Sometimes, the true pioneers aren’t the creators but the people in power who decide to take a chance.
Sometimes, someone decides to roll the dice — and these aren’t regular dice, they’re special, fate-changing golden dice — and do something against the norm. They do it because they like the high risk, high return investment. They do it because the word “no” is the coal that fuels their internal, “I told you so” fire. They do it because like Antonio Banderas in a Robert Rodriguez film, they’re so badass that they snort risk for breakfast.
That’s what we need from you, network people. We need you to start snorting risk.
Look, I get you. I do. I understand that the way things have been done — and I’m speaking specifically about television – have been done for a long while now and are proven to work. I also understand that in a time when the economy is doing a tap dance on a rickety bridge over a river of very hungry sharks, it’s not exactly fun to try out new steps. I even have admitted publicly to absolutely loving many of the products you put out.
But here’s the thing — no matter how you cut it, TV isn’t doing great and, despite the ra-ra of the loud happy voices, the web series genre isn’t either.
Thing is, though, we — the web series people — have an advantage over you TV guys. Namely: we’re a large demographic, we’re ever evolving and we’re just getting started. My little-over-year old niece walks like a drunk holding two teddy bears in her hug-ready arms — but soon, she’ll be able to run and destroy just about everything in my brother’s house. That’s the web series. We fall over backwards more often than we’d like but give us a little bit more time and our stumbles will turn into running that’ll turn into the winning goal of our junior soccer league that… I’ve lost the metaphor.
My point is, we’re growing and we’ll do amazing things yet.
The problem with TV, however, is that you’re stuck in your ways and you refuse to change them. Right now, to get a show on TV, a writer needs to jump through hoop after hoop after hoop after hoop. You’ll hire “proven commodities” to run your shows even if those “proven commodities” aren’t talented. ‘Cause boy, those failed TV credits must surely mean they know something.
So you hire them because you’re afraid to take a risk and because, in the end, you’re one big college drama club — working, laughing and sleeping with one another all over Hollywood. Bringing anyone new is like tearing out teeth with your bare hands and it’s made you smash head first into the wall of the changing medium.
So, again — TV is hurting right now and the web series needs a helping hand to give it a boost up.
And here’s how we shake things up.
We need you, network people, to take a chance, take a chance, take a chance, chance, chance. Look, I am fully aware that most web show creators are terrible. I love my colleagues and I think there are plenty of shows that are good, but many of them — most of them — couldn’t hold a light up to a TV show in quality… you know it, we know it, and even people yelling angrily at me from their Tumblr accounts (see, Barrett Garise? I’m nothing if not loyal!) know it — and yet, the solution to both of our problem is you, network person.
Because, here’s the thing. Amongst the awful — and it’s not just web shows, every art has its large group of awful, otherwise it wouldn’t be art — amongst the awful there are brilliant people, talented people who could do fantastic things if you backed them. And I’m saying actually backed them, not, “here’s a few thousand dollars, let’s see if you can make this web show popular without us helping you at all” — I’m saying, actual support, budget, talent, art direction, whatever — back them, help them, create a show that’ll strike a chord with audiences (think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and you’ll be endlessly rewarded.
See, as creators, we get interactivity. We get entertainment. We get technology. We get what audiences want. We have our metaphoric hand on the metaphoric pumping heart that bangs out the beat of the metaphoric pulse of society. We know what people want — we need the tools to give it to them.
Don’t treat us like lower class citizens. Don’t think we’re useless and don’t you dare ignore this little genre of ours. It’s growing, it’s getting bigger and we’re innovating the hell out of entertainment. So, give us your hand — not to pull us out of the water but to work with us. To help us so that we can help you.
You can save the web series and we can save TV.
I think it’s a fair deal.
My email is email@example.com — let’s start there.
Blog originally written for the Web Series Network — great source for web series-related news!