The Kyle News Network (KNN)

Check out all 9 episodes here.
  1. What is KNN?
  2. A bit of history about The Kyle Show
  3. A bit of history about KNN
  4. The official KNN timeline
  5. Why’d we make KNN?
  6. The making of KNN
  7. What did KNN teach me about screenwriting?

What is KNN?

The Kyle News Network (or KNN for short) is a web series that aims to bring people all the important news that doesn’t exist. It also dives into the whacky lives of those who run the show and tries to sell you non-existent merchandise along the way.

While the series is mostly made up of random one-off sketches, it does have some continuing story threads such as the bon-bon explosions and Kyle’s battle against the Sith menace.

A bit of history about The Kyle Show

If we go back far enough, all the way to 2009, my friends and I are in High School. We’re around 14 years old. Some of us do a class where get to make a short film. That film we make is called ‘The Kyle Show’. And you can watch that original film here. Fair warning, it’s not great.

But it was the start of something. After the class was done, we wanted to do more. And we did. Over the course of 2009 to 2012, we made around 6 episodes. But they weren’t the episodes you see on my YouTube channel today, nor can you find them anywhere. They were all under ‘The Kyle Show’ name and their quality… was very not great. But what can you expect from high school students making stuff during lunch?

The Kyle Show logo

We didn’t have the best video editing software. I think I was using Windows Movie Maker at the start and then something called Prism toward the end. For the lightsaber FX, we used this free software called LSMaker. I’m actually impressed this one’s still out there. We were also stuck using one of those old video tape cameras, so the recording quality was super standard definition.

Nonetheless, despite the terrible quality, all of the work we put into these episodes was a learning experience. One that fuelled my passion for storytelling and screenwriting, and taught me a lot about the whole process before I jumped into a Film Production degree at university.

A bit of history about KNN

When I was in the second year of my film degree, back in 2015, some of the original Kyle Show team got back together and decided we wanted to do more. We decided to continue the story we began but do it 100x better. And we changed the name to KNN. It was kind of a continuation/soft reboot.

This is where Episodes 7 to 9 got made. We had a new camera. I had access to and knew how to use the Adobe suite. I knew proper screenwriting practices and had Final Draft. We truly were operating 100x better.

But looking back on our old episodes made us realise how bad The Kyle Show episodes were. With all these new toys at our fingertips, we decided to go back and rebuilt them from scratch. We upscaled the footage to HD. We dubbed over any poorly recorded dialogue. And I rebuild all the FX in After Effects.

While Episodes 1-6 still aren’t super awesome (they never could be), they are at least much stronger. But why go to all the effort of rebuilding them for them to still just be okay? Well it’s personal. They represent our evolution and growth as filmmakers. They remind us of some of the best times we had together during High School.

When you compare those first six KNN episodes with the final three we made between 2015-2018, the difference is night and day. Now, it’s almost a visual showcase of me learning lessons and becoming better and stronger as a filmmaker, along with my team.

‘The Long Wait’ is the ninth and final episode of KNN and was released in September of 2018. Why’d we end it? Well uni was over. We were all going our separate ways in the world. New priorities popped up for everyone. We just didn’t have the time or people to do it anymore.

It was after this I decided to step back from filmmaking and double down on my screenwriting efforts alongside this blog.

The Kyle News Network (KNN) poster. Developed by Lone Productions and originally published by Channel W.

The official KNN timeline

Because of its disjointed development, the overarching plots of KNN aren’t totally clear. That’s why I made this handy timeline graphic of the storyline that fills all nine episodes of KNN.

The official KNN timeline

Why’d we make KNN?

As I alluded to in my section about ‘The Kyle Show’, this started out as something we as a friend group did for fun. It was something we created together as a team and each episode we pushed ourselves to try something new and different – the lightsaber duel, the lightning FX, the dancing, the animation… It was a rollercoaster of trying out new filmmaking tools and techniques.

When we got back together again in 2015 to continue making these, the focus became more about telling a story and building a YouTube channel. We still wanted to experiment (we wanted to do a lightsaber duel with the capabilities and tech we had now), but we also wanted to push ourselves to deliver content that was entertaining as well.

Behind the scenes

Given KNN was a hobby, there isn’t a whole lot of BTS materials readily available.

You can check out a gallery of BTS stills from episode nine on this page here.

KNN behind the scenes comparison: lightsaber rehearsal vs final product

Our 10th anniversary video lets your peer behind the scenes with a montage of clips toward the end of the video.

What did KNN teach me about screenwriting?

For me, KNN has always been a bit of blank canvas to experiment and play around with. And that’s no different when it comes to screenwriting.

In the super early days of ‘The Kyle Show’, I didn’t know anything about proper screenwriting structure. Just look at this example below:

The Kyle Show script excerpt

Even though the formatting was way off, I still see all those scripts as beneficial in developing my understanding of writing for the screen. It helped me consider direction and dialogue. And it was excellent early practice in guiding a shoot and the editing process. I may not have been doing any of the things well, but the more you do something, the better you get right?

When we got back to work all those years later in 2015, I knew proper screenplay formatting, I had proper screenwriting software. The whole script department of our films was greatly levelled up. Now doing things the right way, I think screenwriting for KNN helped me continue to practice while studying. It was also great exposure to see these screenplays go through proper production processes with the cast and crew. I got a lot of helpful feedback from not only others, but also myself as the screenplay was put to work. Hearing the dialogue play out was very useful to help better understand how to write it.

I also learnt a lot about writing for an evolving TV series. I would constantly make changes to scripts based on changing narrative directions. When we decided to end KNN with episode nine, I had to rewrite the ending because it originally launched off a whole new narrative.

Looking back over these scripts, I can see a lot of areas for improvement. Dialogue that could’ve been punchier, big print that could have been snappier… But it’s abundantly clear that I was getting better at my craft purely through doing it. It was also very clear the lessons I learnt from my screenwriting classes were paying off too.