We chatted to Deric Jackman about Mysteries Of Kruger Mansion, an upcoming animated reality competition mystery series.
Following on from a previous Blu Productions project… comes Mysteries of Kruger Mansion! We chatted to creator/showrunner Deric Jackman about his vision for the upcoming show, background in storytelling and much more!
Read on below for the condensed, transcribed interview with Deric. Or, check out the video version on our YouTube channel, linked below.
You’re the creator/showrunner of The Mysteries Of Kruger Mansion, an upcoming animated competition series on YouTube. Would you say you’ve always been interested in storytelling?
Deric Jackman: That’s a great question. When I was a kid, I grew up on movies and loved thriller movies. I fell in love with scary movies pretty fast when I was young. I loved how relatable they were and how much they would make me feel something.
Through that, I fell into video production. I got my very first miniature camcorder – it was crummy and crappy. Then, I got introduced to what YouTube used to be and fell in love. I thought it was so cool, watching all these home videos. I fell into claymation, lego animation and stop-motion.
Eventually, I started filming videos with my friends and one thing led to another. I took a break for a while, came back and dabbled in acting & voice acting. Then, I fell into show running animation.
How would you describe the Kruger Mansion premise to anyone unfamiliar?
Deric Jackman: The genre is a dark thriller mystery. It follows 14 young adults who get cast on a reality television show. They come from all throughout the United States of America, from Maine to California. They get placed in a ‘haunted mansion’ where they compete in challenges and uncover specific mysteries that tell them about the history of the sinister estate they’re in.
However, based on each challenge’s outcome, some will rise to the occasion. Others will not do as well. It determines who leaves the estate. There’s a banishment ritual every single week. Someone gets voted out. The last person inherits the entire estate and all the assets and money from the Kruger name.
Of course, many of the show’s team also appeared in the previous Blu Productions project… how important for you was it to retain as many of the same people as possible?
Deric Jackman: Everyone we work with is so talented. They’ve become so close and part of the Blu’s Crew. I’d say the ratio [of returning vs newcomers] is half and half. With the prior project, we got to know so many great voice actors. They were transferred into The Mysteries Of Kruger Mansion, they fit our expectations for specific characters.
We also had auditions 8-9 months ago and brought on quite a few new people. They’re extremely talented as well and added to the dynamic. Not only the series but also the Blu’s Crew family. It’s just been a delight working with everyone.
The show combines many elements – reality competition, suspense and animation to name a few. How much of the process has been a learning experience for you and the Blu Productions team?
Deric Jackman: Everything has been a learning experience. It has been so fun at the same time. We’re all growing together. No one has any more experience than anyone else. It’s a constant process of growth and progression.
With that being said, there are times when I am stumped. I research and process what my next step is. The hardest part is recruiting artists and animators. Finding new methods and how to recruit people as well. We’re not funded, so it’s been a lot of volunteer work. All of us really start from the ground up.
We’re creating something that almost feels professional. It feels right, as well, a direction I need to go. It’s part of what I need to do in my life. I really want this story to be told and all the help has been so humbling.
How would you compare or differentiate Kruger Mansion to projects in a similar genre?
Deric Jackman: I’ve seen prior projects that began online and evolved. Final Space is an example, from Olan Rogers. He created a pilot of his own and eventually that was picked up. I think Rick and Morty started online as well.
As for what differentiates Kruger Mansion, it follows a basic elimination formula. It’s a popular genre right now with Squid Games, reality television. People obsess over the idea of an elimination-based format. There’s a lot of self-sacrifices, the opportunity to tell very touching stories.
You see ethical decisions and morality with specific characters in dire situations. It’s a story about forgiveness and redemption. The importance of those two principles. We’re trying to write a story that will make you feel something. It’ll make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel gross sometimes.
While the saying is ‘write what you know’, it’s hard to imagine you’ve gone through an experience like Kruger Mansion. That being said, do you see yourself in any of the characters you’ve created?
Deric Jackman: Every character is a facet of phases in my life. I’m the person who knows myself the best, I feel like. I’ve witnessed and experienced so many different things. Through that, it feels that I’ve been a different person through the many different dispensations of my life.
When I was a teenager, I was more angsty. Now that I’m an adult, I’m like, “What’s the most rational decision?” There are particular characters who are very emotionally based. I relate to them in a sense, I know what they’re going through. I would say I relate to every single character that I’ve written.
In a wider sense, what are your goals for Kruger Mansion in 2022?
Deric Jackman: That’s a great question. Right now, we’re focusing on a campaign: #OlanForKruger. Final Space was on HBO Max for about 2 seasons. I have been a fan of Olan Rogers since he was on BalloonShop, which was about 13 years ago. He eventually evolved into making his own channel and comedy sketches.
In the future, I just really want to work with stand-up people. Olan Rogers is someone I would love to eventually work with. Right now, I’d love to just pitch him my idea. Then, get his take on it because he has experience in that industry. We’ll see if that happens, he’s got his own projects.
In our very unorthodox campaign, we’d love to pitch it somewhere that doesn’t already own a cartoon.
Thanks for taking the time, Deric. Take care and stay safe!
Deric Jackman: Thank you, Conor. I was happy to be here.