The joke is told with a half-smile, from a telltale Beacon’s Closet wardrobe, to the ever-present boom mic and bad lighting, to the skilled camerawork and split-screen over-emotion. There’s the narcissistic prima donna for a band-leader, a contract-lawyer engaged to a girl who could have “fallen in love with any lawyer,” a so-far-mute female drummer, a nerdy manager, and a dreamy bassist banging the groupie-cum-singer.
I smell Pabst Blue Ribbon and drama.
###The All-For-Nots is ironic, if obviously so, and it is serious, respectable storytelling…if a bit overplayed. With financial backing and expertise from Michael Eisner’s Vuguru, the show rests on the staggering talents of Dinosaur Diorama‘s founders and series co-creators Kathleen Grace and Thom Woodley. The duo knows a thing or two about internet video and the hipster lifestyle. After creating The Burg, a popular web series based in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a web series about an indie band seemed like a logical progression. Grace wrote and directed the new show. Woodley wrote and acted and created all the music.
Its characters are highly stylized, which I dislike in comedy. I want to believe it, like I do in The Office, and I’m not sure I do. Maybe I will; maybe it’s too soon to say. Maybe I’m just too familiar with hipster stereotypes to fully appreciate the style; after all, I work with a Williamsburg hipster (though he won’t admit it). I mysef am a Blackberry-wielding frustrated artist. Either way, it felt a touch too close to the mark. Some lines are better left unsaid — I’m left hungry for a bit more subtext. That’s the extent of my criticism.
Overall, I’m really impressed with this work. It’s filmmaking on the web! It’s interesting camerawork. It’s polished editing. It’s a funny, character-driven story with the beginnings of an interesting arc. It isn’t I-just-finished-film-school-and-I’m-on-the-web-cuz-I’m-not-ready-for-TV-or-film, even if it actually is. This is respectable and interesting work for any distribution outlet.
The All-For-Notscast and crew, whom Josh recently interviewed – and the business team behind it – are breaking creative ground.
The whole concept uses new tools and services to engage on every imaginable medium. You can watch online, on mobile (Verizon V CAST) and cable/satellite (HDNet). And you can interact with the band on Bebo. It’s a 3-part weekly episode – the later two feel like DVD-extras, which works well. I recently had the pleasure of catching these catchy tunes at The All-For-Nots launch party at SXSW.
Here’s my question: Do the economics of this production work? This was expensive. Look at the credits! Talk about a hits-driven model. But with all these distribution outlets, maybe it will see the eyeballs it needs. It should. It’s good. No irony in that.