If Phil DeFranco, Ray William Johnson, Jenna Marbles, and/or any one or many of a number of other top online video personalities wanted to paraphrase Newton and say they attained their online video success by standing on the shoulders of the online video personalities that came before them, they’d all be standing on top of Ze Frank.
Frank’s interactive, year-long, online video experiment known to the online masses and Sports Racers as The Show debuted on March 17, 2006 and ended 365 days later on March 17, 2007. Within that time frame, Frank released viewer-and-Dewars-supported episodes every weekday incorporating a thoughtful mix of politics, pop culture, original music, and audience participation, all shot and edited in the now ubiquitous close-up, frenetic jump-cut style.
The Show was popular. So much so, that in the age before the emergence of the YouTube star, you couldn’t write a story about online video entertainment without mentioning Ze Frank’s name. And those of us who remember watching episodes of The Show as they were released have been waiting for Frank’s return (hailed by trumpets and angels).
Since he released the series finale, Frank’s only brought back an iteration of The Show for a limited engagement during the Writers Guild Strike in 2007 and as a short series for Buzzfeed and Time.com in 2009. That is, until now.
Hard chargers be damned, Ze Frank is returning to the web series world by way of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Ze raised more than $80,000 (well above his $50,000 goal) from over 2,000 backers in just one day after posting his project. That cash will go towards the production of A Show, which will be a lot like The Show, or as Frank describes it, “Same same, but different.” Here’s more from the host/creator/star:
To start, I want to produce around three episodes a week for a year and take it from there. I want this to be fun and to last for a while. I figure that I will launch sometime at the end of March, near to the 6th anniversary of the original show. All of the funds raised here will go towards the production of the show – equipment, salaries for people that will help me, rent. I will find other ways to pay myself.
And if you’re wondering why someone who, less than two years ago raised over half a million dollars in venture funding needs to go on Kickstarter to get enough cash for an online video project, sometimes these things have little do with capital. Kickstarter’s also an extremely effective marketing tool and early system for interactive audience development.
If you ever bought a virtual rubber ducky to support The Show (or you wish you had), you should definitely consider backing the Kickstater campaign for A Show. Ze’s putting the money to good use! And if he raises $1,000,000,000, he promises to buy Greece.