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Monday, March 09, 2009

The Story Engine, Notes, Pt 1: Internet

I've had a huge pile of scripts dumped on me from a great height plus my usual Bang2writers' fare, so I won't be coming up for air for at least a week... Luckily, Bang2writer and blog reader Helen (whose surname, aptly, is "Bang" - for real!) went to The Story Engine the other week and has composed some comprehensive notes on the events there for us. I was GUTTED to not have time to go to this, so was very grateful to Helen for taking the time to write it up for us. First, we have how the internet can work for screenwriters. Enjoy!
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Panel Discussion: New Horizons

Chair: Malcolm Wright, ITV plc

Panel includes: David Lemon, Warren Harrison

How is the internet changing the way we consume drama, and what are the opportunities for writers? Followed by Q+A.

The Internet.

Coronation Street began in 1960. It still pulls in 8.8 million viewers. 25 of top 50 programmes are dramas or soaps. But it is changing.

Channel 4 Monday programme Roots began on the web.

Web based dramas include: I love Chief Towns (?), Sofia’s Diary and Kate Modern.

Average adult spends 12 hours per week on the web.
12-24 year olds have doubled web use over last few years.

All of it is still first person to camera which has problems of suspense as the audience is never ahead of the story.

Financing (monetising) still a mystery. There are no repeat fees, for instance. No scheduling. Production is completely different.
Marketing is through community websites – viral.

But Commissions are still King.

Timeslots are rigid at 5 minutes. Advertising intrudes on content. There are budget restrictions. Who can determine ratings, numbers, type of people, loyalty?

However, it’s changing daily – ITV and Channels 4 and 5 may merge.

David Lemon

Sofia’s Diary. 3-5 min webisodes. Updated daily. Bebo teenage social website.

Financing – through product placement and ads. Before drama. Sofia works at a fashion house, hence product opportunity.

Warren Harrison

15 hours of content are uploaded every minute onto YouTube.

The Guild is entirely fan funded. By subscription. 9-10 million watching. People talking about real lives when not playing games.

Bite sized stuff works. But viewer could be doing several things at once. It is fan led.

MSN. Orange mobile ?Vista paid huge sums to be associated with the brand.

Production values – not so important to 16-25 age group.

Older generation? Nothing aimed at them (yet).

53% of population value user generated content as highly as broadcast content.

Younger people value it more.

Lonely Girl 15: teenage confessional. 1,867,813 views (1 min 35 sects) but people keep coming to it all the time.

How to write very short things – be succinct. Pose a question, answer the question.

Similar to radiodrama in terms of paychecks.

360 degree commisioning – want something which can have a life on TV, mobiles, download, print etc.

Tom Thurloe was a Hollyoaks fan. Put stuff on Bebo. Talked to young fans. Channel 4/Endemol/Big Brother, MTV.. now works there.

Sony have Crackle – short form comedy/drama web based TV channel.

The advertising/funding model collapsing in the UK but web based drama can target specific groups.

Buzzcocks – a group in Blythe making film getting BBC Comedy knocking on the door.

Case Study: Ali In Wonderland

Tina Gharavi outlines the unique development of her first feature film through community work, both in the real world and in the virtual one.

Tina Had documentary background. Not waiting for permission to do work.

Returning from Iran, shared the asylum seekers experience. These were writers and journalists in exile.

She worked on the first draft with an adult group – it’s a teen coming of age film.

For phase 2 having got a producer involved had to develop script and worked with young people.

Minority stories are now more viable business option then ever before.

On line animated comic book, a Wikki, a story arc they could change, a forum and blogs.

Intended to market the film to schools as a National curriculum citizenship project for Key Stage 3. This will be a resource inspiring social change. Migrants in the community will relate to the characters in the story.

No ‘film’ money was used to make the film.

She found resources from different sources. £100,000 budget. Got ‘in kind’ support from the BBC, ie technology, questions, etc.

Thanks to the Facebook site the BBC asked for a meeting.

Interactive consultant – finding new ways groups can make their own version of the story. Possible support from business link for social enterprise projects.

The Ali In Wonderland Site

5 comments:

Michelle Goode said...

This is fantastic! Thanks, Helen and thanks, Lucy, for posting it! I'm working ona webshow myself right now so this information is very helpful :)

Antonia said...

oooooh, where did all those scripts come from??

Good info here, so thanks.

Lucy said...

Good luck with your own show, Michelle.

Antonia - one of my clients has a LOT of scripts for me to read at the mo (they're a company).

Antonia said...

Sounds like you'll be very busy for a while, so again, thanks for taking the time to share all this information.

Lucy said...

You're very welcome Antonia - but Helen did all the hard work, bless her. Didn't even have to do any editing.