quite frankly, we like the fact that University of Michigan is a big school, and a famous school, and everybody knows it.
So it was fun for us. From the beginning it always felt like an obvious choice to launch the series. It sort of had a little bit of everything. QUESTION: The sorority house that's featured, I presume that's not really the house in Ann Arbor or does that house still - it was just 2009, I presume it's still here. SETH JARRETT: The sorority house is absolutely still there. We did not shoot at the sorority house. But it is still there and thriving. QUESTION: So the one that's photographed in the episode is not the one that it actually occurred in, is that right? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: Right. No that was the location we used for the reenactment. QUESTION: And how did you find out about that story specifically? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: That's a good question. SETH JARRETT: Through the same way, through our grass roots marketing. To be honest, I can't remember if it was someone that found us through some of our Twitter chatter or it was in one of the school publications that we reached out to. But we were first contacted by (Caroline Rankin) who is one of our voices within the story, one of the sorority sisters.
And as we started speaking to her, and she told us the story, and of course we realized that it wasn't just her experience, but what was so fascinating about the story is that several women in the house experienced this. We started contacting some of the other sisters to see who might want to participate, and then it grew from there. QUESTION: I was wondering if the age of the university also affected the kind of stories that you got? SETH JARRETT: Yes, I guess we've thought about it. There's no doubt that many of the stories, the schools that seem to have the most stories were the ones that did have the longest histories. I'm trying to think out of the six; yes, several of these schools go back a good 150, 200 years.
We don't necessarily seek out the older schools. But it does appear that through all our outreach, it is the older schools that seek us out. QUESTION: I guess the challenge is to make this its own show, apart from Celebrity Ghost Stories. Going in did you have any idea how you were going to do that? SETH JARRETT: Yes, you know it really goes back to what I said before about having the multiple voices and the corroborations for these stories. Celebrity Ghost Stories works on a bunch of different levels, ultimately that story is one person's account.
Here we thought it was very important, especially for the Syfy audience, that we bring in these multiple voices, that besides just having those great twists and turns of a story and real people's accounts, that the next level of the story telling was to show people who have shared this experience.
So the viewer can watch and say, "Well it's one thing for one person to have experienced this, but how do I explain this second or third person experiencing this or a historian verifying this information, or the fact that this person has the real audio or photos from this experience?"
That extra level of research and corroboration really - when you watch the show it really puts it at a different level. I really think it's a different kind of experience.
And internally we had talked about a show like this for a long time. What we really love about this show, besides the voices, is that it takes place at a time in people's lives, that it’s such a life-changing time for them; going to school, meeting new people, being away from home.
There was such a great level of tension to find stories that existed at this time in people's lives. I mean we've always said internally, you go to college, it's supposed to be the best time of your life, and then the last thing you ever think will happen is that you are haunted. And in some cases haunted by terrible, evil, violent spirits.
So I love that balance. This is supposed to be that best time in your life and it's not. QUESTION: How far back in time do you go for some of these stories? And are there any stories that are so far back that you can't put them on the show because there are no eye witnesses left alive? SETH JARRETT: That's a good question. I think right now our oldest story is Geneseo. That takes place in 1884.
I'd love to do stories that go farther back. And we're always looking for them. Luckily we have not, I don't believe - I don't think we've hit a story where we couldn't put the story on yet because one of the voices was no longer with us. I'm trying to think. JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: I think for hopefully future stories. SETH JARRETT: We're actually exploring a story right now where one of our voices - the story actually takes place in the 60s or the 50s, the back story.
But one of our voices is potentially a 90 year-old woman who was an RA in the dorm when this spirit supposedly passed away tragically. And she wants to do the show. We're working out the details now. So that would be really great for us. And I imagine an extremely credible witness. I'd be very excited to meet her.
So right now Geneseo is our oldest one. But we'd love to go as far back as we can. QUESTION: With Mark Burnett being involved in this project, will there be a visible stamp from his style that is visible on this show? SETH JARRETT: The show was such a great, great process for us and such a great partnership. I think what happened here is that we took a lot of our stylistic experience from some of the recreation shows that we've done, Celebrity Ghost Stories and a few others, and we really, really melded it as much as we can with his story-telling sense. Because obviously in the non-scripted world, no one tells these stories like he does. He really is a genius.
So it's fun for us. It was a new type of partnership for us. We really, really enjoyed it. And I think ultimately the show is a melding of the two worlds, of the two brands. QUESTION: Okay, so when someone watches the show they'll be able to see something from his work there? I'm thinking that it'll stand out or is there any examples you can give me? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: What you'll see is…higher production quality. It has the bigness that you would expect from a show from Mark Burnett. It's obviously not reality competition in any way, but it just feels bigger. The production value is very high and... SETH JARRETT: It really feels like you get lost in a film... JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: Feels like a movie. SETH JARRETT: ...in a great thriller or a great horror film. And he constantly pushed us towards that. QUESTION: What hinders you the most when you're enduring some of these dark forces while filming? SETH JARRETT: What hinders us most? Let's see, like I said, it's so important for us to find credible voices for this show. There is no show unless we have people who come on who we believe. Whether we believe their story or whether we believe that they experienced something that really did affect them.
We take that process very, very seriously. And sometimes that process can take a while. Sometimes we need to throw stories out, sometimes - it's important to us.
And trust me, there have been plenty of stories that have come along where the story is great but there's just something that you don't buy, you don't get, you just - you get a sense that maybe the person came on to tell the story has different motives. And those are stories that we don't want to tell.
So that's the most challenging part of the show. And again, we take it very, very seriously. And I think we've done a good job of getting the right voices and stories on the show. QUESTION: What do you find the most mesmerizing about the paranormal? SETH JARRETT: Most mesmerizing? Well like I said before, I think it's always fascinating to us to do different interviews with people who don't go to the same school, who live across the country, who are completely different in every way, shape or form, and when they sit down and they describe their experience, the similarities are unbelievable.
And even the biggest skeptic questions how this is possible, how they could be experiencing such similar things. That's what really drove me to start doing these shows.
But the other thing I'll say is that people are really genuinely affected by these experiences they've had. These are very often life-changing experiences. And it's not someone who got a big job or someone, who's in a new relationship, this is someone who believes that they made contact, that they communicated with the other side and they believe it and they are affected. And to see someone who has clearly gone through that journey, it is mesmerizing to see.
To see someone who's sitting down and telling the story for the very first time, and they are brought to tears over and over and over in their interview, and they never thought they'd share this, that is mesmerizing to watch. QUESTION: Was there anything that you guys decided to cut or walk away from because it was just too chilling to tangle with? SETH JARRETT: Never. Too chilling? That's the goal.
We think about it this way, we want to be as honest to their experiences as possible. And sometimes their experiences are really, really scary, sometimes they're heartwarming. It runs the gamut what emotions they go through.
But if we felt like they were being honest and they were opening up and this was something they wanted to talk about - if it was chilling then we wanted to help them show it. QUESTION: A lot of paranormal investigation series, they have a dynamic personality as the host, whether Destination Truth or Ghost Hunters or what have you. And I was wondering if you ever considered telling the stories in that format with a host or whether this came very quickly, to go with this documentary and reenactment style? SETH JARRETT: Yes, to be honest we never thought about it once, to have a host. We want the people who have had the experiences to be the focus of the show and to tell their own stories. And we've always felt like anything other than that would feel like a distraction. QUESTION: You talked a little bit earlier about different paranormal stuff that might have happened to you as well. When you're trying to select these stories, you talked about trying to have people that could corroborate and having a good tradition to this ghost story.
Was there anything that just was a little too scary or off-track and maybe a little too religious say, that you didn't consider? Or as far as the content goes you were open to any kind of ghosts or any type of story? SETH JARRETT: Yes, I would say - and I'm looking at Julie because we did all this together, I don't think there was any story that we were not open to. And I think that over the course of the six episodes that the spirits range from a father who died early to evil spirits. So I think we've been open. I think we do cover a lot of different types of paranormal activity.
I think it came down to are the voices credible, and are they experiences that are compelling to watch? QUESTION: Some series will cover a few subject matters in an episode, but you’ve gone with one hour, one school, and which is nice to go really deep into it. Was that also a conscious decision not to split an episode up into two schools? SETH JARRETT: One of the episodes does have two stories. But you're right, five of the six has one story. I don't think we necessarily set out to do full hours. But as these stories started coming in, and as we really took the time to explore some of these other voices, find the corroborating voices, find the professors or the police officers or whoever, to validate some of this information, these stories, they started to grow.
And before we knew it we were looking at stories where we said to each other, "To do this as a 1/2 hour story, we would be doing the story a disservice and we wouldn't be telling the full story."
I think - and I'm super, super excited to be doing full hours because as a viewer of paranormal shows, I hate when you get into a show and you get invested, and then all of a sudden, by minute 14, you're in something else. So I think this will be a great experience for viewers.
And like we said before, it's like watching a film, but a film that's made that much more compelling by the fact that you know all this is real. QUESTION: You've touched just a couple places on some of the stuff we'll see this season. Can you perhaps tease maybe a couple of the stories in a little more depth? SETH JARRETT: For this season? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: Yes. SETH JARRETT: Let's see, did you have a chance to see any of the episodes? Did you see Michigan or Geneseo? QUESTION: Yes, yes. SETH JARRETT: Okay. QUESTION: But if you can tell us in your own words what we have to look forward to, that would be great. SETH JARRETT: Sure. One of the schools is Sweet Briar College. What's great about that school is it's an all-girl school. And that was the one I mentioned before where they believe that the spirit who is haunting this group of women in the school is actually the daughter of the founder of the university from about 150 years ago.
What is interesting about that story is it starts off with the women in the university believing that there is one spirit, a friendly spirit, who is haunting them. And then a second spirit appears later on in the experiences who has much different motives, more dangerous, violent motives, to the point where one of the women is almost strangled to death by this spirit.
Slippery Rock University in an interesting way is almost the bookend to University of Michigan in that it's a fraternity story. And we have several members of the fraternity, and they believe they are haunted by also a violent spirit, a man who about 150 years ago was actually hung not too far from their fraternity. And several violent things occur in the fraternity house. QUESTION: As you look at this, what you've been filming and what we have to look forward to, are there any stories that particularly had an impact on either of you and why? SETH JARRETT: For me I would say I was probably most affected by the story in Geneseo. The focus of that story, his name is Chris. And he really went through an emotional journey throughout the course of this paranormal experience. His experience lasted over a longer period of time.
And while there were people in other stories who were violently attacked, some of those experiences happened fairly quickly. This was much more of an emotional journey. And I really felt for him when we were with him.
And you could see 30 - was it 30, 25 years later - that it is something that is still very, very difficult for him to talk about, and something that will be with him for the rest of his life, and that's pretty amazing. That was a long time ago.
But I think it's easy to see yourself in him. He's just your average student that's trying to do something. And he witnesses this thing and it will not leave him alone and it brings him to this point. So I really felt for him. And being with him was a pretty fascinating experience.
There's lots of scary moments in the series. But that was one where I think I felt the most emotionally connected to him. QUESTION: How about you, Julie? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: Yes, ironically, or maybe not so ironically, I would say the same episode. I [am] involved in making these shows obviously. And when that was completed and we watched the final cut I couldn't sleep for a week, which is not like me because obviously this is my genre and this is my world and we've been doing it for many years.
And I think similar to what Seth was saying, that Chris was just so deeply affected by this and it was so real that it wasn't just an occurrence or a moment or a vision, it truly affected his life forever. And so I think it really got to me. And so I think that's the one that affected me the most.
So again, they're all scary and compelling. But on a personal level, it would be that one. QUESTION: You mentioned earlier that before working on these shows you really had not had paranormal experiences yourself, so why have each of you personally wound up getting involved in what we might call paranormal entertainment? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: Well, I'll go first. Seth said he never did, I'm quite the opposite. I think that I've had many experiences in my whole life and through my life. And Seth and I are married, I don't know if people know that, but the last name is shared by marriage.
So I think that it's not a world that I was necessarily interested in getting into in television, but I think my continual storytelling to Seth about things that I've experienced or that people I know have experienced, piqued his interest. And as a filmmaker and a storyteller, I think that's what navigated him into the space.
So would you say that's accurate? SETH JARRETT: Yes, in the 20 years that Julie and I have been doing this, no matter what kind of show we do, whether it's a docusoap, a reality show, a documentary film, it's always about stories. That's what makes great TV.
So when we essentially learned about this genre and started watching some of the shows, we were instantly pulled in. These were amazing, amazing stories. And these were personal stories, as personal as or more personal than anything else out there. These were life-changing experiences.
When we started doing Celebrity Ghost Stories, the celebrity aspect was almost secondary to the fact that these people were opening up and giving you a look into something that they experienced that they had never talked about before, that came from a very deep, personal place.
We always loved that those stories were about things that they weren't going to tell on The Tonight Show or on Letterman. These were real (unintelligible). And that carries over to this.
And of course we're making paranormal shows, but what makes it so fascinating is that they're stories that affect them. Paranormal or not, these are things that these people carry with them for the rest of their lives. And that was really compelling for us.
QUESTION: You mentioned that there are some people that you run into that you don't believe them. What's the farthest you've gone in investigating a story before you decide, "Okay, we've got to drop this one?" SETH JARRETT: We will go as far as it takes to make sure that these stories are credible. And in some cases we have investigated police documents to make sure that stories that people are telling are factual. JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: Newspapers, historians, any sort of a... SETH JARRETT: Yes I mean, honestly... JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: ...death certificates. SETH JARRETT: ...even death certificates if we're trying to verify information. We, and especially the network, again we take these stories and these voices very, very seriously. QUESTION: Do you have trouble getting people to share their stories with you? JULIE INSOGNA JARRETT: I think in most instances they're writing to us to tell us they have a story.
I think it takes some time to get them comfortable with telling the full details of the story on television because often people think their story is a two-minute story. And then as you really delve into what happens, it's much deeper and much more emotional, and much more intimate. And I think that's (unintelligible).
And some people, quite frankly once they start getting used to the idea, don't want to do it on television. So again, it goes back to them being just (unintelligible). QUESTION: You've mentioned a lot about the credible witnesses and the lengths you go to having a good story, but a lot of ghost stories, when you come down to it it's so brief, instead of an extended story it's, "I saw a mist," or "I saw this or that."
What's the litmus test for knowing you have enough there for an hour-long series? How big does that story have to be in order to make an hour long show? SETH JARRETT: Typically the experiences that seem to work best are the ones that do take place over a period of time. To some degree people need to have gone through some type of journey, an emotional journey or a physical journey.
And you're right, there are plenty, plenty of experiences that people have where they've caught something out of the corner of their eyes, felt something one night and it never came. And those are good and very often very credible stories, but they may not have that arc that we need for the show. Because again we want viewers to be able to go on this journey with the people who had these experiences.
But I will also say that that's where having the multiple voices in the episode really helps, not only to just make the show feel different than other paranormal shows out there, but when multiple people have shared experiences, they can build on each other's experiences, and there's that escalation in their story. So the multiple voices really help us on a number of levels. QUESTION: From a creative standpoint, have you reached a point where you are working on an episode and then you think, "Wow, we already had a shadow person, so now we need to focus on something a little bit different?" As far as balancing that out, is there that kind of attention to repeating certain paranormal conventions or theories?
SETH JARRETT: No, I wouldn't say that we pick stories based on the spirit or the paranormal experiences because it really does feel like, even with similar experiences or similar sightings, different people have different experiences, they walk away from those experiences with different changes.
We try to balance the show in terms of the types of voices. I don't think we would do a show that had six fraternity stories or six stories that took place in a dorm room and nowhere else, just because it's nice for the viewer to be able to go on a bunch of different journeys within a series.
But I think everybody walks away from these experiences with different things. And everybody is going through things in their life differently than other people.
So while Chris did have that very emotional experience in Geneseo from what he experienced, someone at a different point in their life, different location, whatever it might be, they may have had the exact same paranormal experience, but it would affect them in a different way. And that makes it a different story, and worth still putting on TV even in the same series. QUESTION: Because there are so many other shows out there and many of them on Syfy as well, has there been any kind of crossover or interaction with people from the other paranormal series? Have you had any conversations or interaction with any of those people? SETH JARRETT: No, not within the press and the filming of the show. No.
QUESTION: Just casually, though? I mean like running into a Ghost Hunter or a Josh Gates or anything like that? SETH JARRETT: I would say that the Ghost Hunters seemed very excited to watch the show. And they have definitely offered to us that if they run into schools, students, faculty in their travels that they will pass people on to us.
But I think because we've been so ultra-focused in on schools, that there's not as much crossover as there would be, let's say if we were investigating hotels or penitentiaries, or a lot of the different types of places that you might see on some of the other paranormal series.