Jump to content


Photo

What should I shoot - an hour long TV pilot or a web series?


  • Please log in to reply
7 replies to this topic

#1 Daniel Mooney

Daniel Mooney
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts

Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:00 PM

Hello all, 

I have an idea I would like to get your opinions on.

Its very similiar to the premise of the tv show "Supernatural" but much more comedic. 

It's two guys, average college aged guys. One is John, the other is Frank. John is the main character, he comes from a barely functioning home. He secretly idolizes his older brother Jeff, but Jeff is well, an idiot and an a**hole at best. Frank is one of Jeff's friends, who just sort of found hanging out with John more endearing then his Jeff. 

 

John's dad moved out when he was a kid, so he's always been sort of weird, trying to keep his family together, obsessed with doing that sort of thing. John's grandfather also kidnapped him once when he was a little kid and spent about six months teaching him how to survive in the woods and different ways to fight monsters like vampires and such. John's pretty much your average guy, minus those issues. Frank is more of lazy guy, he is one of those "armchair" warriors, he knows about guns, military history, weapons, uniforms. He can tell you the proper way to breech a door into a room - because he saw it in a movie or did it in a "Call of Duty" video game. In reality Frank doesn't no jack about any of it really. Then throw his pervert ideas, laidbackness, slovenly appearance and his lack of direction in life and you get a wonderful sort of counter to John's more uptight "straight man" persona. 

So  John's grandfather dies, and what do you know, he leaves John this book and a knife. The knife's old and the book is a journal, blabbing about a vampires and demons and such. I think you can all sense where this is going..... 

At one point in time, it's reveal John's grandfather served in World War II with a secret unit that counters Nazi occultist practices. His mortal enemy was a Colonel Heinrich Messiner. Messiner is the meat and potatoes in all this. 

A former playwright and son of a German police officer. Mesiner left home as a teenager to go to Berlin during the swinging Weimar Republic days in the 1930s. He lived in a crappy apartment building filled with aspiring, actors, actresses, writers, musicians, all like himself. Even with less the Pfennig in his pocket, Mesiner was happy. (think the movie RENT)

Until the Nazis took over. 

With all of his friends either dead or in Concentration Camps, by 1938 Mesiner was broke and went to his father asking for money to move to France. His father, declined - and when Mesiner pointed out he would surely be drafted and sent to fight and possibly die in a war. His father replied that "at least that would make a man out of him". Mesiner, despondant, talks to a well placed family friend who convinces him to join the SS -  he'll have a nice cushy job working with some weird Occultists and never have to see the front lines. Mesiner agrees, 

Four years later, Mesiner is now a horrific monster of human being, He kills, he murders, barely able to cope with his own actions, he becomes one hundred dedicated to the Nazi cause - and it's occultist ideas - which he is now placed in charge of. It's heavily implied he's become a monster mainly to use against his father. At one point in time he even cuts off someone's hand and sends it to his father, the hand clutching a German medal with a note asking "Is that what you wanted from me?" 

Then, on May 3rd, 1945 he is captured by the Soviets, taken into the woods, forced to dig his own grave and executed. 

Back in modern time, Eva, one of Mesiner's minions, who hasn't aged a bit since the war, tries to seduce John and get the book. She does, she resurrects Mesiner and they proceed to attempt to kill John and find some ancient mystical artifact that John's grandfather has hidden somewhere. 

This last for three weeks. 

Mesiner get's bored and fascinated in the new world. In the old days, he could do a line of coke, pound on some piano keys in a Cabaret for hundreds of people, then go frolic with some showgirls backstage while doing more coccaine, come out for an encore, go get wasted at the after party in a beer hall, then pop some methahampeines to keep him up all night to continue writing his plays. (Yeah, all that sort of poop went down in Weimar Republic days, don't believe me, go look up....in fact, please do it's actually pretty fun to read!)

Mesiner was a rock star, before there were rockstars. Now he's living in a world, where that sort of life style is accepted (within means) by mainstream society. Quickly his ambition of world domination ceases and begins looking into playwriting again. Eva is not happy with this.  Eva leaves him, also taking the millions of dollars he had hidden away in a Swiss bank account. John and Frank arrive to kill him, but instead of fighting he just begs for them to do, freaking them out. When they leave, he shows up a few hours later at their house. It turns out not only did he know where they lived and just as easily could kill them himself, he's also has the mystrical object (implied to be the spear of longitus) the whole time - upon being resurrected, he never intented to actually seriously try to take over the world, he just wanted to make Eva happy (considering she spent the last seventy years preparing for such a thing as it was his last command). However it turns out Eva kidnapped Jeff and all this sets the three of them up for subsequent episodes tracking down Eva, with Jeff and dealing with your story of the week monsters. 

The whole thing is a comedy, drama. For example, assuming it gets that far, when they do find Jeff, he's actually living happily with Eva in Nebraska where he basically has turned Eva (via her mental conditioning from Mesiner) into basically working full time as a stripper so he can sit at home and play xbox and drink beer. He contacted all of his friends, even Frank (Frank's cellphone is never turned on which is a running gag thru out the series) but never bother to contact John, because...well that's just exactly how much he cares about John - very little)

Then throw in Mesiner, and his adjustments to the new world. For example, he becomes obsessed with Abba for a month, causing his roommates John/Frank much anguish until he moves onto his new sound he loves....Ace of Base.(Frank vows to bomb the Swedish embassy because of this, which causes the SAPO, the Swedish Intelligence Service to track him)   In one episode, Mesiner ends up getting a job at theater, where he is constantly being belittled by his boss, a woman who is interested in reviving old cabareet plays from the Weirmar Republic. (The issue is that most play scripts were lost during the war, so the copies she has are sort of mismatched and rewritten - truly making Mesiner's knowledge obsolete).

Also throw in a sexy israeli Mossad agent who is tracking the gang after the Mossad are tipped off on a "Nazi War criminal walking freely around Philadelphia".

Frank doesn't like Mesiner and the same goes for Mesiner not liking Frank. Mesiner considers himself a gentlemen and a scholar, but Frank considers him a Nazi monster and points this out any chance he can. Their relationship is sort of like Cosgrove and Professor at 0:11 mark in this classic 90s cartoon.
https://www.youtube....OusckkCbxQ#t=15



So now that you have spent the last, what hour, reading this pitch.... What do you think? 

Should I shoot a high production value hour long TV pilot? Or should I break it up and shoot maybe 8 high production value  5-7min webisodes? 

Which would be easier to sell, which format would be best for this? What's the market on Web Series these days - everyone says their the future. Are they?

Or is this just the most godawful ripoff of a popular TV show with Nazis thrown in, that you have ever read? 

Thanks!

Dan 

 


Edited by Daniel Mooney, 07 December 2013 - 06:05 PM.

  • 0

#2 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:20 PM

I would focus on what you can actually create, and finish, versus simply creating.  Finish means finished, down to the music track, sound design, and additional mix track along with color/density matched visuals.

 

If you feel you could do the entire hour, finished (as described above), then possibly parsing out the 60 minute (or would that be 40 minutes plus commercials?) into 3 minute increments and posting those 3 minute segments onto youtube would be how I would proceed.

 

The nice thing about having the entire 40 minute (plus commercials slots equals 60 minutes) already finished is then you can keep to a timely youtube posting schedule. Maybe post a new 3 minute segment twice a week?  Then you can track how many subscribers you get, total viewers per segment, and so on.


  • 0

#3 Daniel Mooney

Daniel Mooney
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts

Posted 07 December 2013 - 06:28 PM

So shoot it as hour long pilot (forty minutes you say) then worry about it? 

The only reason I ask is that the web series episodes, are slightly different. I have then written, to end on certain scene to sort of - "book end" them. Webisodes, from my understanding, should be created with an episode format in mind - a beginning, a middle and an end not just broken up into like part one, part two, etc. So because of this I have the webisode structured a little different and containing a few more scenes then the more compact one hour pilot. 


  • 0

#4 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:34 PM

If you want to do the webisodes instead, i would suggest doing as many as possible before putting any on youtube so that you can be consistent in your delivery schedule for youtube. I also think your webisodes should realign into a 60 minute (40 min) version if necessary.

 

If you were planning on doing a 60 anyways, than I assume you can afford do a 60's worth of webisodes? Or, the safest approach is to do 3 webisodes and based on the response look at doing more.  If you do 3, post them all at the same time. The reason to do this is you can gauge how much of a drop off there is between segments 1,2, and 3. 

 

If you find a huge drop off in viewings (remember it's important to put all three up at the same time) between any of the SHORT webisodes, than you probably don't have a hit on your hands. If the viewership is steady among all three, with only a slight decline, than pat yourself on the back.

 

I picked 3 minutes per webisode segment because almost anyone will give something a shot if it is 3 minutes or less in length. Once a video reaches four minutes or longer, people may get hesitant unless they were driven to your site by an actual recommendation.


  • 0

#5 Daniel Mooney

Daniel Mooney
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 22 posts

Posted 07 December 2013 - 09:03 PM

I agree with the three minute mark, some say you can get away with longer like seven minutes but I always sort of wondered if that was a bit outdated thinking. 

So perhaps maybe my story is too complicated to even work as a web series?  


  • 0

#6 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 07 December 2013 - 11:06 PM

If you do them in segments of 3 minutes times 3 segments, and can make it engaging enough every 3 minutes, then that's all you can do.


  • 0

#7 Alessandro Machi

Alessandro Machi
  • Sustaining Members
  • 3318 posts
  • Other
  • California

Posted 08 December 2013 - 01:21 AM

Clarification, 60 minute broadcast TV shows might actually be 43 minutes and 30 seconds of content as opposed to 40 minutes.


  • 0

#8 Brett Bailey

Brett Bailey
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 32 posts
  • Cinematographer

Posted 08 December 2013 - 11:58 AM

All good comments.  I, personally, would lean towards weekly webisodes.  As a matter of fact, there was an indie film entitled, "Stake Land" that begin very much in the same way.  Here are a few article(s) about how they got started.  It may or may not work for you -- but, it's an interesting insight into how they got their project rolling.

http://www.revolverm...apocalypse.html

http://www.complex.c...ctor-jim-mickle


Edited by Brett Bailey, 08 December 2013 - 11:59 AM.

  • 0


Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Opal

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Abel Cine

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Visual Products

Tai Audio

CineTape

The Slider

Wooden Camera

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

FJS International, LLC

CineLab

Metropolis Post

Willys Widgets

rebotnix Technologies

Aerial Filmworks

Technodolly

Rig Wheels Passport

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Rig Wheels Passport

Opal

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Willys Widgets

Glidecam

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

CineLab

FJS International, LLC

Abel Cine

Wooden Camera

Tai Audio

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks