Just add puppets
Considering the demographic for online content, web series often examine issues specifically relevant to younger people and people from diverse backgrounds.
High Life (2017), for example, starring AACTA award-winner Odessa Young, explores the changes her character experiences during her first bipolar episode. Kiki and Kitty (2017) follows the adventures of 'a young, black woman in a big, white world'.
Web series can also bend the more rigid conventions of genre filmmaking. Girt by Fear (2016–current) effectively merges horror and comedy; Footballer Wants a Wife (2015) parodies reality TV, combining a familiar premise and visual style to lampoon the fabricated storylines and drama; and No Strings Attached (2016) explores the online dating scene, with experiences re-enacted with puppets.
This is Desmondo Ray! (2017) integrates animation with live action as lead character Desmondo searches for love. This is Desmondo Ray! received a lot of love from the 2018 Melbourne WebFest Jury, winning the Grand Jury Award.
The serial format offers ongoing engagement, longer character development and narrative arcs which are driven by the best way to serve the story.
Through the web platform, content can be consumed whenever convenient and wherever a viewer chooses, regardless of their geographical location.
Creators can monetise viewership but with so much content available, publicising and making content stand out provides another set of challenges for filmmakers.
Some series have been picked up by television broadcasters or their online platforms. Others are screened at the ever growing number of film festivals across the globe, including Melbourne WebFest, Los Angeles Web Series Festival, Seoul WebFest and Roma Web Fest.
With the format ever evolving, acquiring web series for the NFSA collection will allow us to better see the trends and changes over time.
Main image (top): Odessa Young in High Life, 2017. More Sauce. NFSA title: 1513917