A couple (not very) random questions?



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  • A couple (not very) random questions?

    Everyone knows about the success stories of low budget "credit card" style movies - Braindead, Mariachi, Blair Witch, Deep water Paranormal activity etc.

    Has there ever been a successful non studio low budget scripted Tv series? Recently binge watched Black summer and to be honest, saw nothing there that isn't outside the budget or talents of a individual or small group of individuals except obviously the greater run time of the end product.

    Does netflix have a set program format? Watched love death robots. Seems like every ep had a different run time? Could that become "a thing" for non network shows?
    I heard the starting gun


  • #2
    Re: A couple (not very) random questions?

    I think of shows on BBC like SPACED, but I guess they were officially funded, but I think they give shows like barely any money but of course agree to put them on the air... So no I don't think there has ever been a TV equivalent of indie film because it's just not how the system is set up.

    However, there are web series like BROAD CITY and HIGH MAINTENANCE that get bought from that indie experience.

    It makes sense because you can sell 1 movie to 1 company that tries to put it in theaters... but how can you sell multiple episodes of a TV show to a network?

    I mean people shoot indie TV pilot to try to get picked up like a film would, but you still have to go to a network, if that's what you mean?

    I just think most TV pilots, 98% of them are from inside the industry who are making and looking for TV shows based on spec script to start the process...

    But I realize as I type this I don't know anything, so maybe there has been.... maybe a reality show... TV sitcom... i don't think so.


    • #3
      Re: A couple (not very) random questions?

      I worked on an independently produced tweener sitcom, The Wannabes Starring Savvy. The process that produced it started in 2007 and concluded with 26 episodes sold around the world and ran on Starz Kids & Family. This was, I believe, right before Netflix started producing at the level it is today.

      Below is a chronological list of events in the development of the show, to the best of my memory:
      1. Tween pop group and their management/parents were interested in doing a TV show.
      2. The group meets writer/producer Doreen Spicer at the NATPE convention (2007). She conceives of the series and develops a pitch.
      3. The show is pitched (2008) to:
        • Disney - passed becaue they couldn't own the music.
        • Nickelodeon - passed because they thought a show about a group of kids going to classical performing arts high school, but who secretly want to be pop stars was actually two shows. (Within a year Bigtime Rush debuted on Nick, followed by Victorius.)
        • A couple other prodcos/networks - passed.
      4. A sales agent they also met at NATPE convinces the team to shoot either a kick-ass sizzle reel or the pilot and take it to MIPCOM to try to get international commitments to help raise funds for an independent production and/or to generate interest here in the US. This is compelled by a dearth of affordable kids programming at the international level.
      5. The production team finds a campus location that can be used for free.
      6. A director, Eric Dean Seaton, with lots of kids show creidts agrees to come on board.
      7. A very low budget pilot is shot (2008). This was almost completely non-union. I beleive that the DGA allowed Seaton's fee to be deferred.
      8. They take the pilot and the production team to France for MIPCOM and get 6-8 commitments from various countries including Germany and Australia (2009). This was accomplished
      9. Based on the licensing commitments, investors come onboard, money is raised, and a deal to shoot in Michigan with its, at the time, 42% production rebate is reached.
      10. Production begins (2009). With the exception of SAG-Aftra, this was almost a completely union production.
      11. The first four episodes are completed and this allows the sales agent to sell more countries, which brings in more investors.
      12. The first 13 episodes are completed and released (2010). Australia is the first to air episodes on their new Kids & Family channel, ABC3.
      13. Production wraps (mid 2010).
      14. All 26 episodes delivered (late 2010).
      15. Starz Kids & Family (US) makes a deal for the series (2011). It runs for two years in 13 episode seasons.

      I haven't heard of any other stories like this, but I think there are opportunities because this was very similar to the indie feature model. I'll be surprised if we don't see similar projects in the future. However this might be unique to the timing and kids TV angle.

      Last edited by KitchonaSteve; 06-20-2019, 09:45 AM. Reason: errant date & typo
      Just my 2 cents, your mileage may vary.

      -Steve Trautmann
      3rd & Fairfax: The WGAW Podcast


      • #4
        Re: A couple (not very) random questions?

        Thanks guys, pretty much as I expected.
        I heard the starting gun



        • #5
          Re: A couple (not very) random questions?


          I heard the starting gun