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Friday, December 31, 2010

NeverLanding, Episode 2: Tape it Out

Find out more: http://neverlanding.tv 

THE STAGE MANAGER'S STORY: Sometimes, you just have to treat actors like they're really smart puppies.

Meet Sam, the stage manager. Equal parts den mother, ship's captain, and unflappable confidante...with just a hint of a delightfully self-destructive streak. It's all about taping it out, keeping it together, and falling apart, on the second episode of NEVERLANDING. Thank you for watching--we'd love to hear your thoughts!



  1. 13min, 12 seconds...wow thats a long one....

  2. Yeah, we know! We opted to see what happens with a longer-form show. Is there any reason why it can't be that length, other than general tradition and adherence to form in the market right now?

  3. You just need to feel out the market conditions. It all depends on what your viewers want. I personally prefer the "snack" model where you have something you can watch in around 3 minutes unless there is some compelling reason why a particular video should be longer. Others, however prefer a longer format.

    What you have to remember is the intense competitive pressure out there for time. If you expect more than 3 min of the viewers time then it would be advisable to have a quality of content at least as good or even better than conventional TV because that is exactly what you are positioning your show up against by making it longer.

    If you are getting 500,000+ views then you have little to worry about. If not then you need to consider all the factors that affect who is viewing (unless you do not care about views). Now a short video alone will not guarantee you views unless other things are also "perfect" but the reality is that it requires a much smaller commitment on the part of viewers.

    On the other hand if you prefer a longer format why not make a full online film? Then you only have the task of getting the viewer to your video one time in which case you can invest in that task fully.

    There are a lot of personal tastes involved here and I believe everyone needs to find what is right for them and their artistic vision. On the other hand, I know as a viewer what I am looking for and its short form videos. It comes down to time pressure and that is all I can handle. Others have different preferences.

  4. For me it comes down to building an audience and then letting them make the rules. Make it quick and punchy to start and then flesh it out if the audience demands more.

  5. Thanks for the feedback--we went back and forth a lot on this in the generative process over the last six months; I firmly believe that the bite-sized model is about to shift a little bit. We opted to still make a web series because that's what this is--a biweekly story told in segments across a period of time. That those segments are a little larger than a lot of what's out there isn't a formative problem in and of itself. And if it costs us viewers due to an incompatibility of attention spans, that's okay. Those viewers will find something they prefer, and hopefully our show will find viewers that are a better fit for it, as well.

    As I said above, we went around and around on the format and length conversation, and came to the conclusion that, in the long run, it's better to be true to the concept and gut instincts we built this team and story around. And if that limits our potential audience...well, like the song goes--we'd rather be nine people's favorite thing, than a hundred people's ninth favorite thing, you know?

    Thanks for posting, and happy new year!

  6. The bite size model is only shifting in that more TV content is now available online. That means that you have a lot more prime time long form content to compete with. The competitive advantage for web series is in bite size content because in that format it has a clear advantage over productions with much larger budgets etc etc etc.

    That is not to say that longer form web series will not survive and grow. It just means that you are cycling up hill, when you could be going down hill. It is of course the choice of the creator which direction they want to go. If they choose to ignore market forces then that is their choice. If you have a large marketing budget, a portal site like Koldcast promoting you or a team of highly trained social media experts behind you then of course your chances with a longer format do improve.

    If you hope to grow organically with grass roots support then I still contend that a shorter format offers significant advantages and that simply has not and probably will not change in the near future.

    Writers and creators as a community do not always like to face the reality of the marketplace. Typically this is a role provided by the studios and when you by pass the studio model the creators of a show need to bear the burden of marketing it, which inherently means responding to the forces of a competitive marketplace.

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  8. @modelmotion: thanks, again, for your advice! While I disagree with you respectfully on a couple of key points, I think it's mostly from synthesizing the same information in different ways.

    We are definitely aware of your comment--"Writers and creators as a community do not always like to face the reality of the marketplace"--it's information we've received since the beginning, from both mentors with a track record of success and less-successful grumblers and naysayers. It's a quality of which we're aware, but in the compromises we're willing to make, shifting the parameters of story wasn't one of them. We're aware of the realities of the marketplace...but we're also aware that if the producers of "Slings and Arrows" had chosen to make something more like "Glee," they'd've met with more success in the "marketplace," as well. We're ok with this potential limitation.

    The whole point of the maker movement is that you've got this new canon of potentially unlimited and flexible resources at play, free from endorsed confines of advertising and prior mechanical constructs. Remember--the reason CDs were restricted to 74 minutes a disc for the first few decades was the mind-blowingly arbitrary fact that Beethoven's 9th Symphony was the longest recording of those first few discs pressed--and, for years, everything followed suit, when the technology could allow for more.

    We'll see how it goes; our hitcount, with the marketing push not yet started (rollout on the 5th) is pretty good. We're cautiously optimistic thus far, and we welcome feedback on numerous levels. And we've gotten it from some great sources about our acting, story, and production values, and are tweaking accordingly--and all of that is fantastic, welcomed, and to be lauded.

    Length, however, is the one thing that we all agreed, before words hit page, that we'll be weathering in the conversation process; I'm certain, in the long run, we'll remember conversations about length of internet videos as something silly and apocryphal, someday.

    But all of that said--this conversation has been great, and I'm grateful for the feedback. Take care.


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