May 2010 BigScreen LittleScreen Meetup

by Bradley Jobling on May 29, 2010

The screenings for the May 27th BigScreen LittleScreen Meetup included:

The Tavern

Created by a group of “Brooklyn video producers”, The Tavern is a series of interviews with bartenders who work in the drinking establishments around New York City. The video portion of the interview takes an hour to shoot. When not shooting, the producers leave the mic on to catch interesting tidbits of conversation that might not be heard if the interviewee was in front of the camera.

The first episode of The Tavern screened was Donald, a bartender at Freddy’s Bar and Backroom talking about his interest in video. Freddy’s has since closed.

One of the more interesting interviews planned was supposed to be an 86 year old owner of a New York City bar. Unfortunately, a reshuffle at the last minute left the producers with someone who worked in the bar instead of the elderly owner.

Musicology Smackdown

Belittling her advanced degree in musicology, Dr. Marisa Biaggi uses her caustic viewpoint to review upcoming album releases from artists as varied as Shirley Bassey to Stone Temple Pilots. The tone of Dr. Biagii’s reviews are illustrated in her comment about the Kenny Loggins children’s album All Join In referencing this to be Mr Loggins step into the world of well, pedophilia. Music Smackdown itself is definitely a “turn it up”.

On a side note some of the questions brought up for the Pheobe TV team asked about the rights allowances for the use audio clips for the music being reviewed. Current copyright laws allow only a 10 second clip for a critiques. The Pheobe TV team felt that didn’t provide enough of a sample to make this worth playing and do not include these in their videos.

The Rookie

The Rookie is a branded web video created for the Armor All company about the trials and tribulations of a rookie mechanic working for race car driver Tony Stewart. Being a branded video the content was tightly controlled by Armor All.

In an after discussion, branded entertainment created particularly for the advertising of a product, seems to be leading us back the sponsorship media model similar to the days of Texaco Star Theater and Exxon Mobil Masterpiece Theater. With the expanding means of media distribution, there seems to be room for more than one business model including the traditional advertising, sponsorships, branded entertainment, and pay-per-view. This is interesting given that the doyens of sponsored entertainment, soap operas, are going off-the-air in droves. Should these now pop up online? A new soap opera Venice: The Series was created within the last year by Guiding Light star Crystal Chappell.

New companies are also being created to distribute online video across the web. Yet, the Internet was supposed to make middle-men obsolete, right? When it comes to online video, it looks like new ones are just taking the place of the old.

The Captive

Probably the most financially successful of the videos screened that night, break-even-wise, was The Captive. Winning a 2008 New York Television Festival (NYTF) Award for Best Web Series Pilot, the series was looked at by two networks until finally residing on Sundance Channel.com. The first suitor for the The Captive AMC did not think this program fit in with their image.

The creator of The Captive, Stuart Culpepper discovered releasing a web series on a schedule does not make sense since Internet video is “on-demand”. Viewers watch at their own pace. If too few episodes are available, interest in the program will wane since access to material is limited.

Written Off

Written Off is a web series about a group of soap opera who have been written off of their programs played by a group of soap opera stars who have actually been written off their programs. To the characters dismay and our entertainment, the production crew for the fictional written-off stars are absent. Their foibles and flops are a result of actors trying to be more than just actors within their group production.

With several long-running soap operas such as The Guiding Light and As the World Turns going off the air, this fictional comedy is a light-hearted look at the real-world drama of soaps.

The producers of Written Off Jack and Melissa had been given the advice that it’s easier to sell a program before it is made. This is probably due to the fact that the buyer will have some control over a series that hasn’t been yet completed. Yet, they decided to go ahead with this production anyway.

State of BigScreen LittleScreen

In closing the web video world has progressed within a year where break even has been achieved for some. Real stars are going on the Web and branded web videos are becoming a customary advertising a PR business service. New programs which could not exist before are being produced. Some Web video is migrating to the big screen whereas some big screen media might have to downsize to the small screen to survive.

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