The other day something jumped out at me from the pages of the Sunday edition of the New York Times. It was a full page ad for the series High Maintenance.
Never hear of it?
It’s a web series available on Vimeo on Demand. (In case your not familiar with it, Vimeo is a sort of YouTube platform for better quality videos.)
The ad stood out for a few reasons.
First, I was surprised to see a full page New York Times ad from a video sharing platform. After all, when was the last time you saw a full page ad from YouTube or Vimeo?
Second, the name of the series jumped out because over the last few weeks a number of friends have recommended the series.
High Maintenance is an American web series that follows a nameless marijuana deliveryman called ‘The Guy’ as he delivers pot to various neurotic New York City clients. Here’s the trailer…
It’s the work of husband-and-wife team Katja Blichfeld (an Emmy award-winning casting director for 30 Rock) and Ben Sinclair (Actor) who produced and largely self-funded the series with their friend and manager, Russell Gregory.
The series kicked off in 2012 and is currently in it’s 5th season. The partnership with Vimeo began in 2014 with the company funding and distributing six episodes. Have a look at this behind-the-scenes video to learn more.
Going back to why I noticed the ad in the first place, for me, the fact that a web company like Vimeo would promote the series in such a prominent (and expensive way) is great. It’s also a potential game changer.
Despite the fact that filmmakers and show creators now have the digital tools to create a film or series independently, distribution and marketing are still major hurdles.
Vimeo and similar video-sharing platforms are cool because they allow creators to by-pass the gate keepers. You no longer need a distribution deal from a studio or TV network. You can now create a show and distribute it yourself. But with so much content floating around how do you make sure that people take notice?
Having an outstanding film or show is an obvious prerequisite but having marketing dollars to push that content forward is also a great help. That’s why it’s awesome to see companies like Vimeo invest in promoting original web content.
It’s another step in making sure that new and unique creative voices get heard. Perhaps it’s also yet another nail in the coffin for traditional (and bland) TV.
What do you think? Have you seen High Maintenance? Is it really “The Greatest Show Not on Television”?
On the topic of Vimeo, last year we created a short kids film which ended up screening at the Cannes Film Festival. Afterwards, we self distributed The Master on Vimeo on Demand. It was an experiment to see what self-distribution is all about. If you’re curious, here’s the trailer…
Words by FT.