I wrote Indie cinema, the creative zeitgeist and the future and held back more than perhaps I ought to have on the moviemaking collective serial idea. Partly because it is only one thing. It's something I think could be the future, but it's not the only thing that could. I think people should be experimenting to find "the new thing", and it's an experiment I'd like to see tried.
I'd like to see a lot of things tried. More than I've seen out there. This is the one that I play with in my mind to try myself.
One of the potential advantages that streaming media provides as an option for serial stories is the elimination of the kinds of restrictions that hamper many TV shows in past media. They don't have to be a certain length. The 26 half-hour episodes or 13 hour-long episodes and various combinations, are tied to TV schedules and rating systems.
At this time, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are still committed to that. I'm sure there are reasons for that, hedging their bets on later syndication deals or the way union contracts are set up in the industry. Nothing that an indie who is, as I quoted Chris Alexander saying earlier, "breaking and remaking the rules", trying anything should not need to be or feel a need to be committed to any of those things.
But that's an easy one that I've mentioned here before, perhaps several times.
The advantage of a serial for independent moviemakers is that each new piece is something built to work from. That works from a budget standpoint, in terms of things that are literally built or found and made available to use for sets and props, to actors and crew members, all of whom would be cast and part of the collective. Low budgets could affect availability, of course, but should also be designed to have a wider network to work with, as needed.
I see it having a collective that works out a general groundwork. This "season" of the serial should move from Point A to Point B and leave it to specific teams to write and direct the episodes as they move there, rather than have a collective try to make individual episodes. On the other side, though, with each episode having a level of autonomy that makes each episode its own experience. It should be the opposite of the current TV environment in which the pilot is made specifically with setting the tone of the show in mind. It could be offputting to some at first, and isn't what every show should be, but it would be interesting and make it worth continuing to investigate. It could experiment with a lot of ideas and find what they become as a whole.
Like I said before, I'd love to see it done. I think it could revolutionize what can be done with serial storytelling. Perhaps not in that way that every show would take on the same things, but that some future shows would take bits and pieces to be more interesting, within the framework of what works for them.
As I said before, if someone stumbles on these ideas and runs with them, and I really hope they do, just email me, so I can watch.