Machinima.com, the site for video content created using video games, announced today the creation of the Machinima Comedy Lab and said it is collaborating with a team of traditional episodic TV writers from shows such as The Simpsons, Futurama and Seinfeld to develop 15 new web series.
In a phone interview, Machinima.com CEO Allen DeBevoise said that each writer will create a comedy in a format similar to a traditional TV pilot in length, but that can be broken up into four or five short episodes. Based on how those episodes are received, Machinima.com will then make the decision to take them to series. “The idea we’re playing with is, take experienced episodic folks and then apply the ability to do it in front of our own audience,” DeBevoise said.
DeBevoise said that the animation used for the scripts will depend on the story. It could be something Machinima.com creates in-house using a game engine with original characters, or they could partner with a game publisher to make something using an existing game. DeBevoise wouldn’t give a budget for each pilot, saying only it would be way less than a traditional TV half hour (well, duh).
Fittingly, Machinima.com is bringing on a lot of folks with animation backgrounds. The writers tapped are:
- Chris Cluess: Mad TV, The Simpsons, Cheers
- Bill Freiberger: Drawn Together, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, The Simpsons
- Eric Horsted: Boondocks, Knights of Prosperity, Futurama
- Ken Keeler: Futurama, The Simpsons, Wings
- Stacie Lipp: King of Queens, Roseanne, Married With Children
- Christina Lynch: Wildfire, The Dead Zone, Unhappily Ever After
- Peggy Nicoll: WordGirl, Daria
- Bill Oakley: Mission Hill, The Simpsons, Futurama
- Max Pross & Tom Gammill: The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Monk
- Mike Rowe: Family Guy, Futurama, Comedy Central Roasts
- Loren Segan: Wildfire, The Dead Zone, Spyder Games
- Patric M. Verrone: Futurama, Muppets Tonight!, The Simpsons
- Maiya Williams: Mad TV, The PJs, The Wayans Bros.
Machinima.com also has a deal for a new online series with The Guild star Felicia Day. In November, Machinima.com raised $3.85 million and told us then that the money would be used for expanding its original web series development.