Evan Marczynski/The AS Review
When Western senior Chase Cross developed the idea behind “Steve vs. the Night,” he wanted to create something that explored thematic territory that he thought other television shows had never ventured into before.
“I really wanted to make something that had chops, that had some real artistic integrity, that’s actually trying to communicate something of substance,” Cross said.
The show follows the adventures of a college sophomore named Steve who works as a late-night campus security guard. During his nights patrolling the empty campus he has a number of bizarre encounters involving werewolves, vampires and other supernatural phenomena.
Cross said the idea behind the plot was to explore a side of college life that does not show up when the sun is out and classes are in session. The show uses monsters and paranormal events as symbolic plot devices to represent problems that college students face on a regular basis.
“We’ve used vampires and werewolves and these other supernatural things as metaphors for things that college students really encounter,” Cross said. “The driving action of the show is Steve being initiated into this world.”
“Steve vs. The Night” premiers at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 8 in Viking Union 552. Admission is free.
Cross sat down with the AS Review last quarter to talk about the show and his inspiration for creating it.
The AS Review: What do you think people should expect from the first episode?
Chase Cross: Well, it’s a pilot, so they should probably expect just to get a gist of the show. The fireworks come out in later episodes. … I want people to actually watch this with their brains on because I happen to think it has some important things to say, some things that college students ought to hear, especially new college students.
ASR: How many episodes are planned?
CC: The original run was planned for five but we’ve had to whittle that down because the guy who plays Eastwood now goes to the University of Washington.
ASR: How long have you and the cast been working on the show?
CC: It started probably the moment I got back to Western my senior year. Over summer I wrote the script sort of on a whim. I didn’t plan on actually making anything of it—I just like writing scripts—but it came in around 22 pages and I was like, “That’s about a TV show!”
It took a long time to find the people, mostly because there are only so many actors who are free. Western happens to have a lot of productions going on that need a lot of people so I was really fortunate that I found pretty much everyone that I needed.
We shot all through fall and now we’re heading into winter and we’re trying to finish up this first episode on time so hopefully that’ll happen.
ASR: Where did you find inspiration for this?
CC: It actually goes all the way back to my freshman year when my dad drove me home and he said, “Gosh, I wish I could go back to college right now.” This was my first quarter of college and I thought that was a horrible thing for a 50-year-old man to say.
It really just evolved from there, from my own experiences at the university, living the life, walking around campus and just thinking about all the stories that are going on in the dark that we can’t see.
To me, that was another thing, just the campus itself. You have this big space filled with people and during the day it’s all full of activity, but at night it’s just a few people here and there. I always kind of wonder what their stories are and then what if those stories were supernatural?
ASR: Where have you filmed?
CC: All over campus, also in the arboretum, those are the big locations. When I wrote it, I wrote it to use as few locations as possible and only locations that I already knew so I didn’t have to go looking for them. I’ve been here for three years so I think I know the place pretty well.
When I was writing the story I was actually thinking in my head where would the action take place. A lot of the story came out of that.