The Production of Global Web Series in a Networked Age  book cover
1st Edition

The Production of Global Web Series in a Networked Age

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after February 4, 2022
ISBN 9781032022352
February 4, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
264 Pages 66 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book tells the story of diverse online creators--women, ethnic and racial minorities, queer folk and those from hardscrabble backgrounds--producing low budget, high cultural impact web-series which have disrupted longstanding white male domination of the film and TV industries.

Author Guy Healy addresses four burning problems faced by creators in the context of digital disruption (along with potential solutions), namely: the sustainability of monetizing digital content and the rising possibility of middle-class artistic careers; algorithmic volatility; the difficulty of finding people to share jealously guarded industry knowledge as traditional craft-based mentoring and expertise-sharing mechanisms break down; and the lack of diversity and authenticity in high-profile storytelling. It includes nine case studies, five drawn from a second wave of outstanding YouTube-developed talent, transitioning to longer form narrative, most collaborating with established TV producers working across the divide between online and established television culture, and all from under-represented and/or minority backgrounds. The balance are film-school and industry professionals leveraging YouTube in the same way, including two Writers Guild of America new media award-winners. These storytellers leverage their social networks and chase sustainable careers by reaching audiences of subscription video-on-demand platforms and mainstream online broadcast in Australia and North America. The Production of Global Web-Series in a Networked Age is the first longitudinal study of this historic rapprochement between online and television cultures.

Covering 2005-2021, the book reveals distinctive new forms of screen industry convergence with profound implications for creators’ careers, the screen industry in general, new media theory, and broader cultural and social change. It is essential reading for students, academics and industry professionals working on the production and distribution of web series.

Table of Contents


Preface by Tina Cesa Ward

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2: Absurdist YouTube animator Chris Voigt’s journey to EMMY-winning, Bluey

Chapter 3: Rapprochement across the divides: the Saidden brothers aka Superwog and Emmy-nominated Princess Pictures

Chapter 4: The dark cinematic dreams of the Philippou twins, aka RackaRacka

Chapter 5: The world’s #3 online dessert chef, and developmental activist, Ann Reardon ‘stuck in the algorithms’

Chapter 6: The blood, sweat and tears of Shae-lee Shackleford and SketchSHE

Chapter 7: Julie Kalceff…not sitting in a room on her own

Chapter 8 : Erin Good, Taylor Litton-Strain and fantasy-noir web-pilot, Jade of Death

Chapter 9: Bending algorithmic culture to serve post-TV storytelling

Chapter 10 Tina Cesa Ward: The New York film director who fell into web-series

Chapter 11: the Garden in YouTube’s Machine

Appendix 1: Career mobility paths of Skip Ahead alumni, 2014–19

Appendix 2: Three keys to sustainability for web-series makers, 2005 to 2021, based on Murdock and Goldings’ (2016, 764) three economies


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Dr Guy Healy works as a researcher on an Australian Research Council project investigating the role of the web-series globally. Healy worked for about a decade at The Australian newspaper, mainly as a higher education writer; and for BBC Wildlife magazine as a freelance correspondent investigating species-level threats to wildlife. His most important story reported on calls from zoologists warning that research funding into, and surveillance of bat-borne viruses in Asia, Africa and elsewhere, had to be prioritised, in 2009