#Follow Series Summary

One of the requirements for the Celebrate the Web 4 Festival was to submit a one-sheet explanation/overview of the overall series. So, just for fun, here is what I submitted — and I’ll be posting character bios (which were not required and not submitted) later today.
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#Follow is an episodic thriller/mystery series about a group of friends who discover that their memories of the past may not be accurate reflections of reality. Inspired by the quote from William Gibson, “Time moves in one direction, memory in another,” the series seeks to answer two interrelated questions: “As time passes, do our memories define us, or, can we escape the trappings of our past to become something else?” How much do our collective memories determine what we are and what happens to us when those memories are altered?

Eric, Josh, Abby, Bree and Doug have gathered to celebrate Connor’s birthday. While quizzing each other on events from their past, Connor puzzles over a strange question – “What happened on 4/2?” No one seems to know what significance the date holds or who even wrote the question. As they search for the meaning of this elusive date, they are interrupted by the unexpected arrival of their old friend Matt, who they haven’t seen in five years. Matt has pulled himself back from the edge (literally) to help his friends. He races to warn them that they aren’t safe; they all need to run.

Now the friends must try to understand the truth about their past, and why it puts their lives in jeopardy. They soon discover that their collective memories are suspect and may not represent their true history together. Further, someone else knows about their mysterious past and wants to erase all trace of it, even if it means killing them all to accomplish the task. Who are they running from? Why are they in danger? What important event happened on April 2nd and why don’t they remember it? Quickly the friends find themselves on the run, with an urgent need to find the answers to these and other questions as they try to stay alive.

Like popular epic television series such as “Lost” and “The Walking Dead,” “#Follow” is a thrilling story about a group of people who must band together to make peace with their past and work to build a future by staying alive.

Posted under writing

This post was written by Shawna on March 11, 2011

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Wild World of Webseries

I can’t say I was really surprised by the results of my informal survey early this week.

I asked the question ‘Do you watch webseries?’

I figured that based on the percentage of views to actual comments that 90% of the people who read the question and didn’t answer WOULD answer in the negative.  The remaining 10% who did comment split about 7%/3% yes/no.

So 93% of my readers (or so) do not generally watch any webseries.  That’s what I gather.

As I said this was informal, and just because someone didn’t comment doesn’t mean they don’t watch, but I’m gonna assume that, because…well, just because.

That means I have 7% who might care about this post.

The reasons stated for why you don’t watch or what is frustrating are all valid.

The quality isn’t there.

I can’t dispute this.  The internet is a firehose.  Finding the good among all the bad…the signal to the noise — it’s not easy.

Still let’s face it, the web is democratic.  You create a vision, you distribute it, and the people decide to watch or not watch.  There are however ways to get improve your chances that someone will watch it.

I don’t know where to find webseries to watch them.

Also valid.  Much like the cable TV landscape, there are dozens and dozens of websites that act as distributors for web content, and that doesn’t count those who just put up a website to host their series without any distribution platform (although, to not use Youtube at a bare minimum seems a bit short sighted)  There are sites you’ve heard of, and a whole lot you haven’t heard of.  There are original web series – documentary, mockumentary, reality, drama, comedy, horror, animation, news…it’s just like any other “older” medium – a wide variety of series for people to enjoy.  A few are studio produced and distributed, many webseries are independent productions.  There are webseries which are directly tied to other content, whether it is a film or tv series – “The Office” and “Battlestar Galactica” are known for having webseries that run alongside or tie into their main shows.  Some have spin-off type content for web.  Some web shows have even made the jump from the web to television — “Sanctuary” started out as an episodic series on the web before Sci-Fi (pre-name change) picked it up and made it a television series.  “Children’s Hospital” on Adult Swim was a webseries on WB.com first.

Probably the best known independent productions don’t have huge stars, but have quality and devoted fans.  “The Guild” has managed to attract a large audience, which got attention from Microsoft.  Now that series is exclusively released on Microsoft XBox and MSN platforms before it hits Youtube.

Of course, most writers know about Whedon’s foray into the web during the Writer’s Strike a couple of years ago, and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog” was born.

A series can be three episodes, or eighty.  It can have seasons or cycles, or it can stand alone, as a one shot.

The variety and flavors of webseries are vast, but the issues remain: How do I find the good ones?

Well, how do you find anything “good”?  You rely on word of mouth.  A video goes “viral” when it is shared and distributed by a swarm of people.  You post it or link to it and then some else sees it, does the same and so on… There are a few aggregators out there now, and sites like tubefilter.com try to cover the landscape of web entertainment.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to start highlighting blogs, twitter accounts, facebook pages, and websites which try to highlight the good, find the signals among the noise.  They don’t always succeed, but you stand a better chance of finding something you like after you investigate them.

Why do I care?  No matter what, I am a storyteller first – if I can tell a story on the web and make it as good and as interesting as any independent film or tv series, I have a better shot at getting it seen eventually by a larger audience.  The power is no longer in the hands of gatekeepers – it’s in your hands, you as a creator and you, as an audience.

It’s a wild, uncharted landscape out there.  You can stake a claim.  What are you waiting for?

Me, I’m not waiting.  I’m writing a webseries.  So yeah, some of this is self-interest; I want an audience for what I make.  I want YOU to see it.  I figure I start with talking about webseries and finding some other good ones to share with you.  Then maybe together we can start making some magic happen…

Stay tuned.

Posted under writing

This post was written by Shawna on October 9, 2010

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The 2010-11 Upfronts

Upfronts start on Monday.  This year has been a little strange — there have been a lot of early pickups, so we already know what most of the new shows are going to be, but we don’t know the schedules (or at least the proposed ones) yet.

For now, let’s recap what we know:

NBC (Upfront presentation 5/16)

New Shows:

Law & Order: Los Angeles
Undercovers
Love Bites
Harry’s Law
The Event
The Cape
Outlaw
Chase
Perfect Couples (half hr)
Friends with Benefits (half hr)
Outsourced (half hr)
School Pride (reality)

Canceled:

Law & Order
Mercy
Trauma

FOX (Upfront presentation 5/17)

New shows:

Lone Star (was Midland)
Ride Along
Keep Hope Alive
Traffic Light (half hr)
Bob’s Burgers (half hr)
Running Wilde (half hr)
The X Factor (reality)

Canceled:

24
Brothers
Dollhouse
Our Little Genius (reality, never aired!)
Past Life
Sit Down, Shut Up
Sons of Tuscon
‘Til Death
The Wanda Sykes Show

ABC (Upfront presentation 5/18)

New Shows:

187 Detroit
Off the Map
No Ordinary Family
My Generation (was Generation Y)
Body of Proof
Better Together
Happy Endings (half hr)
Mr. Sunshine (half hr)
Obese
The Six
Strictly Ice Dancing (reality)
The Whole Truth (reality)

Canceled:

Lost (ending)
Witches of Eastwick
The Deep End
Better off Ted
The Forgotten
Hank
Scrubs
Ugly Betty
Romantically Challenged
Flash Forward

CBS (Upfront presentation 5/19)

New shows:

Mike & Molly

Canceled:

Three Rivers
Numb3rs

The CW (Upfront presentation 5/20)

New shows:

Nikita

Canceled:

The Beautiful Life
Melrose Place
Blonde Charity Mafia

We’ll update after the official upfronts.

Posted under tv news

This post was written by Shawna on May 16, 2010

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TV Series news for 5/13

Ok, a lot of info at the end of the day, let’s tally up the results:

CBS:

Picked up “Mike and Molly” from Chuck Lorre.  That’s his third series on CBS.

NBC:

May or may not have canceled “Law & Order”.  Early word was that it was gone, but late afternoon word came down that the network wasn’t officially axing it yet.  Also hanging by a thread: “Heroes.”

Saved to fight another day – “Chuck” – gets a 13-episode order for next season.

ABC:

Most of the news was ABC today.  They picked up 3 comedies: “Mr. Sunshine,” “Happy Endings,” and “Better Together.”  They also picked up 3 dramas: “My Generation” (was “Generation Y,” and one of my personal faves), “The Whole Truth” and “Detroit 187.” Apparently “Wright vs. Wrong” is looking likely as a pick up too, though no official word on it yet.

ABC has also renewed “V” for a second season.  Which probably means “Flash Forward” is done.  “Cougar Town” may get a name change…that was the only other major series news today that I can find.

Posted under tv news

This post was written by Shawna on May 13, 2010

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Blatant Promotion with some Substance

Yes, I like to promote my friends and their writing.  In this case, I’ve worked with the friend in question previously on writing our short film for the 48 Hour Film Festival, so I know what kind of twisted (but great) writing mind he has.

Bernie Su has written a webseries called Compulsions.  It isn’t like most webseries in that it is a straight up drama.  Dailymotion is hosting it exclusively for the next month, and each weekday a new episode is released.

The production value they’ve gotten for the incredibly limited budget is amazing.  You can also get insight into how this got made with the blog at their website, where Bernie talks about the process of writing, casting and shooting the series.  Right now, it is 8 episodes.  If it does well (and so far, by web standards, it’s doing quite well), hopefully they’ll be able to make some more.

I know it’s hard to stick with a webseries, particularly if it isn’t up your alley.  Bernie has made something dark and gritty and distinctively web-centric.  These episodes aren’t chopped up tv shows.  Each 4 to 5 minute piece crams a lot of story and character development, with the promise of so much more to come.  Watch them as they are released or a few at a time, but I do think you’ll be interested by what he’s doing.  If nothing else, hopefully it will give the drama writers some hope for the future beyond Funny or Die videos and Dr. Horrible.

Go check it out.  Wait, I’ll make it even easier for you.  Watch Episode 1 right here:

Now go click on the little linky link up there to go watch the other episodes. You know you want to.

Posted under randomness

This post was written by Shawna on December 4, 2009

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CW commits to Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place

CW has given back nine episode orders to Vampire Diaries, Melrose Place and One Tree Hill.

I’d hold back on those specs though…let’s see how the shows hold up until the end of the season.  Second seasons are NOT guaranteed yet.

Posted under tv news, watch list

This post was written by Shawna on September 23, 2009

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Compulsions

My very good friend and sometimes collaborator Bernie Su (@bernnotice on Twitter) has created and produced a webseries which will be hitting the web soon (I’ll let you know when it does).  Check out the teaser he released yesterday to Tubefilter.

I’m going to pimp the hell out of this, not just because Bernie is a friend, but because I think this project has the potential to crack through the wall that seems to prevent most dramatic webseries from reaching the size audience that humorous ones do.

Compulsions.  It’s a taste.

Posted under tv news

This post was written by Shawna on August 21, 2009

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Mentalist gets a full season, ‘outsourced’ CW Sunday bombs

So, just a few quick updates — CBS has given The Mentalist a full season order on the strength of its ratings for its second episode. I think the show is a good time period filler for the network, and I like Simon Baker. Not sure how the show will develop, but at least we’ll find out. Bad news for CBS: The Ex-List did not premiere well, with lower numbers than last season’s Moonlight (I can hear the Moonlight fans victory cheers now).
Read More…

Posted under analysis, watch list

This post was written by on October 6, 2008

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TNT Picks up 2 Shows

This is real news (and no rick-rolling here!) TNT has given the greenlight to two new series, “Truth In Advertising” and “Men of a Certain Age”, the latter a return vehicle for Ray Romano. The two shows will join current TNT programming of “Saving Grace” and “The Closer” as TNT continues to build more original programming into its schedule.

No airdates announced as yet…

[Oh, and I’m testing Digg.]

Posted under Uncategorized

This post was written by Shawna on April 1, 2008

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Waking up to the future

So, while I remain somewhat secretive about some of my projects, I’ve decided that for my latest foray into entertaining the masses I will blog extensively on my efforts.

My latest project is a web series. I’m co-writing the series with my good friend Bernie Su. He and I believe that we can make a quality entertaining product specific to the web (at least to start).

While I won’t be spilling the story details as yet, here’s our basic construct for the series.

We’ve written a “pilot” episode which introduces our main characters and concept, but is (at least for now) not directly related to the main plot of the 8-episode series.

Each episode will be 5-6 minutes in length, and we hope to clock the total project in at 44 minutes.

We are still working on distribution and I am bringing aboard a producer I think will get us on the right track as we move toward ramping up the writing on the other episodes.

I fully intend for this to see the light of day by the end of April 2008.

Oh, and yes, it will have its own website and viral marketing elements. It should be fun.

Posted under writing

This post was written by Shawna on December 31, 2007

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