Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Power of the Web Compels You...

DMc has a great post up today regarding the change that is raining down over Canadian television (or perhaps a better phrase would be lack of change in certain corners of their business), and how creative people are leading the way - "story" in hand - to create better looking, more dramatic shows such as FLASHPOINT, THE BORDER and BEING ERICA (which I haven't seen yet). This is in the face of an industry that is seemingly ill-prepared to embrace the future.

But that's kind of how it always is isn't it? The "creatives", the "weirdos" leading the charge "...half a league, half a league half a league onward... into the valley of death..."

(Okay, maybe that wasn't a good analogy)

But the creative types see not how things are, but what they could be... what they hope and work at it to be. Because that's part of the sustaining energy and excitement of it all.

Never was that more evident than at last night's premiere party for COMPULSIONS a new web serial created and written by my friend Bernie Su. This was a compelling piece of work that looked good. Tee Vee good... but different. Made for a fraction of the cost. (I write that because the economics of it always factor into these things).

Tubefilter has a nice write up of the event here:

Last night in Los Angeles, in a packed screening premiere at Cinespace a room full of some 200 or so lucky ones had a chance to collectively writhe and squirm through the first 4 episodes. “I know the expectations are high,” wrote creator Bernie Su in a post before the premiere, “especially for independent web content but I honestly don’t know if the general audience will love it or not. Our show is dark, intense, and gritty. Though I can say this… our show is definitely something else.”


The series centers on three hidden desires, or compulsions, afflicting three respective main characters. There’s Mark (Craig Frank), the compulsive sadist chillingly unaffected by his routine torture games. Mark’s mysterious handler Justine (Janna Bossier) who’s compulsive “trophy hunting” has something to do with tracking down a missing “package.” And Mark’s office co-worker Cassandra (Annemarie Pazmino) who delivers a tech-infused modern day twist on compulsive voyeurism.

Here's the trailer:

Bernie and co. are doing something new-ish for the web, creating something they wanted to see made that didn't fit into the normal "box." If the last night's audience response was any indication, they struck a nerve.

When was the last time you read something like that about a series on television that wasn't written by the PR department of the network?

Striking. A. Nerve.
Plowing. New. Ground.
Making. Something. Yours.

And Bernie isn't the only one. Good friend of the blog James Moran (Twitter: @jamesmoran), writer of the recent TORCHWOOD series CHILDREN OF EARTH, struck out on his own (okay, with others in his merry band) and created GIRL NUMBER 9.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, to quote Denis:

See, I'm really not doing it justice. And that's the point. Reaching back to an earlier form, the rules are different, the delivery different, but what was there, gloriously alive and vibrant and entertaining -- was the story. The story will survive, no matter what form or challenge we throw at it. For those of us whose business is story, that's got to come as a comfort, no matter how backward and antiquated and maddeningly out of touch the captains of the industry seem, it's we, who have rolled with the punches and changed what we do already over the last few years...it's we who will survive.
Yes, we will survive. Thrive even. If we own it, grow it and deliver it ourselves. So, in light of everything Denis talks about in his post I have this to say:

Go web, young man, and grow up with the world.

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