Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Vuguru goes Bollywood

Michael Eisner is at it again. Prom Queen was brilliant, daily short webisodic episodes adding up to enough content for a subsequent DVD release. This time the concept is even more ingenious. Foreign Body will not just be a web entertainment but also a powerful promotional instrument for Robin Cook's forthcoming best-seller.

This is platform-agnosticism with bravura. It's also not that far removed from my own thinking early last year, when I tried to publish my novel chapter-by-chapter as an audio podcast, but with a video teaser for each installment. Of course, Vuguru is throwing $10,00 at each minute of content, which makes a difference.

Here the Los Angeles Times has more about the new project and this is the take of NewTeeVee.

Foreign Body premieres today on, and on other platforms including YouTube, Veoh, Hulu, and Dailymotion. Episode 1 is embedded below.


This today from CamcorderInfo:

Foreign Body is actually the brainchild of Robin Cook, the best selling author of a zillion medical thrillers. Cook was getting worried that the audience for his books was getting too old. He wanted to know if Eisner would be interested in producing a broadband video prequel for his next title, designed to get a younger audience pumped about his work. The webisodes would be free, the book would not.

Eisner jumped at the chance, and on May 27th the first two minute episode of Foreign Body (the video prequel) went live. . It's an exotic thriller, about Americans going to India for cut-rate operations. It's full murder, suspense, and sexy nurses. Over the next two months, fans who tune in will find new five new, 2 minute episodes each week ending on August 5 when Foreign Body (the book) will hit the shelves to carry the story forward.

According to an NPR story, the budget for the series is about $500,000. This is real money for an Internet production but chump change for Hollywood. The production schedule is tight and complex - 24 days to shoot 100 minutes of high quality video on the beaches of Malibu, the back streets of Delhi, and a hospital set in L.A. Eisner hired Big Fantastic, four video directors who have mastered the art of creating great-quality web video, quickly and on the cheap to produce Foreign Body. I love the declaration pasted on the Big Fantastic website: "We believe web video should not be limited to skateboard wipeouts". I also love the tag team approach they take to producing videos quickly.

Check out the great blog post/video piece
found on the LA Times Webscout blog to watch the cast and crew in action. One guy will shoot a quick scene with the bikini clad actresses on his hand held camera (is that a Panasonic DVX-100 mini DV camera I see them using?) When he is done he hands over the actors, lighting and sound guy to the next director while he edits the scene on his laptop. No one sits around waiting for the next scene to be blocked out using this system.

Of course, the big question is whether or not the production is going to make money. In the NPR interview, Eisner admits that he has not made a lot of money with his first couple of productions. That’s to be expected. "If you wait for the advertising world and the distribution world to get there, it'll never happen. So I've said I'm just going to go do it," Eisner said. Then he added, " 'The money will come if I do it right,' he said hopefully."

He goes on to say that by this time next year he hopes to see that a line of well-heeled advertisers banging on his door to buy space for one of his productions.

No comments: