TV Worldwide, a Web-based global TV network, has signed an agreement with "Blair Witch" creator Dan Myrick of Gearhead Pictures to stream "The Strand," a live-action, independently produced narrative episodic show intended specifically for the Web.
The series' first streaming "Webisode" will be held at 8 p.m. Tuesday at www.strandvenice.com. live from the TV Worldwide booth at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) 2005 Show in Las Vegas.
Myrick and other "Strand" producers, actors and creators will interact with Webcast participants worldwide via e-mail at 7:30 p.m.
TV Worldwide will deploy a customized solution utilizing the technology of strategic partner Abacast for efficient delivery of the live event and Tukati for the archived on-demand stream (which will not be available until the live video stream of "The Strand" feature has concluded).
"We are pleased to work with Dan Myrick, who lead a revolution with 'The Blair Witch Project' to develop an economically viable streaming model for 'The Strand,' " said Dave Gardy, CEO of TV Worldwide and president of the International Webcasting Association (IWA).
"Not only do we believe that his 'Webisodic' approach in delivering 'The Strand' is a veritable 'asteroid' aimed at the planet of conventional content distribution, the show itself is so compelling that it will stimulate a viral buzz on the Internet and establish a new benchmark for interactive participation. Once again, content is king."
"As a pioneer in the field, TV Worldwide's Internet TV network has grown by deploying streaming media applications that work," said Dan Myrick, director of "The Strand" and president of Gearhead Pictures. "While the entertainment industry continually grows more risk-averse, the Internet still beckons with its promise of becoming the great equalizer and we want to work with innovators who can execute a strategy with that vision."
"The Strand" is an uncensored look at the lives of several off-beat characters that inhabit the unique world of Venice Beach, Calif., and how they are all interrelated.
Utilizing many of the method-film techniques that were incorporated into "Blair Witch," "The Strand" maintains a sense of authenticity that cannot be found in large-scale productions. Real people and actors populate a fictional world in which spontaneous as well as scripted dialogue bring a sense of unpredictability and realism to the characters and situations.
Much as with "Blair," "The Strand" will encourage audience interaction and feedback to help guide and shape future episodes, as well as interaction with characters, filmmakers and each other. Audition videos, chat rooms and even point-of-view cameras that virtually put the audience in the actors' heads as they work through scenes will all be part of the online experience as the show progresses.
After the streaming launch of the initial Webisode during the TV Worldwide Webcast, audiences will be asked to pay 99 cents for each subsequent Webisode, which will be enabled through BitPass digital payments technology.
All of TV Worldwide's Webcast NAB 2005 event coverage will be archived for viewing at www.TVWorldwide.com.
Participants for Tuesday's "Strand" Webcast should be online by 7:30 p.m. for the pre-launch show. Questions can be directed to (703) 961-9250, Ext. 223 or 220 before and during the event.
Casting for "The Strand" had a distinctly bizarre Venice, Calif., feel. On one end, Lorenzo Pye, a homeless drummer who has been a longtime fixture on the city's boardwalk, was cast as a homeless drummer whose "spirit is stolen."
On the other end, film veteran Katherine Helmond was cast as a 1950's movie starlet who is facing imminent foreclosure on her home. "I can't say enough about my actors," says Myrick. "One of the great benefits of this style of shooting is that you really allow them to breathe inside their roles. And it's a thing of beauty to capture that on camera."
By the end of production, over 50 hours of footage had been shot, and the long process of editing began. As the film began to come together, Myrick realized he had something completely new on his hands. "From day one, this has been an organic process," Myrick explained. "I loved the idea, loved Venice, and simply wanted to tell a good story. I put myself in the hands of Venice, and let it take me where it wanted to go."