Last week in the This is Serial studio we discussed the distinctive elements of a web series. This is not easy to define because of the many different productions available online. The team behind Little Acorns provided a polished production with high level production values and relatively well-known actors. Therefore, the web series possibly aims to gain a fan base and pitch the series within a more lucrative format such as television. The web series introduces characters quickly, and poses problems that are swiftly resolved in a way that reveals character motivation. These elements along with a cameo by Rachel Griffiths aims to attract potential investors and distributors. The teaser trailer also introduces new events that are not included in the series in order to entice people into the story, leaving them wanting more. The short episodes attract a wide range of people with some episodes being watched over 160,000 times. The web series functions as a calling card for the creatives behind the series, as well as a platform to gather a large audience which will strengthen the series possible syndication.
In contrast to Little Acorns, the series featuring Charlie the Unicorn is an animation that features rudimentary characters and weak causal links within short adventure plots. The roughness of the short videos takes on a comedic function and the weak dialogue and plot add to this aesthetic creating a seemingly bizarre, yet entertaining video. It is unclear as to what the motivation was behind the creation of these short videos, however the 2005 animation received over 46 million views with over 200,000 likes on YouTube. Therefore although the purpose of these videos are unclear, the success in terms of exposure is astronomical.
In analysing these videos it is important to understand their purpose or aims. If the purpose is syndication then the format will includes a hook and will be designed to entice audiences and attract investors. What production values will then need to be considered? Are well-known actors be required? How can the structure and format of the videos be designed for these purposes? Also, if the distribution platform is YouTube, how can it compete with the content that is already on YouTube? What channels feature similar content, and how can we compete with this? These are questions that I would like to delve into further when we have more information about what type of product we are interested in making.