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News

Would You Watch An ‘Entourage’ Rip-Off TV Show About The Music Industry?


Date of News: 2013-08-21
Source: bigpondmusic

[Source: ToneDeaf.com.au] Given the success of popular HBO series Entourage, with eight seasons worth of the fictionalised adventures of a bunch of LA actors and the movie industry hangers-on and blitzers they mingled with, it was only a matter of time before some TV executive took the idea and moulded it to the music industry.

That’s pretty much the synopsis for a new series called Fly Or Die, a scripted dramedy from Converge Studios that set in the world of the music industry through the eyes of a music production and songwriting team, using the same Entourage lampooning formula – from the celebrity cameos right down to a character that mirrors egotistical manager Ari Gold (played to an award-nominated tee by Jeremy Piven).

Fly Or Die follows the exploits of a group called ‘Beat Mob’, inspired by the real world US songwriting/production duo Rock Mafia, whose CV includes work for Green Day and No Doubt, to pop stars like Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus, as HypeBot points out.

A trailer for the pilot episode boasts cameos from a rather B grade list of musical celebrities, including Disney alumni poppett Vanessa Hudgens (as herself), American singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw, and actor/singer Jesse McCartney (full points to you if you can actually pick them out in the 3 minute clip).

Though it might not quite have the star power of the show it’s so clearly modelled on, Fly Or Die does have an interesting distribution model that uses crowdsourcing that involves a kind of choose-your-own-adventure approach to its production.

The manufactured pop series isn’t screening on the television small screen, but instead on computer monitors around the world as a BitTorrent Bundle, the P2P file sharing company’s new initiative that treats downloads like digital storefronts, unlocking extra downloadable content through donations or subscriptions via email. The new Bundle digital model is part of BitTorrent’s bid to make their online platform, which employs a network of 170 million monthly users, as an expansive, legal marketing and distribution tool for musicians and content creators.

The BitTorrent Bundle release model of Fly Or Die means that the show’s producers will use community feedback to craft the show as it airs, where the celebrity cameos and plot decisions will be based on responses from the show’s audience, balancing them with Converge Studios’ production team, while offering behind the scenes content and extras to fans through the BitTorrent Bundle service.

Users who download the Fly Or Die pilot and subscribe with their email will receive “an invitation to join the community that will creatively shape the Fly of Die’s future: impacting everything from storyline to distribution.”

“We want to invite the audience to make a lot of the important choices about story paths,” says Joel Bergvall of Converge Studios, who directed the pilot episode, “we want to have an open dialogue with our viewers.”

While the production company’s Tim Staples adds: “If you go through the process of giving us your e-mail, that says a lot about your investment in the show… we want to make this the most interactive show in Hollywood,” he declares. “We want to engage the audience and have them play the role of the Hollywood suits.”

Staples tells The Guardian that they went to BitTorrent with their “crazy idea” after looking at different ways to develop their ‘direct-to-fan’ TV project on other digital models, “everything from YouTube, to social media, to celebrity channels,” before deciding on partnering with the P2P service for Fly Or Die.

“This is television, built for the Internet,” says Matt Mason, BitTorrent’s Vice President of Marketing, who is keen to emphasise the online community as a network of content creators and sharers, not copyright breachers and pirates, at the cusp of a new digital frontier of crowdsourced creation.

“Is series development something that should be open-sourced? What if you opened up the pilot process to the people of the Internet? What if a TV series started acting like a startup?” writes Mason in in a blog post announcing the Fly or Die series. ”Today’s viewer is as much a contributor as a straight-up content consumer. Reddit shapes plot lines. Twitter is a writers’ room. American Idols are chosen via text. Youtube is our film school.”

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