The IndieNet and Beyond column has interviewed countless web series creators since it has begun. Okay… maybe not countless (unless you can’t count very high), but it has been a lot. Now we go to one of the sources that distribute web series creations. I recently chatted with Marti Resteghini,VP of Network Programming for Koldcast TV, a major network that gathers up talented web series of various genres.
Currently they have about 20 shows actively releasing episodes with approximately 225 shows available. Some have already been highlighted in this column: Throwing Stones, Western X, Soul Fire Rising, and (who recently announced they are joining Koldcast) Haywire.
“We have a little bit of everything—and by that I mean not just every genre—but we have what we call mini-series, which are 3 or 4 episodes that have a beginning middle end, to full series which may be anywhere from 5 episodes to 40. We also have short films, half-hour shows, and one hour long shows,” said Resteghini. “Like most sites we have mostly comedy and comedy seems always to do really well. But we have had a lot of success, our network in particular, with a lot of dramas and scifi’s because everything that is not comedy has a hard time sort of getting through the noise of regular YouTube videos and all of the other stuff out there.”
Koldcast TV is one of many such Internet television network sites: Koldcast TV, Blip.tv, Mingle Media TV, Revision 3, Crackle, Hulu, etc. So what does Koldcast TV do to try to stand out among the competition?
“How we’re a little different than the other sites is we focus on marketing and reaching particular audiences for each individual show. We don’t really do a whole lot of marketing for our network per say. We aren’t necessarily the kind of network people log in the morning to see what is new,” explained Resteghini. “What we do is we take each piece of programming and use other sites were we know people are doing that, mostly social news sites, and reach people through that: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and Digg are part of our top sites where we reach our viewers. We have an ever evolving marketing strategy that takes content and tries to find people that like that content.”
As many web creators have said in this column, there really aren’t any hard rules for a web series. New media is so… new… that no one can know 100% what works or doesn’t. But I had to ask Resteghini what they see working for their programs, like how long should an episode be (oh the debates people have online about that topic).
“Five minutes for an episode is pretty safe. We have plenty of shows that are closer to ten minutes. Anything after ten minutes needs to look really, really fantastic,” said Resteghini.
But even with those examples, there are exceptions. “We have a half-hour show that is sort of a how-to multi-media show, whether it’s how to use pro tools, how to make a certain sound, how to create certain effects with your computer. It feels much more like a regular half-hour show you may see on VH1 or something. Which we know a viewer who is interested in that has a different mindset when they sit down to watch it, on top of the fact the quality sort of reminds you of television,” explained Resteghini. “And our other show Graveyard Carz which is usually 45 minutes each feels like a hour long reality show, in fact they’re currently pitching to television stations right now. I think the quality and the format sort of lends itself to people watching it a little longer.”
That’s all good and all, but lets be selfish and ask, what does Koldcast TV have to offer us? I asked Resteghini to tell us a little about some of their newest web series that may appeal to ScifiPulse readers.
“One of my most recent favorites.. there is so much out there right now and it is so hard to be surprised. We just launched The Immoral Dr. Dicqer. It sort of takes a page from Afterworld in terms of blending real life and animation and then throws in some surrealism, weird costume and plays with depths of field. Plus the story is just ridiculous. It’s a pirate who gets married and has a baby and needs to leave pirate life and moves to the suburbs and pretends to be a gynecologist. [And] is now being followed by a bounty hunter.”
“If you like something a little more conservative for storytelling, but yet pretty deep in mythology, we have Tyranny. There’s footage they’ve been shooting for years all around the world. It is based on uncovering a conspiracy that’s happening in the future. The main character is having forward flashes of the future where a big corporation is manipulating our thoughts and recording everything. That is an interesting series.”
“We have a show called Your Brain On Tech, which is a weekly show that covers technology, whether it is new equipment or announcements from other tech sites.”
“We have a new show that is much more traditional sort of noir, hitman, action. It is called No Clean Break. It is one of the last projects David Carradine worked on. It’s about a hitman who’s hired by a big crime boss—played by David Carradine—who wants to die and so he hires the hitman to kill him, but also wants his girlfriend to die with him. It turns out the girlfriend is the long lost love of this hitman. So things get a little muddy.”
“A new comedy we have called Project 420. It’s taking the old idea of MK-ULTRA. Taking it into the future and saying if the government agency that created MK-ULTRA was still around they may be testing more conventional drugs and how they can be used, like pot. So it’s this goofy comedy action series based around these group of potheads who work for the government who are testing and making really amazing pot. One of those sort of off the wall combination of genres that are a lot of fun.”
What does Koldcast TV believe will be the future of web series?
“We’ve always believed that the Internet and television are going to come together. I think in this next year you are going to see that becoming a reality. As the Internet and television come together, what is a network is not going to have anything to do with how it gets to your house, whether it is through an Internet cable, satellite television, or a cable box,” predicts Resteghini. “What is going to happen is you’re going to have tiered programming, whether it is mass programming safe for the whole family more like a CBS, you’re going to have expensive but alternative programming probably something more like HBO or FX, and then you are going to have indie rough and tumble programming that’s going to be coming out of the Internet that is going to be independently produced and independently financed.”
Koldcast TV has big plans for 2011. A big facelift is coming soon to the website with a family of blogs they are launching. For example, a scifi blog that hosts all of their scifi programming and will also have scifi-related articles.
If you want to submit a show, you can contact Resteghini at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A quick update for those wondering about progress on my own web series. Reality On Demand is moving forward with a big table read and scheduling of fight choreography. We have some really fun stuff planned with this series: visual effects, special effects make-up, fight scenes, etc.
Elsewhere On The Web…
Our Lazy Teenage Superheroes coverage is starting a ‘whose got the lower budget’ war.
Here is Redd. The director tells us he made it for $247. Enjoy!
What I’m Watching… Are You?
Mind’s Eye – Episode 11 “Devils Night”
The Dolgrath is getting tired of waiting. The time to strike is near.
Throwing Stones – Episode 5 “Pawn Stars”
Have you been watching the new teen horror web series Throwing Stones? It’s a feature length horror screenplay adapted for the Internet.
Vampire Zombie Werewolf – Episode 4 Commentary
Vampire Zombie Werewolf takes a week off from a new episode but they do give us another funny commentary episode. They also recently launched the ToolBox Films website, with some fun fake web series.
That’s A Wrap
Got a web series, web comic, web… whatever, then I want to know about it. Contact me at: email@example.com
That’s a wrap for now. Take care my virtual friends. Until next time… marX out.
You can find me on twitter @MrMarx
Follow ScifiPulse on Twitter @SciFiPulse.
Marx H. Pyle is a writer, martial artist and American independent filmmaker. A graduate of Vancouver Film School, he has worked on a number of projects including the short film he wrote and directed, Silence of the Belle. He is currently in pre-production of his scifi web series Reality On Demand.