Friday, August 21, 2015

Wanted: More Deaf Web Series!

Update: As of 7pm EST August 21, 2015, the entry for Don't Shoot the Messesnger hit 1000 views, the highest of any post on the Captioned Web TV blog!

Update 2: On August 24, 2015 we learned about the existence of another deaf web series, Troy's Big Break and immediately added it to Captioned Web TV.

Is it possible for us to have a deaf web series genre? We don't know. But we certainly feel it is time for one. We have deaf theatre, deaf film, deaf rap (Sean Forbes), even deaf television (Switched at Birth, anyone?). But no deaf web series genre.

To our knowledge, there has been no new deaf web series since 2012 when the Dine and Sign web series was on YouTube.  Dine and Sign posted episodes between September 2011 and August 2012. Then it stopped. That is normal for a web series.

There was a deaf role on the web series the Vamps Next Door. We have deaf vloggers like Rikki Poynter. There is a deaf booktuber. Katie LeClerc, who plays a deaf character on Switched at Birth, had a hearing role in the web series My Synthesized Life. But there has not been a real deaf web series since 2012.

Now, we have a chance for a deaf web series again. Don't Shoot the Messenger posted its pilot episode on August 15. However, according to their Indiegogo page, "The pilot episode was filmed in Brooklyn and Manhattan in late June on a shoe-string budget which mostly consisted of our life savings and favors from friends and family. We are raising this money so we can produce the rest of the episodes in this season (about 6 more episodes)." That means that if they can't raise enough funds, we may not get a full season of this new deaf web series.

Don't Shoot the Messenger

It is normal for independent web series to seek funding through crowdsourcing. It is how many if not most independent web series get made. A quality web series does cost some money to produce. Producing a web series involves multiple costs such as actors, supporting crew, equipment, and more. Web series producers routinely use sites such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and Seed&Spark to raise funds.

Why should you consider supporting this web series for a full season? We can think of six good reasons!

  • There is clearly pent-up demand for something like this in the deaf and signing community. On the Captioned Web TV blog, the entry for Don't Shoot the Messenger has broken records for speed of getting to the top for all time views, AND it is also setting a record for total number of views to date. Almost 1,000 views as of this writing!
  • It is a good quality series. It is obvious that they worked hard to produce a pilot with good quality.
  • If we had a deaf web series genre it means more work for deaf people in the entertainment industry. The web series industry as a whole is already an important source of employment in the entertainment industry. 
  • If we had a deaf web series genre it could mean more sponsorship opportunities for deaf-oriented businesses such as VRS companies. Several deaf-oriented businesses already sponsor events such as conferences.
  • If we had a deaf web series genre it would give deaf filmmakers another way to make a name for themselves. Web series festivals are all over the world now. Imagine if a deaf web series were to win an award at one of them!
  • Deaf web series would take their place along the many other web series genres - black web series, gay web series, literary web series, superhero web series....
  • If this deaf web series were to be successful it would send a big message to the web series industry that there is an audience out there for this type of web series!
Do you agree it is time for a deaf web series genre? Then, if you can, help support the production of a full season (donations can be as small as $10). If you can't afford to donate, help by telling family and friends about this new deaf web series - which has only a pilot right now, and will make six episodes if they can raise enough funds to do it.

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