New Season of Storyland Launches

Storyland-generic

RTÉ and Northern Ireland Screen today launched five brand new dramas, for the new season of Storyland on RTÉ Player. Now in its sixth season, Storyland brings original stories to audiences and showcases a great breath of Ireland’s creative talent across writing, acting, producing and directing.

This season features five brand new dramas; a gripping crime drama Costigan, a chilling dystopian drama Dinosaurs, a dark coming of age drama Hot Knives, and comedies Smitten and Quinn & O’Grady.

New and emerging talent featured include the debut of nine year old Ballymena native Luke Walford in Dinosaurs and a directing debut for Brown Bag Films animator Diarmuid Donohoe for Hot Knives.The five Storyland series also feature established names including, actor Rory Keenan in Costigan, currently starring in the BBC drama War and Peace, while the Costigan writer Gary Duggan also wrote RTÉ drama Amber and Costigan’s Director of Photography Tim Fleming is the Director of Photography for Rebellion. Actress Mary Murray who played Janet in Love / Hate stars in Hot Knives, while Smitten actor Gus McDonagh is currently appearing in Rebellion and played Bertie Ahern in RTÉ drama Charlie. Also starring in Smitten is Clare Monnelly who played Fidelma Moone in all three series of Moone Boy. The female leads in the irreverent comedy Quinn & O’Grady are played by Riona O’Connor and Sharon Sexton, also known as the comedy duo The Craic Whores.

 

For the sixth series of Storyland, RTÉ and Northern Ireland Screen commissioned five single dramas of up to twenty minutes duration. The five production companies awarded the commissions are Against the Grain Films, Mycrofilms, Out Left Productions, Six Mile Hill Productions and Two Hungry Fish Productions.

The five Storyland dramas are available exclusively on RTÉ Player www.rte.ie/player

 

The dramas commissioned for the sixth season of Storyland are:

Costigan – Crime Drama by Against the Grain Films

Costigan is a female-led crime drama that centres on Vi Costigan, an ex-Garda detective who is released from prison after unjustly serving time for a crime she didn’t commit. Her chequered past is unpeeled as she tries to mend broken relationships and seeks out new opportunities that have dark repercussions. She quickly realises she must adapt her old skills to survive in the radically shifted world she now finds herself in. Costigan is produced by Ailish Bracken and Against the Grain Films. It is written and directed by Gary Duggan. The production took place in Dublin.

https://youtu.be/KHyH7t4Tqg4

Smitten – Comedy Drama by Mycrofilms

Bronagh discovers she’s pregnant on the same day her ex-boyfriend Dave goes missing after a drunken night out. Her new life is put on hold as she searches for him. Can she find him before the news does? And will she be able to reconcile her past with her future? The production company is Mycrofilms and the producer is Ruth Carter. The writer and director is John Morton and the production took place in Kilkenny.

https://youtu.be/5Tut4jB1MYI

Hot Knives – Coming of Age Drama by Out Left Productions

Hot Knives’ is a ‘coming of age’ drama set in 1995, deep in suburban Dublin. Fourteen year-old Charlie lives for his skateboard. To him everything else fades in comparison. But he is forced to take action when his wayward older sister Sam steals vital medicine for their dad. The production company is Out Left Productions and is produced by Richard Keane and Rebecca O’Malley. It is written by Stephen Walsh and directed by Diarmuid Donohoe.

https://youtu.be/OnpldeWKM9c

Dinosaurs – Dystopian Drama by Six Mile Hill Productions

In five years everyone and everything on the planet will die. Until then, all we can do is find a way to survive. Dinosaurs is a gripping ‘pre-apocalyptic’ dystopian drama chronicling the final years of one family on earth as they try to adapt to an ever changing and increasingly dangerous world in an bid to outrun the inevitable. Dinosaurs is produced by Brendan Mullin and Belfast-based production company Six Mile Hill Productions. It is written by Aaron Gray & Paul Skillen and directed by Chris Baugh. Filming took place in Northern Ireland (Belfast and surrounding areas).

https://youtu.be/zgHxKy19-ws

Quinn & O’Grady – Comedy Drama by Two Hungry Fish Productions

 Quinn & O’Grady is an irreverent comedy about a couple of mismatched cops and their efforts to solve the strange goings on in the village of Blackhill. Quinn & O’Grady is produced by Ivan McMahon and Molly O’Driscoll from Two Hungry Fish Productions. It is written by Janet Hayes and Ivan McMahon also directs. The production took place in Offaly.

https://youtu.be/lH1aFXwpW64

 

Fancy creating your own webseries? Story consultant and script editor Eilish Kent gives three tips for creating a web series here.

 

Share

Award-Winning Cork Filmmaking Team Launch New RTE Comedy

Tadhg_Laura_Couch_300Pic: Paraic English

A new short comedy series made in Cork city will be premiering on the RTE Player on Monday, February 16 as part of this year’s RTE / Irish Film Board ‘Storyland’ commission.

(R)onanism is the newest project from the multi award-winning Cork filmmaking team of Shaun O’ Connor and Tadhg Hickey. Set in Cork, the show is a comedy drama about Ronan, a guy who falls in love with himself, marries himself and plans to spend the rest of his life with himself! But little does Ronan know that Noddy, a young admirer, has been secretly filming him and posting the videos online. The videos go viral and ‘Ronanism’ reaches cult status — Before things get totally out of hand, Ronan, with the help of his friend Laura must convince Noddy, the ‘Ronanists’, and his cash-obsessed talent manager McPhun that it’s not him they should be following — but themselves.

Written by Tadhg Hickey and directed by Shaun O’ Connor, (R)onanism was shot in various locations in Cork, including Blarney Castle, Fitzgeralds Park, Triskel Christchurch and the Japanese Gardens in Ballinlough.

(R)onanism will be available to watch on the RTE Player website from Monday February the 16th.

 

Share

Storyland Launch

storyland news

Carmen Bryce attended the launch of Storyland to check out the five new original dramas, commissioned by RTÉ and the Irish Film Board.

Now in its fifth season, Storyland offers homegrown talent a platform to tell their story in bitesize portions to an audience hungry for new drama.

In the coming weeks, RTÉ and the Irish Film Board/Bórd Scannan na hEireann will release five new original online dramas for the Storyland series.

Kicking off on January 19, a new series will be released on RTÉ Player every Monday – each containing of four by six-minute episodes.

Close to 200 aspiring and experienced drama production teams who pitched their ideas to make a series for Storyland was whittled down to five – Black Sheep Productions, Blinder Films, Deadpan Pictures, Fantastic Films and Stirling Film and Television Productions.

From black comedy Burning Wishes to crime drama Farr – each series offers something very different in way of plot and pace, but all promise to hook us in with something fresh and compelling.

Aidan Largely, writer and director of Farr, released on January 26th, said one of the biggest and beneficial challenges of the Storyland project was to contain and develop such gripping drama within six-minute episodes.

“I had to be pretty strict with myself to keep the story sharp and compelling within a few minutes, which is a great thing to practice as a writer. Each episode of Farr is different from the other, has a different feel to it, a different pace – but has conflict of the heart hardwired into the whole story,” said Aidan.

According to David Crean, Drama Development Executive for RTÉ Television, there is a huge appetite in Ireland for “great drama” in whatever way it chooses to present itself.

He said, “One of the most crucial parts of my role is to spot creative talent, nurture it and give it a voice. If you have a talent and can get it seen, there is a huge appetite for it. Both Love/Hate and Amber show that there’s an enormous appetite in Ireland for great drama, and Storyland is a big part of that story

“These five commissions are a real chance for writers, directors and producers to make a drama that is wholly original and can engage and delight its audience. It’s a launch-pad for drama makers to grow and become the hit makers of tomorrow.”

James Hickey, Chief Executive, Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board said, “Television drama plays a vital role in the continuing development of Irish writers, directors and producers in film.

“Storyland shows just how significant the crossover is between TV drama and feature film, and that if you have the talent to create one, you can do the same for the other.”

Storyland has been a springboard for past writers, actors, directors and producers, including Kevin McGahern (Republic of Telly, Hardy Bucks), Paul Duane, Rob Cawley and Gary Duggan (Happy Slapper) who went on to make Amber for RTÉ One and actress Charlie Murphy (Love/Hate) as well as Hardy Bucks who went on to have an RTÉ Two TV series and a feature film.

This may account for the high number of applicants to the new run of Storyland, and a testament to the creative talent chosen to tell us something about the world in a way we haven’t seen before.

 

 

The new Storyland dramas can be watched over the coming five weeks on the Storyland hub on RTÉ Player www.rte.ie/storyland

 

Burning Wishes / Deadpan Pictures

Release Date: Monday, 19th January

Ne’er-do-well brothers Seamus and Martin Geraghty promise to honour their friend Paudie’s deathbed request and scatter his ashes at their favourite childhood spot.  After letting him down in the past, this is one promise to Paudie that Seamus is determined to keep even when Paudie winds up buried instead of being cremated.  Burning Wishes is a black comedy about death, friendship and good ol’ fashioned grave-robbing.

 

 

FARR/ Stirling Film and TV Productions

 

Release Date: Monday, 26th January

 

Farr is a crime drama set in Belfast. It centres on Michael Gallagher, an ambitious young detective who has been promoted to a task force aimed at taking down the city’s most dangerous crime family, the Farrs. As his investigation deepens, a murder of one of the Farrs pushes Michael towards a reckoning with his own dark past. As the bodies and betrayals mount, Michael must choose between destroying the Farrs or saving himself.

 

Ctrl/ Black Sheep Productions

Release Date: Monday, 2nd February

Ctrl is a fast-paced thriller set in Dublin that follows Colin, a brilliant young hacker and his exploits in the world of online hacktivisim. In order to gain the trust of this hactivist group, Colin must jump through various hoops in order to prove himself as he struggles with the consequences of living a secret double life.

Rapt/ Blinder Films

Release Date: Monday, 9th February

Rapt is a sci-fi drama set in a Dublin where, in a single instant, everyone has vanished. Everyone, that is, but paramedic and single mum Ange Smith, who finds herself alone in an empty world and desperate to find her way home to her baby daughter. Except the world isn’t as empty as she might have thought – strange and dangerous forces are on the prowl…

(R)onanism / Fantastic Films

 

Release Date: Monday, 16th February

 

Set in Cork, (R)onanism is a comedy drama about Ronan, a guy who falls in love with himself, marries himself and plans to spend the rest of his life with himself! But little does Ronan know that Noddy, the first self-proclaimed ‘ronanist’, has been secretly filming him and posting the videos online. When the videos go viral, Ronan turns to his friend Laura for help as cash-obsessed talent manager McPhun tries to exploit Ronan’s new found popularity.

 

Share

Successful Storyland Commissioning Projects Announced

storyland news

RTÉ Drama and Bord Scannán na hÉireann/ the Irish Film Board today announced the commission of five new original dramas for the new season of Storyland.

Close to 200 aspiring and experienced drama production teams pitched their ideas to make a series for Storyland, which looks to develop new TV drama talent.

The five production companies who have been awarded the commissions are Black Sheep Productions, Blinder Films, Deadpan Pictures, Fantastic Films and Stirling Film and Television Productions.

In a change to previous years the five series will be commissioned in full, each consisting of four by six minute episodes.

The 5 Storyland series that have been commissioned are :

CTRL.ALT.DEL.

Production Company: Black Sheep Productions

Producers: John Wallace & Emmet Fleming

Writer: Matthew Roche

Director: Brian Deane

A brilliant young hacker must prove himself to an elite hacktivist group in order to gain their trust and help secure his freedom.

Production taking place in Dublin

Rapt

Production Company: Blinder Films

Producer: Yvonne Donohoe

Writer: Devin John Doyle

Director: Kieron J. Walsh

When everyone in Dublin vanishes in an instant, paramedic Angela Smith is left entirely alone – even her baby daughter has disappeared – but then she starts to receive mysterious messages and she realises there are even darker forces at work.

Production taking place in Dublin

Burning Wishes

Production Company: Deadpan Pictures

Producer: Ailish McElmeel

Writer: Cian McGarrigle

Director: Vincent Gallagher

Burning Wishes is a black comedy about death, friendship and good ol’ fashioned grave-robbing.

Production taking place in Dublin

(R)onanism

Production Company: Fantastic Films

Producers: Deirdre Levins

Writer: Tadhg Hickey

Director: Shaun O’ Connor

(R)onanism is the story of RONAN, a guy who’s involved in a romantic relationship with himself.

Production taking place in Cork

Farr

Production Company: Stirling Film and Television Productions

Producer: Margaret McGoldrick

Writers : Aidan Largey and Shaun Blaney

Director Aidan Largey

A young police officer, investigating the city’s most dangerous crime family, is conflicted when the investigation may mean destroying his own career.

Production taking place in Belfast

 

 

Share

RTÉ Drama and the Irish Film Board launch Storyland 2014

storyland news

RTÉ Drama and Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board have launched the new season of Storyland, an innovative commissioning project that will see five series of four-part webisodes commissioned for RTÉ Player.

Aspiring and experienced drama production teams are invited to pitch their ideas to make one of five series.

An information Open Day will be held in RTÉ for TV, film and digital content professionals on Wednesday, June 4th, and the closing date for submissions is Thursday, July 31st. Places for the Open Day must be reserved in advance by emailing storyland2014@rte.ie.

 

Click here for more details.

 

Share

Voting kicks off in final of RTÉ’s Storyland

The final round of webisodes in this year’s Storyland competition have gone online at www.rte.ie/storyland. Fans can finally find out what happens in the last instalments from Student Teacher, The Begrudgers and Trouble Times Three. The public will decide which of these three finalists they want to see crowned the overall winner of the RTÉ drama competition.

 

Now in its third year Storyland is an online drama competition which offers new talent the opportunity to develop a drama series online. Previous winners have been The Hardy Bucks in 2009 and Zombie Bashers in 2010 and Lucky Run in 2011. Over the last three months eight shortlisted dramas have battled it out episode-by-episode with the public voting for which dramas they wanted to be given the opportunity to make subsequent episodes.

 

To view the final instalments in the dramas and vote go to www.rte.ie/storyland. Voting opened this morning at 10am and will continue until next Monday 4 June at 9pm.

 

The overall competition winner will be announced on Tuesday 5 June.

 

-Details on the finalists in Storyland 2012-

 

 Student Teacher

 

Conor Shaw didn’t have a great time in school. A chronic overachiever, Conor decided to take his Leaving Cert when he was 15 and went straight to college. Now that he’s finished his teaching degree the only place that will take someone so young and weird is his old school where he has to teach his old class who still hate him. Shot in an Athenry school, Student Teacher stars Conor O’Toole, Carol Tobin (The Savage Eye) Neil Molloy (Republic of Telly) and Kevin McGahern (Hardy Bucks).

 

Trouble Times Three

 

Scott (Declan Reynolds) is getting out of Dodge. But he won’t tell his best friend and room-mate Emmalina (Gemma Leah Devereux) why. It’s probably because he has within the last 24 hours found out that he has impregnated both American student, Katie (Audrey Hamilton) and his dole officer, Olivia (Michelle Beamish)! Before he goes though, there might be one more bundle of news to be delivered. Trouble Times Three is shot in Monaghan.

 

The Begrudgers

 

In this Cavan-based drama, Nobby (Shane Carroll) and Snout (Ray Fitzsimons) spend their days perched on the bar-stool resenting, berating and, well, begrudging without any reason nor rhyme. But when Gemma (Brianne Fitzpatrick), an American and George (Will Govan), an Englishman, come into their lives overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement, the Begrudgers might finally get that reason and rhyme after all.

 

www.rte.ie/storyland

Share

Third round of webisodes go online in RTÉ’s Storyland

Storyland, RTÉ’s online drama competition,  launched its third round yesterday, with new webisodes of Hysteria, Student Teacher, The Begrudgers and Trouble Times Three going online to compete for a place in the final. Voting opened yesterday morning and will close on Sunday 29 April at 9pm. The two series with the least number of votes will then be eliminated and the remaining two series will go on to make their final webisode. The winner of Storyland 2012 will be announced on 5 June.

 

To view the next instalments in the dramas and vote go to www.rte.ie/storyland.

 

-Details on four dramas in Storyland-

 

Hysteria

 

A lethal virus has wiped out millions of people worldwide. Pregnant women are the carriers. With no known cure, containment is the only option. Pregnancy is now outlawed. Starring Grace Kelley as Alison and Jenny Ni Chleirigh as Kate.

 

Student Teacher

 

Conor Shaw didn’t have a great time in school. A chronic overachiever, Conor decided to take his Leaving Cert when he was 15 and went straight to college. Now that he’s finished his teaching degree the only place that will take someone so young and weird is his old school where he has to teach his old class who still hate him. Starring Conor O’Toole, Carol Tobin (The Savage Eye) Neil Molloy (Republic of Telly) and Kevin McGahern (Hardy Bucks).

Trouble Times Three

 

Scott (Declan Reynolds) is getting out of Dodge.  But he won’t tell his best friend and room-mate Emmalina (Gemma Leah Devereux) why. It’s probably because he has within the last 24 hours found out that he has impregnated both American student, Katie (Audrey Hamilton) and his dole officer, Olivia (Michelle Beamish)! Before he goes though, there might be one more bundle of news to be delivered.

 

The Begrudgers

 

Nobby (Shane Carroll) and Snout (Ray Fitzsimons) spend their days perched on the bar-stool resenting, berating and, well, begrudging without any reason nor rhyme. But when Gemma (Brianne Fitzpatrick), an American and George (Will Govan), an Englishman, come into their lives overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement, the Begrudgers might finally get that reason and rhyme after all.

 

www.rte.ie/storyland

Share

RTÉ’s Storyland launches second round of webisodes

Storyland, RTÉ’s online drama competition, launched the second round of the contest with new webisodes going online to compete for the public’s affections and get through to the next round.

Voting opened yesterday morning and closes at 9pm on Sunday 25 March. The two series with the least number of votes will then be eliminated and the remaining four series will go on to make their third webisode. To view the next instalments in the six dramas and vote go to www.rte.ie/storyland.

The six dramas in the competition are:

Hysteria

A lethal virus has wiped out millions of people worldwide. Pregnant women are the carriers. With no known cure, containment is the only option. Pregnancy is now outlawed. Starring Grace Kelley as Alison and Jenny Ni Chleirigh as Kate.

Student Teacher

Conor Shaw didn’t have a great time in school. A chronic overachiever, Conor decided to take his Leaving Cert when he was 15 and went straight to college. Now that he’s finished his teaching degree the only place that will take someone so young and weird is his old school where he has to teach his old class who still hate him. Starring Conor O’Toole, Carol Tobin (The Savage Eye) Neil Molloy (Republic of Telly) and Kevin McGahern (Hardy Bucks).

Talk it out

A comedy centred around Martin (Mark Doherty, A Film With Me in It) a hapless therapist coming under pressure when a rival hypnotherapist moves in next door and begins stealing his business.  When he starts taking advice from one of his own patients, Ray (Bernard O’Shea, Republic of Telly), things soon spiral out of control. Other main cast includes Peter Coonan and Aoibhinn McGinnity from Love/Hate.

Trouble Times Three

Scott (Declan Reynolds) is getting out of Dodge.  But he won’t tell his best friend and room-mate Emmalina (Gemma Leah Devereux) why. It’s probably because he has within the last 24 hours found out that he has impregnated both American student, Katie (Audrey Hamilton) and his dole officer, Olivia (Michelle Beamish)! Before he goes though, there might be one more bundle of news to be delivered.

The Begrudgers

Nobby (Shane Carroll) and Snout (Ray Fitzsimons) spend their days perched on the bar-stool resenting, berating and, well, begrudging without any reason nor rhyme. But when Gemma (Brianne Fitzpatrick), an American and George (Will Govan), an Englishman, come into their lives overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement, the Begrudgers might finally get that reason and rhyme after all.

Cuckoo

Rebellious, copper-haired teenager Niamh Keegan feels like a spare part in her boring, staid family unit. When she sees a digitally ‘aged’ picture of a missing child in the newspaper that looks just like her, her imagination runs riot and she begins to suspect that she and the snatched baby are one and the same… Are Niamh’s suspicions just the delusions of a disaffected teenager or has she inadvertently stumbled on to something more sinister?

www.rte.ie/storyland <http://www.rte.ie/storyland>

Share

Voting opens in new season of RTÉ’s Storyland

RTÉ’s successful online drama competition Storyland is back for a new season today (Monday, 13 February) with eight brand new dramas which will compete for the affections of online viewers in order to win this year’s competition. Over the next four months the eight will battle it out episode by episode as the public decide which dramas will be given the opportunity to make further episodes. Now in its fourth year Storyland’s previous winners were the hugely successful Hardy Bucks, Zombie Bashers, and last year’s Lucky Run.

The first webisodes are now available to watch and vote for at www.rte.ie/storyland. Voting closes on 19 February, when the two series with the least number of votes are eliminated. Voting this year will be on the Storyland Facebook page (the voter must be logged in to Facebook), which can be accessed via www.rte.ie/storyland. There is no cost for voting but each Facebook profile can only vote once.

Speaking about the new series Jane Gogan, Commissioning Editor RTÉ Drama, said: ‘StoryLand is a crucial aspect of RTÉ’s role in industry development and gives us the chance to fast track new talent into the heart of RTÉ’s drama programming. This year we have eight series, all very different, each bringing a whole new range of skills, styles and attitudes in storytelling with good material for drama and comedy. Previous years have seen Hardy Bucks emerge from StoryLand as well as the drama production company Screenworks who have a major new drama coming soon to RTÉ ONE. So what will this year’s hit be? Over to you the audience..’

This year’s selection includes diverse subject matter, including aliens, lethal viruses, hapless therapists and chronic begrudgery…

Hysteria

A lethal virus has wiped out millions of people worldwide. Pregnant women are the carriers. With no known cure, containment is the only option. Pregnancy is now outlawed. Starring Grace Kelley as Alison, Sam O’Mahony as Chris and Jenny Ni Chleirigh as Melanie.

Student Teacher

Conor Shaw didn’t have a great time in school. A chronic overachiever, Conor decided to take his Leaving Cert when he was 15 and went straight to college. Now that he’s finished his teaching degree the only place that will take someone so young and weird is his old school where he has to teach his old class who still hate him. Starring Conor O’Toole, Carol Tobin (The Savage Eye) Neil Molloy (Republic of Telly) and Kevin McGahern (Hardy Bucks)

Talk it out

A comedy centred around Martin (Mark Doherty, A Film With Me in It) a hapless therapist coming under pressure when a rival hypnotherapist moves in next door and begins stealing his business.  When he starts taking advice from one of his own patients, Ray (Bernard O’Shea, Republic of Telly), things soon spiral out of control. Other main cast includes Peter Coonan and Aoibhinn McGinnity from Love/Hate.

Trouble Times Three

Scott (Declan Reynolds) is getting out of dodge.  But he won’t tell his best friend and room-mate Emmalina (Gemma Leah Devereux) why. It’s probably because he has within the last 24 hours found out that he has impregnated both American student, Katie (Audrey Hamilton) and his dole officer, Olivia (Michelle Beamish)! Before he goes though, there might be one more bundle of news to be delivered.

Victory

Two years have passed since the Oortesian alliance conquered the majority of the Earth. VICTORY follows Inspector Doyle (Dave Duffy, Fair City), a policeman with the Ministry of Reason, a Vichy style government that now runs Ireland on behalf of its alien overlords. With each webisode, as he hunts down the resistance movement that calls itself VICTORY, Doyle begins to question more and more the motives not only of the resistance but of his own government. By the end of the series he is left with a grim choice, either serve a system he never truly believed in or join a resistance movement that has little chance .or hope of victory. Also featuring Jonathan Ryan (The Tudors, Game of Thrones), Melissa Nolan (White Noise), Michael Liebmann (Resurrection Man, Omagh) and Morgan C. Jones (The Emergency, Nighthawks).

The Begrudgers

Nobby (Shane Carroll) and Snout (Ray Fitzsimons) spend their days perched on the bar-stool resenting, berating and, well, begrudging without any reason nor rhyme. But when Gemma (Brianne Fitzpatrick), an American and George (Will Govan), an Englishman, come into their lives overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement, the Begrudgers might finally get that reason and rhyme after all.

Cuckoo

Rebellious, copper-haired teenager Niamh Keegan feels like a spare part in her boring, staid family unit. When she sees a digitally ‘aged’ picture of a missing child in the newspaper that looks just like her, her imagination runs riot and she being to suspect that she and the snatched baby are one and the same… Are Niamh’s suspicions just the delusions of a disaffected teenager, or has she inadvertently stumbled on to something more sinister?

Vidileaks

Vidileaks is an international not-for-profit organisation that publishes classified films suppressed by governments and corporations.  Obtained by an undisclosed source, each webisode uncovers a highly controversial video.  The truth is waiting for you…

www.rte.ie/storyland

Share

STORYLAND 4

lucky-run

 

The info session for Storyland 4 is fast approaching, so Paul Webster surveys the web-series landscape.

With the announcement of Lucky Run as the winners of RTÉ’s StoryLand competition earlier this month, it seemed like a good time to take a look at the web-series as a medium. Is it the future of filmmaking, or does it even have a future? From my own experience and by talking to other filmmakers I tried to weigh up the pros and cons of the web-series.

Recently we released the final instalment of our A Dog’s Life web-series. It’s a four-part series in which we play ourselves and it chronicles amongst other things our adventures as filmmakers. When we first started making films under the banner of Fake Dog Films about four years ago, Youtube was increasingly being used as a way of getting movies out there. One day we went out and shot a music video for one of our favourite French bands, My Diet Pill. We shot it in one evening, edited it in another and then sent them a link. The band loved it and started promoting it amongst their fans. In no time we had nearly a thousand views. Although in the grand scheme of Youtube that might not seem that much, it was just great to see that people were watching it. Also they could share their feedback on our work. The advantages were obvious.

At this time we were also looking at other filmmakers who were doing the same thing. One group in particular was Blame Society. They were making very funny series for the web on a very low budget. Their most famous being Chad Vader, a comedy about Darth Vader’s lesser-known brother who was the manager of a grocery store. Another group was the guys behind Smosh, a Youtube channel which turned into an internet phenomenon. They were two guys making videos and web-series in their bedroom and became one of the most subscribed to channels on Youtube. Before they went to college they had a legion of fans, a website and a merchandise shop.

It is easy to get bogged down in the competitive nature of Youtube and chasing views. So many of the most popular videos on Youtube are just clips of people’s cats or dogs doing silly but adorable things. You do have to keep in mind where the films will be shown, but it is more important to make films that you can look at in a few years and still be proud of. However, now there are good alternatives to Youtube, the main one being Vimeo. It consists of mostly user-generated content and is geared towards people looking for more artistic, perhaps more professional, material.

It is important to remember where people are going to be watching these episodes, most likely crouched over a laptop in work or at home. It’s a different animal to TV where people are sitting back comfortably. For this reason, you have to think a lot about the timing. It can be difficult to fit all the material you want into 6 or 7 minutes. This makes you more selective and is especially good for comedy as you are only using your best work.

So far, this has generally been a comedic format. Many of the successful applicants to StoryLand – RTÉ’s web-series strand have been comedies. However, Lucky Run – this year’s winner goes against this grain. It is a gritty, suspenseful thriller with just the right amount of comic relief.

Does this indicate that internet audiences are maturing? Can you get the sort of edginess associated with independent film, working with this sort of format? I asked Eilish Kent – the creator of StoryLand, about the more dramatic web-series. Eilish commented, ‘We look for the best quality and don’t differentiate between genres in our selection of series to commission for StoryLand. We have tended to receive an overwhelming majority of comedies, which is reflected in the final commissions so it was good to see a drama series win out this year. There is definitely more room for short form dramas and thrillers online. If a series is good, audiences will pick it up.’

StoryLand is quite unique. There are some similar examples of this sort of format online, one being Channel 101. It is a website where filmmakers submit pilot episodes and the viewers decide which series they would like to see more of. However, this is completely independent. StoryLand is different as it was established by a national broadcaster. Will other networks follow RTÉ’s lead? Eilish says, ‘We haven’t come across something similar anywhere else to-date. Earlier this year StoryLand was presented at INPUT an international conference for broadcasters and the related response was very positive. I believe that a number of broadcasters are exploring a model based on StoryLand. We see StoryLand as a wonderful way to get more stories and more diversity of views to our audience as well as developing talent.’

So what is the future for StoryLand and indeed the web-series in general? ‘We want StoryLand to work on two levels, the first is to engage audiences with good stories, characters and entertaining shows, and the second to help develop creative producers, writers, directors, cast and crew who think episodically and who will cross over onto longer form content. In the very near future I don’t think viewers will differentiate between platforms. At the end of the day audiences look for quality content and aren’t that concerned whether it was made for the web or TV, they just want to watch good stories that are well told.’

The web-series will continue to be used as training ground for new talent. More and more young Irish filmmakers are using the format to hone their skills and develop a full body of work they can present. Some filmmakers who were unsuccessful in their applications to StoryLand, decided to go it alone and make their series anyway. One such group was the talented gentlemen behind Life Coach. Life Coach is a web-series about John, a well-meaning but socially inept young man who enlists the help of a life coach. After amassing almost a hundred minutes of viewing in 7 episodes, the filmmakers then had to take on the task of promoting the series. They developed an interesting and thorough strategy. As well as using all the usual social networking sites and media outlets, they tried to use other techniques to get people interested. Giles Brody, writer and star, talked of one these ideas, ‘I tried to write a life coach tip for every day from the launch of the first episode to the finale which was fun.’

I talked to the director, Barry Richardson about using the internet to get people to watch your work. ‘The thing about the internet is that, even though it’s great that you can put your own stuff up really easily, it’s incredibly competitive. People can go online and watch anything, you can get the latest HBO show as soon as it’s aired in America, so you’re up against basically everything. That’s why, as much as you do to advertise your stuff, you have to push your friends and family to spread it around and hope that word-of-mouth gets more people interested. I think the success of Hardy Bucks and The Rubberbandits has made people a bit more interested in checking out what people are making on the cheap around the country though.’

So it’s hard work, but the future is bright for the web-series and indeed internet oriented filmmaking. The slogan of Channel 101 is ‘The unavoidable future of entertainment.’ This may be a slightly overly- optimistic thought at this time, but there’s no doubt this type of filmmaking will not go away anytime soon. Emerging filmmakers will continue to use it as a tool to get their work seen. As of yet, there have not been many stars crossing over from web-series to the big time, but it seems inevitable that this will change in the very near future. It is clear that how we watch and engage with entertainment is changing rapidly and irrevocably. Filmmakers are adapting to this change, but hopefully the best parts of quality film and television production will not be lost in the progression to the internet.

RTÉ will be launching StoryLand4 at an information session in RTÉ at 7pm on Wednesday, 6th July with a submission deadline in September.

Paul Webster is a writer and co-founder of fakedogfilms.com

 

Share

Storyland semi-finals voting begins today

The competition continues as RTÉ’s Storyland enters the semi-final stage of the online drama voting. Four dramas have made it through to the semi-finals but only three will make it through to the final.

Now in its third year Storyland is an online drama competition, which offers new talent the opportunity to develop a drama series online. Over the last two months eight shortlisted dramas have battled it out episode-by-episode with the public voting for which dramas they prefer.

The semi-finalists include The Last Security Man, a dark comedy about the unlikely friendship between a college drop-out and a psychotic Belgian security guard. In Kilkenny-based comedy Rent a Friend – Der and Dave’s friendship goes from BFF to BAA, junk status, in pursuit of the same dream girl.

Meanwhile The Outlaw Concy Ryan is a Limerick-based mockumentary that follows proud Moyhill native Concy Ryan as he struggles to preserve his way of life in the face of a new government initiative to regenerate the area Finally Lucky Run is a drama set in Tuam, County Galway. Robbie Dolan enjoyed a life without consequences until his most recent chemical indulgence left him fumbling in the darkest crevices of his home town.

All four dramas are available to view at www.rte.ie and voting will take place until Tuesday 3 May at 2pm, following which the three finalists will be announced.

Share

'Storyland' semi finalists

The winners of the latest round of RTÉ’s Storyland competition were announced and viewers have voted for to see more of Dublin based comedy The Last Security Man and Kilkenny-based comedy Rent A Friend. While Masterplan has been eliminated from the competition after it received the least number of votes.

Joining The Last Security Man and Rent A Friend in the Storyland semi-final are Limerick based mockumentary The Outlaw Concy Ryan and Galway drama Lucky Run.

Voting on the next round of the competition kicks off on 27th April 2011.

Now in its third year Storyland is an online drama competition which offers new talent the opportunity to develop a drama series online Over the last six weeks eight shortlisted dramas have battled it out episode by episode with the public voting for who they want to be given opportunity to make subsequent episodes.

The overall competition winner will be announced on Wednesday, 1st June, 2011.

Information on all of the productions is available on www.rte.ie/storyland /

Share

Storyland Entry voted out

The results of the first heat in RTÉ’s Storyland competition are in and online audiences have voted to see more of Wexford-based dramedy Free House, Limerick-based mockumentary The Outlaw Concy Ryan and Galway based drama Lucky Run.

Video-game inspired, Street Cobra received the least number of online votes and has now been eliminated from the competition.

Voting for the second group of dramas finishes tomorrow at www.rte.ie/storyland with a further 4 dramas competing to make it into the second round.

The winners of this group will be announced Wednesday, 9th March at 12 noon. Only six of eight dramas will get the chance to move onto the next round and produce a second episode. Watch and follow their progress online now.

Share

interview with 'hardy bucks' director, co-writer and star Chris Tordoff, aka 'The Viper'

hardybucksWith their three part series starting on RTÉ 2 on Tuesday October 12th at 10:50pm, director, co-writer and star of ‘Hardy Bucks’, Chris Tordoff talks to Gordon Gaffney.

Gordon Gaffney: So tell us how the TV episodes of ‘Hardy Bucks’ came about?

Chris Tordoff: RTÉ commissioned 3 episodes, I don’t know whether that was due to funding issues or that they wanted to test run it. They also wanted us to introduce the characters again, but people who have already seen the show will only have to endure a few minutes of it at the beginning (laughs).

We had to get in a professional editor (Grainne Gavigan,’ Paths to Freedom’) but we were the ones cutting it and dictating what stayed in and what went out.

The biggest difference is that these ones were scripted, so we had to stay on top of story beats and narrative rather than adlibbing and doing what we wanted. This meant we couldn’t go and shoot random stuff so it was a different way of working and it did feel like a job trying to get three episodes filmed over three weeks.

GG: Who wrote scripts?

CT: Me, Martin (Maloney, Eddie Durkin in the show) and producer Mike Cockayne of Integral Productions . With Hardy Bucks it’s about the characters you don’t need big hooks or plots so we would write two or three drafts of each twenty-six page script. In rehearsals the boys would come up with new ideas or new ways of saying what we had in the script. I hope if we get a chance to make more episodes that we have a longer lead in time, the more time you have to rehearse the better, as you will find stuff when rehearsing that is funny. We couldn’t have the long meandering scenes like we had on the internet, although there are scenes in the TV shows that do go on longer than in your average sitcom. I hope it sits well with people who haven’t seen it before.

Mike helped us with structure because we would write limitlessly and wouldn’t be thinking about hook or structure. He is a director and is in tune with what we are doing and helped us keep in what we wanted in the limited time frame we had. It was a big learning curve for us all.

GG: How was the shoot?

The shoot ended up going into four weeks and we had pick ups when we were editing it. But it was strange seeing the actors clock in and do the job instead of just turning up and waiting until we are all on form and then film. Mike was on set a lot of the time and we had an assistant director, John Wallace, to help us organise everyone, and Helen McDermott who did all our set design and props. But we kept our original sound and camera guy from the ones we did right at the start. The great thing about Swinford is everything is there, all the locations are there you don’t have to go far.

GG: What was it like working with RTÉ on a TV show after working with them on Storyland?

CT: Eilish (Kent, RTÉ) was always very lenient with us, the main thing they wanted to see was the scripts, so that we weren’t throwing any curved balls. Once they had the script they were happy to let us go at it. I would have loved to have cut it aswell, but it would have been too much work. We had to have all the rushes back to Grainne at the end of each day so she could start assembling timelines. Once it was finished we just sat in with her for three or four weeks, because we had a script it was a lot more efficient then it used to be. Before it was genuinely like a documentary where we had a load of random stuff and tried to piece it together, which you couldn’t do for TV because you would be working on it for months.

GG: What else are you working on?

CT: We have the ‘Hardy Bucks’ live show and it always seems to be the student unions that book us and get the best reactions from. A tour might happen depending on how the TV show goes.

GG: What is involved in the live show?

CT: We have some musical bits, “The Viper” on the decks, Eddie Durkin will pull out the guitar and we will all have a bit of an old sing song. We do improv aswell and if you can answer a question in character it always goes down well. It’s weird to be doing live stuff but it keeps the word out there.

GG: Any advice for this years’ Storyland applicants?

CT: We were talking at the recent FAS Screen Training Ireland ‘Writing an Online Narrative’ weekend course and our advice was when your are pitching is that if you believe in your project and have your paperwork done, then just try and explain in a down to earth way what you plan on doing. You mightn’t have the experience, but if you try and win over people with enthusiasm that’s what they like to see.

‘Hardy Bucks’ starts on RTÉ 2 on Tuesday October 12th at 10:50pm.

www.thehardybucks.com

Share

RTÉ’s Storyland Final

RTÉ’s online drama competition, Storyland, is drawing to a close with the final round of voting ending this Friday. We Own the Streets and Zombie Bashers go head-to-head after eliminating three other entries, Mariana, Daily strife and Butchers in the previous rounds of the competition. The winning entry will make a sixth and final episode, which will be available to view at the competition’s website on 14th June.

Watch the latest episodes and vote for your favourite at www.rte.ie/storyland

Share

Issue 131 – Happily Ever After?

storyland1
Photo: The Storyland winners with Hardy Bucks, director Chris Tordoff and writer Martin Maloney enjoy a well-earned break in Sweden.

RTÉ’s Storyland competition was no fairytale: success required a huge amount of hard graft. However, for those willing to put in the effort, Storyland did grant some filmmaker wishes: recognition, networking opportunities and the golden egg – funding. Angela Nagle reports.

In a year of crippling industry cuts to RTÉ some unlikely new Irish stars of the low-budget webisode were born. Readers are more likely to have heard of Hardy Bucks than the scheme that launched them, but RTÉ’s Storyland project produced nine original web shows, ranging from sitcoms to psychological drama to high-concept post-modern thrillers, exposing new talent on an unprecedented scale with virtually no editorial steer. Ditching traditional media promotion for viral marketing strategies and online audience participation, it is, in many ways, part social experiment, part funding scheme. All of this cost RTÉ just €230,000 which, put in perspective, is roughly a third of Pat Kenny’s drastically reduced salary, which also fell prey to the recession-time budget cuts.

RTÉ development executive Eilish Kent came up with the concept, based upon her many years of experience as a commissioner and, in particular, her involvement in sourcing new talent through short film schemes. ‘The idea behind Storyland was to encourage programme makers to start thinking about the audience more. Because of the episodic format and your reliance on the audience to keep you recommissioned, it really forces you to think about your audience. What I often found with commissioning short films was that the projects you’re presented with as a commissioner are what people think you want as opposed to what they want to make. They often don’t think of an audience or, if they do, that audience is a festival audience who are filmmakers. We had been looking at the crossover of people coming through the schemes and into TV and we felt that they weren’t naturally progressing to TV drama. They tended to move into feature films or to emigrate and we wanted to see what we could do to get them to think in terms of TV drama. When we look at the follow-through of short film schemes we’ve done in the past, you could count on two hands the number of writers and directors who’ve made it to TV.’

Launch
First launched in October 2008, Mark O’Halloran was chair of the selection panel and helped advertise the scheme by appearing on the website and outlining the competition. From 122 applications, nine projects were commissioned to make one episode each and these went up on the website in March 2009. With all nine projects on the website, the public could vote for their favourite and at the end of every month the shows with the smallest response would be ‘voted off’, leaving the remaining teams to make the next episode with the same €8000 budget per episode.

The full article is printed in Film Ireland 131.

For more information on Storyland please visit www.rte.ie/storyland/

Share

RTÉ Launches New Drama Competition

RTÉ has launched StoryLand, a new project inviting new and experienced programme makers to make drama series specifically for the web, aimed at the 19-25 year old audience.

Aspiring and experienced programme makers are invited to make pitches for a 6-part drama series to be webcast in March 2009. From the pitches received, a panel chaired by Irish scriptwriter and actor Mark O’Halloran (Adam & Paul, Garage, Prosperity) will commission 10 new pilot drama series to be webcast on the RTÉ website. Viewers will then vote which pilot episode they would like to see more of, and the winner will be commissioned for a full series.

The closing date for submissions is 17th November 2008. See www.rte.ie/storyland for details on how to apply.

Share