Revision3 is getting serious about comedy lately. The online network that basically cornered the web with hosted tech-friendly shows—Diggnation, TekZilla, HD Nation—debuted its second scripted comedy web series today with INST MSGS. The 13-episode series dramatizes real-life web chatter like personal IM conversations, Tweets, Facebook status updates and even Craigslist postings.
Creators Ann Le, Justin Simien, and Mathieu Young developed the series after Simien spent some “research” time at work perusing the Missed Connections ads on Craigslist. You know, those shot-in-the-dark type postings hoping some unrequited eye contact stands a chance at something more. There’s also the Craigslist personals, another gold mine that Simien and his cohorts mined heavily. The opening episode (above)—”My Women”—is one of these treasures, bringing to life an actual rant of someone in Detroit’s dating biography.
From there Simien put out the call to friends to send him stored IM conversations and other social media scraps they had on hand. “I was surprised at how much people saved their IM conversation and how much people actually would send me,” said Simien. “It’s so public but it’s also so private,” he added, “These things we would never say to each other face to face always struck me as really interesting.”
Though the first episode is mostly narration voice over, Simien does tell us there are some “talkies” coming up in future weeks. For those roles they cast a handful of known actors like comedian Phil Van Hest, Dileep Rao (Avatar), Abigail Spencer (Mad Men), Josh Cooke (Four Kings) and YouTube’s Liam Sullivan from the 30 million view “Shoes” video. There’s even a special musical episode in the works.
In an increasingly popular move, the series is actually shot on a high end digital SLR camera, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II, with a series of high end film lenses.
Revision3’s Ryan Vance calls it “one of the most original and artistic shows we’ve launched at Revision3.” And given the opening, that’s a probably not just hyperbole. The series feels much more arty and stylistic that any of their previous originals. Even the Washington Post’s attempt at spoofing real-life tweets, Twits, doesn’t get this elaborate.
In standard Rev3 fashion, new episodes come out weekly with INST MSGS getting Fridays as its release day.
In the interest of full disclosure, I actually own the puppet (Harry) that is a recurring character in the series. He was discovered from his previous gig, a short lived movie review show on YouTube. He is making me proud.