Scene from Episode 9: Porn Star PriestThere’s no question Imaginary Bitches is on fire this summer, even with the fuss over possibly inflated view counts aside, scooping up a whole new set of fans and establishing itself as a bonafide summer sitebuster (web blockbuster) with over 1.5 million views so far. The show found early success largely on the back of star Eden Riegel‘s vast online fan base, from her Emmy-Award winning role on All My Children, who helped promote the show through MySpace and Facebook. With the recent launch of Season 2 (or actually more of Season 1) the show has struck a chord with viewers hungry for a strong female-driven comedy about navigating the perils of young adult life in the city. The Sex And The City comparisons are everywhere, but Bitches offers a refreshing take on the urban chic-set, making them cleverly quirky with Riegel’s spicy humor. It also helps to have a talented (and beautiful) cast including Brooke Nevin (The 4400), Jessalyn Gilsig (Nip/Tuck, Friday Night Lights) and Elizabeth Hendrickson (All My Children, The Young and The Restless). We caught up with Eden’s husband who is the writer and director of the hit series to ask him a few questions on just what makes the show tick.

Tubefilter: First off, congrats on the success of the show and the launch of Season 2. New episodes come out every Friday – what made you choose Friday as the release day?

Andrew Miller: Thank you. Although technically, we’re considering these last seven episodes as a continuation of season one. It’s just a 13 episode season that was broken up by those bitches trying to re-negotiate their contracts (and by “bitches” I mean the imaginary actresses, Catherine and Heather). It’s their agents who are trying to spread the rumor that these episodes are part of Season Two, because that would entitle them to a salary bump. But back to the question…we decided on Friday as premiere night because we thought it might be easier to get noticed on YouTube over the weekend when less of the big shot shows were putting up episodes. Also, because our episodes are a minimum of five minutes and sometimes the subject matter is a little racy, we thought people might prefer to watch at home rather than the office. Although we highly recommend watching at the office too.

TF: Has working with your wife (Eden) been challenging at all? Do you act as the lone director or is it more of a co-directed project?

Miller: It’s not nearly the nightmare I expected it to be. Mostly because Eden is incredibly talented. She’s an amazing collaborator and her thoughts and comments on the scripts are invaluable to me (if invaluable means important). Also, in that we live together, we were able to rehearse extensively before we started shooting which really helped both of us nail down the style and tone of the show. We made a series of vlogs in Europe and all the funny lines were ones that she made up on the spot. At the outset, we promised each other that if working together ever started to effect our relationship, we’d stop. Now with the show’s success, we changed the pact to if our relationship started to effect the show, we’d get divorced. So far I’m the lone director–she just has too many lines to worry about. And I’m really good at yelling at people.

TF: Let’s talk about money for a second. Are you and the cast making any money off the show at this point? Are there any sponsorship deals in the works that you can share (or hint at)?

Miller: No. Sadly. Thus far, the whole thing has been out of pocket and only possible due to the incredible generosity of our friends and the poor unsuspecting actors they were able to rope into this. We’ve been telling the actors that they “own a gross percentage of our views–which is way better than money” and thus far, they’ve bought it. We would very much like a sponsor, or several to help finance next season. Because the actual production and post production was so time consuming, we’ve only recently started to really explore our sponsorship options. So far, people seem pretty interested. We just need a company who doesn’t mind standing behind something with Bitches in the title.

Imaginary BitchesTF: There’s been some recent controversy over the view counts being inflated for the show due to Eden’s loyal fan base on MySpace. How accurate would you say the viewership numbers are on YouTube? Do you have a rough estimate of how many actual viewers the show gets per episode over all sites?

Miller: More than I ever expected…per episode. Eden’s fans have been the sole reason we’ve been able to reach as many viewers as we have. Their enthusiasm and support has opened up countless opportunities for us. It was one of Eden’s fans who led us to Entertainment Tonight Canada who ended up doing a whole feature on the show, with interviews and an on-set visit. Our views have fluctuated wildly–one of our episodes was featured on the front page of YouTube and now has over a million views–while other episodes are just now climbing past 50,000.

TF: You’ve been working in the business both as an actor and a writer for a while now, has the success of the show opened any new doors for you and Eden?

Miller: Not yet. But we were out for dinner with another couple (who play “Brooke” and “Michael”) and Eden and Brooke were recognized from Imaginary Bitches. They didn’t offer us any movie deals, but we all took pictures and signed autographs which is almost as good, right?

TF: What’s your take on the emerging medium of episodic web television? Is there a future for it?

Miller: Absolutely. We’re seeing the quality of web television get better and better all the time. It’s such an incredibly exciting time with a pretty low admission price and creative-type people have no restrictions on the type of shows they can make, so what we see doesn’t have to get watered down through the normal development process. It’s talent driven and I think viewers can sense the authenticity. The growing popularity of these shows will just encourage more and more talented people to get involved. Of course that means I’ll be kicked out of the club pretty fast, but the content will be awesome.

TF: Does your mom watch the show?

Miler: My mom loves the show. She and my dad call us on Saturday mornings (we premiere too late for them on the east coast because they’re really old) and relay all their favorite lines and moments. They’re our biggest promoters. I got an email from someone saying he met my dad at a wedding and had recently found the cocktail napkin my dad had used to write down the URL of the show. He watched the show and was shocked that it lived up to my dad’s hype. Now he and his wife are huge fans.

TF: Do you watch any other shows on the web? Which ones?

Miller: Drunk History, The Rascal, Carpet Brothers. And other funny ones.

TF: From a technical standpoint–picture quality, features, embedding–what is the best video player on the web (blip.tv, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)?

Miller: We’ve stuck it out with YouTube for season one. Even though it kind of feels like we’re uploading into the Borg cube. Vimeo looks incredible. I hate that our beautiful HD show gets compressed into YouTube vision. But YouTube is still the only destination you don’t have to spell to people.

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