Today, NewTeeVee gets to do something we don’t normally get to do — review the competition. OK, technically The Web Files isn’t competition for us — we’re just covering the same beat using different mediums. In this web series about the making of web series, Files host Kristyn Burtt interviews various players in the online video space every week about the trials and tribulations of creating content for the Internet.
While the opening sequence — shot film noir-style, with Burtt playing the role of detective — seems to imply investigative journalism, Burtt’s focus is on personalities and content, with minimal scoops in sight. The interview with MERRIme.com creators Kaily Smith and David Weidoff, for example, focuses more on their experiences at the NYTVF (where Smith won the best actress award) than on questions like how they were able to secure name cast members like Tony Hale and Tom Arnold, not to mention their $2,500-per-episode financing, though they do make an interesting point about the value of hiring a publicist.
But while the news component may be lacking, Burtt is still a capable host whose years of entertainment reporting make her very comfortable on camera — previously, she’d done hosting work with MSNBC and NBC, among other entities. And her approach isn’t always just a sit-down-and-chat one; when she interviewed the creators of Coma, Period, for example, she combined conversations with supporting crew members with a tour of the production company’s office.
In fact, probably the strongest aspect of The Web Files is that Burtt and director/producer Sandra Payne are constantly changing the format and location of the interviews in an effort to mirror the show being talked about. Examples include speaking with Cabonauts creator Hayden Black inside one of the futuristic cabs from the series (complete with outer space greenscreening) or hanging out with porn star Demi Delia at her house to discuss Mommy XXX.
The choice of subjects so far is pretty limited to the L.A. web series scene (at least 10 of the people who have appeared on Web Files, in fact, are Tubefilter meetup regulars), but so far there’s been enough variation within that community to keep the series from feeling stale. (A major recent get for them: an interview with the executives at Fox TV’s 15 Gigs studios.)
The only problem is that it’s a bit hard to gauge who the exact audience is for Web Files. The aspiring creator looking for tips on breaking into the space? Those already engaged with the web community? Whatever the answer might be, the fact that Files is taking this medium and those working in it seriously is just another step in the web series world attaining greater credibility. So I’m a fan — unless, of course, they scoop us. (Just kidding.) (Not really.)