Dark Side Of The Ring Creators Preview Season Three, Discuss Telling These Stories In A Meaningful And Effective Way
Dark Side Of The Ring pulls back the curtain on some of professional wrestling’s most infamous stories in a dramatic and compelling way. Evan Husney & Jason Eisener, co-producers of the show, spoke with WrestleZone ahead of the season three premiere of the series on VICE. The premiere episode is a two-part episode on the life of Brian Pillman, and the pair talked about the excitement of not only heading into the season but the general response and demand for the show.
Evan Husney: “It kind of feels like Jason and I are in this band, and our first demo was cool, some people liked it, and our record was cool, but people were still [discovering] it. And now the pressure’s on for the ‘follow-up record’. It’s awesome just to see the excitement around it. It’s so cool to see, especially yesterday when we unveiled all the stories that we were doing for the rest of the season. I’m always curious to what people’s reactions are going to be, but to be perfectly honest with you, most of the stories in this season are all stories that fans have highly requested that we do and I think this season is very representative of that.”
Jason Eisener: “When you say eight days away, we hardly have time to even think of it because we’re working on 14 episodes this season, so we’ll be working non-stop until the fall probably.”
Husney pointed out that the season will premiere as planned, but their work is still not finished. He noted that they only have four episodes full completed and explained some of the work that is left to finish.
EH: “We only have four episodes done right now, so there’s ten more to finish as we’re delivering them to air. So talk about episode 14, I think that’s just begun its editing life cycle, so there’s a lot left to do. As of a few days ago, we finished filming for all of the interviews. There’s still some re-enactment content [to film] yet, but all of the interviews have been shot for the most part, unless there’s a couple of one-offs that we’ll do here and there, just pick-ups, but all of the principal interviews have been shot. I think I tallied it up and we did 105 interviews this season. It’s like 350 hours of wrestling history.
Eisener explained that each interview runs about three hours, so in terms of archived content, it’s quite impressive. The team will still take that footage and condense it into a 48-minute format for television, but they said there’s no overall formula and each subject is tackled on a case-by-case basis.
EH: “You gotta make sure it unfolds and the story’s there and your aunt and uncle will think it’s captivating. There’s a lot of things you have to do to make sure it’s all flowing the right way. There’s no formula to the show. Every episode kind of gets its own structure that we have to kind of solve like a puzzle and yeah it’s a lot, but it’s great.”
In addition to making sure the show appeals to everyone, Eisener and Husney also have to be sure that the family members of their subjects are approached the right way too. Considering the sensitive nature of many of their stories, Husney pointed out that some people they speak with aren’t as plugged into the show as the wrestling audience is, so they hope to tell these stories in a positive way and want them to serve a purpose without exploiting them.
EH: “A lot of these difficult stories to tell and in revisiting pretty traumatic stuff, we definitely want to make sure that we’re not exploiting that for our show that is somewhat successful now. We want to make sure that we’re telling these stories and there really is kind of a motivating factor and a purpose for it at the end of the day.
“And I think the Grizzly Smith one is a really good example of that. Even though Jake [Roberts] and his siblings Robin and Sam Houston, they’ve come up through a pretty traumatic upbringing, but I think for them a huge motivating factor of wanting to be a part of that episode was to try and help people. If people who have been through similar things, or they don’t know where to go or who to talk to, [this series shows them] ‘This is like what we’ve been through and we’ve survived and come through the other side and now it’s our chance of kind of giving back.’ I think for us it’s really just finding that purpose in some of the darker stories, but also trying to find a way that it can have some function.”
Dark Side Of The Ring’s third season premieres Thursday, May 6 on VICE.