A LONG SOMEWHAT UNNECESSARY PREAMBLE FOR CONTEXT (YOU CAN SKIP AHEAD)
Back in the fall of 2013, I penned an article Are Web Series TV Online? that addressed the rising convergence of screen content during the dawn of the early over-the-top (OTT) media service gold rush years and the burgeoning efforts to erase the term web series, which had become synonymous in Entertainment Industry eyes as ‘amateurish’ in favour of more nebulous terms such as original series (popularized by Netflix) and digital series. Soon after, the terms short-form and snackable screen content began to circulate in an effort to further displace the term along with short-lived buzzwords webisodes, appisodes, and the hideous mobisodes.
It was also a time when TV prodcos, who had, with the exception of some outliers, previously held up a nose at online shenanigans, and were now looking to capitalize on the explosive massive popularity of Youtube (with Facebook video soon following), and, in Canada, the ‘growing’ pool of funding available to short form content.
By dropping the term web series, TV prodcos, entering online video distribution after the heels of web series’ turbulent R&D years, were eager to separate their ‘wheat’ from the perceived ‘chaff’ of ‘dabblers’ and ‘hobbyists,’ namely: the conspiracy theorists, the dollar store dilettantes, the kids with too much time on their hands, the cranks, and even the professional ‘upstart’ indie creator in cargo pants equipped with a DSLR, a kino light, and ‘two turntables and a microphone’ eager to make a name for themselves at a time when there was no upward mobility as crew positions were locked by boomers who promised never to retire.