Director Mike Rotman, who won a Streamy earlier this year for his work on Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show, is launching a new show from the “Streaming Garage” where his other live-streaming series, Stupid For Movies, shoots every week. Stripped Down Live, hosted by Tears for Fears frontman Curt Smith debuts this Wednesday at 8 PM PDT.
Each episode of Stripped Down will focus on one band bringing in “stripped down” versions of five to seven of their songs, with Smith using his musical knowledge to engage the bands in discussion. “He’s a musician, he can talk music and has that insight,” Rotman said. “And we’re bringing in bands that he likes and that he knows.” There will also be a section where the band can be asked questions by the online audience.
While the format might remind music fans of past series like MTV Unplugged and VH1’s Storytellers, Rotman’s actual inspiration is The Old Grey Whistle Test, the seminal BBC2 music series that ran from 1971 to 1987 and featured Bob Marley, Billy Joel, Judas Priest and Lynyrd Skynyrd. “That’s the big driving force of what this should be,” Rotman said.
Rotman says some big-name bands are in talks to come by, and the first episode will feature Hypnogaja — an L.A.-based band that you might not have heard of, but does have 1.1 million Twitter followers. Respected Orange County-based band The Fallen Stars will also make an appearance later, as Rotman has enlisted the band’s Bobbo Byrnes to run Stripped Down‘s sound. “We’re really trying to make it work sound-wise,” he said, and in fact is spending the day before the show’s launch running sound checks.
8 p.m. PDT isn’t considered to be an ideal time to start your live-stream, but Rotman’s Stupid for Movies currently receives 765,000 views live on Ustream, as averaged out across the last 20 shows. “I don’t mind ‘competing’ with TV,” Rotman said.
Stupid for Movies, despite those views, is still searching for sponsorship. “Companies have been burned by bad productions,” Rotman said. “Some people still see the internet as having no production value. But there’s real professionalism coming into the space and we’re trying to prove that.”
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