For our latest Indie Beat profile, we talk with director/cinematographer Corey Snyder, who has created and produced a new docu-drama web series called Hitting Rock Bottom, which debuts on April 12 on Youtube and other online venues.
Rob: Tell us what Hitting Rock Bottom is about.
Corey: Hitting Rock Bottom is a documentary style drama about people who somehow got caught up in a life of drugs and crime and their lives totally fell apart until they hit rock bottom, and then had to fight their way back up from the bottom. This show is as much about the recovery as it is about the fall. It’s an intense show but it’s also a hopeful one. Every episode will be based on a true story.
Rob: How did you come up with the idea for this show?
Corey: Well, I’m a recovering alcohol and drug user. I’m five years clean. I first got the idea when I was in AA. They would have these guest speakers come in. People who had been through substance abuse and recovered. We would listen to people tell these very emotional, heartwarming, dramatic stories about what they experienced and everyone in the room could relate. We all felt such strong emotions when we heard a powerful story like that. But it was great to see someone who had come out on the other end telling their story; knowing that he or she had beaten it and lived to tell the story. That was a big part of my personal recovery—knowing what other people went through and overcame. It hit me that those kinds of stories need to be told, because there are so many people out there who are just stuck where they are, because they’re not aware that there’s all this help available and all these recovery sources for what they’ve been through. So that was when I first came up with the idea for the show, but it wasn’t until about two years ago that I figured out how to structure it. I‘d thought about it for years before I got the picture in my head about how to shape it. Once I got format, I knew I could do it, and I felt I had to make this show.
Rob: So this is a very personal experience for you.
Corey: Yeah. There was one scene in particular that I was filming, which included domestic abuse, and I was having such strong feelings while filming it, because I flashed back to an incident when I was five years old and I saw my mother’s alcoholic boyfriend try to strangle her to death. So making this show is a deeply personal experience for me, because I see a lot of myself in the characters and I image other people who have been through this kind of thing will see themselves when they watch this.
Rob: The series is based on the lives of real people. Where did you find the people willing to tell their stories to the whole world?
Corey: At first, I basically cast for it, like I would any other show. Not a lot of people can forward at first, to be honest. Actually, my first attempt produced no results at all. I had decided to give up, thinking that there was going to be too many difficulties making a show like this. But I really felt I had to do this, and so six months later, I tried again, with a different approach. I was surprised at how many responses I got this time. Now suddenly the problem was to narrow it down. I only need about six or seven. It was hard to choose because there were so many amazing stories to choose from. But not everyone had the kind of story that fit the format of the show. The show structure is very specific, so if the story didn’t have certain elements to it, I couldn’t use it, unfortunately. We worked hard to pick the story we wanted to use for the pilot episode. We picked the one we thought was the most dramatic and most interesting.
Rob: Tell us about the show. How far into the series are you?
Corey: The show is serialized into five minute episodes, which will appear weekly. We’ve got the first four episodes ready to go. The first storyline is called “Darryl”. We’re working on further episodes. Right now, however, we’re planning to do some fund raising. We’re in the process of arranging a month long Indiegogo fundraising drive so we can produce more episodes. Hopefully when people see the first half of the season, it’ll be easier to fund the second half.
Rob: Where can we find the show and when?
Corey: It debuts April 12 of this month. You can find it on our website which is http://hittingrockbottomtv.com. It will also be on Youtube. It’ll be on several other venues too, like Quickplay media.
Rob: Any last thoughts you want to leave us with?
Corey: Just that I’m dedicating my life to getting this show made. I’m devoting all my extra time and extra money into seeing that this show gets done, so that we can get the word out there about recovery and hope. I want this to be much larger than just a show. I want this to be about awareness of options and the possibility of hope. It’s my life’s mission and nothing’s going to stop me!
Hitting Rock Bottom debuts April 12, 2013 on Youtube.