We receive a ton of tips every day from independent creators, unaffiliated with any major motion picture studios, television networks, new media studios, or other well-funded online video entities. The Indie Spotlight is where we’ll write about and shout out to a select few of them and bring you up to speed on the great (and sometimes not-so-great) attention-grabbing series you probably haven’t heard about until now. Read previous installments here.
The average indie web series runs for single-digit episodes, but that is far too few for Smoke Break, a new offering from writer and director Kendal Sinn. Instead of playing out across a few long installments, Smoke Break will delve into its 40 characters’ lives across 115 short vignettes, each one taking place in the alleyway behind a nondescript office building.
Smoke Break‘s characters are all employees at Pennidyne, which sounds like it was spat out of an evil corporation name generator. Each episode ranges from two to five minutes and features a conversation between two to four characters, all of whom have stepped out for a quick smoke. Most episodes end with a character returning to his or her job and/or another one taking his or her place.
The writing is sharp, but it’s the round characters who make Smoke Break shine. There’s Ryan, a disillusioned office slacker; Bill, a deceitful and sarcastic gentleman; Bobby, a passive, unassuming future husband; and many, many more. Though these characters only spend a few minutes on screen, their writing and acting builds them into interesting figures.
Smoke Break‘s 115 episodes will play out until Valentine’s Day 2014; without a doubt, this is experimental, fascinating stuff, and just the kind of series that belongs on the web. I only hope its characters live long enough to see the finale. Smoking is bad for you, kids.
OTHER UNDER-THE-RADAR SERIES TO CHECK OUT:
- Living the Dream. Three Gen-Xers whose lives are stuck in their respective ruts search for self-actualization.
- League of STEAM. This steampunk series and 2012 Streamy Award nominee (for its costume design) is now seeking Kickstarter funds for a third season.
- City of Dreams. A web series set in the world of musical theater, where three our three protagonists have faked roles in a major production.
- Ted Evans. There are a lot of vocal impressionists on YouTube, but this guy is really good.
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