HANFORD — Hollywood has come to Kings County as web series “Les Moore” films locally in Hanford and Lemoore.
The series follows Les Moore, a former theater director and youth drama teacher, as he tries to find a new purpose in life. On his journey of self-discovery, Les Moore brings along some of the theater students he knows.
Local actor Corey Ralston, a producer on the series who also plays its titular character, said he talked with husband and wife writing duo Kasey Atkins and Christa Atkins about creating content for a possible web series.
Christa Atkins said she and her husband wanted to create a family-friendly series that they could watch with their kids.
Ralston said they initially intended just to produce a pilot episode and then wait to see what happened next, but the Atkins ended up writing a whole eight-episode first season for “Les Moore.”
“It’s kind of haphazard and not always the right way but he has a good heart and he cares about kids and he cares about the community and he wants to try his best, even though he’s failing most of the time,” Atkins said laughing.
Atkins hopes the series teaches kids and adults alike to keep going and keep trying, even if they stumble along the way.
The couple has lived in Hanford for the past three years and one important factor in creating the series was using local actors, Atkins said. Being an actor herself, Atkins said she knows it’s not always easy to constantly be traveling to Los Angeles to audition for roles.
“We wanted to provide some opportunities for actors in the area to be a part of the film-making business and do something that was also family-friendly,” Atkins said.
While there were a few actors from the Los Angeles area at the shoot, most of the cast was made up of local Central Valley actors from the Hanford, Visalia and Fresno areas.
Wednesday was day one of the three-day shoot for the pilot episode, which took place at Hanford’s own Hidden Valley Park. In the episode, Les Moore tries his hand at becoming a Junior Ranger.
Ralston, who also works for Dedicated Talent Management in Los Angeles, manages several of the actors involved with the production, including Tarrick Walker and Ty Correia.
Both Walker, 11, and Correia, 13, live in Hanford and have each been acting for about a year.
While both boys agreed it got a little hot during the shoot, they said they’ve enjoyed the experience so far.
Walker said he likes acting because he gets to play different characters each time he’s booked for a job.
“We get to be a different person every time,” Walker said.
While both boys regularly make trips to Los Angeles to attend auditions, they said it was nice that this shoot was close to home
“It’s just fun to do acting,” Correia said. “If this does work out, it’ll be nice to have a job that I actually like.”
Along with Hidden Valley Park, the pilot episode will also have scenes shot at a home in Lemoore. Ralston said shooting locally at the park was great and Atkins wanted to thank the city of Hanford for being helpful and accommodating the shoot.
When complete, the web series will be pitched to various production companies and networks in Los Angeles looking for family-friendly content.
The entire “Les Moore” project is crowdfunded and runs on donations. More information can be found at https://www.les-moore.com/.