The Web series genre is the new kid in town for media entertainment. Creative indie producers are bypassing TV broadcast channels and going direct to web to reach their audience.
With popular web series such as Felicia Day's The Guild, which first appeared on the web for free in 2007, is now available for a larger audience on Netflix. Quality web series are streaming on popular channels such as YouTube, KoldCast TV,OpenFilm, Web Series Channel, Viki TV, and Van Indie FIlms Channel to name a few.
Clutch is a web series that has been receiving awards and screening at festivals around the world. Canadian producer/actor Jonathan Robbins has pushed the creative boundaries of the web series media platform with this dark action packed thriller now in its second season. Clutch is uncensored, edgy and takes you places where a TV show would never dare to go. His independent film company mojopro Films ventured into web series production when he was introduced to the web series community a few years ago. Robbins has never looked back.
Digital Journal recently met with Jonathan Robbins, producer of Clutch the series, to talk about his work in indie filmmaking, web series production and his projects.
Digital Journal: Tell me something about you, your project(s) and Clutch the series.
Jonathan Robbins: I run an independent film company called mojopro Films. Until a couple of years ago, we mostly did short films and dance videos. And then came the discovery of something wonderful…the web series community.
We re-imagined one of our short films, Your Ex-Lover is Dead, as an episodic and created the web series Clutch, which is now in it’s second season and has gone on to win multiple awards such as the Grand Prize at LA Web Fest and being named a 2012 Webby Honoree (plus a nomination for the upcoming 2013 Streamys for Best Action or Sci Fi Series).
We’re currently pitching a couple of new web series to various funding bodies, and developing a feature film that extends the Clutch world further.
Clutch was made for ridiculously low money. In fact, I typically say “we” when speaking of mojopro Films, because I strongly believe that it is the creative collaboration of everyone involved in a project that makes it what it is, but ultimately, I am mojopro Films. Like many indie film companies, the magic behind the curtain is a tiny home office and a lot of sleepless nights of work.
Digital Journal: What made you want to work in/or with the indie film industry?
Jonathan Robbins: I began as an actor, but like many of my breed, good roles were far and few. Doing a bunch of commercials and the occasionally rewarding short film wasn’t enough to quench my storytelling thirst. As digital video became a reality, and making your own film on practically zero budget became possible, the indie film industry became my avenue to take control of my life and tell stories that interested me. What keeps me working in it, and has grown exponentially with the web series world, is the community of friends and family that the commercial film industry never offered to me.
Digital Journal: How will indie filmmakers benefit from your services?
Jonathan Robbins: From a purely business point of view, I’ve been hired as story editor and director on other people’s projects and am happy to field offers at cost manageable rates.
But more importantly, as fellow creators, we all need each other. My work with Clutch helped inspire the amazing series Hitman 101, which in turn helped inspire Clutch Season 2 to be even better. While traditionally in the corporate film world this is seen as competition, in the indie world we have the benefit of it being a positive bounceboard. So indie filmmakers can benefit through collaboration and mutual support.
Digital Journal: Have you received any feedback on your projects/services? If yes, please describe what kind of feedback.
Jonathan Robbins: Apart from the aforementioned recognition through awards organizations, there have been a number of independent reviewers who have been very flattering in their opinions of our work. And a few who haven’t of course.
One thing I’d like to say here is that listening to a review for Clutch Season One on a podcast actually directly influenced us. We agreed with a comment they had about a moment that wasn’t working, and based on their assessment of why, adjusted the edit in time for the DVD release, as well as several new platforms we were set to launch on. So even the negative feedback can be positive.
Digital Journal: What is your goal for you, your project and/or your company?
Jonathan Robbins: Simple. To be able to make a reasonable living off of what we do, and give the same to the people who work with us. While it’s necessary to use cast and crew pro bono a lot of the time, it’s not what I want to be doing.
Digital Journal: What are the challenges you see for indie film makers? What challenges do you or your company face?
Jonathan Robbins: Right now, market saturation. There are hundreds of projects in the local community alone. Finding an audience amongst that is difficult. Your project can be amazing, but still be lost in the crowd. Banding together with other creators whose work you like is the only way I see to do this.
And of course monetization. To reach that goal, we’re going to have to tackle successful monetization of content which has always been a challenge for independent filmmakers, but is especially so on the web.
Digital Journal: Do you have anything you would like to share with us?
Jonathan Robbins: There are so many wonderful web series to watch, that are well made, well told stories, which in the words of the director of the Indie Soap Awards are “better than anything you might find on television”. Some that will get you started are: Out With Dad; Miss Behave ; Almost a Turkish Soap Opera; Super Knocked Up; and Hitman 101.
Follow Clutch the series at the official site clutchtheseries.com
Catch Clutch the web series on Koldcast TV.
For ad free streaming, watch Clutch on JTS TV.
To learn more about Jonathan Robbin's projects, visit mojopro Films.