Individuals who haven’t cut their television cords may recognize web starlet Taryn Southern from her stints on Rules of Engagement, Attack of the Show, The Golden Globes Post Show, The Grammys, and other TV programs and specials. Online video aficionados will be familiar with her work on the TheWB.com and Big Fantastic teen drama Sorority Forever, the version of High School Musical made for kids over the age of 18 Private High Musical, a number of sexually suggestive music videos on YouTube and Funny or Die, and a handful of as of yet unnamed projects that will come from her recent partnership with Break.com.
Southern signed a six-month, first-look deal with the 13-year-old(!) humor website that will give her use of the company’s production, distribution, and promotion resources. Break will get an exclusive first look at all of Southern’s projects in exchange.
This is the first first-look and second major talent deal for Break since the company acquired the online entertainment pioneer and former Endeavor talent agent Greg Siegel as its SVP of Entertainment Development. (Last week we wrote about Break’s upcoming original web series with Zachary Quinto.) Break reps tell me to expect more first-look and big name talent deals in the near future.
I caught up with Southern over e-mail to figure out how the partnership came to be and what kind of things raunchy and/or unobjectionable we may expect.
Tubefilter: How’d the deal with Break come about?
Taryn Southern: I took last year off from writing and producing web content to focus on acting – I was working on an MTV pilot, a few films and web series, and a sitcom. It was a nice break, but by the end of pilot season this year, I was itching to produce again. Break was just a natural fit.
Greg liked my ideas and my wacky sense of humor, and I loved Greg’s long-term vision for content distribution. It was kismet.
TF: Break does a lot of branded entertainment. Are you going to create shows with advertisers in mind?
TS: We’ll employ different strategies depending on the concept. Some of my ideas simply aren’t advertiser friendly; some are. Break isn’t solely concerned with sponsored advertising, which is a godsend for someone like me, since so much of my content is irreverent. They want to look at the bigger picture – building an audience and a brand around a concept so that it can be parlayed that into other distribution areas, i.e. DVD’s, books, TV series, films.
TF: Will Break keep your content on the web? Or is there a plan here to go to other mediums?
TS: My first two sells to television were based on existing web properties (Project MyWorld and Private High Musical), but I’m hardly the only one – there are handfuls of people in the last few years who have also set up TV projects, books, or films based on their web content. Greg and I don’t want this reality to be an afterthought – it’ll be part of our strategy from day one.
Ultimately, the long term strategy we develop for each project is going to affect what I actually shoot. I’m very active in these conversations.
TF: Is this the first deal of this kind you’ve been involved with?
TS: It is! I’ve had specific series financed (60Frames) and had personality-driven deals (i.e. Heavy.com, Cosmopolitan.com), but never something all-encompassing like this. I’m really excited about it.
TF: What can we expect to come out of it?
TS: More than a few references to penises, that’s for sure. But honestly, I just want people to see my stuff. And sell a line of T-shirts with goats on them. Stuff like that.
Stay tuned and keep an eye on Break.com in the coming months to see what Southern has in store.