Hisko Hulsing talks about making the one-shot series on zoom

Fact is a uniquely trippy series, taking Alma and the rest of her family on a journey that pushes the boundaries of time, space, and sanity. One of the series’ most idiosyncratic elements is the animation, which adopts a rotoscope style to give the characters real human depth while allowing the world around them to shift and change at any time. Directing all sixteen episodes of the first and second seasons is acclaimed entertainer Hisko Hulsing, who infuses the show with an aura of mystery and grandeur while never losing sight of the people at the heart of the story.

During an exclusive interview with CBR before fact Season two premiered on Amazon Prime on April 29, director Hisko Hulsing compared the production process for the show’s first and second seasons and the unique benefits (and challenges) of shooting aspects of the show remotely.

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CBR: It’s such a visually unique show, and this new batch of episodes just takes it a step further. Did you start this season with the intention of pushing the boundaries of animation, or did the look of the new episodes evolve naturally from the story?

Hisko Hulsing: Yeah, it’s still story-based. Everything we do shares the story. The story pushes the boundaries, so we had to push it visually. I mean we’re really gonna [heavy] at times later in the season. The other thing that happened was that we didn’t have pre-production for season 1. Even though I wasn’t working from my own experience — because I was doing everything myself in my original fields — now we had to sort of reinvent the wheel, because we were working with such a big team. So for me, Season 1 felt like building a car while driving it. “Oh god, there’s no steering wheel!” Then at the end of Season 1, it was like a well-oiled machine.

When we got the green light for Season 2, I felt very confident. I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna get into this Maserati and put it on cruise control.” Then, of course, Covid arrived, and we had to completely reinvent our ways. So it was a little harder because we could only work with a very small team on set and with only two actors at the same time.

I was actually directing from Amsterdam, where I live. So imagine, Zoom with five screens: camera, other cameras, different angles. What I want to say is that this team, the animation team but also the actors and the rest, everyone helped the first season to reach a very high level. So the aesthetic level and the aesthetic and technical level of season 2 is much better, in my opinion, than season 1, I feel. Looking at it, I don’t see any errors or things I don’t like.

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It’s fascinating to think about, to try to imagine how you would run any show on Zoom, let alone something as tricky as Fact.

It was possible because it had to be prepared even better. So usually I was going to LA back and forth…I had storyboards, guys on set, measurements because we were shooting in a green screen studio. Because I couldn’t go, and I had to prepare even better… We did previews for each shot in 3D. Then I would communicate with the cinematographer about the previous shot… This way it was easier even because we prepared better for everything, but it was extremely boring because I was sitting two and a half months behind my screen until four in the morning.

Undone returns to Amazon Prime on April 29.

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