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Exclusive: One-on-One with Syfy’s Paranormal Witness Producer Mark Lewis

paranormalwitnessSyfy delivers wickedly delicious television viewing that makes your spine tingle, your hair transform into Medusa ringlets…and for those who are sportin’ it bald – trust me, you will grow some diesel sprouts (like my Jacob) from all the chilling entertainment the imagine greater juggernaut produces. First off, let me gush about my love of the Syfy network. I am hooked. I am just like a ‘tween gushing for Bieber…or when I was a kid it was John Stamos. Really! Psst: He still gets me with that grin.

When all the buzz started surfacing about Paranormal Witness returning, I was in my element. It was time for my Syfy Survival Viewing Kit – Diane Morasco style: comfy blankets, a Maglite (the lights are off for all Syfy shows, but one needs to be thoroughly prepared for the bumps in the night…just sayin’). When it was time for the media to talk with producer Mark Lewis about the new season, I felt like a kid on Le Carrousel at Bryant Park. I was so excited to speak to Mark Lewis again, but this go around our timing was a bit crooked. Thank goodness the amiable Lewis was kind enough to juggle things a bit for me to chat about tonight’s season premiere. For all of you new to Syfy…welcome and for those diehard addicts… Snoopy dance with a Syfy twist because it’s the chilling season two premiere.

Here’s the scoop for you newbies:

Paranormal Witness is a cinematic, concentrated, explosive drama-documentary that pulls viewers in with their spectacular visual artistry . The chilling Syfy series adds breath to the factual stories of individuals who have subsisted through paranormal experiences.

Using a concoction of warm first-hand testament, personal photos and actual footage, pooled with gritty genuine drama, Paranormal Witness will transfer you into a realm twisted and curved by astonishing and petrifying happenings.

What vision do you want to bring from your imagination to the audience?

Mark Lewis: We don’t want “Paranormal Witness” to be like any other paranormal show on TV. Our films are not paranormal dramas like “Supernatural” or “Heroes,” the stories you see are not fictional, they really happened to people and are told by the eyewitnesses themselves. It is just that they play out just like dramas – as compelling, credible tales. But, nor is this a reality show, there are no paranormal investigators running round with flashlights hoping to catch something on tape. In our shows you are guaranteed to see every thrill, every spill. So we want our audience to share in the experience of those who have come face to face with the paranormal. Nothing should be left to the imagination!

What fears did you overcome upon filming this season of Paranormal Witness?

Mark Lewis: Despite the fact that I have been making “Paranormal Witness” for two years now, I have to admit, I am exactly the kind of person to cower behind the sofa when there’s a horror movie on the TV. I have done my very best to overcome my fears, and even though I have been involved in every script and every shoot, and I know when every scare is about to come, I still jump out of my skin in each episode of “Paranormal Witness.” The audience is going to see from this Wednesday on that the second season of “Paranormal Witness” has ratcheted up several notches on the scare-o-meter. As I say, these stories really happened, and there is no doubt that this adds a real frisson to the show. Syfy’s slogan for the show: “Scary Because It’s True!”

What elements have you infused into Paranormal Witness that gives it a fresh snap – like a juicy New York apple – that makes PW an edge not replicated…yet?

Mark Lewis: We have really raised the bar for Season 2. The aim this time round is to make every episode not just a paranormal, but a cinematic experience. The special effects are more astonishing, the stunts are bigger and better and the scares …well, the scares are designed to have you jumping out of your chair. Just watch what happens in the premiere episode, “Man in the Attic,” when Jackie heads up to the attic. We have changed the look of the shows – they are darker, grittier, creepier, and so visceral you feel you are right there. And this time round we are working in a lot more real archive – real photos, real film footage, and real audio recordings. But for us what distinguishes “Paranormal Witness” from other paranormal shows is not just the quality of the drama, it’s the quality of the stories. We want to present only the most compelling and the most convincing of stories. And we want these stories to be genuinely experiential – we want our audience to experience blow by blow what our witnesses saw and felt at the time. Only then are we doing our job right!

Have you considered or would you consider shooting in midtown’s Bryant Park at 3 in the morning? The awesome security team will help keep everyone safe – especially the outstanding Arthur and Jones.

Mark Lewis: Hmmmm, wasn’t that where “Ghostbusters” was filmed? Oh and there have been a few fashion nightmares over the years, I know that! We would consider filming anywhere where there is a good convincing story. This season we have filmed in a few of the real locations that our stories occurred. For example we filmed at Fox Hollow Farm, the former home of Herb Baumeister, Indiana’s most infamous serial killer, and mixed this footage in with our dramatizations. And there is no doubt that gives our stories a real edge.

What do you want to tell those (like my Jacob) who have reservations about paranormal activity that they haven’t heard before?

Mark Lewis: I can completely understand why someone is skeptical about paranormal activity. I, too, started out a total skeptic. But I have now conducted about 70 of the 100 interviews for Seasons 1 and 2 of “Paranormal Witness.” We choose only the most credible of witnesses and when you sit in the interviewer’s chair just a few feet away from these extraordinarily convincing witnesses, I defy you not to change your thinking. One hundred witnesses and counting …they cannot all be wrong, can they? Surely something is going on out there!

What 3 elements do you find most chaotic when dealing with supernatural beings who may be misbehavin’ or don’t have the “act right” gene?

Mark Lewis: Misbehavin’ spooks, huh? I know what elements or factors would make me a run a mile. You cannot work on this show and not know the tell-tale signs of a supernatural being in your home. 1) That feeling of being watched….it always starts that way, and then the keys and the wallets start to move. 2) Then you start to hear noises/sobs/screams/voices from the attic/basement, shortly before the shadows start to appear in the darker recesses of your home. It is at that point that you have to remember; whatever you do, don’t go and look in that attic/basement …you may end up on “Paranormal Witness!!!”

Thank you so much to the phenomenal Mark Lewis for this amusing, insightful and thrilling interview. Enjoy your time in the UK. Shout out and thank you as always to Syfy, NBCUniversal, Kelly, and Maxine.

I’m Diane Morasco and I love Syfy…imagine greater!

Paranormal Witness returns Wednesday, August 8 at 10 pm ET/PT on Syfy.

Copyright © 2012 by Diane Morasco. All rights Reserved Worldwide


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