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Ohio State alumnus parodies devil’s deeds in new show

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A scene from 'Devil's Couriers,' a web series created by OSU alumnus Shane Cibella. Credit: Screenshot of 'Devil's Courier' season one

A scene from ‘Devil’s Couriers,’ a web series created by OSU alumnus Shane Cibella.
Credit: Screenshot of ‘Devil’s Couriers’ season one

Delivering the word of God is the work of disciples. Delivering the word of Satan, apparently, is the work of a motorcycle gang. 

Shane Cibella, a 2004 Ohio State alumnus, has lightly parodied the popular FX show “Sons of Anarchy” — which follows the lives of members in a motorcycle club — in the online series “Devil’s Couriers.”

The emphasis is on the “lightly,” though. In Cibella’s opinion, he said, “Devil’s Couriers” stands alone. 

“If you watch (‘Sons of Anarchy’), you get a little bit more of the inside jokes,” Cibella said. “If you don’t watch the show, it doesn’t really matter because you can just still follow what’s happening.”

“Devil’s Couriers” blends the action of “Sons of Anarchy” with the humor of Comedy Central’s “Workaholics,” according to the show’s website.

In season one, The Devil’s Couriers Motorcycle Gang battles scooter-riding hipsters for control over an underground male enhancement market located in a retirement community.

Cibella said it wasn’t difficult finding cast and crew for the production of “Devil’s Couriers.”

“We had a casting session with a huge turnout, and we also had John Walcutt, the guy who plays Henry (in ‘Devil’s Couriers’) … his résumé is just outstanding,” Cibella said.

John Walcutt has played roles in 2006’s “Little Miss Sunshine,” 1997’s “Titanic” and 1998’s “Mulan.”

With season one up in full on YouTube and the show’s site, “Devil’s Couriers” is gaining momentum.

“We are now partnered with YouTube, so we’re actually able to use the YouTube studios in L.A.,” Cibella said. “So we can use their editing suites, we can use their green screens.”

Where season one of Devil’s Couriers asked for $1,000 on a Kickstarter page, season two’s Indiegogo site’s goal is $40,000, with more funding coming from private investors.

“Each season (from now on) is gonna be roughly around $100,000 to produce,” Cibella said. “A lot of season one was self-funded. Our plan is to actually take season one … and crowdfund on a larger scale for season two and combine those into a feature film. It’s a way for us, independently, to create what feels like a bigger budget feature film.”

Season one of “Devil’s Couriers” times in at about 43 minutes of content.

The Devil’s Couriers Indiegogo site had amassed more than $18,500 as of Sunday evening.

The digital age has yet to slow its conquest over the way television in developing, and Cibella is among those on the frontlines of introducing a newer version of the small screen.

As if YouTube wasn’t commanding enough attention, the 2007-08 Writers Guild of America strike led to a shift in the systems of film and television. Essentially, the actors have become the writers.

“I think a lot of people decided to write their own material — because digital media was coming out with a lot of web series that were being released — to get noticed,” said Cibella, who majored in business while taking theater electives outside of OSU acting classes.

During the strike, many agencies stopped production while bigger names continued work.

“You almost had to create your own path if you’re able to,” Cibella said.

The entire movie and television industry in Los Angeles is moving toward the digital media realm of entertainment, Cibella said.

“(Digital media is) really like the minor leagues for TV series now and it’s kind of where a lot of ideas have started and they’re getting pulled up (by bigger companies),” Cibella said.

Jared Gardner, director of Popular Culture Studies at OSU, has seen a couple of episodes of “Devil’s Couriers” and was impressed by its production values. 

“Once it gets rolling, quite funny,” he said in an email. “It has its limitations being so closely tied to its parody subject ‘Sons of Anarchy’ so I am not sure how much there is to do with it going forward … but for a web series, it is strong.”

“Devil’s Couriers” is still growing its fan base, and Cibella is looking to spread the web series as far as possible.

“I hope people check out season one (of Devil’s Couriers) — especially Ohio State fans — because I went to Ohio State and it’s kind of how I started, how I learned everything and it’s really healthy with integrating into L.A. because Ohio State is such a big school,” he said. 

“You kind of have to create your own name at Ohio State. Otherwise you get lost in the map and I think it’s kind of helped me in Los Angeles because when you come out here so fast and there’s so many people, how do you go above that and create a name for yourself?”

Devil’s Couriers season two will appear at the Chicago Comedy Film Festival and the show has an app for Androids and iPhones.

As for season two of the YouTube series’ rivalry between hardcore biker gangs and snotty, vespa-riding hipsters, Cibella said, “It’s gonna get pretty wild.”

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