As soon as Carl Herse heard the premise of The Afterparty, he knew he had to be involved. The series showcases what Herse says is his favorite aspect of his job, “the subtlety of cinematography and how visuals can support a story that changes tone and takes you from a place of drama and tragedy to a place that’s silly and comical.”
“I’ve been obsessed with filmmaking since I was a kid,” he says. “I thought I wanted to be a director… but I kind of realized early on that I didn’t quite understand the emotional side, like talking with actors and thinking about the performance, and I was more interested in the visual side and the technical side of it.”
The Afterparty is an Apple TV+ murder mystery comedy, created by Chris Miller, set at the afterparty of a high school reunion. Detective Danner (Tiffany Haddish) is called to the scene when the body of pop star Xavier (Dave Franco) is found at his home. Each episode has a different character’s perspective on the story, with their own genre of storytelling. The ensemble cast also includes Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ike Barinholtz, Ben Schwartz, Ilana Glazer, and more.
“The main thing that we talked about early on in Afterparty was not only how to have all of these different, unique film genres, but also how there can be an arc from beginning to end,” says Herse. “How can you start in one place with the kind of aspirational storytelling you get with the early romantic comedy, action, musical genres that our characters are telling and, over the course of a season, turn it into something different as we go darker and deeper in time?”
While Herse has worked on television series before, The Afterparty was a completely unique experience for him. “Shooting long-form television is exciting because you create a look and you figure out how to work in that sandbox for the duration of shooting,” he says. “Here, we were able to do so many different looks that it was this really exciting challenge. We started the day with an action movie, and then we re-light the set and turn it in into a romantic comedy, and then suddenly it’s a David Fincher thriller, and then it’s a musical… so that kind of challenge, and ping-ponging around visually, was really fun.”
Click the video above to watch the full interview.
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