During a morning producers panel at TCA that focused on the brave new world of web television, a handful of pros held court to talk about all of the ways the Internet is changing the content game and taking the programming monopoly away from the living room. The five included Jane Espenson and Jeff Greenstein, producers of the Internet sensation Husbands(along with many network series); Mike Rosenstein and Stuart Cornfeld, exec producers of the web reality dating spoofBurning Love; and Ryan Lewis, exec producer of the web series Chosen.
The beauty of fledgling form, all agreed, was how freeing the medium is in releasing writers and producers from the tyranny of their network overlords. “We are answerable only to ourselves,” boasted Greenstein, whose credits include Desperate Housewives, Friends andWill & Grace. “Yet we hold ourselves to the same standard as we’re held to when we’re doing network shows. We work really hard on the jokes and research and the look of the show. We try to make it as polished as possible. It’s completely on us if it’s good or bad, and that’s exhilarating after 20 years of receiving network notes.”
Espenson agrees that the lack of notes is revelatory in itself. And yet she insists that the work involved, the writing, the production values, all are the same as if she were producing for regular TV. “We want it to have precisely the look and style of a traditional sitcom,” Espenson said. “More and more, television is not a word for a box that sits in your living room but simply a word for filmed entertainment that you enjoy.”
Indeed, Greenstein repeatedly emphasized that doing programming for the web isn’t about producing it on the cheap but in some ways the opposite, particularly when possible crowdfunding Kickstarter money is at stake (as it was forHusbands)…
Production is well under way on the prequel episode to Season 2 of Untitled Web Series… Those of you who are familiar with the behind-the-scenes of Season 1 will know that we’d had some challenges regarding one of our most integral characters: The BOOTH. Namely, that we didn’t actually own it!
Building a Better BOOTH
So, being the proactive interdimensional voyagers that we are, we decided it was a good idea to build our own. We are thrilled to announce that construction has completed on a brand new BOOTH (The Inspector calls her “Red”) and we couldn’t be happier with the results. Check out the FaceBook album to see the process of building the Time Helix. We’d like to give a big shout-out and a HUGE thanks to Mr. John Shearer for putting in the blood sweat and tears that went into making the new and improved (and portable) BOOTH.
Also, check out the just released photo album documenting the construction of a custom phone console to go with our posh new time machine. Master prop builder Brian Uiga, with the help of a gifted design team, created what we can only describe as a marvel of modern engineering.We’ve heard from several prop makers from Star Trek, Doctor Who and other Sci-Fi shows that completely agree!
Making Cents of the Budget
As often happens with independent productions, we didn’t accurately predict the final cost of creating these one-of-a-kind props. Who knew building a Bio Organic Omnidirectional Time Helix would cost such a pretty penny? The unfortunate news is that they cost about $2400 more than anticipated. (about how much it cost to rent The BOOTH for one day in Season 1!) The good news is that we have them now, and we’ll be able to use them in future seasons with little to no additional cost.
However, we need to raise additional funds to complete the prequel Episode. If you missed your chance to contribute to the KickStarter for the prequel episode and you want to contribute to production, we are accepting donations via PayPal on our website. Plus, we will send you the rewards that match your donation level from our last KickStarter. This is your chance to get signed photos, scripts, soundtrack CDs, even a custom built Optic Pocketknife.
Babyish the Extraordinary!
Now for a piece of “extraordinary” news: we’ve had our first production baby! A brave new Inspectator joins our ranks! Our very own Eric Loya (co-writer and Boyish the Extraordinary) and his lovely wife Catherine are now the proud parents of a child we like to call “Babyish the Extraordinary”! The fact that they like to call him Evan concerns us not. You can leave your congratulations on our official FaceBook page.
Greetings, Inspectators! I just wanted to send you a quick note, and let you know where we are with the Season 2 Prequel episode.
Despite all I learned about not underestimating the time and cost of producing a web series at the quality of Untitled Web Series…, I have somehow managed to underestimate the time and cost of producing the prequel episode.
That being said, after a few delays and moderate cost overruns, we are completing principal photography this Saturday, and in addition to some stuff you already know (Mayim Bialik as the voice of the BOOTH), we have a couple really cool surprises I think you’re going to love!
As soon as we’re done shooting I’ll be focusing on getting you all your perks for the Prequel Kickstarter, and my crew will be going into post-production on the Prequel episode. We’ll be releasing a trailer soon, in conjunction with a NEW Kickstarter campaign to fund Season 2 itself! Fair warning, that’s going to be a pretty big campaign, as we incorporate everything we’ve learned up to now.
Please enjoy this photo from the shoot we had just this last monday! I can’t tell you who the blurry person in the foreground is, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll pee a little bit when you find out. 🙂