Frankly Speaking #1: Binging on Television
Recently, award-winning House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey gave a compelling keynote speech at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, in which he touted appointment television as the brave new world in entertainment delivery that cannot and should not be ignored by today’s T.V. executives. By appointment television, we mean the ability of a person to go to a certain place and watch what they want to watch at the time they wish to watch it. In his speech, Spacey made arguments for new online networks such as Netflix that allow the viewer to control their viewing experience as equal competitors in the entertainment field. He also expressed that episodic series, movies, short films, and all sorts of work could be successfully rolled out on this new platform and be taken as seriously as when appearing on the big screens.
“You have this incredible confluence of a medium coming into its own just as the technology for that medium is drastically shifting,” Spacey said. “Studios and networks who ignore either shift – whether the increasing sophistication of storytelling, or the constantly shifting sands of technological advancement – will be left behind.”
Recently at Make It Happen Productions (MIHP), we have encountered this new medium as we have spent the last year developing and producing On Begley Street,starring Ed Begley, Jr., which is a nine-episode television show that launched onEvox Television Networks last month. Evox is a new online digital network that provides an integrated entertainment experience that inspires positive changes in the way people live and work. Their premise revolves around celebrating the good things about people, family, community, and the world. The network delivers a unique blend of evocative HD video programming, online community interaction, and related product shopping, to help people live a better life, grow as individuals, and in so doing, contribute to a better world.
Why did we take this leap of faith to create television on an entirely new and untraditional platform? I was given the opportunity to partake in a show with Ed Begley, Jr. his wife and daughter as they would build a platinum LEED-certified home. I first said, hmm, I like Ed, see his face all over the place but need to learn more about what he really stands for. Once I learned more, and that he is a seriously eco-conscious man passionate about spreading his cause into the world, I was in. He walks the talk and I was given a chance to create a show that would express this directly to the audience, which wanted it.
For On Begley Street, the entire nine episode series was produced in the course of twelve months. It was challenging because there was a house being taken down almost literally one board at a time. The Begley’s chose to donate the majority of the deconstructed home to Habitat for Humanity. Ultimately, only 4% of the house went to the landfill. The highlight of producing the show was working with the Begley family and learning what they stand for, especially Ed. Ed is a self-starter, innovator and, in my opinion, a game changer. Although I have learned some things about living in a sustainable fashion, I have yet to scratch the surface of what I can do.
I am proud to announce that the show launched last month with one new episode rolling out weekly. Once the new episode rolls out it is available, along with all prior episodes, to be watched at the viewer’s convenience.
It’s exciting to be a part of a brand new way of distributing entertainment in this highly fast paced technological age and we at MIHP look forward to more work in this direction.
Frankly Speaking is a monthly column written by Make It Happen Productions Owner Billy Frank