It's tough to declare it Web Festival Season. WebFests happen year round all across the globe. That's actually one of the best things about writing about web series: there's always great-quality content being showcased somewhere. It does seem though, that the next 8 weeks contain a particularly high concentration of festivals and conventions, and they all look like a ton of fun.
Some fests, though, have made a name for themselves in the last few years, by attracting and showcasing an especially significant cross-section of submissions, and the Raindance Festival is clearly one of these. In a medium that allows and encourages people to share whatever they have as quickly as possible, the fact that creators hold the release of their shows to premiere them at Raindance says a lot.
An Ode To The Techniques of a Bygone Era Or Just a Cool Music Video?
Over the next few of weeks, our writers will be looking at the shows of Raindance, then moving on along the circuit to some of the other exciting festivals coming up in September and October. Some of these will be shows we've seen before, others will be as new to us as they are to you, and some of them will even require us to [insert gasp of self-righteous indignation here] wait for the premiere. Congratulations and good luck to all the shows involved! We can't wait to see what you have in store for us.
This week will also feature a new piece by Yuri Baranovsky, in the form of a letter to the YouTubers of the world, as well as a brand new podcast with the directors of Raindance London Web Fest! Stay tuned, people.
By Yuri Baranovsky
I have a personal challenge for you that I hope you’ll be kind enough to accept.
Here’s the thing. Digital media is in a funny place right now. While the last few years there have been a slew of interesting, independent series funded by brands and networks, 2014 has been sorely lacking in this department. The brands and networks, it appears, have found two other places to go: one, TV and film creators who have significant credits to create significant projects at significant budgets.
And you: the scrappy, subscriber-building, personality-driven vloggers and sketch groups. The very successful YouTubers.
For a while – and maybe still – you had trouble gaining proper respect as entertainers, as creators who did things that mattered. People saw you as kids yelling into webcams and maybe, for some of you, that was exactly what you were when you started. But things have changed. As Harley Morenstein so aptly put it at the Streamys: “Any YouTuber that touched this microphone tonight is a millionaire. Don't you ever forget that.”
The WebVee Podcast: Episode 30: RAINDANCE London Web Fest and Digital Creators UK
Jeff chats with Rochelle Dancel, Elisar Cabrera, and Brett Snelgrove, directors of Raindance London Web Fest and Digital Creators UK about the organizations and the community of creators in the UK,
Manigances (Shenanigans: Red Notice)
On the first season of Manigances aka Shenanigans, Detectives Jonathan Briere (Maxim Martin) and Dan Portal (Jean-Guy Moreau) are called upon to investigate the death of renowned author Michel Galland (Marc Fournier) and discern whether he committed suicide or was murdered by one of the guests at his dinner party. But since their introductory story, Dan has met his demise at the hands of a government conspiracy. Distraught by the death of his partner and disillusioned with police work altogether, Briere quits the force and plunges himself into a haze of booze and women.
Esther's Style (Estilo Esther)
There is a reason why certain series appear again and again on the official selections lists of web fests the world over. It’s because they are good – so good that they deserve the recognition of world-wide audiences. One such series is Esther’s Style, a comedic whodunnit from Argentina. Written and directed by Pedro Levati and produced by Macaco Films under the auspices of the Buenos Aires Youth Biennale, Esther’s Style also garnered an award there in the visual arts category.
I live in South Florida, home to immigrants of many different cultures, but Latin America is by far the most prevalent. There are few places where you won’t hear Spanish being spoken, and being bilingual is a definite plus when job-hunting. Dunkin’ Donuts serves cortaditos (Cuban coffee) and deli waiters from Haiti understand an order of más schmear con él bagel, por favor. Although the assimilation of cultures is one of my favorite things about living here I can only imagine the culture shock of someone unused to such diversity – which brings us to Gringa Latina.
The Value of Ex
As Tom Robbins once said, “Even cowgirls get the blues.” Nobody, no matter how together they seem or how romantically perfect their lives may appear, is without problems. If Robbins' book had been about the characters in The Value of Ex instead of an itinerant hitchhiker, it would have been called “even smart people have relationship drama,” but the ideas would have been the same.
Project: Library is in the wonderful British tradition of (to paraphrase Jamie McKellar, Red Shirt Films) taking ordinary people and placing them in an extraordinary situation.
Attention people not from the UK: there is a scourge walking the streets of London (and probably other British cities as well) in the form of, hmm, actually, maybe “scourge” is too strong a word. What's like a scourge but, rather than being a really serious problem is actually more of an annoyance? Oh! "Annoyance!" That's perfect! Let's start over.
Tate Blodgett’s (Brian Beacock) acting career is pretty much dead, and has been. He’s got a crappy name, a non-descript look no one is looking for, not a lot of talent, and no work. Tate can’t even get hired as a zombie on any of the multitudinous zombie-centric tv shows, movies, web shows, and even fashion shows; not even as one of the slow moving coma style zombies. That’s pretty bad because we watch a lot of web shows here at WebVee Guide and we know that every fourth show is about zombies or has a zombie in it even as a cameo. Even Tailgate 32 had zombies; I mean did you see some of those people after 6 or 7 hours of tailgating before the game. Yep. Zombies. Anyway, back to our show. Tate’s
Sometimes a show comes along and smacks you upside the head and says ‘Why haven’t you been watching me? You will fall in love with me so much you will want to marry me.’ Well, maybe not that last bit, but everybody knows what I’m talking about -one of those shows where you drop all your plans so you can do a binge-watch. Well, Quirkology is just such a show.
But I'm Chris Jericho!
Chris Jericho was the wrestling champion of the world until he lost it all. He even tells you in the intro to his series. In his own words:
“I was the wrestling champion of the world until I lost it all. Now I’m starting over and I’m gonna be the greatest actor of all time. If someone else said that to you, you probably wouldn’t believe them, But I’m Chris Jericho.”
Outside The Box
My father loved the movies. He had an amazing memory for the names of just about every actor in the old black and white films of the 1930’s & ‘40s. He especially loved old horror movies. When I was growing up there was a local Saturday afternoon television show, hosted by M.T. Graves, which featured these old films like Frankenstein & Dracula. I loved watching these shows with my dad. But there were certain movies which still frighten me when I think about them. One of these movies was ‘The Fly’ - the original one with Vincent Price and David Hedison. If you aren’t familiar with the story, it’s about a scientist who develops a transporter and things go terribly wrong. How wrong you may ask? Here’s the final scene from 'The Fly'
Jon and Jen Are Married
Jon and Jen are Americans. Jon and Jen are financially stable. Jon and Jen are homeowners. Jon and Jen are Caucasian. Jon and Jen are married. All of these sentences accurately describe the couple who are the focus of this series. Left out, though, is most the most salient description: Jon and Jen are horrifying sociopaths who will worm their way into your subconscious and haunt your dreams, causing you to wake up drenched in tears and terror-sweat.
The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy
Modernized adaptations of classic stories are nothing new. In fact, according to certain Hollywood execs (not that I’ve heard from any), they’re all the rage right now, provided they’ve got plenty of additional fights and special effects (Jack the Giant Slayer, anyone?), often at the expense of the actual story itself. Said approach casually ignores the very reasons these stories are classics, and why they still resonate today: they're mostly expertly crafted tales with compelling characters to whom readers and viewers attach themselves.
There are so many things about the world around me that I don't understand. I'm not speaking about the great, unsolvable mysteries of the universe here, I'm talking about more mundane stuff, stuff that I accept as fact without truly grasping. Actually, upon reflection, I think that probably describes 80% of my accumulated knowledge.