The tale of a few friends who love to have a drink and complain about each other’s love lives – Spin the Bottle is a witty, innuendo infused sitcom created just for the web. In other news, it was also the show I watched on this week’s #WebSeriesWednesday!
It’s rare that I am caught off guard by a production move in a web series. The more I think about it though, the more surprised I am that this doesn’t happen more often.
Today marked the release of the first episode of season 2 of ‘Spin the Bottle’ and my plan had originally been to watch the first season today, and leave season 2 (which has just the one released episode as of this writing) for another time. Of course I watched the show, and it went by so fast – the episodes are short and there are only 6 – and it was really funny, so I opted to watch the first episode of season 2. This is where I was really thrown off…
Several of the actors seem to have been recast, and it took me awhile to realize they were supposed to be the same characters as before. It was not a big deal, I was just super confused for a minute, and it kind of took me out of the show. Only the real problem is that the show is just three minutes, so I spent most of them confused as to who was who.
This is something everyone wants to avoid, but in the web series world I am surprised I don’t see this come up more often. Many series are shot all at once, some even on just one day in one location – which, considering the length and number of locations in season one, might be the case with ‘Spin the Bottle.’ It can be a monumental task to get everyone back for a second season, especially if you are not able to pay them a real nice salary.
The question then is whether or not it is worth it, and of that I am not really sure. Perhaps in this case it would’ve been better to make them different friends, but that has implications of confusion down the road as well.
Better to recast and make your show than to make nothing.
My next thought is whether or not video length really matters. It is a common perception among the video producing community that shorter run times can lead to more views and thus they are what the people want.
Research, however, is showing that may no longer be the case, with videos over 6 minutes in length becoming more and more popular.
As I watched ‘Spin the Bottle’ – whose videos average around three and a half minutes – I wished the videos were longer. I’ve mentioned this while discussing other series in the past so it may just be because I am already planning on watching the whole series. So this may just be my preference.
Interestingly enough, youtube is looking for channels with longer videos specifically because they feel that they create more engagement with the audience – so perhaps there is something to it.
My last thought on the show is how it appears to have been shot all in one location. For many this sounds like a negative, but I’ve discussed production trade-offs before on this blog, and the recurring idea is that no one has a multi-million dollar budget for a series, you just put your money into the places that you feel benefit your show the most.
In the case of ‘Spin the Bottle’ the show is a comedy, and it’s not meant to be visually oriented, so why not put your money elsewhere – there is nothing lost by the show limiting its locations.
Either way the show is funny, and that alone makes it worth my time. Really that’s the point, and the key take away. Make your show funny, of make your audience care about the characters, tell a good story, the way you go about telling it is always secondary to that, and that is why ‘Spin the Bottle’ was a good show.