Web shows have become a genre unto themselves. And, like other shows, they need pilots that draw in the audience and set the stage for the series. They have some unique challenges, though. I’ve just started mulling this over, and am wondering if anyone else has any observations. (If so, hit me up!)
Web shows generally have short episodes, ranging from one to ten minutes or so. Perhaps because of our conditioning with YouTube and viral videos, we have limited patience with content designed to be viewed online (despite the fact that we’re now watching network and cable TV online as well). So it has to grab us and grab us fast. Also, it seems we haven’t grown a taste for dramas online. Generally, this stuff has to be funny.
Not only do web show have to accomplish more in a shorter time, there are expectations of edginess. Maybe it’s the medium that dictates it; the internet is younger than TV so it must be edgier. Or, perhaps it’s the audience. People who go digging online for new stuff to watch probably aren’t satisfied with the same old-same old.
Conversely, expectations are lower when it comes to production values. Because we love to see the Chad Vaders of the world make good, we are very forgiving of poor lighting or wonky edits. We still want good acting, though. (Or do we? Do you feel differently?) It’s not all unknowns trying to get noticed; big name actors are treading the pixels.