It started as a clever riff on Quarterlife, Marshall Herskovitz’s popular web series-turned-short-lived-NBC drama, but somewhere along the line, 2/8 Life gathered up its own set of fans. The charming comedy of a group of twentysomethings, led by vlogger Angela Curtis (Nellie Barnett) in search for meaning in a hyper-connected world, returned for its second season on Hulu last week.
Matt Vascellaro created the series which was developed as an original property for the Independent Comedy Network (ICN.TV). While ICN has pretty much been dormant this year, with several key members taking off for other ventures, it still technically owns 2/8 Life, which remains the site’s most popular series. That didn’t stop Vascellaro and his team from dusting of the second season which he says they shot over a year and half ago.
I caught up with Vascellaro and asked about the choice to continue the series and the long delay in getting the second season online.
“Like a mini-version of Behind the Music, I think a lot of web shows get a tiny taste of “success”, which is difficult out in here in LA because the prospect of “making it” always seems to be floating just above your head. As a result shows end up shifting their focus to potential ad deals, options, brand treatments, etc., and accidentally away from their fans. While some of these business development things are absolutely necessary, I think the most successful web shows to date have shown that there is no substitute for an active, engaged and loyal fan base. That is why we’ve shifted our distribution approach for this season, abandoning our previous “hyper-syndication” model, and focusing instead on Hulu and Facebook as our main platforms.” (emphasis added)
They launched the promo video (below) for Season 2 back in 2008, and were one of the first web series to get a deal with Hulu. “I think they initially approached us because we were doing slightly longer-format episodes that had full A and B storylines,” said Vascellaro. “A year and a half ago, we were one of the first and only web shows featured, but now we obviously face a lot more competition. This has been a blessing in disguise though because it has forced us to step up our game and come up with some inventive ways to stand out on the site,” he added.
Vascellaro says this season is focused on the fans, building it around what he calls “the Facebook strategy” around being where his audience spends their time online. He hinted at a Hills parody called “The Valley” starting in episode 5, and plenty of new sketches and cast video features in between weekly releases.
As for ICN it remains unclear whether any other of their series will see more action. There was even the somewhat ironic news last fall that Quarterlife creator Herskovitz was teaming up with ICN on a project called Your Name Here, which appears to have fallen apart.
Episode 2 of 2/8 Life comes out Wednesday with the season building to an “incredibly intense cliffhanger” according to Vascellaro. Series regulars Emily Fox, Daniel Campagna, Jestin Lentz, and Bob Wiltfong all return for the new season. “After testing the waters in the first season,” Vascellaro noted, “we found what this show was really about: A group of idiot kids struggling to grow up at an age where they should absolutely already be grown up.”