For the past several years I have dedicated ever increasing mental resources to figuring out how best to connect with an audience for Popular Uprising’s independent series in a way that allows us to keep producing these series in a reasonable amount of time, with high production values, working with (and paying!) good people and do it all without ending up living on the street. Throughout this process, Mr. Louis CK has been blazing a new trail. And I love him for it!
For all the readers out there who just can’t get enough of Douglas Horn by reading the blog, now you can watch me talk too! DIVERGENCE is the first independent series from my company Popular Uprising. This is a promo for Season One.
You can see more at http://WhatIsDivergence.com
It’s no secret, I strongly believe that independent series are the sweet spot for filmmakers/visual storytellers/narrative creatives—pick your moniker. But it’s May in Seattle and that means it’s time for the biggest little film festival in America to kick off again—the Seattle International Film Festival. I have a long history with SIFF—My short Full Disclosure won the Golden Space Needle Award in 2006, I was on the Short Film Jury in 2008. This year I’m back with two films—I wrote the original screenplay for Ira Finkelstein’s Christmas, which is playing in the festival and Coffee & Pie, a short film I directed with Amy Seimetz and Sophia Takal is playing as well. I’m also speaking on a panel about short films—which just proves that the minute to publicly proclaim your lack of interest in something, you’ll be asked to speak about it!
I don’t want anyone to take my excitement about independent series as a disdain for independent films. I think series are the better option for the future, but features (and even shorts) are a great form of entertainment and artistic expression and are the right format for certain stories. I have attended film festivals for over a decade and I’ve made a lot of great friends on the film festival circuit—filmmakers and curators/programmers who I really admire and enjoying knowing. When I think about my focus on independent series, I get a little lump in my throat knowing that I may be removing myself from the film festival world to some extent. The logical part of my brain knows I’m making the best decision, but at the emotional level, it’s hard to distance myself from participating in something that I’ve enjoyed so much for so long.
We have entered the Golden Age of Independent Series over the Internet
All media and formats have their Golden Age where artists flock to the new and—unbound by rules, standards, or precedent—create a great variety of amazing and original artworks. The trouble with a Golden Age is that they are awfully hard to recognize when you’re in the middle of them—and even harder at the beginning. But I’m here to tell you that the Golden Age of Independent Series over the Internet is beginning.
My bold prediction:
Within two years an independent series airing on the Internet will be generally recognized as being as good as any of the better content on broadcast television—and better than much of the network dreck.
Depending on where you see the state of independent series, this statement is either ludicrous or obvious—I doubt there’s much middle ground. To me, it’s so plain to see that I worry that I’m pussy-footing around the issue—I should probably shorten the time period to one year and expect a half dozen independent series to be recognized in this way…on the cover of Newsweek. However, many people are understandably stuck in a Fred/machinima/montages-of-cat-photos mindset when they hear the words “web series” or anything similar, so it’s hard for them to see past the current glut of user-generated content.
I think that independent feature film has had its day and the future of visual storytelling belongs to independent series. I’ve been saying this for a while, and I still get the blank stares from my independent filmmaker pals, so this topic is probably a good way to kick off the new focus of my blog.