Dystopian futures have officially reached the point of earning their own genre within web series. Whether it’s noir-ing the Koopa kingdom (There Will Be Brawl), cloning (Aidan 5) or just life in general (Afterworld). Perhaps it’s the twisted minds of video creators, or the relative lack of decent sci-fi in the Cinemaplexes—or perhaps the proliferation of green screens and After Effects amongst the video crowd, but the web has become the front lines for the genre.
Dystopians have yet to turn the genre on the world of web video itself, projecting what might unfold should the current trajectory of loosely organized chaos ensue. Enter YouTupolis, a Sin City—inspired green screener unveiling a world of zombie-like video creators trapped in a vicious cycle of production, with no end in sight. Only those few on the outside of this mega-city called “YouTupolis” (owned by YouTube) give—ironically—video diary glimpses of a life free from the lucrative Partner agreements.
The first episode, below, went live today, catching up us on how exactly things descended into an abandoned cityscape with everyone sequestered inside their homes making videos. The turning point from the current state of affairs is a not-so-unrealistic offer from YouTube to pay $1,000 for every 1,000 views, “All you had to do was keep your camera on at all times,” reads Val the story’s narrator-protag. “Hard to say no, what would you have done? Within a week half the city applied and so did I.”
YouTupolis is the brainchild of Valentina Trevino, already well known in YouTube circles for her 56k-subscriber Val’s Art Diary channel, and Wojciech Lorenc a teacher in Columbia College Chicago’s Television Department, who aimed to create “a sci-fi satire of YouTube and YouTube community.”
“Any YouTuber who would like to be on or help with the show is invited to participate,” they added. “We designed YouTupolis as a collaborative project and we are planning on having many opportunities for people to appear on the show by submitting video clips based on our instructions.”
Already the project has scored two Hugos from the Chicago International Film Festival’s Hugo Television Awards, after submitting two unreleased episodes last month. The next five episodes are slated to go live every other week on the show’s YouTube channel, with more depending on how well the response is. In between episodes the creators plan on a series of vlogs and tutorials to keep the audience engaged.