Last Friday, I facilitated a team of creative artists that brainstormed a web series into existence. The creative process was a fantastic experience because each member, top people in their fields, collaborated in a way that drove our ideas into a great storyline.
The only rule was that we weren’t aloud to use the word “No.” This was much easier than I had anticipated because each person on the team commanded such great respect, due to his or her expertise, that there was no reason to ever say no. That’s not to say that we didn’t build on each other’s ideas, we did, but no one ever shot any idea down.
During a very short time, we were able to establish the overarching story arch, outline the beats of episode one, and develop the three main characters. We also selected key Chicago locations that will enhance the story and determined the beats of the story arch.
In all my years creating story, I’ve never worked with a team that pulled so many story elements together in such a short period of time. For instance, it took 24 hours over a three-day weekend to develop the first draft of the Tried & True story structure. This team did the same work in two and a half hours, which was absolutely amazing.
I’ve got to admit that watching creative experts brainstorm a story into existence was astonishing. The artistry, creativity, and playfulness had us dropping our jaws in awe of each other’s ideas. I counted the experience as a privilege to have been a part of it.
The seven or eight screenplays will be developed over the next three months with plans for shooting the first episode in January. Word has already gotten out and there are several actors clamoring to participate, based solely on the people involved in the creative team. The goal is to release the series toward the end of May.
While I can’t share too much about the story at this stage, I will say that it’s unique and centered on one of the facets that make Chicago the city it is. The locations are also very Chicago-esque and the story would not be able to be shot anywhere, except in Chicago. Even the characters will seem very familiar to those who’ve lived in the area for years.
During the development phase of the webisodes, we’ll be looking for sponsors to help offset our production and post-production costs. The fees will be low for the first season and the sponsor will have their ad embedded into the show so it will be seen no matter how many times the videos are forwarded.
Any companies interested in helping us launch this Chicago based storyline can contact me for additional information. Our goal is to get one million viewers during the first season, but we understand that the fans might push it much higher. The only thing I can confidently attest to is that the creative team is demanding the story is entertaining.