Oh, people of the web, why must we fight?
I say, let’s fix the web series genre, you say it ain’t broke, I say prove it, and you say, no it is YOU who are bitter!
Barrett Garese — an ex-agent and full time welder (I don’t know what he actually does now, but I’m pretty sure its welding) and a few employees at Blip.tv have waxed dismissive over my “Let’s Save The Web Series” blog of yestermonth.
I didn’t want to respond too actively or I’d start feeling like I was wildly dueling anyone who came my way. But, I figure the idea was to open up the debate about the industry. Luckily, my blog, to some extent, did — so I thank you all for your commitment to share your thoughts and I’ll lend a hand to row this little boat onward.
So, here we go, row, row, row:
Mr. Garese focused primarily on my “minor leagues” argument. I retracted it in my other blog: Waxing Websodic: Everything is Fine, Nothing is Working — but I’ll reiterate it again: you’re absolutely right, Barrett. That was a flawed argument and I take it back — web shouldn’t aim to be minor leagues, web should aim to be the highest quality possible.
Now that that’s settled, I have a request.
What I ask of you, nay, anyone who reads my blog and yells arguments loudly into this large, democratic space, is this — read and understand my actual points.
1. The web series in its current inception is dying.
If it isn’t, then somebody please, please throw us a lifesaver because we’re drownin’ baby and our branded entertainment commercials ain’t paying the bills or massaging the creative arteries.
2. We have to throw around ideas to help evolve the genre. Is it evolving? Sort of, kind of, slowly, I guess. Will it continue to evolve? Of course. Is it failing miserably right now? Yes.
Absolutely. Yes. Yes. Yes. Listen to creators before parading our victories — we’re struggling and the pigtail-twirling-awe of online entertainment is hurting us. We need open dialogue and ideas to push us to the next step and force one another to do something amazing. Every time people plug their ears and shout “everything is fine!” it hurts us. If it was succeeding, we’d all be living off of it (by we I mean more than 10-15 people).
That said, Barrett, my favorite welding ex-agent, I feel like we’re repeating each other’s points.
Barrett says: “We’re still “filming radio” by making short TV shows and short films because no one’s yet developed the genres of web video which will stand apart from film and television, and define the medium in the coming decades.” While my original post makes suggestions on how to move out of this “filming radio” stage (not in those exact words, of course, but out of its current inception) and asks for others to make their own suggestions on how to evolve the medium.
Okay, sure, I said it with more anger and less gentle fondling of the genre’s privates but still — it’s all there.
So, despite your month cool down hiatus on answering my original post, we are not so different, you and I, Barret. We are not so different at all.
Oh, and, while I’m row, row, rowing:
I appreciate the comments from Mike Hudack, Eric Mortenson and the other Blip.tv guys. The word “visionary” shouldn’t be tossed around lightly, and if that’s the mantle they’ve given me, I’ll wear it to the very best of my mantle-wearing abilities. So, thank you guys. Really. I honestly think that Blip.tv is one of the only companies who is actually doing what I’m preaching.
I am not, however, bitter disappointed. Break a Leg has been amazing to us and our recent network deal should be, ideally, a huge help in our next project. That’s not it at all.
What I am is irritated at the, “everything is okay” mindset of this community. I think it’s backwards thinking, I think it’s masturbatory, and I think it slows down the evolution of this genre. We’re set in our ways because to each other, we’re just the neatest things ever — but the majority of web shows are still poorly written, acted and directed. The very best web show online completely pales in the face of any number of great TV shows — and if we want to be taken seriously, that can’t be true. Budget or no budget.
The reason for me writing the original article was to get people thinking. To get people to drop “everything is okay” and start thinking, “okay, how do we keep getting better?” It was a call to arms. A demand to break the status quo, a shout to call on artists to continue pushing this art’s boundaries instead of patting one another on the back and politely asking if they’d like another handjob.
Barrett leaves off saying that to save web video, I (though I assume he means we… or maybe he means me) need to create something that no one has ever experienced. You’ve got the right idea, Barrett. I couldn’t agree with you more –let’s stop saying everything is swell and let’s start thinking up some new, groundbreaking projects, hey?
Hell, that’s what we’re doing. In fact, we’re right in the middle of trying to scrounge up funding for a new show made with a new model that, we hope, will blow everyone’s mind.
Want to help?
Until then, let’s keep row, row, rowing.