Over the past few weeks I've been swapping my writer's hat with my producer's hat for our web series WINTER. And I've talked to people about it, trying to encourage them to join our merry little band of pre-production heroes. (The AD and composer from MONSTERS are on-board and we have two CGI peeps so far.)
And over that time something's started to nag me.
Back in the 1980s the concept of "desktop publishing" was born. The completely new idea that a person could, with a personal computer, design and print leaflets, brochures, magazines, letterheads and a myriad other printed paper products. Hooray! Democratisation of print processes. No more slaves to the designer.
What happens: Crap designs. Everywhere. Graphic design takes training, to do it well requires talent.
And now the Internet and affordable cameras have meant the democratisation of movie-making. Yayyy!
What happens? Crap web series.
Of course there are some good ones, but these are mostly produced by professionals. Because every element of film production takes training and the ability to do it well needs talent.
I'll say here and now that I believe the main problem with web series is the writer-director. Because if they are the same person there's no objective view. "I've written this, I think it's great, I'm going to make it." And they do, and it's not great at all. Maybe it could have been great if it had received proper development.
And then there's WINTER. I wrote it. I'm not directing it but I am producing it. This is very different because producers have to be able to sell. Sell themselves, sell the project. To be able to do that you really have to believe in it.
So, do I believe in WINTER? Yes. Do I think it's ready to really sell to someone. Well, no. You see, right now it's good. Script-wise it's certainly better than 99% of the web series floating about.
But it's not brilliant - not yet. It's nearly brilliant. It needs that extra fillip to push it into brilliant.
It might seem strange, ego-centric or whatever, that I should describe something I wrote as nearly brilliant. But it's a matter of viewpoint. Right now I'm not wearing the writer's hat, I'm wearing the producer's hat. And the producer says "This is pretty damn good - now let's make it brilliant."
Because it has to be.
What's on the turntable? Nowt.
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