I just came across this series a few days ago, and reading ‘post-apocalyptic western’ in the description just forced me to watch it right away. So what are my key take aways from this weeks’ #WebSeriesWednesday? Find out after the jump.
1) Music sells emotions far better than acting or maybe even writing. This comment on Drifter ties in very well with my recent article on music and web series. The series is rather short, and while the main character is rather interesting there isn’t a ton of time allotted to making the audience really connect with her. This is one of the common challenges with web series, finding the right balance and being able to give your characters time to connect with the viewer. In this case I had only met this drifter ten to fifteen minutes before, but the scene needed to be powerful. Simply showing what happened would not have been enough, but including the melancholy song sells it completely. This also worked very well at the end.
2) One of the biggest challenges of producing for the web is finding the time to do everything required of making a quality show. Time is money after all. I know how time consuming it is to say ‘cut’ and then reset the camera and do it all over again, and then spend all that time editing it together, but it adds to your production value by leaps and bounds. The shots in Drifter are often beautifully staged but there still needs to be more of them in my opinion.
3) Watching this series recalled a sort of internal debate I’ve had recently, about which was better, scripted dialogue vs. an off the cuff, improvised style. Great films are all almost always completely scripted, with occasional ad-libs, but these movies all have access to great actors who can really sell the dialogue. In web series finding the best actors is not always possible and I wonder if giving them strict lines to recite is ideal. Improvisational films allow for actors to feel more comfortable in their roles and in turn to deliver more believable dialogue.
In Drifter I can see the upside and downside of fully scripted material. Some lines are just perfect – something rare in improv – while other times the dialogue is good, but it doesn’t feel real. I haven’t made up my mind one way or the other on this yet, so feel free to give your opinion in the comments.
All in all Drifter was a fun show, with a lot of things worth discussing. The production team at American Wasteland Entertainment is currently working on a follow up, season 2 I suppose, as well as a horror web mini-series currently in postproduction. You can find Drifter over at http://drifterseries.com