Anyone But Me, one of the web series world’s most-watched teen dramas, has called an end to its efforts to crowdsource funds for a third season, having raised approximately $33,000 toward the production of new episodes.
$33,000, of course, is not the $100,000-$120,000 that creators Susan Miller and Tina Cesa Ward said they would need to produce a new season of 10 episodes on the production level to which they were accustomed (seasons one and two of the show were funded by a private investor), but it is enough for three new episodes. However, Miller said via Skype that the team is committed to producing five episodes, thanks to a bridge loan.
When asked if the show’s budget might be adjusted to allow for even more episodes, Miller replied, “We’ve considered it, but it wouldn’t make that much difference. Because our show has certain production values, because we pay people, it would be difficult to go backwards and make a different kind of show. And I don’t think our fans would like that either. But we will make any adjustments we can to ensure we go on.”
Those adjustments, beyond dropping the number of episodes down to five, include informing the actors that their performance fees will not increase for the third season — and may include a slight cut. In addition, there’s still a chance at the show putting together a full ten-episode season, with Miller pursuing sponsorships herself. “For sponsors it’s not a lot of money, but a lot of exposure and a lot of attention. They would be heroes to our fans,” Miller said.
“I have toyed with the idea of making these girls gaming vampires,” Miller joked. “That might be the recipe for success.”
To commemorate the end of the fundraising drive, a music video featuring musical artist Rachael Cantu and the show’s cast has been released for $0.99, using the Dynamo micropayment player developed by former Political Lunch creators Rob Millis and Will Coghlan.
According to creator Susan Miller, since its release earlier today, the video has received 120 purchases; with the Dynamo revenue-sharing split of 70/30, that means they’ve earned almost $85 in one morning. All profits from the music video will go toward the third season.
The micropayment system is one they’ve considered for the season as a whole, using Dynamo or a similar player. “We talked to some key fans to see how they would feel [about a VOD approach], and the reaction we got was extremely positive,” Miller said. The VOD approach might include episodes funded by fan contributions, but any fan who initially contributed would be given free access.
The experience of engaging with fans has been a “wild ride,” Miller said. “I have been brought to tears upon occasion just because of the amazing response of fans,” the fact that it has coincided with the recent epidemic of gay teenagers committing suicide making it all the more profound, given the show’s similar subject matter.
“Any true authentic drama is going to find itself being relevant. It has to be relevant,” Miller said. “What our main character Vivian goes through really can be a touchstone for teenagers and their families. They need us — young people don’t see the future. They have to see people going through similar things and coming out on the other end.”
Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required):
- Monetizing the Social Web Isn’t One Size Fits All
- Fact or Fiction: Where Is Branded Online Video Going?
- New Use For Web Stats: Finding Hot Markets, Offline