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Soap 2.0: Online Soaps and Web Series


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#1

rabal

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Posted Dec 8, 2009 @ 6:19 PM

TV is delivered via airwaves, cable, and now broadband/high-speed internet. Soaps are becoming part of the online episodic mosaic. I predict that at some point in the very near future, there will be full-on soap web series comparable to those found on network TV, but for now most are fledgling and finding their foothold in the soap world and TV 2.0 at large. When those break out series occur, they can graduate to their own topic, but for now we can bring awareness and discuss these series here. Here are a few current web-original soaps (titles hyperlink to series website):

Gotham is a web soap opera from executive producer Martha Byrne based on characters developed by Byrne and Alexandra Verner Roalsvig ... The show follows the lives of Catherine Prescott (played by Daytime Emmy winner Martha Byrne) and Richard Manning (Daytime Emmy nominee Michael Park) as well as other interesting and diverse characters.

The Lake original series from Jason Priestly at WB.com

Venice ...is a web soap opera series and the creative concept of long time friends and artistic partners Crystal Chappell and Kimmy Turrisi. Starring Crytal Chappell, Jessica Leccia, Galen Gering, Nadia Bjorlin, Michael Sabatino. Episode 1 on YouTube.

Buppies Soapcom starring and produced by Tatyana Ali. Robin Thiede also starring. Entourage meets Girlfriends. New episodes on Tuesdays at bet.com

Ylse Soapcom written by and starring Ruth Livier. Also starring Marlene Forte and Alejandro de Hoyos. Season 1 and Season 2 on Youtube and at Ylse.net

Wed-Locked starring Lawrence Saint-Victor and Karla Mosley as a newly married couple.

Foreign Body Soap/Thriller set in India

In The Moment Soap addressing relationships and HIV/AIDS.

Edited by rabal, Dec 8, 2009 @ 7:20 PM.

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#2

Kara6891

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Posted Dec 9, 2009 @ 4:39 AM

Wow....I didn't know there were so many online soaps. I've only watched Buppies and over the weekend Venice. And I checked out Imaginary Bitches last year.

I am LOVING Buppies. I'm so glad that Tatyana Ali has a project to work on considering her talents are absolutely wasted on Y&R. I like that given that the show has an all black cast, they incorporate different aspects of "urban life" that doesn't usually get shown on regular soaps(especially the house "party" with the drinking and smoking weed). Because really, we do engage in those activities more times than not. LOL. Now on to the really good stuff: 1.) Is there something going on between Elliot and Truth? (the football star). Because I really hope so. I saw some sexual chemistry there and my gaydar pinged off immediately. It would also be a cool twist to have the "thug"/masculine one be all clingy and the effeminate one be distant and secretive. Of course this is just my opinion, and I could be totally wrong about what's going on (wouldn't be the first time). 2.) I find both of Q's friends to be tooo far at the end of the ghetto-boughey spectrum. They both need to reign it in a just a bit. 3.) I wonder what Shaka's lawyer/business card says.

My only gripe about this show is that the episodes are too short. Could they spring for at least 5 minutes an eppy?? The last one barely made it to 3 minutes. Oh...and is BabyPhat a sponsor?


Venice....what can I say. This show by far has gotten the most hype, publicity, and overall thumbs up than any of the others IMO. I know all the "Otalia/GL" fans were hyperventilating after the first minute or so. LOL. Can't say I blame them, I was too. Ha! Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia still have that burning hot chemistry that garnered them the success they had with Otalia. The main difference I can see already is that JL will get a chance to shine here. She owned the first episode for me. With so little dialogue, the frustration and hurt for Ani was palpable. The last scene in the bedroom said it all for me. Ani wants all of Gina and knows she can't get it but in the mean time seems willing to take whatever she can get, which for now is just sex. What a difficult position to be in. Its not quite unrequited love but in some ways that's exactly what it is.

I'm not too crazy about the bar owner. I think they could have introduced him at a later date. The way it was done just seemed awkward and thrown in.

No opinion on Owen/GG as of yet.

Edited by Kara6891, Dec 9, 2009 @ 4:43 AM.

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#3

steve91199

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Posted Dec 9, 2009 @ 6:59 PM

Thank you for the links. I watched a few of them today.

I enjoyed Wed-Locked. I think doing a mostly comedic "soap" about a very small amount of characters was probably a good idea. I always liked Remy and Christina on GL and I wished they'd had more airtime. Seeing the actors in another format, allowed more humor and a little bit of romance, was a nice touch. I really loved seeing Felicia Boudreaux, who never had a storyline even though she was on GL for almost a decade, and I loved seeing Yvonna Kopacz play a role which couldn't be more different than Mel.

In the Moment was also much better than I had expected. I've never seen any of those actors before but they all did a good job, they seemed natural. The stories also seemed natural, focusing on the lonely life a gay man can sometimes have even in a friendly environment, on crystal meth and how it can consume you, on monogamy and HIV. The only story I didn't really get into was the one about Prop 8, as it felt very preachy and like people reading lines. I also wondered why the guy who moved from a small town vanished halfway through. Did the actor have to quit or something?
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#4

rabal

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Posted Dec 9, 2009 @ 10:12 PM

Venice is getting the highest amount of buzz and press so far. I think it has to do with star power, carryover fandom from GL, and the overall higher production quality and professional presentation compared to many web series.

I like Buppies, but I agree Kara that Q's friends are a little stereotypically left/right-field. If those characters were more nuanced I'd like the series better. Q is the best character and I'm glad Tatyana has another showcase for her talent.

Most web series are a bit short, unfortunately. I think that over time we'll see longer length webisodes. Most of these are produced with little-to-no money, so the shorter length is understandable. Buppies has a cosmetic company as a sponsor ... can't remember which one.

steve I agree that the actors in In The Moment are pretty good despite their relative unknown status. The production quality for the series is also above average.

The surprise "hit" for me was Ylse. I watched the entire S1 in one sitting. Although it could've had more b- and c- stories considering that it introduced so many characters and that the episode lengths were longer than average.

Another web soap is Empire, which is basically a wealthy family drama. I'm kinda meh on this one because of the acting, but it does have cool credits and scene segues FWIW. There's also Love Pop Trash which I haven't seen completely yet, but is an angsty CW-type show. Then there's pilot-only Life In General.
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#5

Knots Landing

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Posted Dec 10, 2009 @ 10:10 AM

I alot of these are too short for me to truly become invested. A few years ago there was a 30 minute (IIRC) web soap named California Heaven. It was well shot and very soapy in the style of a Dynasty, but the acting could be very bad. I believe it ran for two seasons, but it was before the web soap boom and has disappeared. It had a spin-off called Malibu Lexy which also ran for 30 minutes. The creator also created the first websoap, or mobilesoap, for Sprint.

Here's the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia....lifornia_Heaven

Venice was pretty much a total failure for me. Announcing they were going to charge us at the last minute was a lame way to use us to promote the series until the launch date. I have no problem paying, but they should've made it clear sooner. The actual show failed because it's written as a feature film and cut into small 5 minute episodes. Based on this opening scene I don't know what this show is going to be about. Why should I care about these two women jumping into bed? Should I follow the last Otalia scene and pick up from there? Who are these women? Why should I care about them in bed together? Who is that man they were talking to? What is the hook? Where is the "tune in tomorrow" factor? Why should I buy a series I know nothing about?

I think having such a poor first episode will hurt their sales. Otalia die-hards will buy it, but nobody else has been given a reason to purchase the series. If I hadn't read detailed synopsis and interviews I wouldn't have known what the hell was going on.

Moving onto Gotham, it had it's problems, but it's more successful than Venice. The biggest success was including a cliffhanger in the first episode! I don't need gunshots and murders, but give me SOMETHING. Venice gave me nothing. I do think Gotham has introduced some interesting characters with potential. I look forward to seeing more. I also felt the second episode was a major improvement upon the first. My main complaint is that it is too short. These episodes need to be at least 10 minutes, not including the credits.

I've only seen the first couple episodes of Empire, but what I saw was pretty good. Again, too short, but I do look forward to seeing more. Now I plan on checking out Buppies and Web-Locked due to the strong reviews here!
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#6

Marlies

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Posted Dec 10, 2009 @ 5:31 PM

I have only watched three so far. I watched Gotham, Venice and Wed-Locked.

Surprisingly I actually enjoyed Wed-Locked the most maybe because it wasn't an actual soap. My biggest issue with the web series is the length of the episodes, they are too darn short and there really isn't enough time to actually tell a story. Wed-Locked is not telling a story, instead they have one funny scene or story per episode and to me that worked.

Gotham: I had high hopes for Gotham, Martha Byrne and her team seems professional enough unlike some, cough*Venice*cough but I really wasn't too impressed with the first two episodes. The first episode which apparently was a teaser but was advertised as a premiere, was too darn short and was mainly filled with credits. I later read that one was supposed to gather clues from the voices and phonecalls but how they heck was I suppose to know that? The second episode was slightly better but I thought some of the acting was atrocious which is strange since they are all great actors. Maeve Kincaid was fabulous though.

Venice: The hope for all lesbians in the world. It looked great but there was nothing there too hook me. I thought the kissing between the characters was extremely clinical and cold and it looked like they'd rather stay in bed and play scrabble than make out. The music was extremely annoying just like with Gotham. Please stop having some wail over dialogue. It didn't work on GL and it's not working here.

I think Venice made a big mistake charging for the first season. The Otalia faithfuls will buy it but I doubt that very few other will. Also, Venice seems to be run by the village idiots, their website never works, in fact they are postponing episode 2 because of this. Being a webseries and not having a website that functions is bad bad business.

In conclusion, I'm not about to give up my real soaps for the websoaps. Maybe in a couple of years when the episodes can be longer but not now. Give me GH and OLTL any day.
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#7

rabal

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Posted Dec 10, 2009 @ 5:57 PM

Knots, I remember the now-defunct California Heaven. And come to think of it, it did have closer to "normal" length episodes. It had a cheesy (in a good way), over-the-top quality without going into soapcom territory. I remember a long time ago it went on a hiatus from which it never returned. They kept advertising the new upcoming season, which was to feature a black family with a tag of something like "guess who's coming to Malibu". Ha! I checked the website repeatedly to see if there were new episodes, but eventually the website came down and thus was the end of the series. This was a classic example of being ahead of its time - I think it would do better now. I wonder if the EP would at least post the series on YouTube - I didnt get to see all the episodes.

I hadn't realized that the creators of Venice only brought in the pay-to-view model right before the premiere. Perhaps the revenue will increase their budgets to point a where they can lengthen the episodes.

As far as the first ep goes, I wasn't to impressed with the characters and story. They could've made better use of that first 6 minutes by building our suspense, curiousity, and sympathy. But it is a very goodlooking show. I don't think I'm part of the target audience so I'm not as excited as others in the webiverse about it simply existing. The main reason I'm glad I watched the first ep was because it made this TWoP-like self-proclaimed "really mean Venice review" that much more funny. I'm debating about whether to subscribe. I do encourage those who are so inclined to give it a chance.

I just saw Gotham ep 2 and it's good but too.short (yes, that common complaint). I liked the closing song.

I wish these online producers would lengthen their scenes and episodes using the same tactics as network soaps - increased dialogue, utilizing mainly the same locations and actors. I think a lot of them are blindly buying in to the convention that webisodes are "supposed" to be only 3 to 5 minutes. That might be OK for comedy clips, but not soaps.

I'm not about to give up my real soaps for the websoaps. Maybe in a couple of years when the episodes can be longer but not now. Give me GH and OLTL any day.

Yeah, I think we're a long way from people watching online soaps instead of network soaps. The main issues that need to be addressed: 1) episode length, 2) acting, 3) website glitches. For now, online soaps are additional ways to get your soap fix on, and also to see the type of stories not usually seen or given much airtime on network soaps.
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#8

Knots Landing

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Posted Dec 10, 2009 @ 9:43 PM

I hadn't realized that the creators of Venice only brought in the pay-to-view model right before the premiere. Perhaps the revenue will increase their budgets to point a where they can lengthen the episodes.


IIRC, they revealed we'd have to pay the day before. On Twitter. What kind of shit is that?! With Gotham they do seem more successful and with money I could see that being a great show. I could even see it as a soap on SOAPnet. What little teasers I've seen look good. The cast is great as well, but SOAPnet clearly doesn't want to invest in a soap.

They kept advertising the new upcoming season, which was to feature a black family with a tag of something like "guess who's coming to Malibu".


Oh I would've LOVED to have seen that! I wonder if they filmed any episodes with the black family! Also interesting about California Heaven is that IIRC it did have sponsors and seemed to have actual money put into it.

The length issue surprises me because these are soap actors who know how to film things in one take. If they have less characters per episode and longer scenes they could easily make 15-20 minute episodes with three different scenes. You can tell six or eight characters story in that one episode. I wonder if they're not up to the task of writing it or do they assume websoaps are supposed to be 3-5 minutes?

I did just watch Buppies, which had a 6 minute pilot. That worked for me, but probably because it was a comedy.
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#9

Darn

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Posted Dec 10, 2009 @ 10:24 PM

I've only seen Gotham and Venice.

Gotham was truly atrocious. Badly edited, written and surprisingly acted.

I don't know what the hell that strange kissy-faced zoom on Martha Byrne and Michael Park's faces were but it was not attractive.

And who are these people? I don't want to see 40 year old MB obsessing over a man who seems to barely know who she is. And how strange was MP and that woman making out in the middle of Maeve Kincaid's speech? And no one notices but Martha? Okay.

Then she leaves and goes outside and the sound quality goes to shit. And of the 8 minutes of show about half of that was credits, how insane is that? I just really didn't like ANY of it.

Venice had better production values and wrote a scene that felt like a scene but still not very good. Crystal Chappell and Jessica Lucia and very pretty and make out and can curse now! Cute. Then Galen Gering is someone's brother and...end scene. I didn't get a sense of what the show is about at all.
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#10

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 3:02 AM

I didn't get a sense of what the show is about at all.


I wonder if this length issue has anything to do with those clipped soap stories you get on youtube - 5-10min installments of particular storylines (love stories, big events, favourite characters' scenes) that can have quite big followings. I could see the webseries makers therefore thinking people will get engaged in such short episodes. The thing is those youtube clips only deal with one story/character, while a lot of these web soaps try to tell several strands in a few minutes, which isn't enough time to get into anything. I'd say Wed-Locked has the right idea given the timeframe, just sticking to one story, although (pretty and engaging as the actors are) I don't find it interesting or funny enough to follow regularly.

As for Venice, they have messed up their launch, with the crashed website and the last-minute announcement of paid subscription. But I'm still going to pay, because I like what they are trying to do and want to support it, and they are just feeling their way. I'm interested in seeing stories that haven't been told on the networks, and can't see how they can produce anything half-decent without financial support in some way or another. If they can afford to keep going, hopefully they will get better at it.
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#11

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 3:42 AM

I thought Gotham and Venice were both bad, but Venice had CC so it was not as bad. But the thing was Venice was kind of boring bad, whereas Gotham felt more trainwreck bad. So maybe even if Venice wasn't charging I'd be more likely to watch Gotham.

Also... isn't Melody Thomas Scott supposed to have some Web soap coming soon: The Republic?
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#12

steve91199

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 3:43 AM

Unfortunately Melody had to drop out of that. She was upset, as she had even dyed her hair.
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#13

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 11:29 AM

It's a pity about MTS (she was replaced by Sean Young), but the story intrigues me so I still plan to check out The Republic when it debuts in February.
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#14

Black Knight

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 11:35 AM

I think the short lengths have more to do with bandwidth and other technological issues than anything else.

While Venice's subscription fee means that they've put a ceiling on their audience, the thing is that at the numbers that are involved it doesn't matter. They're doing four seasons a year, so if you go conservative and estimate a minimum of 6000 subscriptions (that's about the number of YT subscribers to the Venice channel and the number of CC's Twitter followers), that's $60,000 a season and $240,000 a year. I would think that CC and her partners, as the creators/producers/writers, have a deal where they get at least 50% of the revenue, with the other 50% going to pay the other people involved and cover the costs of filming. So that's 120K to split up three ways every year, and that's without even getting into merchandise and DVD sales. Even at those minimums, 40K is more than many people make in a year and Venice isn't even CC's day job. So while the audience isn't going to grow, it doesn't need to grow, they just need to keep the people they've hooked. I, personally, thought the first ep was pretty meh and quit halfway through, but there are plenty of supportive viewers.

Edited by Black Knight, Dec 11, 2009 @ 11:39 AM.

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#15

Kara6891

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 2:17 PM

You know....I hadn't even thought about Venice in the sense that the actual development of the characters wasn't present in the first eppy. I've read up on the series and I've been on the website so much that I feel like I already know the characters.....but in hindsight I can see why those who may be new to the whole thing would be going...WTF? I agree that CC and Co. are going for a specific target audience and want to make sure they keep those 4-6,000 they already have...everybody else is just icing on the cake.

I did think it was in bad taste to announce the day before the launch that they'd be charging $10 for the season. And I agree that having the website down for so long is just bad business. They should have had all this stuff dealt with weeks ago. But with all that said, I still paid for the subscription. I personally didn't have problem with the first episode and I thought it was done pretty well. I also want to support Crystal for even attempting to do a "lesbian-themed" soap.


Unfortunately Melody had to drop out of that. She was upset, as she had even dyed her hair.

Is that because she's returning to Y&R this month??
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#16

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 2:46 PM

Unfortunately Melody had to drop out of that. She was upset, as she had even dyed her hair.

Is that because she's returning to Y&R this month??

No. According to The Republic website, she had to drop out because of an emergency. No specifics given.
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#17

ocean1blue

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 4:40 PM

CC did a very good job playing to her target audience, and she definintely knows how to give the Otalia fans what they want. There were a few opening night glitches, and they need to work to get those ironed out very quickly now that they are charging for Venice, because paying customers lose patience very quickly. I was very happy to pay $9.99 to support Venice and not just because I am a CC fan, but also because I want to support all web series after the crappy way the networks have been treating all soap fans. Not just the cancellation of GL, and now ATWT, to make way for game shows, but the horrible writing on AMC and the "performance art" on GH. The networks have made it more than clear that soap viewers aren't a high priorty for them, and I gladly support the web series in their infancy and through all the growing pains. I feel that the web will eventually become the home for soaps, or at least where they go for the trial runs before they might eventually end up on cable. Anything that gives the networks competition is fine by me. If this turns out to become CC's day job, and she doesn't have to worry about getting a network gig anymore, then more power to her.
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#18

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 5:15 PM

(1) I'm not an Otalia fan
(2) I didn't pay and would never pay those 9.99 for the Venice aka I have no intention of watching this unless it shows up on the internet free eventually

That said the moment I heard about Venice and precisely how quickly they intended to put it out I immediately thought that it just couldn't be all that great. From a business point of view it makes sense, they had to strike the iron while it's hot and give the Otalia fans *something* before they lose interest and move elsewhere. But there's no way they could churn out something professional in that short a time. Especially since the original planned debut was much earlier even as far as I remember.

To be honest I even assumed that there was no way they could get Jessica Leccia for anything more than a cameo considering that she lives elsewhere/has her family to take care of. So from a purely technical POV I was quite impressed, at least it was much better than I envisioned it.

And though I'm no Otalia fan/no viewer of Venice I do think that it is a possiblity that a second season could be of much higher quality once they have some actual money and some actual time to produce it. What they have now was/had to be rushed so I'm not too surprised about the quality.

So far the biggest problem seems to be writing/lack of cliffhanger. This is what will ultimately make them sink or swim, if they are willing to accept improvements in this area or whether it will end up in some drama queen kerfuffle with people refusing to back off what is a poor narration style.
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#19

ems09

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 5:43 PM

About Venice:

Announcing they were going to charge us at the last minute was a lame way to use us to promote the series until the launch date. I have no problem paying, but they should've made it clear sooner.

Yeah, that seemed a little like a dirty trick to me too, but they've been having some other execution issues as well, so I'll just chalk it all up to start-up pains. And frankly, for me the subscription is a bit of a blessing. I had committed to supporting this thing and I thought the only real way was to provide alot of traffic to the site. I no longer feel I need to do that. (Have you seen some of those characters in that community? Wow.)

I checked out Gotham last weekend for comparison purposes. My only memory was that it was loud. (Similar to the volume of Venice at it's start. What's up with the loud music?)

Where I favored Venice because I really like CC and JL, I think all these web-series that introduce new characters are going to have a real challenge in the short-term. It is very hard to get an audience invested in them if you only see them for a few minutes each week. But I appreciate good story-telling in any medium and am very interested to see how this entertainment model plays out. I'll ride along.

ETA: If I see more support for Wed-Locked here or elsewhere, I'll give it a go. But I found those two painful to watch on GL, pretty, but painful, so it needs to be a general consensus.

Edited by ems09, Dec 11, 2009 @ 6:15 PM.

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#20

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 7:07 PM

I didn't read the Venice site nor the Gotham site before watching the available episodes. I wanted to see if I could figure out what was going on just based on the episodes.

I hated Gotham and I still have no idea what is supposed to be going on! And that has had two episodes already. The music is too loud, the credits are too long, dialogue cannot be heard, heads are cut off in shots and some of the acting is just plain bad. I like the actors involved, but the rest is a mess.

I liked Venice very much. Some of the music was a bit loud and the slow mo shot was stupid, but other than that I got a feeling for who these two women are to each other. I thought CC and JL did a great job and I didn't think of Otalia at all when I watched the first ep. I also thought GG was more animated on Venice than he is on Days!

The Venice team has had some issues in terms of the web site etc. But I can forgive that for now - they are learning as they go. I have to say, I don't mind the subscription. For the web series idea to really go, these projects need to start showing they can be financially viable.
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#21

twixymix

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Posted Dec 11, 2009 @ 8:22 PM

Web series are not as cheap to make as some might think. The average cost of a low end series is about $2,000 per minute. Consider that Venice is 6 minutes long per ep, and that there may be 10 eps per season. That's $120,000 minimum for one season(and Venice is hardly a low end production). CC called in a lot of favors for the first season of Venice, so the costs were not as high. The revenue from the Venice store sales went back into the series--upgrade on camera, more paid staff like hair and makeup, craft services, etc...

Also, there might be 6,000 followers on Youtube, but that doesn't mean they will all pay for subscriptions. 5,000 might be a more realistic number, which means $50,000 to make season 2. CC has already said that the subscriptions are going to pay for season 2. She also has said that she would like to pay the actors at least a little since they all worked for free to do season 1. Sooo, it is doubtful that any substantial profit is going to be made from this, if any at all.

Edited by twixymix, Dec 11, 2009 @ 8:23 PM.

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#22

LolaRuns

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Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 2:08 AM

Yes, even as a non fan (who has no intention of paying the fee) I didn't think that those 9.99 were all that shocking and were even pretty sensible. It seems to be about the amount I would consider fair if I was a devoted fan. I mean how often do people joke, about any show, "I would pay X to see this happen" or "if that would happen, that would be worth x dollars". Well, now here's the chance. And it does seem sensible to pour the money into season 2. If they do that maybe they can do a decent season 2 that can manage to actually reach other people beyond the core fanbase. I actually think season 2 is gonna be much harder to do for them regardless of quality because who's to say that everybody willing to pay for season 1 will be willing to pay for season 2 and beyond?

That said, I would love to see their numbers, how many subscriptions they really did end up getting.
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#23

rabal

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Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 3:30 AM

Has anyone subscribed to Venice? I'm thinking there might be some clues as to how many subscribers there are somewhere "on the inside," like in a member's forum or networking section.

Re: Venice website glitches. I read somewhere that there is only one tech person for this project. Plus I doubt they were spending a lot of money beforehand on dedicated servers, high bandwidth, etc. In fact, they almost had to charge viewers something as the bandwidth costs alone could've drained them considering all the attention it has been getting.

The Republic looks somewhat interesting, but the premise seems to require a lot of suspension of disbelief.

Here's another series: High Rise. Looks like a web soap that will be shown on local TV for season 2. It is sponsor/tie-in heavy.

Regarding the length issue for all web series, the way around the bandwidth concern is to place the episodes on YouTube. That won't work for pay series like Venice, but for all others (free) it is a valid option.
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#24

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Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 5:08 AM

CBS and Saturn did a webseries last year called Novel Adventures. It's fairly professionally produced -- not so much a soap, but I think this sort of model can totally work if done right. There's obviously some money behind it (as you can tell from all the tie-ins, which aren't a dealbreaker for me if it's not painful).
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#25

LolaRuns

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Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 5:09 AM

If The Republic tries to be social/political commentary I'm gonna guess that it will be full of fail. However, wouldn't that be an awesome concept for a soap if they just let it uncommented and had it be the status quo. How different would a soap be if nobody could ever, ever divorce or where it would be clear from the start that nobody could have an abortion (ignoring that nobody on a soap ever ends up having an abortion anyway). It would give the relationships on soaps a totally different edge if they happened against a backdrop like that.
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#26

twixymix

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Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 10:37 AM

I've paid for a subscription for Venice, and so far there's no real info on how many subscriptions it's gotten. It's not important for me to know anyway.

Yes, there is only one tech person working on the webpage. Like the actors and writer, she's doing this for no pay. This really is a labor of love for everyone involved. The inspiration for the series was Otalia and how the characters were never allowed to show any romantic physical affection on GL. CC didn't think it was fair to do that to the fans, so Venice was created. The motives behind it are pure and sincere, and that's why I fully support it.

The Republic sounds fascinating to me, like The Handmaid's Tale meets 1984. I hadn't heard of it until this thread, and now can't wait for the first episode. I hope it can live up to such a good synopsis.
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#27

jase-bot

jase-bot

    Stalker

Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 1:39 PM

Sorry, I'm a bitch but I don't care for most of these. The reason I don't take these shows seriously is because they obviously don't take the work seriously. "It's just a web soap." They all seem to be built on lack of characterization versus plot, or both at once, with whiplash pacing straight out of Ellen Wheeler's GL, and shitty unsigned-band folk rock music. Venice expects people to pay $10 a pop for Otalia fan service and no real plot - whatever. Gotham actually bothers to establish a character in the premiere (Michael Park's character, on the phone), but follows it up with terrible sound, production, and storytelling in the second episode.

Look at Gotham. Why would Margaret Reed's character (whoever she is - nice job on the introductions) kiss Michael Park full-on in the middle of a crowded room where they are at the center of the action and Maeve Kinkead (whoever she's supposed to be) is giving a speech for charity? These shows approach their limited timeframe and budget as though they can still write for a 60-minute network soap opera, so they speed through 60 minutes worth of plot, plot, plot beats that would only work organically on an hour show and stage things that you can only effectively stage with real money - for example, on a regular soap, you'd set things up, show the charity function, then Park and Reed would eventually kiss in the shadows in the background, glimpsed by Martha Byrne onstage, and soon thereafter Martha would try to leave. Fine. But on an episode that is only 6 minutes long with limited space, what happens when you try to apply network quality is you've only got about 4 minutes of content, you've got that terrible, cheesy opening with the weird angles and lame voice-over, Park enters the party, the party starts, Maeve begins her speech, Park and Reed kiss for no reason in front of everyone (probably because there was nowhere else to put them), no one acknowledges it, Martha says a few words and immediately leaves. What? How does this remotely resemble real life activity, or even any credible daytime soap? Where are the character beats versus plot? I was embarrassed for Byrne, Park, and Lisa Brown, who supposedly wrote this. Many of these concepts are fine - it's how they are done that is terrible. It's like they all belong to an Ellen Wheeler cult and think no one will notice they are shoving too much plot into a tiny episode if we are bombarded with music, camerawork and bad slow-motion. How can I begin to care about Richard and Catherine (are those their names?) if there is no characterization? Slow-motion is not characterization. Music is not characterization.

Somehow Gotham episode 2 made Venice look good but I didn't care for that either. Unlike Gotham, it managed to do a somewhat in-depth two-character scene with the leads, which is extremely important, but we don't know who they are or what they want, and no, I don't care that they played Otalia. The focus seemed to be "OMFG they're finally kissing squee." Who cares? GL's over. These characters are not Otalia, yet we're expected to just shake it off and pretend they are since this show is totally marketed to that fanbase, and just take their characterization from GL and run with it here, in lieu of making the writers actually write material for new people. Maybe I'm being unfair to it and it will branch out in new directions soon. It's still better than Gotham.

For me, it's not enough that these things are a labor of love, everyone's working so hard for so little - well, okay, but then you have to put on a good show. It's not an excuse. I've heard Byrne and Brown talk and talk and talk about how daytime has lost its way and how they understand the fundamentals of soap opera, and then they put out Gotham. What is that? If this is "the future of the genre" it had better start improving damn fast. The first episode of Claire Labine's Ryan's Hope was only about 13-15 minutes long without commercials, and that had both character and plot, and that was in 1975. I personally think all websoap episodes should be at least 15 minutes, but if you're going to cut that in half or thirds, then you'd better have something really valid to deliver, in terms of both characters and story, not half a loaf or a mishmash. I say start with simple, one or two-character scenes, or introduce a family in one pop as a group, and do that for a while in 3-6 minute shows, just introducing people to us, slowly, without PLOT PLOT PLOT or cheating with crappy music or longing looks or "well, this person played X on Soap Y, so just pretend it's them." Then you can build stories. Style will not carry the day. You'd think these people's experiences on a variety of cancelled soap operas would've proved that. No one's going to watch a cut-rate version of The Hills on YouTube with bad sound when they can get a better quality Hills somewhere else.

I'm sorry if I sound cruel about these shows, but it's because I genuinely want the genre to succeed and thrive that I'm critical. I just feel the creators' aspirations and talk does not in any way match their product.

Edited by jase-bot, Dec 12, 2009 @ 1:40 PM.

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#28

steve91199

steve91199

    Stalker

Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 1:52 PM

Did any of you ever read the old websoaps, which were briefly a fad about 13 years ago? East Village, The Spot...there was one with gay man called Gay Daze. I probably preferred some of those to the current web shows because there was more interaction with the readers, but also because you could follow the characters more instead of just remembering the actors from their soap roles.

I haven't tried most of these online soaps yet, aside from In the Moment and Wed-Locked. Since Gotham seems to be stocked with ATWT people from my favorite era of the show I suppose I will have to watch soon.
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#29

ShiftyEyedDogg

ShiftyEyedDogg

    Fanatic

Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 2:59 PM

The text-based websoaps I've seen seem to be miles ahead of the video ones so far. They've also been around a lot longer, as a medium, which is kind of fun because they have some history accumulated. About Schuyler Falls has been running since the late 90s, and while not strictly a soap, it's a pretty twisty drama about the (often tormented) people in an upstate NY town. I know reading isn't everyone's bag, but stuff like this is, thus far, a lot more satisfying to me than Venice or Gotham.
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#30

steve91199

steve91199

    Stalker

Posted Dec 12, 2009 @ 3:31 PM

I think I might remember that. Was that ever about a publishing company? I remember one with a publishing company.

And one which was all about a psychiatrist and his patients. Do you remember that?
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