Leesa Dean: Digital is Where It’s At!


Adventures in Digital Series Land #115
by Leesa Dean


An intense couple of weeks.  Am in the final stretch of post for my series and hoping I’ll be done in a few months. This part is a bear.  Each episode has many pods that are strung together to make a narrative–approximately 35 per episode. To say it’s been challenging to manipulate them all is an understatement. Plus, I’m reanimating certain bits just to make them tighter and brighter.

Meanwhile, also, about a month or so away from completing a pilot script. There’s a lot going on in this particular show–and the character development is raking me over the coals because I want them to be idiosyncratic and compelling.  Plus, I have limited time to write because of production so my days been nuts so it’s been a challenge.

But a few things happened recently that further legitimatized the digital series realm and it’s the wind that keeping this operation afloat!

First, Jon Stewart signed a deal with HBO to produce digital shorts for HBOGo.  This is a huge coup and really interesting.  After 17 years at the Daily Show, Stewart could’ve done anything–certainly a new series at HBO.  Makes a big statement that he’s doing small, bite-size shows for the network.  He said the bits he’s planning will be political in nature.

Then, Project Greenlight, the reality series spear-headed by Matt Damon is now Project Greenlight Digital Studios and opening it’s virtual doors (partners include Miramax.) It’ll be crowd-sourced, streaming curated digital shows.

Also, Sundance Episode Labs released the list of participants and many of them come from the online world.  And reading the bios, I realized: Ok, there finally is true legitimacy here. Not just for tween vloggers.  But web series writer/directors.

It’s all very very encouraging.  And I’m starting to feel like I’m in the right place at the right time.

Finally, I went to an screening of an indie film, A Cat’s Tale, that some friends, Rick Mowat and Paula Landry did. Paula produced and Rick (who’s a comedian/writer/director/actor) directed. Upcoming writer Anna Capunay wrote the screenplay and Rick helped with it.

Rick and I have collaborated before. He’s been in a few Woody Allen movies and  also stars in an upcoming animated project I have. The film also stars Rick’s former comedy partner, Marty Grabstein (he’s also former voice of Courage the Cowardly Dog.)

I really liked it.

They did a little crowd-funding but the budget was ridiculously low. They initially mounted it as a play, then a few months later filmed it. They used Govinda Angulo, one of the brothers from the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning doc The Wolfpack, as DP which is very cool.

I was really impressed with the end result and what they were able to do with the limitations they had. It also was incredibly encouraging. It’s nice to see friends moving forward.

The film was sent out to festivals so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them. Meanwhile, you can see the trailer here.

Leesa Dean is the creator of CHILLTOWN TV, a digital series to reckon with. Learn more about Leesa and the series HERE

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