Last night I had the pleasure and honour of attending the launch for the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada – Créateurs Indépendants de Séries Web du Canada, a non-profit professional association dedicated to supporting the efforts of everyone across the country who create and release their own video content online – and the evening was fucking awesome!
The IWCC seeks to promote, support and develop the new breed of storytelling entrepreneurs who make web series. Web series are narrative series, like TV shows or films, but distributed entirely online. IWCC members are creating a new branch of the entertainment industry. Their series are created independently of the traditional media gatekeepers. The creators develop one-on-one relationships with fans, building communities around their series. They frequently serve niche audiences whose stories are not being told in “old” media.
We took over the ground floor of the Monarch Tavern, gave a few speeches, signed up new members, drank a lot of beer and just generally drove another stake into the alleged heart of the dying old media.
We’ve been getting good coverage from online industry rags like Filmmaker Magazine and Snobby Robot – and from the reactions we’ve been receiving leading up to last night’s launch and the response which has been continuing since, it is pretty obvious that such an organization has been eagerly anticipated by this community.
It’s time for this shit to get into high gear.
Our interim board is, from right to left, Ash Catherwood, Rodney V. Smith, Jill Golick, me, Regan Latimer, Carrie Cutforth-Young, Elize Morgan, Scott Albert, Jonathan Robbins, Jason Leaver and Mike Evask.
I’ve been active with the board for more than a year now to get the IWCC set up as a non-profit and to lay the foundations for what will prove to be a fairly potent force in how web series creators are going to be able to not just continue but thrive in their endeavours. It’s important work and now with the launch of the IWCC we have in place an apparatus this community can use to get their voice heard, learn more, share their experience & resources and continue to grow as an industry.
I really can’t express how proud I am to have been a part of such a smart and committed group of artists. If you have even a marginal interest in web series creation – please visit the IWCC web site and join us.
The event was a great success and was LiveStreamed so you can view the archive of that on the IWCC-CIWC Launch page – including a bunch of great interviews conducted by the amazing Jess Morton of Press Pass.
P. S. – The video of the speeches cuts in and out here and there so I’m attaching a full transcript of my own remarks, not so much for posterity but because the message contained in those words (so skillfully written for me by Scott Albert – thanks, Scott!) really convey what the IWCC is all about.
Hello folks! isn’t this awesome? Look how far we’ve come, this is amazing, from sitting around drinking in the pubs. This is terrific. And now – we get to change the world.
I’d like to take a moment and have everyone take a look around the room. A lot of us already know each other but at the same time – I’m sorry, I’m going to be reading here: we’re a crazy bunch of web series creators, web series watchers, actors, writing, directors, artists of all stripes, industry bigwigs – you are, you’re bigwigs. And we’re all here for the same reason. We believe that the future is web series. And we’re all here to celebrate the launch of the Independent Web Series Creators of Canada!
I’m Rob Mills, I’m the acting president of the interim board of directors. I’m a puppeteer, web series creator, writer, director. Jason just talked about how mind blowing it is to be a part of this group of people at this particular time in history, we got this fancy new organization, but there’s one big question still to be answered: What the heck does it do? What does the IWCC do?
Right now, everyone’s looking at us. Not just here in the room and online. The world is looking at Canada and wondering how we’ve been able to make such a mark in this new way of telling stories. To be honest, we were able to do it because no one cared. We didn’t ask anyone if we could do it, we didn’t wait for someone to give us the resources to do it, we just did it, quietly for ourselves and for the people watching. Well, all of a sudden, now everyone seems to care. Hollywood studios, broadcasters around the world, online portals professional organizations, movies stars; everyone wants to be doing what we’re doing.
And once people start caring, they start deciding things. They can’t help themselves, it’s just how their minds work. They start trying to decide how things SHOULD work. Those established larger players I just mentioned, the old media, can’t seem to process the one thing we already know to be true – you can’t stop anyone from making the web series they want to make. But they can try – and some of them are. Which brings us to tonight. Everyone in this room or watching online has a choice to make. Let the old guard decide things for us – or join together and say, “No. That’s not how it works anymore.” That’s one of the things we’ll be doing. We’ll get your voice heard. The voice of the independent, audience focused, creator driven web series.
We’re all living now in a world without gatekeepers – we’re not looking to set ourselves up as new gatekeepers. We’re all part of an industry of creative entrepreneurs and artists who aren’t waiting for anyone to let them do their thing. The IWCC is looking to do things that will help all of our members. Big budgets, micro-budgets, IPF series, shows from Halifax or Vancouver or Yellowknife or even Los Angeles. We’re holding “Watch and Learn” online workshops so that people can share their knowledge. We’re hosting screenings and events so you can share your passion. We’re going to put on a web series convention that brings in creators, fans, stakeholders and suppliers in one big celebration of what we do. We’re going to have a website that connects creators with collaborators, cast and crew. We’re going to promote a vision of web series creators as owners of their work. As entrepreneurs. Independent. Creator Driven. Audience Focused.
Those are all good reasons to join, but there’s one big reason, and it’s a simple one. You are this organization. Not us, not them, you. You get to decide what this organization does next. How? By joining. See – you get a nifty membership card!
In a minute, Ash and the interim board of directors are going to tell you what we’re doing and how you can contribute. Just before that happens, I’d like to say how proud I am of this board, and how hard they have worked for the past year to get us here. Now, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ash Catherwood.