Some things are vastly underrated – web series being one of them. Everyone is so gung-ho about 45 minute long dramas like Homeland, Game of thrones and Downton Abbey – as they should be. While all these shows are as spectacular as everyone claims them to be, some of the best series go unnoticed– the ones that can be found online.
Thanks to Kickstarter, brilliant minds with fewer resources are able to potentially produce their work independently. Online is the cost effective way to go about doing it. YouTube and Vimeo are two of many online outlets where such independent productions are available for viewing.
Kickstarter is a blessing, and this is evident in the case of Submission Only’s success in getting funding for yet another season; their Kickstarter received 887
backers, and raised $60,400. More recently, Starkid’s Joey Richter started a Kickstarter for a new web series called “Craig the Genie.”
It is amazing what can be done with a season comprised of ten minute long episodes. Web series are short, making them quick and easy to watch (and marathon). They grasp your attention and manage to hold it – that’s the beauty of short episodes freely accessible online.
There are many innovative web series out there and a handful of the best ones revolve around theatre, acting, and, most particularly, the audition process.
It Could Be Worse
Wesley Taylor (Smash, The Addams Family musical) and Mitchell Jarvis are the minds behind the hysterical and quirky web series It Could Be Worse. The show hosted on Vimeo tells the story of Jacob Gordon (Taylor), an actor trying to find stage work. The story told in the first season is one of chaos and a ridiculous stream of events. Among his unsteady but perfect boyfriend Ben (Adam Chanler-Berat), clingy ex boyfriend, addict agent, and demanding co-star, things really couldn’t be worse for Jacob. However, with its hilarity, off hand realism, and big Broadway name guest stars, the first and only season of the show could not be better.
Before there was It Could Be Worse, there was Billy Green. Created by Wesley Taylor pre It Could Be Worse, Billy Green is a web series about, not a struggling actor, but a selfish and self-righteous actor. Billy is a goal-getter, and will do so at any cost. In Billy’s world, no one matters but Billy. Man of the faces seen in this web series can also be seen in It Could Be Worse. All of Taylor’s Broadway friends contribute to the series by making guest appearances. If you are a theater nerd, you will recognize most of these people…oh hi there Jeremy Jordan. While Billy has worse attitude than Jacob, and is a little more off-putting, his sass makes the show enjoyable.
Submissions Only follows the lives of a pair of best friends and the people they interact with. The friends, actress Penny and casting director Tim, try to hack it in the theater business…and it’s not easy. The web series takes you through the pairs successes and failures. The show is packed with big name guest stars, comedic tunes, and a look at life in the theatre business. The best part of the series is all the made up shows that Penny auditions for and Tim casts for. Created by Kate Wetherhead (who plays Penny) and Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Submissions Only is a must watch.
Bitter Party of 5
Bitter Party of 5 focuses less on the theater community, and more on struggling actors. The web series tells the story of five actors who create a pilot that is never picked up. The group becomes bitter – do you get it now? Now that they are out of work, the group of five creates a “talk show,” where they “interview” actors – more like interrogate. They pretty much bully everyone who comes onto their show. Guest stars like Dot Marie Jones, Chris Colfer, and Allison Janney appear on the show. Obviously, hilarity ensues.
This web series is perfect for aspiring actors and Gleeks. The show conceived by Glee’s Curt Mega, and occasionally guest starring fellow warbler Dominic Barnes, is a favourite. In Buffering Series, Ben Little (Mega) goes from being kind of famous to being a nobody. Naturally, he creates a web series. Buffering Series follows the story of Ben and his friends as he tries to make something of his web series. The show is smart, witty, and a great way to get your dose of Curt Mega – especially if you miss the presence of the Warblers on Glee.