ONLINE TV UN­EARTHS NEW POOL OF TAL­ENT

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY - SHAN­NON MOL­LOY NA­TIONAL TV WRITER

They’re young cre­ative types with an idea, a few bucks, a group of ea­ger mates and some cam­era equip­ment, who make their own short video se­ries for online au­di­ences.

With many at­tract­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands, some­times mil­lions of views, it’s no won­der the tra­di­tional tele­vi­sion in­dus­try is start­ing to take no­tice.

A few years ago, Ka­cie An­ning used a crowd-fund­ing web­site to raise $6000 to make Frag­ments of Fri­day — a six­episode com­edy about 20some­thing girl­friends and their booze-fu­elled week­end an­tics.

“Be­fore we even fin­ished film­ing, there was all this buzz and we got Screen Aus­tralia fund­ing to make a sec­ond sea­son … with the help of (pro­duc­ers) En­de­mol Aus­tralia,” she says.

The first in­stal­ment was re­leased online last month, with the sec­ond — made ear­lier this year — to fol­low in a few months’ time.

“Some peo­ple still ask me what TV chan­nel it’s go­ing to be on, be­cause they can’t get their head around the web only thing,” An­ning says. “But it’s chang­ing so fast.”

Here, some of the coun­try’s big­gest pro­duc­tion houses, in­clud­ing Fre­man­tle Media and En­de­mol, are in­vest­ing in unique web se­ries or de­vel­op­ment pro­grams for upand-com­ing writ­ers.

In the US, things are fur­ther along — a string of online shows have been picked up by ma­jor net­works in re­cent times, in­clud­ing the hit Com­edy Cen­tral se­ries Broad City.

Tim Phillips, Screen Aus­tralia’s dig­i­tal and mul­ti­plat­form fund­ing man­ager, says it’s an ex­cit­ing time for emerg­ing sto­ry­tellers.

“It feels like it’s re­ally ex­plod­ing,” Phillips says.

“All the big play­ers want to get in­volved. For them, it’s partly a tal­ent de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­nity — find­ing these writ­ers and pro­duc­ers they mightn’t have oth­er­wise come across — and a cost-ef­fec­tive way of ex­plor­ing and ex­per­i­ment­ing.”

Web se­ries Frag­ments of Fri­day.

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