On “The Verge” – Students Concept Binge-Watching TV Experience, Premiere May 1
It’s almost time to roll out the red carpet again, but this time, come in your sweatpants. On Thursday, May 1, students in Dr. Todd Sodano’s Television Production class will host the premiere of their original television series, “The Verge.”
At the beginning of the semester, Sodano challenged the students to develop an original sitcom intended for the newest trend in TV watching called “binge-viewing.” Groups then pitched the series to a panel of professors intended to represent Netflix. Students Rob Meacham, Nick Millard, Allison McCarthy, and Mike Cunliffe pitched the winning idea, and “The Verge” was born.
According to Meacham, the show’s plot centers around a character named MacAllister "Mac" McCormack (played by Meacham himself), who has recently graduated from New York University. Mac comes from a family of privilege and really hasn’t had to work hard for much in his life thus far. Thanks to a connection via his overbearing mother, Mac lands a production assistant job at a low-budget news station in Vermont called, “The Verge.” His journey affords him the opportunity to meet the locals who live and work in the tight-knit rural community, but he still feels he is “too good” for this small town. Then the viewers begin to see the theme of “being on the verge” — Mac on the verge of starting his first real job, and on the verge of being on his own for the first time. “The Verge” includes a variety of characters on the verge of other things, and the class is hoping that the audience will simply want to binge and watch more.
The faux production company, Busted Beak Productions, has been filming on and off campus all semester long. Each student in the class filled a specific role; from acting to producing, and editing to promoting. Millard, who was the director of last year’s class’ original movie “End Game,” is directing the two episodes.
“This class has demonstrated again how Fisher has become a place for students to take their passion for television and filmmaking, and work collaboratively with their classmates to produce something credible, memorable, and impressive in a meaningful way that also incorporates current developments in these industries,” said Sodano.
Kathryn Guglielmo, the show’s production manager, is responsible for coordinating all of the schedules for the shoots and post-production – a chaotic and sometimes seemingly impossible task. But, she said the experience has been a great one.
“This class has definitely been stressful at times and we've all had disagreements, but that's production. I've learned so much in this class on how TV production works and what things need to be done in order to make it successful,” she said. “I've made a lot of great friends and it was definitely worth all the time and effort that we put in because I think our finished product is going to come out great.”
A binge-watcher herself, catching up on shows like House of Cards, Scandal, and Revenge, Guglielmo said the binge-watching trend has become popular thanks to Netflix, Hulu, and DVRs.
“People can just watch television on their own time which allows for people to miss several episodes and then when they do have the time, they can sit and watch all those episodes at once,” she said.
In fact, a recent online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Netflix among nearly 1,500 online U.S. adults who stream TV shows at least once a week found that binge watching is a widespread behavior among this group, with 61% binge watching regularly. The majority (73%) defined binge watching as watching between 2-6 episodes of the same show in one sitting.*
Meacham, one of the show’s creators, also considers himself a binge-watcher, viewing shows in their entirety including: Breaking Bad, Mad Men, 24, Game of Thrones, True Blood, House of Lies, and more.
“For me, this experience has absolutely been a dream come true in every sense of that phrase. It’s quite surreal to have something dreamt up on my couch come to life on screen. I’m extremely grateful to work with such a talented group of students and am very excited to see all of our hard work come together,” said Meacham.
Guglielmo and Meacham say the class is preparing a fun premiere, encouraging people to dress comfortably and how they may dress if they were going to binge-watch TV at home. However, they did stress that they are not encouraging people to bring alcohol or anything inappropriate to the premiere that may fit their own personal binge-viewing experience. The class will be providing “binge-able” snacks.
“The Verge” premiere begins at 7:00 p.m. in Basil 135, and is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. For a behind-the-scenes look at “The Verge,” check out the class’ YouTube channel.
*Source: PR Newswire
Shooting an outside scene for "The Verge."
Students who are part of the promotional and event teams for the premiere back in the classroom strategizing a plan.