Former City actors behind new web series

Featuring three actors/artists known to local audiences, Lizard at Home, a new comedic sci-fi web series, will premiere online at 5 p.m. May 15th.

The entire series was conceived, written and shot in a whirlwind 12-day period in Vancouver. The six short episodes, with their quirky, irreverent and innovative style make Lizard at Home an exciting and engrossing experience, explains writer Joel Crichton.

The story follows Oliver (Crichton) – a young and socially frustrated research scientist, and his roommate Drake, a weird lizard as they unravel the mystery of Drake’s origin.

“Things go code-red-dangerous when beautiful assassin Mirai appears, attempting to kill Drake. It all makes for a cliff-hanging mini-series of time travel, love and cricket salads.”

In chatting with Crichton and collaborator Dustin Clark, who were also joined by fellow Red Deer College theatre studies alumnus Starlise Waschuk, it’s clear the team had loads of fun bringing the project to fruition.

“He studies his best friend and roommate Drake, who is a humanoid lizard,” explains Crichton of his character. “And then an assassin comes from the future and tries to kill him. The rest of the series is about the mysteries of it all spiraling out of control.”

Lizard At Home also stars Johnson Phan (X-Men, Origins: Wolverine, Mortal Kombat: Legacy, Continuum); Waschuk (American Virgins, Three Colours and a Canvas, Soldiers of Earth); Abbey Lee Dutton (Two Worlds Apart, Square Dance Story); Curtis Lum (Dim Sum Funeral, The Vampire Diaries, and Clark (Year After Year, Easy Ways).

Crichton and Clark, who also directed the project, and Waschuk will all be recognizable to local audiences through their superb performances in a number of theatrical and film productions in Red Deer over the years.

They are an incredibly creative team, who have also been branching out in other ways artistically speaking as well since leaving RDC. Crichton said after they had worked together on last year’s film production of Year After Year, which was shot mostly in Red Deer, it was simply time to collaborate once again with his pals.

“After the Year After Year premiere (last fall), I just really missed hanging out and working with Dustin and Starlise. So I thought I’d come out to Vancouver, where they are living now, and just film something. I got here and we had two weeks to do this.

“We brainstormed for a day, came up with a bunch of ideas, one of which was ‘wizards at home’. Starlise was writing them down, misheard it and wrote ‘lizard at home’,” he adds with a laugh. “That was our best idea.”

Things rolled on quite smoothly – and briskly – from there. Support from local establishments was solid as well – the team was allowed to film in various locations with little in the way of obstacles. And filming in a hurry added a certain frenzy to the creative process – but it was exhilarating and energizing in its own way.

Ultimately, as is the case with any film production, they ended up with loads of footage.

“You have to find your way through what will tell the story,” explains Crichton.

Clark, however, finds the whole time crunch thing a bit trying. “I would love to one day have unlimited time – I’ve always had to do something under the gun, or in a crunch or try to scramble resources together,” he adds. “But the episodes are near completion, and when you watch them you think wow, that turned out not so bad,” he laughs.

Meanwhile, Crichton has written many plays including commissions from several theatres across Canada. His work has received many Sterling and Betty Mitchell Award nominations and prizes. Clark also helmed the aforementioned musical feature film Year After Year. He is known for his off-the-wall and heartfelt style of storytelling.

Clark and Crichton can also be seen in their previous collaboration My Roommate: The Cannibal.

Check out the trailer at