Monday 22nd December 2014,
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Crowdfunding Campaigns To Watch: ‘Drifter’ and ‘East WillyB’

Aymar Jean Christian April 19, 2012 Spotlight 2 Comments
Crowdfunding Campaigns To Watch: ‘Drifter’ and ‘East WillyB’

I’ve had an informal policy on this blog of not featuring projects in the middle of crowdfunding campaigns, the idea being the show might not air. I also get a lot of emails from producers pitching such projects, and I’ve been afraid of favoring one over another.

Well, no longer! There’s been a steady stream of Kickstarter/IndieGoGo campaigns from projects I believe in and from creators I’ve highlighted in the past — or have wanted to highlight in the past. The arbitrariness of the rule has been made pretty clear.

Crowdfunding Campaigns to Watch” will hopefully be a regular feature alongside “Web Series Spotlights.” So, pitch away!

First up is Drifter, an ambitious, long-form television pilot from a solid team mostly based in New York. Drifter is a sci-fi show, but it sounds like it will incorporate a number of other genres:

“One hundred fifty years from now, a man, alone in space on an eight month journey to Earth’s Colony on Mars, teaches his ship’s computer to let him virtually enter his favorite TV show.  When a politically motivated sabotage bombing leaves the ship damaged beyond repair, he finds himself adrift with only 12 days of life support left.  The virtual world of the TV show becomes his only chance for human interaction, friendship, and perhaps… even love.  What happens next?”

Drifter combines two of my favorite things: epic, apocalyptic drama (I’m a Battlestar fan) and stories about television (there are a lot of 30 Rock posts on this blog). The producers promise quality visual effects — a must for sci-fi — and storytelling.

Backing up those promises is the Drifter team, which includes a number of names familiar to web creators. The project was created by OMFGeek founder and IAWTV mainstay Jeff Koenig. Producers include Julie Ann Emery (Then We Got HELP!), Bradley Werner (Control TV), Scott Nap (Downsized) and J. Sibley Law (The Oligarch Duplicity). Actors include Al Thompson (of many projects), Rachael Hip-Flores (star of Anyone But Me) and, just announced on Indie Intertube, Emma Caufield (Bandwagon). Emery is also writing, alongside frequent Thompson collaborator Jorge Rivera (Rhyme Animal). Blake Calhoun (Continuum) is directing, Rob Gokee (SOLO, NotZK, many more) is scoring, and Rodney Smith (Dominion) is on camera. Whew! Quite a rich and diverse team.

The show’s Mobcaster campaign is only a few days — and a few thousand dollars — in, with several weeks to go.

Click here to support the show. To follow the show and the campaign, visit its Facebook page.

UPDATE: After some interest from studios, the Drifter team decided to end its crowdfunding campaign and seek other distribution deals.

Next we have the first full season of East WillyB. East WillyB is a comedy chronicling the rapidly changing Brooklyn, specifically Bushwick, as the Latino community feels the pressure of gentrification.

I met the East WillyB team almost a year ago to date, when they were launching their well-marketed pilot season. Since then creators Julia Grob and Yamin Segal have been actively promoting and building buzz for the show, sitting on industry panels and marketing at live events. Grob and Segal have been advocating marketers pay attention to a new generation of Latino consumers, in a market dominated by mainstays Univision and Telemundo (both of which have started to release web programming): “We are the new generation Latino, some American born, some born in America Latina, Spanglish speaking, ni de alli, ni de alla,” the campaign site states.

Their efforts have brought them some success, including coverage in outlets like MTV Tr3s and the Daily News. Most web series about Brooklyn tend to highlight its new white, “hipster” residents, and East WillyB is a saavy, stylish contribution to the genre.

Their Kickstarter campaign has just started, and they’ve already begun to raise some cash, with plenty of time left on the clock.

Click here to support the show. To follow the show and the campaign, visit its Facebook page.

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About The Author

Aymar Jean Christian is assistant professor of communication at Northwestern University. He writes about media and society for a number of publications. For more information, click the "About" tab at the top of the page.

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