It’s a common thing to happen—a critically acclaimed show, beloved by most if not all who watch it, struggling to find the means to continue. In the early days of indie favorite The Guild, funding came out through donations for each subsequent episode.
With social networking and web video making the world a much smaller place to be in these days, it’s certainly easier to connect with fans in order to keep a show alive. Executive Producers Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward are hoping that remains the case with Anyone But Me, winner of a People’s Silver Telly Award and a Streamy Award. After two privately funded seasons, the show now needs its fans to keep it going.
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Enter the Anyone But Me Web-A-Thon. Running in three parts from July 27th through 29th, the show is going to host an all-out funding drive for season three of the show to become a reality. Hosted by Lisa Bernhard, who reported on entertainment for Fox News and was Deputy Editor at TV Guide, amongst producing her non-profit work, the show will feature brand new videos such as “The Women of ABM,” and an “ABM Walking Tour,” along with “revealing” interviews with actors themselves.
Most interestingly are some of the eBay auctions that’ll be going on. A walk-on role during the third season will be up for grabs, along with a Skype call to be able to see and hear the cast’s read-through on scripts, as well as lunch with the creators and other items.
On their front page is a video (embedded above) for the Web-A-Thon, prepping viewers for the upcoming event.
With the fundraising goal set at $100,000 to $120,000, their work is certainly cut out for them. “But even if we raise a good portion of this from the Thon,” says Miller, “we believe it will make it much easier to find sponsorship or funding to make up the difference.”
“A subscription model was on the table for a while,” but Miller’s concerns about alienating the viewers would limit its viability. “The beauty of the web… is inclusion.”
Even Kickstarter , an increasingly popular option for web projects, didn’t seem like the right method for them. And then the idea for the Web-A-Thon came out: “[Giving] people 90 minutes of free programming over three days” held the right tone for the show, connecting with the audience, giving them something as they gave back. “We never put up a donate button on our site before, even when fans offered,” says Miller.
While the videos will be pre-recorded, the communal connection the audience will make with the show is the X factor that Anyone But Me hopes will keep the show in production for a third season.
Anyone But Me “follows the journey of a new generation struggling with identity and modern relationships,” centering on Rachael Hip-Flores’ Vivian McMillan, who is given “no choice but to leave the city with her father after health problems suffered in 9/11 force him to retire.”
Could this become a model for other shows to follow? “Well, let’s wait and see how ours turns out,” Miller says. “We’ve put a lot of work into it.”