Friday, November 21, 2008

Length and the Internet serial

I am currently considering whether the script break down of an online serialized version of a feature script should be broken into 6 fifteen-minute segments instead of 3 half-hour segments.

I'm partly annoyed, partly relieved by this notion. From the point-of-view of trying to write it that way, I'm, well, relieved and annoyed. Once I'm writing that'll become clearer.

I think fifteen-minutes may be a kind of ultimate maximum for Internet segments. Mind you, I think they'll never really catch on until they can surpass that, but I've never finished watching Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog, and I was actually enjoying it quite a bit. Does it make sense to assume others are more patient than me? Perhaps a few. Does it make sense to assume others are more interested in new forms of drama? Not in numbers worth discussing.

So, I'll try the 6 fifteen-minute bits that add up to one big story. From there, I'll see how I like it any which way.


r_sail said...

I watch full hour long tv shows on the internet. But I watch entire movies on my computer, so I'm probably the wrong person to ask about length.

But, but, if I'm watching something I'm not sure I'm going to like, I'm not going to give it 30 minutes to let me decide. I'd say 15 min is the right length. I'd give it 15 minutes to impress/interst me.

Plus, I don't know what your plans are, but that's, gotta be, like, at least half as easy to produce and get out there than 30 minutes... at least half. ;)

Neil Sarver said...

Yeah, I think a lot of people, sufficient for any indie moviemaker as a whole certainly, watch longer things on the Internet.

But, yes, it's the magic number you can draw people to something new with. I think under five minutes is sadly still a big magic number on the Internet, but I suspect with a good trailer and whatnot, some people could be drawn to something up to fifteen minutes.

Sadly, having made a movie that will likely be about fifteen minutes, I don't think a half-hour would actually be twice as hard, especially if one didn't have twice as many locations.

That's good and bad. I suspect it would be good to have something more than fifteen minutes total if one hopes to have a serial, as having a good teaser that leads to too much of a wait is just, well, a tease.

r_sail said...

I was mainly joking with the half as easy bit...

I think, if you're going to do something over 15 minutes... or even just 15 minutes, as you said, under five minutes is still a big magic number, you've got to hook them in that under five.

Or pull a Sorkin and use rapid fire dialog exchanges that don't let up long enough for people to get bored.

It all depends on what you're doing and how you want to do it, but I think the most important thing is to hook em as early as you can. At least in the initial instalment, anyway.

Neil Sarver said...

Yes, I didn't necessarily take your line that seriously, but it's just something I'm particularly sensitive to these days. Especially since its one of the key reasons I'd been promising myself I'd never make another short... or another short that wasn't an experiment or something else that involved just gathering a bunch of people and shooting stuff...


I think nearly anything has to grab you in some manner or other in five minutes or it'll have trouble ever getting you. But, yes, in terms of Internet stuff, you probably won't even get a chance to try.

r_sail said...

Well, I mean it in a sort of "universal" grab... some calculated way of keeping people watching... regardless of their actual interest in the content of the show, or style or what have you... some way to grab people in which personal taste isn't a factor.

I don't know how you'd do that, or if it's even possible but... you know, food for thought or something.

Neil Sarver said...

I suspect if there was a good "universal grab" someone'd have spread the news everywhere.

Right now I'm sticking with severed heads and Go-go cages. The folks that doesn't hook, I don't need.

r_sail said...

Well that's all I needed to hear! Now get to work!

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