Zadi Diaz and Steve Woolf dazzled the crowd at the sold-out Tubefilter Web TV Meetup last night in Los Angeles. Nearly 400 web series creators, talent and execs braved the rain and hail to make it out to hear from the two esteemed web video veterans. Before getting into the Q&A, they debuted the newest episode (above) of their award-winning EPIC FU before it went live online late last night.
Early reviews of the new ‘season’ of EPIC FU are positive, noting that the new, slightly shorter format (episodes are now about 5 min) made for a tighter, more focused show. But FU fans will get two more episodes per week, extending the series into a mini-network of sorts, adding “Music Mondays” and “Film Thursdays” to their weekly lineup.
The panel discussion delved into the show’s early days, when it first launched as The Jetset Show back in June of 2006. Back then it was primarily focused on getting 8 to 10 year-old kids to make web videos. It soon evolved into a more mature show tackling global issues and highlight creative people of all ages, eventually changing names to EPIC FU. “That’s the beauty of the internet,” Steve noted. “We had an idea, it wasn’t quite working and we didn’t just throw it under the bus, we iterated it.” The latest phase they are now calling the “fourth iteration” of the show.
We talked about their move from web studios Next New Networks to Revision3 and eventually back on their own as a fully independent show. In a nod to web video’s history, Zadi and Steve gave high props to vlogger Ze Frank—who was in the audience—and Rocketboom as two of their greatest inspirations for getting started and making this their careers. I asked them about how they might start today, from scratch, offering advice to newer web series creators. “Start with what you know and what you love,” said Zadi. Steve added that there is still “very little out there in terms of interactivity in new [web] shows that are being created,” pointing out an opportunity for web shows to stop trying to be like short television shows instead of really connecting with a community.
Questions from the audience, both in person and from the chat room on the live stream, ran the gamut. One attendee asked how to get past the lulls of the first few months after launching his independent web series. “You have to have a support system,” said Zadi, “knowing that’s there’s someone there that has your back is so important.”
Jokes were of course part of the night, not to mention a regular part of EPIC FU itself. When talking about shooting in their home-based ‘studio’, Steve joked, “our neighbors thought that we were making porn when we told them we were making web videos.” “No,” he said, “we don’t do porn because we’d be driving a better car.”
In the next few weeks, EPIC FU will be rolling out its newly redesigned site which will be a daily hub for content, much of it from the active viewer community that has grown up around the show over the past few years. Steve described it as a blog network of sorts that will feature content from all over the world. In many ways it will be an evolution of their already impressive MIX social network, even featuring a voting system that users can vote-up content that people submit.
Watch the full pre-recored live stream of the panel and screening (below) provided by the amazing people at Stickam:
With the Angels creator Mary Feuer was one of the lucky ones, winning an HP DreamScreen. Four other attendees won $100 Best Buy gift cards, compliments of Intel, and one super lucky attendee, won a loaded HP Envy laptop. Once again a special thanks to everyone who made it out and to sponsors HP and Intel for helping make this all possible.
Photo credit: The Bui Brothers