Inside the production process of “The Stagers” Season 2

I was contacted out of the blue a little while ago about a show called The Stagers on HGTV. The powers-that-be had read (yes, I was as surprised as you are), and asked me if I’d be interested in posting something about the show. Being the gearhead that I am, I wanted to know what kind of cameras and editing equipment were used on a reality show, what the workflow is for cutting this sort of program, and how one goes about writing a reality series. You might say “but Freyburg? This isn’t your usual Watchmen/Apple/Obama rant!” and you’d be right. But I figure it doesn’t hurt to find out how a show I normally wouldn’t know anything about gets made, if for no other reason than the fact that it shows how any show can get made, and certain aspects of production can be adapted to more DV Rebel pursuits.

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New Trek reflects Obama era?

Bit of a stretch, but the Times draws parallels between each Star Trek series and the political schema within which the series aired. The classic series was Johnson’s Great Society all the way, Obama is kind of like Spock, and the new Trek is an optimistic take on the current situation, etc, etc. Basically, it’s nerd bait for the rare dork (like myself) who loves politics, history, societal shifts AND warp drives and green chicks, but an interesting read nonetheless.

Radio Free Skaro #122 – Live from Gallifrey

For the first time in recorded history, in an event sure to be recorded in the annals of time across all universes parallel and otherwise, the RFS crew met in person at Gallifrey 2009 in Los Angeles, and thus was a podcast birthed from the loins of the Airport Marriott. And as a special bonus, John Williams and Neil Perryman of Tachyon TV joined in on the fun and regaled us with tales of Torchwood dodginess, Tomorrow People memories, and the utter strangeness of Sapphire and Steel.

Radio Free Skaro #114 – Jet-Lagged Yet Jaunty

The Three Who Rule were all back on terra firma (ie. North America) this week, and the usual Who-ish banter of course centred around the imminent showing of “The Next Doctor”, due December 25th on UK TVs and computers worldwide. But that didn’t stop the jaunty (and in the case of Chris, jet-lagged) japemeisters from venturing forth on the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (conclusion: crap), along with an altogether too long talk about the merits of various Star Trek series, before sauntering back to the matter at hand. Next week, Chris and Steven are left to their own devices, as Warren wanders to Egypt to battle Sutekh and save 1980 from armageddon, seen through the TARDIS doors as terrible model photography and CSO.

The state of indie filmmaking and a ninja rebuttal

So it appears that indie filmmaking in 2008 is in dire straits. The technology to make a film has spread far and wide and the cost of making a film has plummeted, but according to Mike Curtis of HD for Indies, distribution is still next to impossible and the math doesn’t work in favor of people being able to make a living off of making movies. But…where’s the surprise here? Hasn’t that always been the way indie films have been? Kent Nichols, of Ask a Ninja fame, certainly thinks so, and states in his blog that the next generation of creators and stars will emerge from Youtube and other online venues. The Observer also has an interesting article about how web series have come of age since the early days of LonelyGirl15.

Personally, as someone who creates content for a living I don’t even think it’s worth it to create an independent feature film for anything other than as a calling card to showcase your skills. Sure, there’s lots of street cred, but that doesn’t pay the bills. Web series are an ideal platform in which to not only hone your craft but also pre-build an audience, should you ever decided to damn the torpedoes and go the feature route. And unlike the frankly byzantine procedures needed to make content with a studio or (here in Canada) a government agency, all a web series requires is a hosting service and the ability to click “upload.”

Radio Free Skaro #112 – Anticipointment

And so it’s come to this. At long last the RFS crew reaches “Journey’s End,” the final episode of Series Four, and a story that nicely sums up Who scribe Gareth Roberts term of “anticipointment.” So much potential, frittered away in a fruitless wasting of the Rose story arc and Benny Hill-esque dispatchment of the Daleks. Still, Julian Bleach’s Davros and the sad fate of Donna Noble rescued the episode from the Trash-Bin of Utter Contempt (next door neighbour to the Gun of Spite) and gave our three heroes much gristle to chew over, spit out, and look at askance.

Radio Free Skaro #107 – Absentee Tennant

Our commentary on “Silence in the Library” was upstaged somewhat by one David Tennant’s decision to quit the role of The Doctor after the four 2009 specials. Fandom was agog, aflame and otherwise a-twitter with speculation on who the next Doctor will be, and we were no different, making this one of our longer prognostications. And we sort of stayed on topic every once in a while….occasionally. Also, as of next week we promise there’ll be no more political appeals to our American listeners, for better or for ill.

Online video studios start tightening their belts

It was inevitable that the expanding world of online video would hit the wall that every other industry in America (and elsewhere) has run into, and with that decline has come rounds of layoffs. Revision3 has turfed three of their employees, including some TechTV alumni, and discontinued its distribution deal with Smashface Productions, the creators of Epic-Fu. Not to mention Seesmic, the video commenting service, though I’d contend video commenting is a dumb idea to begin with., 60Frames…the list goes on.

But the difference between this round of cost-cutting and the tech bubble is that these companies weren’t throwing around masses of worthless stock and spending beyond their means, and the fact that the economic malaise isn’t isolated to the tech sector this time around. And online video is, at least for now, much cheaper to produce than regular broadcast television. Standout shows like Epic-Fu get their start through people screwing around with a camcorder, not a big production deal…so one way or the other, there’ll always be a place for online video. It just might not have venture capital attched to it.