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Friday, February 6, 2009

New Media: The Epicenter of Creation

When I was in high school - QUITE awhile ago (shut up, you in the back) - my best friend and I wrote, directed and produced a number of quality films. Yeah. Films. On a Super 8 camera. It was quality fare. It sapped our allowance though. The price of film and development made it out of our reach to make more than a few movies. We had no room for mistakes. Things got tense but we never let it affect the art. But seriously, at that time, to produce entertainment was prohibitive for anyone but the Already Connected and Working. Now anyone can create online entertainment. It's a brave new world. And I love it.

Wednesday I went to the Hollywood Web Television Meet Up, hosted by TubeFilter. I was SO amazed to be around such a wealth of pioneering creativity. I couldn't help but be struck by the fact that this was the epicenter of what's to come in New Media. The guest list was impressive. There were executives from Sony, Warner Brothers, NBC, UTA, Strike TV and Yahoo with titles like Content Aquisitions and Director, Online Development. There were actors, producers, directors and techie geeks, all braving the free bar and massive crowd. Pigeon John provided excellent music.

I met and talked with Tay Zonday and yes, his voice is just like that. And of course, who could miss Ruby Ann Boxcar who was gracious enough to share a peanut butter fudge via the microwave recipe with me.

And of course, our very own Citizen Kate. I don't know why I say our very own except yeah, she's been to my house and we're like, totally like THIS.

Now you might be saying to yourself, yeah but most New Media just isn't that great. You'd be wrong and you're not looking hard enough. If you haven't seen Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, you're missing out. Oh and Easy to Assemble. Of course, Funny Or Die has some great stuff. Drunk History is good stuff but please, click on and revel in Palatial Regalia. Tell me when you stop laughing. I'll wait.

I'm sure you wonder how anyone producing New Media will ever make money. Well, check out this sale to ABC Family. For you too-lazy-to-click-throughers: ABC Family has picked up Take180’s My Alibi for distribution on, marking the first major content deal coming out of the community driven web series site.

I have a dear friend who I probably shouldn't name who just shot an online pilot with HUGE comedic promise. Is he going to sell it to a television network? Maybe. More than maybe, quite possible. But I don't think his totally subversive idea could have come up in or flourished within the usual milieu. And in the time it took you to write a feature script, my friend wrote, directed and produced a pilot. Think about that. Cash and carry, baby.

New Media has its detractors and doubters but I'll tell you one thing, being around this huge group of talented story tellers who are breaking all the rules and writing and producing what they want was really thrilling for me. Because it's a new medium that is coming into its own. Because it feels a little like Hollywood in 1925 - things are wide open right now. It's a brave new world.

What does this mean for you? It means the sky's the limit. It means you can write outside the box and outside of the constraints of the entrenched studio system. It means something exciting is happening and you should pay attention. You never know, you might be the next Chocolate Rain guy. Or Ruby Ann Boxcar - mwah - see you at the Streamy after-party!

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Milli Thornton said...

Great links, thanks for the edu-tainment!

'Oprah is Dead' was another great belly laugh. Watching that one right after the first episode of 'My Alibi' was a cultural high.

J.J. said...

Over at the WGA site, Josh Weldon talks about his foray into "New Media," especially Dr. Horrible." Good piece, worth looking at.

Luzid said...

I love Joss Whedon - I keep forgetting to check out DR. HORRIBLE and must rectify that oversight immediately!

As for New Media, it's the reason SAG is entrenched in a bitter struggle against the AMPTP (which has NOT been paying New Media residuals to WGA writers as required by the 2008 MBA). There's money being made right now, yet the studios are trying to pretend -- as they always do -- that there's no profit being made.

The potential for NM to overtake traditional analog distribution methods is the single biggest change about to impact the industry.