Not since the Streamy Awards have we seen this many web series stars in one place. Ok not really, but with the fourth season of The Temp Life, the Spherion-backed comedy about life inside a dreadful NY temp agency kicking off today, the cast is loaded up with notable web series stars.
The casting moves are signs this four-year old web show is growing up with the medium in which it plays. Call it Web TV’s version of keiretsu. Creator Wilson Cleveland, CJP Communications’ Head of Digital Media, built the show back in 2006 for the firm’s client Spherion. Incidentally, Cleveland also stars in the The Temp Life, as Nick “Trouble” Chiapetta, the once-CEO of Commodity Staffing, the shoddy agency. This new season picks up with some major changes once Chiapetta returns to office after a 33-week AWOL.
Notable guest (web) stars:
Thom Woodley — co-creator and star of All’s Faire, The ‘Burg and Vuguru’s The All-for-Nots.
Taryn Southern — creator/star of Private High Musical, and star of Sorority Forever, Woke Up Dead and the recent Wrong Hole video with DJ Lubel
Chris Murray — co-creator/star of Hedge Fund
Rachel Risen — star of The Hayley Project
David Nett — co-creator/star of GOLD
Sandeep Parikh — star of The Guild, creator of The Legend of Neil
Angela Espinosa — co-creator/star of Groupthink
Wendy Rosoff — co-creator/star of Groupthink
For Spherion, a 60 year-old NYSE-listed national staffing firm, the web series has been a bit of a playful experiment, or “alternative marketing vehicle” aimed at reaching what they call “a generation of message-averse, media-multitaskers just entering the workforce.” Probably they just noticed early on the high correlation between young office temps and web video watching.
Web series stars might not have the headline clout of their more traditional counterparts, but they do have something even most film stars don’t—a budding set of fans actually used to watching them on their computers. That, and a collaborative willingness to jump on fellow projects that’s missing from most cable and network fare.
Behind the camera, more web series regulars were enlisted. The Hayley Project co-directors Andrew Park and Jato Smith were tapped to shoot the new episodes, with Streamy-nominated Break a Leg creator Yuri Baranovsky writing them alongside Cleveland.
It’s a little more than just stunt casting for some press hits, with the shows themselves actually woven into the storylines. Hedge Fund’s Claude S. Dutchy, LLC hedge fund is the entity that’s taken over Commodity Staffing now, and Murray plays his character from that series. Groupthink’s Espinosa and Rosoff make an appearance as their office comedy’s quirky characters later this season. And Taryn Southern sure didn’t play it safe with a straight cameo, opting instead to go with an anomalously odd character for her guest bit in one of the show’s “online resumes.” (See below)
The first three of the eight completed episodes in the new season are out today, with new ones coming in chunks on the following two Mondays. Eight more are said to be heading into production in January. CJP is distributing this series wide, using much the same strategy they employed for Easy to Assemble and Sparhüsen earlier this fall—a gambit of wide syndication though an Ooyala player combined with curated content portals like My Damn Channel and For Your Imagination’s Axis of Comedy. Following that are plans for a broad VOD push through The Hotel Networks DoNotDisturb.TV, iTunes and Roku. A Temp Life iPhone application is also said to be in development.