Miles and Ben, from creators (and brothers) Joshua Brandon and Steven Brandon falls into this low-fi category. It’s basically two friends sitting around talking about nothing—a genre perfected and lampooned by Seinfeld and Larry David, and then reconstituted over and over again in the world of web television. While Miles and Ben has it’s moments (Miles likes to inexplicably wear a fur coat, and has fun goals like “to see how many different animals I can fit on a fork”) but ultimately it’s hard to say what the show has to keep us watching.
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While the web has absolutely been revolutionized by indie creators, when there’s no hook, it’s easy to click off, or click over to bigger budget productions sponsored by bigger companies pouring money into online content with bigger stars, stunts, lights and action (Sony’s Angel of Death comes to mind).
While watching Miles and Ben (starring Adam Meyer and Bryan Barter), I started to wonder how easy it is for the “two guys (or girls) and a camera” type creators to start getting lost in this ocean of content, especially as pro outlets become more prevalent and YouTube continues to threaten it’s core audience leaning towards favoring corporate sponsors and over indie creators fighting to be seen.
Then I started to recall some of my favorite low-fi shows which embodied the simple lives of two people, captured by one camera creating a whole lot of funny. Joe and Kate works for it’s sheer honesty on occasionally taboo topics in a romantic relationship. Duder deftly executes the Seinfeld genre of two dudes talking about nothing by keeping things short, sweet, and occasionally getting all existential. And Zach Galifianakas (who is about to skyrocket from indie comic to Hangover-level fame) embraces and fits in the low-fi world better than anyone with his talk show send-up Between Two Ferns.
While some of the aforementioned are well-connected, others are not, and all of them are proving that one camera even simply set-up on a tripod can still create an engaging viewing experience. But a strong hook, a unique character and a boatload of talent will always help. The bottom line is the two dudes, one camera genre is flourishing, particularly when the two dudes have something to say.