If you not familiar with the series (and I guarantee you'll want to go and read them now if not) they center around Allie Sheridan, a school girl at Cimmeria Academy, an exclusive British Private school that hides Dark Secrets. At the heart of Cimmeria is Night School, a Bullingdon Club style secret society whose members are both destined to run the country and mentored by some of the world's most powerful people But when Night School members become involved in a series of student murders, the secret society implodes and Cimmeria Academy becomes a scene of civil war....and I'll stop there, because I don't want to spoil it for you!
Now very excitingly, the books have been the inspiration for a new YouTube web series, and the first of its kind in the UK! Each epidose is less than ten minutes long with one webisode released each week. The first episode is out TODAY (as in RIGHT NOOOW) and a new webisode will follow each week through January, You can see the trailer here:
The mini episodes are great, and each one is sooo different in it's vibe and content that we get to explore so many other perspectives! They aren't adaptations of the books, more short stories that add on to the events of the series as told from different character perspectives. There's also a cheeky little moment on one of the episodes where Carter emerges from a lake, James Bond-esq which I'm sure a lot of people will be swooning at - cue to the gifs! Each episode has a different setting, and one of my ffavoriteswas the school itself (which you can see below)...it's so beautiful, and the perfect imagination of how I saw Cimmeria Academy. I definitely think a road trip is on the cards! Dibs on the tree...tree you ask? You'll see in "All the Pretty Killers" which I think was my favourite episode!
And what's more, after the screening we got to sit down with C J to talk all things web series! So without further ado....
What does it mean to you for Night School to be the first UK YouTube web series?
It's absolutely brilliant!
Why was this the right fit for Night School?
YouTube attracts so many different people, and my readers spend a lot of time on there, so I wanted to be where the readers. It also meant that we could cast whoever we wanted, and do it whenever we wanted. It was also great because we could see so much more of the other characters in the series.
How much new material did you write?
It was all written between myself and my husband Jack (who also directed the web series). I sat down to write and decided to write about Katie, because we never fully understand her. I wrote that episode in about 10 minutes and never edited. It all just sort of came out. And Grace [who plays Katie] really got that character.
[whilst chatting to Grace later, she told us she even started to feel like Katie, and wants to go back and film some more! - We second this]
Did you get to explore elements that you weren't able to in the books?
Definitely. Because the books are first person we only really saw what Allie saw. Here we got to go to different settings, and explore different characters, like in the books Carter is quite Emo, and we never really know why, so we now get to see his perspective.
Have the fans influenced any of the new material?
A little. I know what they like and what they wanted to explore, a lot of which was also what I wanted to explore more, so it was great to be able to do that, for them and me.
Are there any elements of the books you’re particularly looking forward to seeing on screen?
The flashback scene in the school. This was the first scene from the first book, where we see Allie and Mark trash the school. We got to film in an actual college, and we'd set up all the desks and Jack said to knock them all down as violently as they can. Mark was amazing as he brought out this anger in the character. At one point when we were shooting, I was standing to the side of the desk, the side that they were about to come flying at! We used sugar bottles for the cider, which were great fun, but they were terribly sticky!
Were you able to see a lot of the filming?
Yes, I tried to be there for a lot of it, but didn't want to get too involved.
How long did each one take to film?
Each scene took about one day to film. It's all happened quite quickly. I sort of had the firm idea in my head in May and by August we were shooting, and we were even still shooting up until about two weeks ago to get those final shots perfect!
Some of the locations are amazing, like the school, where is that?
The school that we used for the Academy, was called Frensham Heights in Farnham in Surrey. I've seen it before and it was a big influence on me when writing about Cimmeria.
Do you think we'll ever see any spin off's from this series, maybe with other character perspectives?
Definitely, and a lot of is in the hands of the fans. If this does well, hopefully we can look at doing a second season. I would love to explore elements like Nathaniel and Lucinda in London.
[Note to the fans - maybe when we're on our Night School location tour, I'm fully up for making our own fan episodes as additions to the series!
What can you tell us about end game?
It was challenging, I've created this tangled web that now needs to be un-weaved. I've got sticky notes all over my desk with different plot lines and bit of information that might have been from two books ago but only comes into play now, so I’m going to tie up the loose ends - like what happened to Emma. There's still loads of fighting as well. My agent said she cried at four different points, and those were the exact point I wanted her to [So we better get the tissues out]
And finally, if you had a secret society what would you call it?
Ooo. I would probably call it 'IN OMNIA PARATUS', which means 'ready for anything' in Latin. It’s something I'm taking from the Gilmore Girls where they had this Life and Death Brigade, and it’s sort of become the motto for my husband and I.
We Love it! And we've loved watching the web, series and hope you all do too. We'll be tweeting about it each week, so let us know what you think of them! #NightSchoolWebSeries
The first episode of Night School the Web Series based on CJ Daugherty’s bestselling books will be released on YouTube on 12th December 2014. www.youtube.com/NightSchoolBook