A web series is a series of scripted videos, generally in episodic form, released on the net and mobile phone, and part of the newly emerging medium called “web television”. This is what Dublin Web Festival is all about.
The reason behind this new wave is for a version of non-formatted video production that breaks all barriers and constraints of mainstream media. Web series may be new to the traditional TV viewer, but they are not new. Students and individuals with little, or no budget can penetrate the global audience online with their original work via a web series. The first wepisode online was called the Spot (thespot.com) and was created by Scott Zakarin, in 1995. It was the first site to integrate images, videos and blogs into the storyline. It won an award called, “Site of the Year” which later became known as the “Webby” awards. Other fresh content at the time included “lonelygirl15” and “Rocketboom.”
Unlike the challenges of film production a web series team is not all assembled in the one place for lengthy period to come to a unanimous decision on the next course of action. With a web series the writer works on the script, then the director receives it, and then finally the editors work on it. A new person is added to the team as they become available. This adds to the spontaneity and organic nature of the original idea. Uploading via Youtube and Vimeo, these crews use Crowdfunding and Kickstarter start-up campaigns to obtain the money necessary to make the dream a reality.
A show called, Sanctuary, which began on the web in 2007, was one of the first shows to transition from web series to TV. Most popularised by Netflix hugely popular original series like Breaking Bad, House of Cards, The Good Wife, Grace and Frankie, True Detective, It’s always Sunny in Philadelphia gave the platform of original/digital/web series a cult following. Akin to the hype surrounding Raging Bull in the 8o’s, this is how the appeal of the web series grew.
New popular shows include Your Dad’s Friends, Kicking Dan Out, Dan and Gracie, Husbands, F to 7th, Broadcity and the Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, are less well known, but equally as superb. More and more underground web creators are making high-quality series that are diversifying the market. This creative freedom for those who do no pursue the conventional route of mainstream production is why low-budget, and indeed no-budget, well-made web series have carved enormous viewership worldwide.
Irish creative communities have begun creating web series and now one of our own is at the pinnacle of Web series success. Caroline Morahan has a starring role as Elinor, in Once Upon a Time, and Sharon Horgan has had great success in Catastrophe. Web Series Stars Colin O’Donoghue, Jen Morrison, Martin Sheen and others, have developed an entirely new young audience as a result of their involvement in web series.
This is in fact the golden age of web series production. The equipment is cheap enough for anyone to begin filming,traditional broadcast TV is dwindling while web TV audiences increase year on year. The genre is full of amateurs and professionals all looking for attention from the same crowd. Yep, now is your chance if you were teetering on the edge of an online careeer.
Dublin Web Festival’s first podcast showcased Barry Curran, and his four-series show HeadShop, by all accounts, the creation of the first web series produced in Ireland. The original 2009 show was based on the characters who lived in the “headshop era” in Dublin’s inner city. Drugs were available in shops, and this bizarre ideality was fodder for his work. There is huge scope for new series based in Ireland, and that is one of the reasons for our Ireland and a Cinematic Location masterclass with Connect Ireland at Dublin Web Festival this weekend.
Web Series Adaptions from books include YA novel, Night School. The web series tells the story of the goings on at Cimmeria Academy, an exclusive British private school that hides a dark secret. The director of this amazing work will host a workshop at Dub Web Fest this year. Pretty awesome, eh?
But, why a Web Series Festival, though? Why not, though? A festival like ours allows all of the fans, creators and enthusiasts to meet up and network. Sitting at home on a laptop, mobile or PC is isolating. Networking is vital, and Ireland is in a unique place to produce a lot of great work and meet professionals who can share their positive experiences in web series production. The new age Beckett and Joyce are the pioneers of digital creative writing in Ireland.
Send us your thoughts and ideas on what web series you watch, and why. Tweet @dubwebfest