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Feral hopes to make Dekkoo and Memphian Morgan Jon Fox mainstream

October 4, 2016 - articles - ,

Have you heard of Dekkoo yet? What about Feral? Dekkoo is the relatively new streaming
platform available on iPhone, Android, Roku and Apple TV, etc. whose content is aimed
specifically at the LGBT Community! Feral is the new 8-part series shot completely in Memphis
with Memphis actors that is positioned to be the major publicity hook to attract viewers around
the world to subscribe to Dekkoo. The story is about a group of 20-something- year-old gay
artists growing up Memphis (having been given a sneak peek at the series, Focus Magazine can
highly recommend you start subscribing immediately to Dekkoo so that you can catch not only
Feral, but also all the other extensive library the service has to offer). With the series premier
set to air Thursday, October 6, Focus Magazine was honored to speak with the series creator,
writer and director Morgan Jon Fox.

Focus: Let’s talk about how you became involved with Dekkoo and specifically the creation of
Feral.

Fox: A couple of years ago, I got a phone call one afternoon from Derek Curl who owns Dekkoo.
At the time, Dekkoo was only an idea as a subscription based streaming service (a la Netflix)
geared towards the LGBT community. He knew I was a film director and he wanted me to pitch
him some ideas to be an original series for the company.

Focus: How did he know of your work? Does he live in Memphis?

Fox: No, he lives in New York, but he helped put out my last documentary. Derek is originally
from the south, but he’s always championed my work based on my “southern voice” as a
filmmaker. We’ve often tried to find ways to work together. I pitched him a few ideas and this is
the one he greenlit.

Focus: What is it about this pitch that made him say “yes”?

Fox: I think it was the most “hip” or “current” of all my pitches because it was based on younger
characters (artists) living on the fringe in the south. I think he found that appealing because it’s
not a voice that’s represented that much.

Focus: How many episodes have you written/shot so far?

Fox: There are only eight episodes this first season and they’re going to be released all at once
on Thursday, October 6. Even though there are eight different episodes, all of them were
written and shot pretty much at the same time in an effort to save time and money. For
example, if several scenes took place in a coffee shop, we’d shoot them all on the same day
regardless of whether they were part of episode 1 or episode 5. It was challenging for the
actors, but the episodes are not that long and we were best able to handle it in that manner.
Also, my scripts are about half-written and half-open for improvisation from the actors, so the
prep for the actors was more about getting them emotionally ready for the scenes.

Focus: How long did it take you to shoot the whole first season?
Fox: 16 days! I was very fortunate to have the cast and crew that I had because everyone was
on board with the challenges and everyone understood the way I worked. It was all about
preparation.

Focus: I can’t tell you how amazing the acting is in the series. How did you pull such incredible
performances out of these “Memphis” actors?

Fox: When you’re making tv or film at this level (without giant budgets) I think more than
anything the acting is the most important thing. I just feel like when I’m dealing with content
that calls for realism or authenticity that if the acting isn’t good, it doesn’t matter how good it
looks or sounds. It fails.

Focus: Bad acting takes you out the story immediately, doesn’t it?

Fox: Absolutely! That’s why my focus in the way I work is to allow the actors the freedom to
explore things about their character in a constructive manner until I really understand their
character. I just think that is so important. I can try to do that all day, but the actors have to be
able to “get there,” so it’s not all about me and my technique– these actors were all just so
good!

Focus: Where did you find all these actors in Memphis? Did you have an open casting call?

Fox: I didn’t have time! I really wish I had, but basically I knew that I wanted to work with
Jordan Nichols (the lead) who is a stage actor and, from day one, I was just blown away with
how adaptable he was to acting on the screen. Jordan is well-connected to the Memphis
theatre community and he started recommending people and those people started to
recommend their friends. Additionally, I’d see people at different places like Café Eclectic and
ask them to be in it. There’s not a lot of professional actors here, but the ones I found were
great!

Focus: How did you come up with the name Feral?

Fox: I’d always had this revolving concept about this story of artists in the south, and me,
growing up in Memphis, living in Midtown, working at Otherlands and having roommates that
were artists, especially in the queer community, I’ve always felt like we were people left to our
own devices. Whether it’s biking to get to work or walking the streets in Cooper-Young to go to
the Beauty Shop, etc. In that way, there’s some similarity to being a feral being—just like feral
cats trying to figure out where they’re going to live and who’s going to become a part of their
family based upon the neighborhood they’re in. In so many ways, the people I surrounded
myself with in Midtown became my family.

Focus: How will you define success for Feral?

Fox: My definition would be if we are able to make several seasons. If Dekkoo tracks that their
subscription base has increased due to this show, then that would definitely be a success.
Dekkoo has not done a lot of aggressive marketing for this new network yet because they’ve
waited for this show to be ready to be a part of their network launch. Signs are already pointing
towards a second season and I can’t tell you how excited I am to finally be here!