Ever heard the saying, “If these walls could talk”? Well, if the walls of a police interrogation room could speak up – they’d probably reveal a lot.

Louisiana-based filmmakers (and real-life brothers) King Jeff and Gorio of JeTi Films have created a new anthology series called, Tales from the Murder Room, which chronicles activities inside a single room all related to various murder cases. Currently streaming on Amazon, the unconventional series includes four 15-minute episodes revolving around different murder cases and the individuals being questioned in a particular interrogation room.

The project marks the first time the brothers have ventured into the episodic landscape, but they are a well-established, award-winning team on the indie film scene. Their films have screened at festivals all over the country and include the titles: Bang, The Murder Men, Grip: A Criminal’s Story, Shallow Creek Cult and Zombie Bite. Additionally, King Jeff co-exec produced Bayou Maharajah, based on the life of New Orleans piano player James Booker; was the first filmmaker inducted into the Louisiana Division of the Arts Artist Roster; and earned accolades from the Mayor for his efforts to help young filmmakers.

I recently caught up with King Jeff and Gorio to find out more about Tales from the Murder Room.

What can you tell us about your new digital series Tales from the Murder Room?

King Jeff: In the series, Tales From The Murder Room is the name of a crime novel that is read by a different person at the beginning of every episode. These opening scenes are shot in color and when the book is opened the stories flash to black & white and we are now watching what the reader is reading about, which are homicide detective interrogations and interviews taking place in a Louisiana police station interrogation room called ‘The Murder Room’, because all of the stories involve murder in some way. What is special about these sequences is that we will never leave the interrogation room, not for flashbacks, other locations…never. When the black & white story is over we flash back to the color scene of the reader closing the book. The end.

Gorio: What he said.

Where did you get the idea for this Detective anthology?

Gorio: Originally, we were contemplating doing a science fiction/horror series using the same format as the detective series, but instead of murder, the stories would center on extraterrestrial sightings and alien abductions. But it’s difficult coming up with those types of stories consistently, so the idea was changed to a modern day detective series.

King Jeff: The disparity being that stories about murder are far easier to write about than stories about alien encounters. There are many ways to kill human beings, as our opening credit animation suggests, but only one way to probe them. It sounds funny, but that was the deciding factor.

Any interesting stories from the set you can share with us?

King Jeff: Besides acting in the series, Gorio and I wear many other hats, such as writing, producing, directing, cinematography, editing, music, etc. If there is a problem we have to fix it. An example of that would be in episode one’s book reader segment, the book reader was supposed to be a young woman, but on 2 separate filming days we didn’t have a committed actress for the part, so instead of waiting I got the idea to change the character to a man, which allowed me to play the part instead. However, I didn’t want my face to be seen in the scene, because I also play Homicide Detective Jerry July in the series, so I covered my face with bandages and put my finger in a splint to give the appearance of a man who was in some sort of accident. The idea worked so well that I did it again in episode 4, but this time I played a masked bug exterminator. This also helped to keep the budget down. For fun, in the closing credits, I put a question mark instead of my name for the person who played the reader in those 2 episodes.

Gorio: On the first day of filming, mid-way through, there was a problem with the camera so we had to halt production and resume at some other time. Since my brother Jeff has the patience of a humming bird when it comes to getting back on track filming wise, he bought 2 additional cameras and sent the other one off for repairs. We were able to resume filming the following weekend. This turned out to be a blessing, because we now have 3 cameras and on occasion we film with 2 cameras, which cuts down the hours of filming on the set drastically.

What do you hope audiences will take away after watching?

King Jeff: Since we film all the black & white scenes in the one room, we find creative ways to make the audiences feel as though they somehow left the room. This is done with visual effects like muzzle flashes and sound effects like people screaming, car crashes and sirens. I hope audiences will say “Man, that was the most original and interesting series I’ve ever seen. The interesting stories and characters all differently handled in each episode. I can’t wait for season 2”.

Gorio: I want the audience to say that it is a great idea and each episode gets you in and gets you out. Great stories don’t necessarily have to linger to be great. It’s like listening to an old song where they would quickly tell you a story and leave you wanting to hear another story. All the stories are so unique as well as the reader segments. It’s like two stories in one. I think people will like the style of the show and I think it is that fresh format that will keep them wanting more.

What’s been the biggest lesson for you personally in creating this show?

King Jeff: The most important lesson that I’ve learned is just because we film in one room doesn’t mean we’re limited to what we can do. There’s a lot that can be done to keep the scenes interesting. We have office noises and traffic sounds in the back ground to give it all life…and with the special visual and sound effects tossed in, we’re only as limited as our imagination. And my imagination has no limit.

Gorio: The lesson is that it’s not just about filming a series. You have to look at the success of it through a complete business plan. It starts with your ideas, and time management to implement your ideas. Then you focus on the advertisement, websites, commercials and social networks and personal contacts which is all part of marketing now. Everything is important because if you don’t take any one of those elements seriously it may drastically hurt your progress. Then you may have a great idea that the world will never see.

Anything else coming up from JeTi Films we can watch for the near future?

King Jeff: First we’ll start filming on season 2 of Tales From The Murder Room in the next three months or so. After that I would like to start filming on a sci-fi feature film that I wrote. I’m also contemplating a Tales From The Murder Room feature. We’ll figure it all out in the coming months and then start pre-production on whatever we decide.

For more about Tales from the Murder Room visit: www.TalesFromTheMurderRoom.com or Amazon.com
Fore more about JeTi Films visit: www.JeTiFilms.com
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