ONLINE TV UNEARTHS NEW POOL OF TALENT
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.”