Recycle: Give the Internet What it Wants
I think about the internet and the nature of internet content a lot. Obvo, right? And by and large a lot of stuff that gets passed around and discussed isn’t original. It finds an already devout audience and gives them something fun to link to each other. It’s basically fan-fic (short stories written by fans involving the characters they love, often involving odd romantic pairings; Sawyer and Jack on LOST, Edward and Jacob in Twilight). There’s great stuff like Ironbaby, around the time Ironman 2 gets released. There are spoof songs that take top 40 hits such as “Like a G6” and rewrite it for the Potter-core “Like It’s Quittich.” FreddieW is one of the most subscribed people on YouTube and his videos are amazing and filled with great VFX, but they consist of mostly video game and Star Wars in-jokes. He does fantastic looking live action representations of Mario Kart and Katamari or fun sketchy stuff about Jedis who are a-hole frat boys doing ridiculous things with lightsabers. Speaking of, the sheer amount of lightsaber stuff on YouTube is unbelievable and some of it is really well executed. Ryan vs. Dorkman 2 (story-free lightsaber battles) got enough money to hire a composer and actual orchestra, and Ryan ended up working VFX on Heroes. People want the internet to confirm that other people like the same kinds of things from TV, movies, video games, and books that they like. It’s a lot harder to become one of the things that they like if you originate on the internet. That’s because anybody can do it, and a lot of it isn’t any good. I’d have a much larger following making a show about four super heroes that people already know–Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Black Widow (3 DC and 1 Marvel, I bet I know who’s going to feel left out)—All living in an apartment together, as opposed to 4 unestablished 20-somethings and their quirky rise toward becoming heroes. One of the most rabidly followed web series is Red vs. Blue, which was created using the characters from Halo and hacking the game, manipulating the characters and camera, and adding original dialogue over the top. It’s hilarious and was a brilliantly executed idea. But again, they stood on the shoulders of the Halo zeitgeist and fan fic-ed their way to the bank. Sometimes people even prefer fan fic stuff created by amateurs to those little internet webisodes created using the real actors and sets. There’s a YouTuber called ItsJustSomeRandomGuy who found his viral video niche by doing spoofs of the Mac vs. PC commercials with Marvel vs. DC characters, pitting the characters of the movie franchises that are being released that summer against each other (look at that, combining two independent creative properties—computer commercials and super hero comic book movies—with excellent original dialogue and the kid rakes in millions of views. Dude only edits with iMovie too). His spoofy send up of True Blood vs. Twilight probably saw way more traffic than those weird True Blood webisodes that they bundled onto the season 3 DVDs. Did you watch those? I love the show immensely, but those webisodes were weird. They felt like they were written by the writer’s room intern.
Basically, all I’m saying is that the internet would rather cop established industry content than rally around something new. I’m not even asking them to go that far out of their way. Super powers are awesome no matter how you dice it and our show is solid. It can be a little disheartening.
It reminds me of something cool that Stephen King does though. He does this thing called Dollar Baby Films. A number of his short stories have never had the film rights optioned. So anyone—mostly film students, but I think anyone can do it—can apply to get the rights to adapt them into short film. The cost of the short film rights is 1 dollar, on the condition that it’s never shown for profit. You can put it in film festivals and on your demo reel but that’s it. So a Dollar Baby wouldn’t work if you wanted to get some attention on the internet, but film festival programmers are probably more interested in watching a short film based on material by Stephen King than by Joe Blow the amateur scribe. Stephen King’s so cool. With that in mind, two links this week; the first is a list of all of the stories that can be made into Dollar Babies.
The other is an extremely long interview that the “Paris Review” did with King in 2006. A few years old now, but I just think that guy is really fascinating.
Thanks for reading, everyone.