Anyone But Me Plans “Web-a-Thon” to Fund Third Season

Anyone But Me_ The Complete First Season_ Rachael Hip-Flores, Nicole Pacent, Joshua…

Anyone But Me‘s second season came to a close last week, racking up more than 4.5 million views since its premiere in December. But the Streamy-winning lesbian teen drama’s third season may now depend on its fan base.

While the first two seasons of Anyone But Me were funded by a private investor, show creator Susan Miller said via phone today that said investor contributed to the show’s production only to give it momentum in its initial launch. “We now feel obligated to pursue [a third season] without tapping that resource,” she said. “People don’t have unlimited funds, after all.”

Knowing this going into season two, at a Strike TV panel last December Miller said that she and co-creator Tina Cesa Ward were considering a subscription model for the third season. But they’ve since changed their minds, and instead, Miller and Ward are initiating a donations program, but with a twist: On July 27-29, they’ll run a video “web-a-thon” to engage with fans and solicit their contributions.

The three pre-taped half-hour specials will be hosted by journalist/on-air personality Lisa Bernhard, and will include letters from fans, a walking tour of ABM locations and special appearances from the show’s cast. An accompanying eBay auction will offer a walk-on role for Season 3, the ability to eavesdrop via Skype on a Season 3 table read, a personalized voice mail greeting performed by a cast member and Vivian’s “I Am Not a Lesbian” t-shirt from the season two premiere. For every fundraising goal met, extra content will be released — including a promised showcase of the cast’s singing abilities — and a portion of the money earned will be donated to a relevant charity as well.

Miller said that in order to maintain the level of quality achieved over the past two seasons and continue paying its cast and crew, the show would need somewhere in the range of $100,000-$120,000. (Miller herself would not take a penny, and Ward only takes a directing fee.) And if it doesn’t reach that total during the web-a-thon, she plans to take whatever is earned and find a sponsor or advertiser that might match it. For while in the past she and Ward didn’t actively seek sponsorship, that will change now. “One of our priorities [for season three] is to put the moves on some companies that we’ve researched and can reach out to,” she said.

There’s no denying that the show has an engaged audience, especially within the gay community. According to Miller, fans have often reached out to ask whether or not they could donate to the show — requests that were “graciously declined” in the past. One recent example of what the show has meant to its fans: YouTube user thtrnerd221’s vlog entry about coming out, which directly cites ABM as a show that helped her decide to be honest about herself.

ABM also has the attention of soap opera fans, and the combination of these two groups has been undoubtedly helpful in accumulating those 4.5 million views. This show definitely has the fan base to help it pull a Guild — and in July, those fans will have the chance to prove their devotion.

Related GigaOM Pro Content (subscription required): A Guide To Online Video Monetization Options


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