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Summary:

For something that is supposed to be two tons of fun, Comic-Con appears to have been a source of crushing self doubt for Anthony E. Zuiker. Sure, he created the CSI franchise, but he’s branching out on his own with Level 26, his new “digi-novel” that […]

For something that is supposed to be two tons of fun, Comic-Con appears to have been a source of crushing self doubt for Anthony E. Zuiker. Sure, he created the CSI franchise, but he’s branching out on his own with Level 26, his new “digi-novel” that combines an analog book with online video. Zuiker wrote about his traumatic Comic-Con on in a blog post:

So, without warning, I sat down to give away some Marc Ecko custom-made Level 26 themed t-shirts. I sat there for five minutes and nobody came by. Not a one. I started to slowly die inside. As I looked across the way, I saw the Twilight booth was packed with fans snapping up fan buttons. Here I was, the creator of the CSI franchise giving away $80 t-shirts and I had no takers – while Twilight was hemorrhaging buttons to happy rabid fans. This is when I realized: it doesn’t matter what I’ve done in television. You, Anthony E. Zuiker, are unproven with the Comic-Con crowd.

His panicking is even more understandable as you read on to learn that he’s put $1 million of his own money into Level 26 (he put all of the advance from the publisher into the project, and shot the videos for under $200,000). But if Zuiker was nervous during our video interview, he didn’t show it. During our chat I learned exactly how the digi-novel experience will work, the grim details of what people can expect to see (the book’s about a serial killer, after all), and how he hooked up with the EQAL guys to get it all done.

For more thoughts from Zuiker on multi-platform storytelling, check out the keynote presentation he made at NewTeeVee Live last year.

  1. I like Zuiker and I hope his new series is great. I just think Ecko is a tool and I won’t wear anything with his logo on it.

    But more seriously, there is so much “vaporware” at CC – shows that aren’t really more than proof-of-concept pilots or even just trailers – that it’s hard to stand out without a star or a studio, just to demonstrate some level of legitimacy. Or, failing that, do what Danny Devito did and hire booth babes.

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    1. Chris Albrecht Tuesday, July 28, 2009

      Hey SR,

      I missed Danny DeVito’s Blood Factory booth babes. Though to be fair, DeVito was certainly not the only one with them. It is Comic-Con after all.

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  2. No slight intended on Danny or his evil cheerleaders. It’s a time honored attention-getting tradition.

    http://www.wired.com/underwire/tag/the-blood-factory/

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  3. [...] video portion, which as Chris reported from Comic-Con was shot for $200,000 out of the book’s $1 million advance, is well-produced and sufficiently [...]

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  4. [...] video portion, which as Chris reported from Comic-Con was shot for $200,000 out of the book’s $1 million advance, is well-produced and sufficiently [...]

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