Now that that's out of the way, here's what I think everyone on this board should take a look at:
And Boris: The Web Series
The story behind this project is that the creators -- a husband and wife team -- were both laid off from their day jobs in the same week. Rather than collecting unemployment and whining about how they can't find anyone to fund their $1 million feature, they assessed what capabilities they had (a number of friends who are actors, training from USC School of Cinema and Television, a garage full of... uh... props, and a cheap still camera with a movie mode) and spun a story that they could tell with what they had. The first "season" was produced for, literally, no money. The second "season" saw someone interested enough to loan them a consumer-grade HD camera, and they spent a little money (under $700) feeding and costuming actors.
I'd love to hear what all you out there think. Are they helping or hindering their futures as filmmakers by doing a project like this? Do you consider this useful as a technique of showcasing, and hopefully building your momentum into bigger projects?
Speaking as a producer, here are the things I think they're doing very, very right:
- Conspicuously admitting to how low the budget is. When things look cheap or badly produced and someone is trying to pretend they've spent $10,000 on it in order to justify a bigger return or a bigger investment in their next project, I frankly wonder about their abilities. When this project looks cheap or badly produced, I'm amazed that it looks as good as it does.
- Delivering it on the web. Being able to watch it conveniently, and for free, makes it far more likely that I will see it. If I have to drag myself off to some obscure festival or hope I get mailed a screener to watch it, I'm almost certainly not going to. Also, since the web has such low standards, this team is coming in a cut above a lot of their online competition, as opposed to looking pathetic at a festival.
- Keeping it fun and short (for the most part). Yes, they haven't always stuck to this (there's at least one episode that is predominately heavier drama rather than lighthearted action), but I'm far more likely to watch when I'm laughing rather than when the project is making me want to slit my wrists.
Edited by Jim Keller, 12 June 2009 - 01:02 PM.