During Bobby Miller’s tenure at Next New Networks, he won Webby Awards in 2009 and 2010 for his Indy Mogul series The Reel Good Show and The Best Short Films In the World, successfully beating out Jimmy Fallon for the latter prize thanks to his substantial fan base. He’s now taken his love of movies and puppets to Los Angeles and MTV, producing the new weekly series That Movie Show for NextMovie.com.
We spoke with Miller via IM about his departure from NNN, his efforts to break into Hollywood and what he loves about creating weekly web content. An edited transcript follows:
NewTeeVee: So, first off — how are you doing?
Bobby Miller: I am doing good. How are you doing?
NewTeeVee: Very well!
Miller: And END interview. That was great!
NewTeeVee: So first things first: What caused you to leave Next New Networks last spring?
Miller: I had planned on moving to Los Angeles, because I had some success with my short film TUB and was able to get some representation, etc. off it. And during that time, NNN were sort of shifting their business model to less in-house type stuff, i.e. the Creators program. And so it just kinda made sense to part ways.
NewTeeVee: In terms of past projects, what has gotten you more work/attention: TUB or your NNN work?
Miller: Hmm, that’s hard to quantify. The NNN shows got me my current gig with NextMovie.com. So, there’s an easy correlation there. But TUB opened a lot of doors in the film community, which is why I moved. It’s a lot harder to get a feature film off the ground than it is a web series.
NewTeeVee: So what opportunities are in L.A. that you felt weren’t possible in N.Y.?
Miller: I mean, for better or for worse, the film industry is out here. I wrote a feature film that sorta relates to TUB and have been able to take meetings out here with studios about it. But, oddly enough, the MTV web series I’m doing is an L.A. production, but it’s done for MTV Digital, which is based in NYC!
I mean, I sorta think of it as this: The web stuff I do gets me web work and TUB will (hopefully) lead me to feature film or TV work. I think they do weave together at points.
NewTeeVee: How is stuff going on the feature/TV front?
Miller: It seems people really dig the script, but it’s pretty odd. So we’ll see. One of the studios gave me a stack of comic books to see if there’s something I could adapt. And I’m working on a cartoon show pitch with one of my pals. I’m finding you have to have a lot of pots marinating on the stove in this line of work. You can’t just think that one project is going to break through. And everything happens s-l-o-w-l-y. Which is why I’m thankful I have an outlet on the web.
NewTeeVee: What kind of guidelines did MTV give you for That Movie Show?
Miller: They were pretty hands off, in the same way NNN was. I think essentially we just have to talk about movies and try to do that in an entertaining way. They could have balked at the idea of doing this sorta show within a show, more narrative thing, but they were game.
NewTeeVee: What do you mean by “show within a show?”
Miller: The idea that it’s also about me trying to make a show. Kinda like how The Muppet Show has sketches, but also sort of behind the scene moments.
NewTeeVee: Muppets! Always a great comparison.
Miller: I should have referenced The Larry Sanders Show instead of the Muppets. That would have made me seem smarter maybe.
NewTeeVee: Nah, Muppets are classy.
Miller: There are puppets all over this show, actually. When in doubt, just put in a puppet.
NewTeeVee: What kind of audience feedback have you gotten so far?
Miller: Oh, they hate it. They absolutely hate it. Actually, I have no idea. The comments seem good. So, I guess the feedback’s been good?
NewTeeVee: Do you have certain audience metrics to hit?
Miller: That hasn’t even entered the conversation really. Which is a relief in a way, because that’s nerve-wracking.
NewTeeVee: Definitely. Have you brought over much of your audience from Next New Networks? If there’s any way to measure that, that is.
Miller: I’ve tried my best to. I think the majority of the audience is people who liked my NNN shows for sure, and hopefully we can build upon that. The first episode really was made for them though, as a sort of link to the NNN shows and this new one.
NewTeeVee: It’s cool that MTV’s given you free rein. Is there anything they’ve said no to?
Miller: Not really, it’s mostly just cursing. I tried really hard to not have to bleep out a–hole in last week’s song!
NewTeeVee: How many episodes lie ahead?
Miller: It’s for 10 episodes total, and we’ll see from there.
NewTeeVee: What direction do you plan to take it?
Miller: Right off a cliff. I have no idea, really. That’s a terrible answer, isn’t it?
NewTeeVee: I wasn’t gonna say anything, but…
Miller: In general, the first few episodes have set up the characters and the world of the show, and I look forward to expanding them in the next couple episodes. Flesh them out a little bit more, or show other sides to them. There might be more singing too.
I think the main thing is to just keep it interesting and varied. I don’t want people to know what to expect from it. What I love about the web and doing a weekly show is you have no time to second guess yourself and it’s open to experimentation. For better or for worse.
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