Mike Hale of the New York Times asked in his article “WatchList: Web Series With Polish“:
Do you prefer the polish (relatively speaking) of works subsidized by sponsors or prominent Web-video sites? Or do you look for the rougher, let’s-put-on-a-show feeling of the D.I.Y. independents?
If I have to choose the answer to that question based on the web series that I saw: Oh, Inverted World and Suite 7 I would have to choose… well, let me explain:
Oh, Inverted World is a 13 part web series that deals with four friends who are returning home from college. According to the website these college students return home to find out that the moon will fall on the earth. The problem that I have with this is that I figured out more about the web series from reading of the website’s About page than I did watching the first episode, titled “Neighborhood.” That’s the problem. Most viewers who come to your website don’t come to read the About page they come to see the webisode.
I found “Neighborhood” to be boring, confusing and all over the place. The web series was written and created by Terence Krey, who also plays the character of Finn. The other three main characters are Mina, played by Pamela Bell, Art, played by Christian Nilsson, and Rob, played by Alex Longo. Throughout the 9 min. and 23 seconds all the characters did was drive around in a car, walk in house, and go to a bar. I didn’t see anything that kept me interested. I was praying for it to be over. The film was made in black and white, which I suspect was made to give it a touch of mystery because if you don’t know what the colors really are it keeps you guessing, or the writer could have thought it looked nice. I did not really have a problem with the black and white. My real problem had to do with the lack of a storyline.
After watching the whole 9 min. and 23 seconds I still had no idea what I just saw. What was the whole purpose of the film? Since it is a web series, I understand that the writers and creators want to leave cliffhangers to make sure people keep tuning in to watch, but all I really wanted to do was go to another website and watch something else. The actors themselves weren’t the best but I can’t really blame them, considering what they had to work with. Honestly I thought the actors were confused as much as I was.
I am well aware that these are not seasoned actors such as Johnny Depp or Sandra Bullock, and they do not have a $100 million dollar budget. However, you do not need $100 million, or A-list actors to write a good script. A great script can make even an average actor look brilliant.
Had the storyline been made clearer it could have made up for the actors performance. However, if there whole idea was “I want to bore you till you die or until you wish you were” then they succeeded. Overall I would have to say based off of this one webisode if you are thinking about seeing this film, don’t. It’s a good thing it was free because if it wasn’t I would’ve asked for my money back. Whether you are twenty-something or one hundred-something this film is not for you.
“For Richer or Poorer” is a webisode that is part of Suite 7 on Lifetime.com and sponsored by The Better Sleep Council. The webisode stars Tony Janning and Tara Perry. Basically, it’s about this newlywed couple who, on their wedding night, finds a huge amount of money and also discovers that they are not as compatible as they thought. The story has a comedic tone which to be honest, I didn’t think it would. Considering that it’s shown on Lifetime I figured that it would be a drama centered on a woman, but I was wrong and I am glad that I was wrong. Men and woman would both find this funny, no matter the age. Sabrina Khan who also saw the film said “It was a very Lifetime movie. It was a romantic comedy. I was waiting to be board, but it surprised me…making me laugh.”
The story takes place in a hotel room (Suite 7). When it comes to the actors themselves I feel that they both did a great job. Even though both actors have done previous film work (Janning has been in The Temp Life and Squatters and Perry appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! playing Mel Gibson’s daughter in the sketch “The Colonel.” Both actors have also appeared in “The Legend of Neil”), honestly I didn’t know who they were. The only problem with it was that I wish it was longer than 5 min. and 48 seconds.
Two unknown actors could’ve played those parts because of its great storyline. Could the previous work have helped them play the characters? I have no doubt that it probably did, but if the storyline would’ve been horrible then they’re acting would have also been horrible.
When it comes to whether a work that has a sponsor is better than a do-it-yourself independent the answer comes down to the storyline. No matter if you have millions of dollars to spend or you decide to create a story that takes place in one room, the thing that’s going to standout is the storyline.
Let me put it this way: if the work that is sponsored and has millions of dollars has a better storyline than the one that’s not then I go for the sponsored, if it’s the other way around, then I’ll go for the independent.
If you are interested in watching more short films or just learning about them I strongly suggest the film site Short Film Central.