We love a good interweb success story, especially this one cuz it involves one of our favorite web series, VENUS VS MARS…a wonderful example of TV/interweb diversity:
by Stuart Dredge
There’s been a vigorous debate about the opportunities – or the lack of them – for black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) producers, writers and actors on British [ED.NOTE: And US!] TV.
In 2014, actor and comedian Lenny Henry called for new legislation to reverse a trend that has seen the number of BAME people working in the British television industry fall by 30.9% between 2006 and 2012.
At the MIPTV conference in Cannes, a case study from one British production company suggested that online platforms like YouTube may also be able to play a role in persuading TV commissioners that there’s an audience for shows from a more diverse range of creators.
PurpleGeko is the company behind Venus vs Mars, a comic drama that started life as a six-webisode series on YouTube, but is now airing on Sky Living in the UK.
Chief executive Victor Adebodun and writer Baby Isako said that the show was a response not just to the lack of diversity on British television, but also to the negative roles that existed for many BAME actors.
“Baby’s script is a light-hearted romantic comedy in essence. It’s got a predominantly ethnic cast, but there’s no stereotypes in the show,” said Adebodun, while Isako said that with no formal scriptwriting background, she saw her chances of telling her story on TV as much slimmer than making a project for YouTube.
Six short-form episodes were shot for “more or less no budget” said Adebodun, who used his background in post-production to ensure that the show punched well above its weight in production quality.
“It was very entry-level camera equipment, but we had done research into what kind of hacks we could do with the footage and in post to make the quality as good as possible,” he said, noting that only around a third of the footage had to be reshot once Sky Living picked it up.
Oh, and watch a bit of it too: