Long time blog reader Kulvinder Gill emailed me a link to a Wired article about a 'high budget' web series from the US. You can watch a trailer above. If brevity is your thing then feel free to enjoy two specially selected snippets from the article that lie directly below this writing. They are coming up..... now!
So far, however, this is a gold rush without any gold. Nobody knows how the business is supposed to work — what kind of stories to tell, whether to tell them in 90 seconds or 20 minutes, whether to build a destination site or distribute episodes across the Net, how to generate revenue, how to do it all on a shoestring. The Gemini team is betting they can figure it out. "People ask, 'What's your business model?'" says the director, Stan Rogow, during a lull in the shoot. "And I say, 'This morning's or this afternoon's?' It's only partly a joke."
I recognise that alright. And I love it because it always reminds me of the days of early cinema. I'm 100 years too late for that action. But spot on for this new art form / business. The second section looks at where the money is coming from...
Right now they need a distributor, and they've been talking with everyone from NBC Universal to MySpace about putting Gemini Division on their sites. Whoever they partner with would sell advertising and maybe even help fund the production. MySpace isn't offering money up front, but it does sell ads and split the revenue with producers. Eisner partnered with MySpace on Prom Queen, as did Herskovitz with Quarterlife, but Rogow is hoping for a more lucrative arrangement — which is why he has spent half the afternoon squiring around a pair of suits from NBC. The deal he's discussing would put Electric Farm well on its way to recouping the $1.75 million or so it will cost to make the 50 three-minute episodes Rogow plans to shoot. But the deal's not done yet.
With my own project "Circumference" we're still on the hunt for about £300k. That has been often deemed to expensive (by people with the cash) to recover from advertisers. So surely 1.75 mill is!
Anyway, I still feel perhaps that this project is a bit off the ball. It looks like cheap TV, not something new, fresh and full on film 2.0. I'd still prefer to watch ZeFrank I think. Especially when he talks about product placement.
Kulvinder also reminded me that Cinema Extreme and Microwave have come round again for those that prefer a film 1.0 flavour. Enjoy.