To fully understand why I am releasing this thing in fragments, see my prior post.
What will follow is meant to (and may sometime this decade) be a series of posts sharing an idea I’ve been working on for a while. It won’t be complete in this or even several installments. Just the same, I’m trying to break a logjam by releasing incomplete material, so bear with me. I look forward to your feedback.
For the sake of this experiment, the concept is to produce a web-based series based on â€œusâ€. Iâ€™ll get into the subject of the web series a bit more later, but for now, I want to continue defining the frame a bit.
The inspiration for this entire project came to me from several influences, but chief among them is the works of Joss Whedon (Dr. Horribleâ€™s Sing-along Blog) and Felicia Day (The Guild). In particular, an interview with Ms. Day drew my interest to the changes that such a series can and has made in creative and media distribution.
The Guild, season 1: 10 episodes, 4-8 minutes in length, previously available for free via iTunes, and now, via msn media and Xbox Live. Hereâ€™s the interview with Onion AV Club that got me thinking, and I encourage you to download and watch at least the first few episodes of season 1.
Here are some of the key points from my point of view:
- inexpensive production (compared to tv)
- cheap distribution (mostly viral)
- laser targeting of an audience (players of MMORPGs, and to a lesser degree, gamers in general for the guild, ours would be different)
Dr. Horrible, as most of you know, was somewhat different in form, with 3 episodes of roughly 15 minutes in length each.
Of the 2, the Guild more closely matches what I have in mind.
What Iâ€™m proposing is a web-distributed series, working in the model of several episodes (maybe 7-10). Each episode would target 4 to 10 minutes in length. Each episode would cover (perhaps not resolve) a single idea/motif/concept. Each episode would also work along a â€œseason longâ€ story arc.
Part of the inspiration here is â€œdo what you knowâ€. What do we know? Probably the idea I like best (so far) is one I havenâ€™t really found a concise name for yet, but most closely approaches the concept of â€œArtist T_rr_ristsâ€ (trying to avoid the wrong search engines). Conceive of a group similar to our membership (Lacuna or Lichtenbergian? Not sure…) as a group of folks angry that the world was trading in â€œrealâ€ art for a faded mass commercial shadow of itself. Rather than go quietly, theyâ€™ve decided to take a more militant approach, staging events of â€œartistic disobedienceâ€. Iâ€™ve toyed with the concept of â€œEmotionnistsâ€, with the idea being that each act be targeted at creating in folks an emotional reaction via these acts, with a different emotion targeted each time. We would use episodes to cover phases of the creative and execution process, and the â€œseason arcâ€ be the execution of a single act of artistic disobedience. We could even roll it back a bit, and make a first mini-season, showing a transformation to our roles as pseudo-artistic-militants. Oh, and the work of the Truth Project may serve as an example as well. Another possible concept would be a series about a bunch of creatives that decide to release a podcast about the creative process, and make our podcast a docu-/mocku-mentary of the process of making to podcast.
One idea I have for creating characters for such a project would be to characature each of us. What would you consider to be your most interesting idiosyncrasy? What do you consider to be your core belief on the subject of all things artistic? What physical features do you have that could be exaggerated to create a hook for your character?
(…and here ends the text I had written so far. More to follow?)
OK, I’m in. This sounds fun.
Q: “One idea I have for creating characters for such a project would be to characature each of us. What would you consider to be your most interesting idiosyncrasy?”
A: Are we defining these caricatures for ourselves or are we going to allow others to do so? I never cease to be amazed at my own capacity for self-delusion. We might get more resonant and accurate caricatures if we allow others in the group to pile on and define us. But, inevitably, feelings may be hurt. Hmmmm ….
This is difficult because I don’t think of myself as idiosyncratic. I will ponder.
Q: ” What do you consider to be your core belief on the subject of all things artistic?”
A: All metaphors are lies. Some are damned lies. Some are useful lies. But some of these lies are somehow “true” … they resonate; they are perhaps even sublime.
Perhaps paradoxically, every metaphor is true in SOME respect.
Q: “What physical features do you have that could be exaggerated to create a hook for your character?”
A: My big, round head and my huuuuge neck! My dad’s nickname wasn’t “Hogneck” for nuthin’!
Re: “All metaphors are lies. Some are damned lies. Some are useful lies. But some of these lies are somehow â€œtrueâ€ â€¦ they resonate; they are perhaps even sublime.”
When I checked the sight this was the GCL quote:
“We do not think good metaphors are anything very important, but I think a good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on…”
*or rather “checked the site.”
To Jeff’s questions:
What I think most important is that we have a set of characters that present interesting interactions and challenges. As a group, we do that as ourselves, but we also have a pretty good base of history with one another (tens of years in some cases) on which an audience will not be able to draw (beyond what we project via narrative anyway). My suggestion of caricatures was meant to draw upon the fact that I think we make for some interesting dynamics. “Us, but more” seemed like a pretty good place to start. It’s not beyond the pale to suggest that we split ourselves into multiple characters either. We could, with me as the inspiration, create a very religious guy and a very technical/engineering guy, if we believe that the interplays having those characters present were worth exploiting.
In a nutshell, working with ourselves as raw material was meant to be more of one paradigm to structure players from more so than any sort of “rule” of engagement. I’m open to lots of other suggestions on this front.
I wholeheartedly support this endeavor.
My caricature: Holmes and Moriarity, both at once. The Holmes in me can see the evidence of Moriarity’s influence on others, decoding the most subtle clues. The Moriarity in me is a grand orchestrator of diabolical schemes and fancies himself one step ahead of Holmes.
Undercutting phrase: If my wife will give me permission and some money, I can go.