On The Comedy Rich Web, An Elite Group Of Dramas Break Through, These Are Their Stories
The creators of web series "Anyone But Me," "The Bannen Way," and "Robert Townsend's Diary of a Single Mom"--and the web sites that host them--talk about the challenges facing online shows that aren't all about laughs LOLCats.
Dina Kaplan, a co-founder of blip.tv, says she thinks it may take one to two years for drama to really make a splash online. She offered her perspective on four keys to making online drama click.
Unlike television, it’s hard to promise or predict the amount of eyeballs necessary to recoup production costs from shooting a drama. “It's been harder for scripted dramas to succeed because their costs are higher making the margins for profit slimmer,” Kaplan says. “The successful series are riding the margins. We need a little more time for more money to flow into the market.”
Many original series post on sites like Kaplan’s blip.tv, which acts much like a television network and shares revenue made from online ads with producers. But there’s also the rare show that takes its content straight to the big boys for a deal. Take the creators of the hit Crackle.com action-packed crime drama The Bannen Way. They produced a high-quality pilot to shop around before landing a deal with Sony, which eventually led to 13 million streams of the show on Sony's Crackle site.While it’s unclear whether or not there will be a second season, the first season is available on DVD and there are murmurs of developing it into a television series.
Up and Comers: Web Series on Their Way
Monday, June 27, 2011
These days, production companies are pouring actual money and talent into web series. As a result, there are more webisodes hitting the Internet daily -- and it can be pretty hard to keep up. This article represents a (paltry, desperate, probably doomed-to-failure) attempt to do so.
Keep in mind, you can't actually watch some of these web series yet. While one has already released an episode or two, the others highlighted here have nothing but publicity photos and teasers available.
But if you keep checking back, maybe you'll be the cool kid who sees the new webisodes first! You know, if that's your thing.
Leap Year (episodes airing now)
Have you been laid off? Do you want to watch a web series about layoffs happening to other people? Of course you do!
In Leap Year, the five main characters don't sit around and moan while collecting unemployment like normal, sane laid-off people. Nope, they start businesses and then enter a contest for $500,000. The money is promised to them by "a mysterious stranger with an exorbitant amount of money" who somehow has access to their office.
OK, so it's not the most realistic depictions of unemployment. Still, the series, written by Yuri and Vlad Baranovsky and sponsored by Hiscox Insurance, is kind of entertaining. Also, I'm jealous about the money. If nothing else, Craig Bierko is in it!
LoveMakers (episodes maybe coming soon)
Check out the trailer for this potential web series: http://lovemakers.tv
Look familiar at all? It's the same creators as Leap Year. Only this one's about a dating service that provides way more assistance to clients than most.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, the preview trailer is all that exists. There hasn't been any recent mention of the series happening. And the main people involved are off doing Leap Year.
Too bad. The trailer is cool, and this is supposed to be a web series with 30-minute episodes, a much-needed variety.
Maybe it will turn up someday!
Do any of these new web series look interesting to you? What do you think could make the series a success? Leave a comment below with your opinions!
Critic's Notebook: Web TV is just waiting to click
Online television has yet to catch on like the traditional format, but it's just barely getting started and hubs like Hulu, Crackle and Koldcast point to a wide-open future.
By Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
June 26, 2011
Kiefer Sutherland, the star of "24," and John Hurt, the eminent British thespian, recently joined forces, playing opposite each other in "The Confession," a sort of short feature about a hit man and a priest. I say "sort of" because "The Confession" was created specifically to go online, in installments — there are 10 of them, averaging about seven minutes each; they ran from the end of March to the beginning of May on the video-streaming website Hulu. So it is a sort of television series as well, though one whose entire season lasts in the aggregate not much more than an hour...
Nevertheless, as improving varieties of streaming media become an increasingly popular way to watch what once could be seen only on an actual television set or in a theater, distribution points such as Hulu have begun to act as networks or studios. (Hulu, which has just been up for sale, is actually owned in common by several of them.) Sony Pictures' Crackle has some of the Web's flashier offerings, including "The Bannen Way," with its wiseguy con-man hero, stylish split screens and hot-girl assassins; "Angel of Death," penned by comic-book writer Ed Brubaker, with Zoe Bell ("Tarantino's #1 stunt woman") as a hired killer who acquires the compulsion to kill her old masters; and the sci-fi "Trenches," picked up from Disney's now-defunct Stage 9 Digital, which sports impressive "Battlestar Galactica" special effects. All have completed their single seasons but remain available for download in the timelessness of the Web.
NOMINATED FOR TWO BEST ONLINE PROGRAM – DRAMA
The Bannen Way - Episode "The Prep Day"
Created & Written by
Jesse Warren & Mark Gantt
Executive Produced by
Mark Gantt & Jesse Warren
Directed by Jesse Warren
Suite 7 - Episode "Company"
Written by Yuri Baranovsky
Executive Produced by Wilson Cleveland
Directed by Mark Gantt
Nominees of the 2011 Rockies Program Competition announced!
After reviewing over nine-hundred entries from around the world, our international juries have singled out the best programs and projects from the past year. Winners will be announced at one of three special Rockies awards ceremonies taking place during the Festival.
Will ‘LoveMakers’ be the First 30-Minute Web Series Hit?
A half hour web show. It’s a simple premise. It makes sense. You don’t want to sit down after a long day at work and watch four minutes of something. You want to relax and engage in a passive entertainment experience that at most requires your active participation in scrolling to the next episode and hitting play once every 22 minutes.
And the reason I say a 30-minute web show makes sense isn’t simply intuition supported by hypothetical, anecdotal evidence. Hard facts show online video consumers seem to be ready for a half hour web show, too.
Lunch time used to be web TV primetime, but in the past two years peak online video viewing hours have shifted from Noon – 3PM to 8PM – 11PM. Viral videos and uber-short-form web series haven’t gone out of vogue, it’s more that a combination of technology, content quality, and exposure to the medium has made consumers more comfortable watching web TV at home than during their lunch breaks or when they should be working on TPS reports.
But even if the market’s ready for it, executing a half hour web show is the tough part. You need a premise with long enough legs that it can sustain a full season of 30-minute episodes, a killer cast, a web savvy production company, and a talented crew that can create something that looks at least as good as what you can find on Hulu, but for a fraction of the cost.
LoveMakers just might be able to pull it off.
Suite 7 - Review
Good in Bed - directed by MARK GANTT written by SUSAN MILLER starring EDDIE MCCLINTOCK & JAIME MURRAY
You might not expect a Web series produced as a promotional tool for the Better Sleep Council to be very interesting, but “Suite 7” at MyLifetime.com is worth checking out. The free-standing episodes — the sixth of seven goes up on Friday — all revolve around the same bed, situated in the hotel suite of the title.
What the council’s money has bought is the participation of recognizable performers like Milo Ventimiglia (“Heroes”) as a skeptical best man and Illeana Douglas as an actress on location debating whether to have sex with her co-star. (Mr. Ventimiglia also directed his episode, while Ms. Douglas wrote hers.) Best, so far, is the more sober, 11-minute “Good in Bed,” starring Jaime Murray (“Dexter”) and Eddie McClintock (“Warehouse 13”) as a divorcing couple brought together, for a moment at least, by that magical bed. (YES... THIS IS ONE OF THE EPISODES I DIRECTED!)
The NATPE trade show is for the second year recognizing digital contributions to the content biz, honoring a handful of companies and personalities at its upcoming confab in Miami.
AOL, IKEA, the LXD, Control TV and Gary Vaynerchuk will be recognized as "Content Innovators" on the last day of the market Jan. 26.
The so-called Digital Luminary Awards will be handed out in partnership with Tubefilter.
NATPE president-CEO Rick Feldman said Wednesday the awards acknowledge "the innovative people and companies who serve as catalysts for the digital content revolution."
Recipients will be feted during a reception hosted by Mark Gantt of the Bannen Way at the confab's central location, the Fontainebleau Resort. The 5 pm event will also be streamed live on the NATPE website.
Several other actors also have signed on for 'Suite 7,' which is sponsored by the Better Sleep Council and will be distributed online by Lifetime via MyLifetime.com, Hulu and others.
NEW YORK -- Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Craig Bierko (Damages), Shannen Doherty (Charmed), Illeana Douglas (Entourage), Brian Austin Green (Desperate Housewives), Eddie McClintock (Warehouse 13) and Jaime Murray (Dexter) are among the Hollywood names that will star in Suite 7, a seven-episode branded web series to debut Dec. 17.
The show, to be distributed online by Lifetime via MyLifetime.com, Hulu and others, is sponsored by the Better Sleep Council, the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Assn., to heighten awareness of the important role proper sleep plays in health and well-being.
Suite 7 is the latest sign that entertainment industry talent is increasingly taking to branded entertainment. The show was developed in collaboration with marketing/PR agency CJP Communications, whose branded entertainment arm CJP Digital Media is producing.
Each week, the web series will see a new couple -- newlyweds, divorcing couples, best friends, business partners, co-workers or even total strangers -- check into Suite 7 and unpack personal baggage.
The series' seven writers include Bierko and Douglas, and its five directors include Doherty and Ventimiglia.
Also involved in writing or directing roles are Susan Miller (The L Word, Anyone But Me), Mark Gantt (The Bannen Way), Tony Janning & Sandeep Parikh (The Legend of Neil), Wilson Cleveland (The Temp Life) and Michael Kang (Easy to Assemble).
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Mark begins shooting lead role in THE SECOND REGION OF NIGHT, written and directed by Antoni Sole. Shooting in Barcelona, Spain.
Begin shooting HIDDEN IN THE WOODS in Houston, Texas opposite William Forsythe.
On panel for SAG-AFTRA's Liferaft with Yuri Baravovsky, Ian Moffit, Helena Santos and Zadi Diaz.
Shooting Pilot D-TEC, a series for new second screen technology Samsung.
Begin shooting THE NIGHT VISITOR. Produced by Mark Gantt, Directed by Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and starring Brianne Davis, Gary Cairns, Tara Buck, Jennifer Blanc-Biehn and Mark Gantt.
Booked new feature film HIDDEN IN THE WOODS. They are shooting the English Language version with Michael Biehn.
Final day of shooting on WHOA! with Taryn Southern, Linda Blair and Leslie Jordan.
First season of new digital series THE INN launches. Created by Steve Silvmeran and stars Crystal Chappell and myself. I come towards the end of this season.
Shooting great film with Joe Penna again. Very excited about this project!
JANUARY 19 - 20
Shooting pilot presentation for new digital series WHOA! Created by Scott Richter, starring Linda Blair and myself!
Shooting scenes from new feature film FINDING CALI
Alexis Boozer wins Best Overall Actress
Begin shooting new digital series THE INN opposite Crystal Chappell (Days of Our Lives, Guiding Light, Venice the series)
Created by Steven Silverman (Pretty The Series)
First Glance Film Festival - Philadelphia
I won BEST DIRECTOR for DONOR!
Speaking at the 2nd Annual
Shooting new TV Series BLUFF in Calgary, Alberta created by Jewelle Colwell
Shooting new series MERIDIAN by Joe Penna (MysteryGuitarMan) with Orlando Jones. Yeah I'm playing that douchy office manager.
Producing new online series
Created and Executive Produced by Sybil Temtchine & Steve Peros
Directed by Perry Andelin Blake
Executive Produced by Mark Gantt
Starring: Sybil Temtchine, Dennis Dugan, Frank Coraci, Eric Avari, Gwendolyn Yeo, Mark Gantt, Brianne Davis and Michael Lerner
Completed shooting Pilot Presentation THE PROGRAM that I produced and starred in.
Created by Matt Lutz, Directed by Dylan Mulick
With Robert Forster, Kate Siegel and Brett Fliesher
Attending AMONG FRIENDS screening at Universal City
Shannen Doherty honored for Best Individual Performance from the 2012 Webby Awards in the SUITE 7 episode "Company" that Mark directed. Episode was written by Yuri Baranovsky and stars Shannen and Wilson Cleveland.
SECRET PROJECT REVEALED - I'm shooting HUNGER GAMES fan film STAR SQUAD playing Dr. Aurelius.
Shooting a few episodes of new digital series.
|Producing & Monetizing Web Series, Mobile Video & eBooks Through Social Media
Full if spectacle, story and lots of emotion Apple’s Holiday Video has gone viral and is a great way to end the year.
Look at Your Old Videos
I’ve been working on some new enhanced eBooks and in doing so I found a French Maid TV video that I had produced but never posted. So I made it available.