by LIZA MITCHELL
Move over, primetime. A local production team is exposing audiences to an original new series that is changing the way we watch television. Writers Dan Solomon and Janine Anzalone launched their latest project, “Exposure,” online and have generated thousands of views across the globe.
Anzalone said knew right away that the internet was the perfect vehicle to launch the web series, the story of a hungry, young actress played by Anzalone striking out on her own to make a name for herself in the industry. The restrictions were less rigid than traditional network television, the creative freedom was limitless, and the potential for the show to reach an international audience was literally at their fingertips.
“When we originally came up with the idea and concept for this project, it was at a time when the web series was just getting noticed. This was a medium that you could literally watch 24/7. There was no set time that this was going to be broadcast so people could constantly be going to watch your show,” she says. “There are a lot of ways to use the web for television purposes, and I really wanted to be on it because this is the new media, this is where television is heading.”
The first episodes aired on January 16 and in just four days after going live with the first season, the series had over 1,200 views as far away as Germany, Italy, Brazil and Mexico. “It’s great that it has actually gotten out that far so fast,” says producer Joe Anzalone, who is also Janine’s father.
Solomon, who directed the project, says the story follows Natalie as she tries to break free from her family and into the business. She leaves the comfort of her New York home and heads south for “Hollywood East” in Jacksonville. When a big Hollywood film comes to town, “it’s all about her trying to get on that film and all of the trials and tribulations that go with that and the personal relationships with acting coaches, casting directors and friends that are trying to get on the film as well,” he says.
The series was filmed in Jacksonville and features many recognizable landmarks including Jacksonville International Airport, Berkman Plaza and the new City Hall. Solomon says the crew was thrilled at the outpouring of support they received throughout the process.
“One of the underlying reasons we wanted to do a project of this caliber here is to highlight Jacksonville as the big, little market that it is. The talent is here. The crews are here. We really wanted to draw some attention to the people that are here, because they deserve it,” he says. “We have the potential to do the same type of work that’s being done everywhere else.”
“Exposure,” featuring Cindy Hogan, Kent Lindsey, Kevin Porter and Jesse Malinowski, is aptly titled because it’s the hope of all artists that their work will be seen and enjoyed. It also describes the feeling of vulnerability when one’s secrets are bared, and lies are uncovered. “All of the characters throughout the series have something that is getting exposed that they don’t necessarily want exposed,” says Anzalone. “When you watch the first series up until the end of the first season, you’ll kind of see how that all fit in.”
Anzalone said there are significant advantages of web vs. network television. There are opportunities for advertising and sponsorship to generate revenue. It also cuts costs for a studio to put something up online without the expense of buying airtime. Hosting a show on the web also offers more creative control regarding content and the length of an episode. The first season features nine episodes ranging from seven to just under 16 minutes.
“Our episodes can be whatever they need to be in terms of a timeframe based on the story that we need to tell,” she says. “It’s also a really great way to be a little more widespread in terms of the audience. It gave us a little more availability. We don’t have to just start local. It’s one stop and it’s out there. It’s fast TV.”
The internet also provides the benefit of instant feedback that broadens the way they can track the show’s progress in terms of viewership and ratings. Solomon says comments allow them to see what is working and what people like or dislike about the show in real time. It also put the spotlight on web TV as a viable and competitive creative market.
“A lot of people hear ‘web series’ and think it’s a crappy little thing with a couple of video cameras and bad sound,” Anzalone says. “I think our production value is going to surprise people.” Check out the series at www.exposurewebseries.com.
EXPOSURE: A web series to watch
by LIZA MITCHELL