Mortified Makes Teenage Pain Fun

Remember those poems, songs and journal entries you wrote in middle school? Those old notebooks filled with detailed descriptions of undying teenage love, lyrics from your first ballad, or a detailed account, dear diary, of the WORST THING EVER that happened at school today. Even if you tossed those pages long ago, the new web series launching today from Mortified can help you relish in those same awkward, painful memories of others.

The Mortified Shoebox Show will feature both performances from the live show like the funny Stairway to Winnipeg clip above, and animated versions of live performances like I Hate Drake, below.

Mortified is this comic excavation of these strange and extraordinary things we created as kids,” said founder David Nadelberg. “Journals, lyrics…the really amazing stories buried in the pages of people’s lives.” Mortified started off as a stage show in Los Angeles, one in which brave folks came in and shared their adolescent writings. Then it caught on, to such as degree that there are regular live shows in eight cities around the country (plus an upcoming one in Sweden), and two Mortified books have been published.

But Nadelberg wants a bigger audience, and instead of going the traditional TV route, he’s taking Mortified to the web.

“I think the liberty that the Internet offers us is that we don’t have to wait for Hollywood’s permission anymore just to put something out,” said Nadelberg.

The first “season” will feature eight or nine episodes, with new ones released each week. While most episodes will be under five minutes, some stories get into the seven-to-eight-minute range, which Nadelberg realizes might be a challenge for Internet audiences. “Most online video doesn’t attempt to run an emotional gamut. We can do content that is very funny but also has poignancy and is oftentimes sad. You get that in film and you get that in TV shows, but not a lot of that online,” said Nadelberg, adding that, “It very well may be that the Internet audiences are not into that.”

The entire series is being self-produced by Mortified with no plans to monetize the first season with any kind of ads. Right now they just want to attract eyeballs.

In an interesting, and possibly short-sighted twist, Mortified doesn’t have any plans to incorporate a UGC element into their online video plans. “I think it’s potentially a better idea than execution,” said Nadelberg, “We’re pretty protective of the brand and vetting content.” He’s quick to point out that the live shows have open casting, but are not open mic. Each applicant is interviewed before being allowed to perform. Nadelberg doesn’t want thousands of webcam confessionals pushing aside the quality content. This is understandable, but it seems easy enough to vet people’s stories before posting them online.

Regardless, just watching Mortified is sure to make you rummage through boxes to find and flip through the pages of your old journal. Maybe they’ll make a show out of you.

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