Website to showcase work of union pros
It began as an idea hatched by multihyphenates while walking the picket line outside of the Walt Disney Co. last winter. Nearly five months later, http://www.Strike.TV is about to make its formal commercial debut as a web venture designed to showcase the work of WGA members and pros from other guilds and unions.
The Strike TV website will have a soft launch this weekend to show off its “coming soon” sizzle reel. Later this month, it will begin rolling out segs of more than 40 original series and other content bits produced for the original StrikeTV.org website, which was born as a fund-raising effort for the WGA’s Industry Support Fund.
Comedy and drama fare that Strike TV has in hand for its rollout includes:
- “Global Warming,” starring “Saturday Night Live’s” Kristen Wiig and “Daily Show’s” Aasif Mandvi;
- “Unknown Sender,” penned by Steven de Souza and starring Timothy Dalton and Joanne Whalley;
- “House Poor,” created by “Office” writer-producer Lester Lewis;
- “The Challenge,” starring Bob Newhart and penned by sitcom vet Lloyd Garver;
- “Five or Die,” written and directed by horror movie vet Tom Holland;
- “John’s Hand,” starring Garret Dillahunt and Kali Rocha.
In the new iteration, Strike TV aims to make money through advertising and sponsorships, but creators will retain ownership and all copyright control of their content. Strike TV is not forking over any license fees for the programming; creators have to handle the financing on their own. But the hope is that the site will become a buzz-generator for ideas and concepts that creators can adapt into movies, TV shows or other media.
Strike TV is overseen by its creator, Peter Hyoguchi, who got the idea off the ground during the WGA’s 100-day walkout with the help of its association with United Hollywood, the scribe-run blog that became an influential force in rallying and disseminating info to scribes during the strike.
Hyoguchi and others held a daylong seminar in January at the Writers Guild Theater in BevHills that instructed guild members on how relatively cheap and easy it is to produce high-def Internet vids, now that high-def cameras and sophisticated editing software is widely available and affordable. That event spurred dozens of members to commit to delivering content for Strike TV. When the submissions and pitches kept coming in even after the strike ended Feb. 12, Hyoguchi realized he had a business opportunity in hand.
“Basically, Strike TV is original content created by Hollywood professionals,” Hyoguchi said. “The content we have ranges from comedy, drama, sci fi, horror, gameshows, soap operas to family films and animation … this is an opportunity for Hollywood professionals to experience and try something new with a very low risk factor.” Strike TV also will include a blog-like feature that will allow viewers to voice their opinions and criticisms of the content.
Strike TV accepts submissions from anyone who is a member of a Hollywood professional guild or union. Down the road, Hyoguchi said he’d like to expand to a nonpro section where aspiring talent can post work and get feedback from industryites.
Hyoguchi brainstormed the idea for Strike TV while pounding the pavement outside Disney. He’d produced a six-and-a-half minute vid for United Hollywood, “Who’s on the Line?” and he was impressed by how quickly it spread around the Web. Other scribes who are helping to manage Strike TV include Ian Deitchman, “House Poor” creator Lewis, Griffin de Luce, Rebecca Hughes, Ken Lazebnik, Michael Tabb, Chip Proser and Brian Rodda.
Hyoguchi and others have financed the launch out of their own pockets, at a cost of “less than $10,000,” he said. For the moment, its headquarters are in Hyoguchi’s laptop, though they have web programmers and other tech staffers working on the website in London, New York and Chicago.
In the spirit of the original concept for the site, the first three months of ad coin generated by Strike TV will be donated to the Entertainment Assistance Program of the Actor’s Fund.