Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Steal This TV Show!

When watching some of my favorite old SFTV like The Outer Limits and Doctor Who, I'm always struck by how anyone could make something on a technical par with a camcorder. You don't need a huge budget, just a good script and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Of course, good scripts don't usually exist in a vacuum- writers need literate social environments to nurture them and those can be as hard to find as Lemuria or Shangri-La. The rampant word abuse we're seeing on the Internet isn't doing anyone any favors either.

That's why projects like Pioneer One are a good omen. It was made for the princely sum of $6000 and serves up some X-Files-type paranoid sci-fi/UFO action. The gimmick here is that it's the first series made for torrent, but it's not as if there haven't been boatloads of fan flix and homemade TV shows put on the Net well before it.

The biggest problem with TV and movies these days is cost- which means that he who pays the piper is calling the tune and more often than not it's a pretty stupid melody. It's shocking to me how many movies seem so face-punchingly moronic these days (and how many of them utterly fail financially as well), but that's largely a function of interference from corporate committees. The only way we're going to see quality storytelling be anything but a happy accident is if costs are brought way down, and producers have control over their own product.

And the only way people will pay any attention to this kind of filmmaking is if the film-makers have something unique to offer. It's too soon to say if that will happen here, but I'm encouraged by what I've seen so far.

If it succeeds you can probably bet its makers will be swallowed by the ravenous Hollywood beast, but it's showing others that you do something serious and original without spending the equivalent of a small nation's GNP.


  1. Thanks for highlighting Pioneer One, Chris. I've been telling all my friends about it not only because the story is so-far intriguing, but also because of its unique business and distribution model.

    Let's hope this catches on.

  2. Mexico Finds Tunnel, Possible Tombs Under Ruins

    Seems like a pretty obvious place to look, but admittedly I'm no archaeologist.

  3. well nice writing and love to read more about Pioneer for sure..

  4. "Absofuckinglutely" astonishing how it fits into the last months Mars meme.
    Anyway it is a good job, and nice movie on that small budget.

  5. Chris, it's amazing how much you and I share similar sensibilities, this gives me hope, I have been developing a script idea that could be produced for six thousand, and would run as a half hour piece, so this is a good test case to illustrate it can be done.

    In retrospect, as I've said before, it's astonishing that Fox greenlit The X-Files in the first place, considering it was so against the grain of programing at that time.

    Great piece, I'm interested.

  6. Ah, hello Pioneer One? The internet and walking on the moon were born out of the military industrial complex.

  7. Is there a reason why it's subtitled?

  8. I totally agree. Thanks for the torrent recommendation.

  9. Dude I really liked how original it felt. More importantly, after watching it yesterday, couple of hours later.. Andre posted a link to a crop circle that looked identical to the Russian space Capsule in Pioneer One. Check out the link, or am I going KraZY. :)


    Peace in Peace out Mr Knowles.

  10. BP oil leak ended on day 107 as foxnews counting it

  11. I'm a teevee director/producer in Canada. I watched Pioneer One and for the most part it looked pretty good. But ( and I hate to be a downer here) the only way that was produced on a $6,000 budget is if most of the players (cast & crew) worked for free.

    It's a great effort but I would be interested in finding out the real cost of producing future episodes of the series. Everyone's gotta eat.

    CK in Canada.

  12. Bufton- Definitely. Looking forward to the next one.

    211- Tombs for who?

    503- Check out the site!

    Ela- Yeah- I'm impressed by the meme sensitivity here.

    Matt- Maybe people will get so sick of glossy stupidity we'll see an explosion of homemade sci-fi. Overproduction is killing genre entertainment. The best thing that happened to Fringe was them running out of money. They stripped away all of the extraneous stuff and got down to brass tacks.

    315- Yeah, I saw that. Any updates?

    444- Huh?

    448- Dunno. Go download the torrent version- I don't remember it being CC'd.

    Harun- Synchronicity in motion! =D

    921- And the other big story this year is 1070 out of Arizona. Hmmm....

    CK- Agreed. But the point is start the ball rolling. You don't have to spend 3 million dollars an episode if you have a good story.