Challenging Legitimacy

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The challenge with a web series shares similar struggles with other visual mediums. It does however have a challenge unlike those other mediums, proving the legitimacy of the medium. Legitimacy and the web series have been engaged in a pretty heated debate, and now the web series is starting to win the debate.

In the last year or two the studios have certainly started to notice the rise of the web series, and nearly all of them now have their own digital arm. The web series has started to nibble at its piece of the pie in the entertainment industry and the studios have taken notice and want in. But the challenge of legitimacy also lies with the audience. The web series still struggles to completely shake off the cat in the toilet videos, and the aimless video blogs that have become synonymous with web video. Aggregators such as Hulu, are helping to change the perception as more and more viewers are turning away from their television and towards their computers to catch up on their favorite show, or try out a new one.

Now, with viewers and studios starting to put their stamp of legitimacy on the medium, we are now starting to face a new challenge as independent content creators, sustainability. The question of the day, will viewers pay for content online? How many times have you thought: I’m sure I can find that show, clip or movie on the Internet somewhere for free. You’re not alone. We’ve all grown up with the idea of the internet being free, can we now change our thinking?

My web series ANYONE BUT ME is depending on viewers willing to pay for content. With two seasons available free to all www.AnyoneButMeSeries.com, we now face the challenge of producing the third season on crowd source funding. Hoping with 5 million views, we can find at least 10,000 viewers to put up $12. And as we continue to fund raise, the question becomes bigger and bigger, will viewers pay for online content. And I admit, for me, that question also narrows to will the LGBTQ community support positive lesbian/gay content that is making a difference in the lives of many in the LGBTQ community. At the moment, that answer right now is, to a point. ANYONE BUT ME has gotten some great support from LGBT organizations and from businesses willing to put up with our lengthy production shoots in their spaces, but it’s now up to individual support. Are 10,000 viewers willing to give up a night at the movies for the chance to bring back a series that has proven it’s legitimate? Stay tuned.

About The Author

TINA CESA WARD is a writer and director for film and new media. Her short film In Their Absence has screened in over a dozen festivals around the world and was awarded five times both domestically and abroad. And was named one of the best short films of the decade by Festival de cortos MíraLes in 2011. For three seasons Tina was the Executive Producer/Writer/Director of one of the most beloved independent scripted dramas on the web, Anyone But Me. Anyone But Me has reached over 35 million views and has brought home several industry awards highlighted by Tina (along with Susan Miller) winning the first ever Writers Guild Award for Original New Media. Nomination highlights include Webby nominations and Streamy Award nominations. And in 2012 Tina (along with Susan Miller) took home the International Academy of Web TV award for writing in a drama. Tina has been nominated several times for her directing, and in 2013 won the International Academy of Web TV Award for Best Directing in a Drama. In 2010 Tina directed the successful branded web series Bestsellers. In 2011 Tina debuted the critically acclaimed Good People in Love, which DIGIDAY calls “...a new milestone for online video series.” Tina hard at work on her new series Producing Juliet which made its world premiere at the Raindance Film Festival’s WebFest and is now currently in release. Tina is also the creator and writer of the comic book series Guards of Dagmar, which is published digitally through Comixology.

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