With three seasons, 25 episodes, 11+ million views, a number of accolades (including a few Streamy Awards), and a helluva lot of ardent fans, Anyone But Me just may be the most successful (in terms of both audience and acclaim) independently funded and produced piece of online original dramatic programming. That’s why its creators want to make sure its sendoff is something special.
Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward are wrapping up the hit New York City and State -based web series about a girl who likes girls in a post-9/11 world, but they’re bringing back all the original cast for one last installment. The pair are securing funding for the series finale as we read, in hopes to raise enough cash to begin shooting in January or February.
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It’s kinda bittersweet, right? It’ll be sad to see a seemingly perennial programming staple of the online video world cease production, but it’s exciting to think about what the finale may entail and what its creators will create next.
I got in touch with Miller and Ward to ask them about making tough decisions, the final episode, and the future.
Tubefilter: Deciding to end Anyone But Me must’ve been a hard decision to make. How’d you do it?
Susan Miller: After launching Season Three, we agreed to take a break from the show and table all of our decisions regarding its future until we could clear our heads and assess the options. Three of our cast members had moved to Los Angeles, and despite the well meaning intentions of people who wanted to help us get sponsorship, it never materialized. So we had to face certain realities.
Tina Cesa Ward: Obviously there were circumstances that led to the decision but we’re very lucky to have had the run we had. I don’t know how many times in anyone’s career you’re given money to go make what you want without interference. Especially in a medium that has not yet proven itself. I’m pretty damn thankful for that.
TF: Will the finale be a single episode? Or what’s the planned format?
TCW: It is one episode, but it will be a longer episode. The fans will finally get their wish and get a longer episode.
TF: Have you known since you started the show what would happen to the characters at the end?
SM: I think what kept us on our toes was not knowing. We weren’t preparing for the end, we were growing a show. Which meant pushing the characters towards complication. It’s actually been thrilling to see the potential for opening up the series to stories we hadn’t anticipated. I mean, we’ve always been guided by a connection to the heart of the show, so there’s a kind of elegant and exciting inevitability to where we are right now in crafting the last episode.
TCW: One of the great things of having the freedom creatively to run your own show, I think, is letting the show take you to where it wants to go. An ending was really never in the thought process we were just moving forward with the story. Of course now we’re thinking about the ending, and I’m very happy the direction we’re headed with it. And excited to work on it.
TF: How are you planning to secure funding for the finale?
TCW: We’re looking at multiple sources right now. There’s not going to be just one way to fund the finale. But it will happen.
TF: So, what’s next?
SM: Some very cool things. We’re in talks with a major literary agent to do a Young Adult book based on the series. And, we’ll be releasing DVD’s of Seasons 2 & 3 after the finale airs. I’m also awaiting word on whether my other web series, Bestsellers will be picked up for a second season. Then there are those pages I was in the middle of writing when I set off to discover the new world of new media. I just may be compelled to finish what I started.
TCW: More ABM of course, as Susan mentioned. But I’m also working on a couple of projects of my own. Being someone that loves drama as I do, especially stark drama; I just finished shooting my dramatic mini series for the web called “Good People in Love” about two opposing views on love and marriage set on the night New York passed the Equal Marriage Bill. And soon I’ll continue my work on my new sci-fi adventure series “Guards of Dagmar”, which is a project that allows me to play in a setting and with characters that have next to no visibility in forms of storytelling. So in that regard, not too far off from Anyone But Me.