Episode No. 2 of web series ‘Culpa’ premieres in Manzanita

From left: Winston Laszlo, a cast member and co-producer; Drew Reid, the writer, director and producer; Judson Moore, a cast member and production assistant; and David Dillon, the Hoffman Center's film program coordinator make sure their projection equipment is working moments before the premiere of “Culpa: Episode 2.”

A private investigator named Ronny Glasswell is hired to track down the stolen skeleton of a man named Edgar, whose widow, Mona, is losing her mind.

En route to a cliffhanger, Ronny is forced to contend with Mona’s dysfunctional family and a retired cop seeking revenge for the incarceration of his granddaughter-molesting twin brother.

Meanwhile, elder abuse, drug addiction and other sordid subplots play out against a backdrop of vivid Oregon locales.

This is the quick and dirty synopsis of “Edgar,” the second webisode of Arch Cape Studio’s low-budget independent web series named “Culpa.”

“Edgar” premiered at Manzanita’s Hoffman Center Jan. 9 and is available for download at culpa-online.com.

“Edgar” — another foray into the creepy, quirky character studies that defined episode No. 1 — takes place about six months after the events in the pilot, which premiered last July.

Drew Reid, the Manzanita-based writer/director, shot the 29-minute black comedy over four months (plus one month of editing) in Arch Cape, Mohler, Wheeler, Nehalem, Manzanita, Portland and Oregon Route 53 — all for approximately $750, he said.

“It’s difficult to make a film with a huge budget and talented actors, but just try to do it on a shoestring budget with volunteer people,” said Judson Moore, a cast member and production assistant from Manzanita. “I’ve just been really impressed with Drew’s ability to direct this whole thing and really produce something that’s very watchable and really interesting.”

Moore is part of a local cast that also includes Cannon Beach resident Pia Shepherd as Mona. For three of the main roles, Reid snagged actors from the Portland Actors Conservatory.

“It’s a real humbling experience just to be involved with people who are really trying to do their best work,” Reid said of his cast and crew. “It’s so exciting to watch the words that I write, which are just cold black dots on a piece of white paper ... They breathe life into them. They really give them form and structure. That’s really cool to watch, man.”

“I’m curious to see what’s going to happen in episode three,” said Shepherd, who was in Los Angeles when the second episode premiered.

With each new episode, Reid aspires to raise “Culpa’s” production values — acting, editing, writing, composition, etc.

Winston Laszlo, a cast member and co-producer from Wheeler, said that “Edgar” represents “some steps forward” from episode No. 1. Reid himself remarked, “I can’t stand to watch episode one, to be honest with you.”

The series “feels like it has the potential of growing into something,” Laszlo said. “I don’t think it’s there yet, but I think that, if we keep at it, and Drew keeps cracking the whip, we may kind of figure out how to do this.”

“Culpa” appears to be building an audience of North Coast residents eager to see the direction the show will take, Moore said.

The first season will consist of five episodes, and Reid intends to produce the remaining three before the year is out, he said.

By season three, Reid wants the show to be available on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon.

“That’s my goal. That’s where I’m headed,” he said.

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