This is a little complicated, so try to follow along. It all started with an anonymous video blogger aptly dubbed “A*NON” who witnessed a real-life stabbing on the streets of downtown LA back in early 2007. She posted the video on YouTube, where it quickly amassed some 150,000 views before YouTube pulled it down. At the same time, A*NON also launched a MySpace page, which was subsequently pulled down as well within 24 hours of the YouTube video going down. After some back-and-forth with YouTube, the young blogger was able to get the video back up. (It now has about 220,000 views.)
A*NON’s MySpace page grew into a cult vigilante following, centered around the lone anonymous video blogger. A*NON tapped into the discontent with traditional media outlets, who she professes aren’t always giving the full truth of the story. Her stinging commentary (and video sharing) on social taboos such as rape accusations and video-taped executions, cut through the web video clutter, acting as a MySpace version of Banksy, the infamous street graffiti artist. After numerous requests for interviews, including NPR, A*NON chose to remain in the shadows and instead connected with screenwriter and director Mel Robertson to adapt her story into a fictional web series.
From this, the two co-wrote the series dubbed FEED which debuted last week at AfterEllen.com. The series centers around a news-obsessed blogger who takes the media into her own hands when a video she’s posted online shows up on the five o’ clock news, threatening the lives of everyone in the video, including the blogger and her new group of underground digital vigilantes.
Just in case you’re still not confused, the series is based on the semi-fictional book (of the same name) written by A*NON under the pen name “Maura Knight.” Maura Knight is the name of the lead character in the series, the “news-obsessed blogger” and bisexual ex-reality television producer-turned-waitress played by Amanda Deibert (Unfabulous, Dog Days of Summer, Christmas Wish List.) Whew. To say this story has layers is an understatement. There is a definitely an indie quality to the series, which attempts to capture the gritty realism aesthetic that captivated A*NON’s early fans. The producers (Heroine Films) have added some star-power to the show, signing Guinevere Turner (Go Fish, The L Word, American Psycho) to the role of Keira Roberts, and rising young talent Erin Kelly (Loving Anabelle, Waking Madison) as Tara Franklin.
The addition of Guinevere Turner to the cast has helped the show find some early traction in the gay and lesbian online communities, signing a deal with 365gay, LOGOonline and AfterEllen.com to air new episodes of the series every other Friday. The 15-episode show, which now has two episodes out, can be seen unedited at the FEED site along with Current, Vimeo and YouTube. Showrunner Mel Roberston says they are about 75 percent done with shooting the first season and has managed to keep the budget under five figures. Look for the series to kick into narrative format in episode 4, after the faux-reality-style first three episodes. For now, Robertson insists on keeping the real A*NON’s identity under wraps, and apparently very few people involved in the production have ever interacted with the cloaked blogger.