Film Takeaways from Recent Web Series : Dos and Don’ts

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The hype and hoopla around short films are slowly fading away as web series are slowly stealing away their limelight. The idea of web series has brought in so much inclination towards it that many short filmmakers see it as the next step of growth in the field. They perceive it as a long term goal that surpasses the concept of “becoming a feature filmmaker”. The OTT platforms are aiding as a catalyst in this process which has a lot of business and revenue associated with it. This month had at least 8 newly released Tamil web series! Astonishing, isn’t it?

Just like how there are several ways of not doing a film, there are certain aspects that aren’t to be done in a web series too. This is solely with respect to the experience given to the viewers. The rule is that, something that doesn’t engage the viewer or brings him closer, must not be done (be it a film or web series). But, there are a little other aspects that needs to be given attention too. By comparing these web series, one can neatly point it out. Read further to know about it.

Troll/Casual approach is the worst option!

The long attention that trolls have been receiving are to be discarded right now. We are all aware of the fact that it has attained a saturation and its time to evolve. Yet, we are still awarded with web series that are cleanly targeted at the masses with a troll-like approach. Half-boil & Weekend Machan are a clear cut example to it. The whole idea of half-boil is closely equivalent to the concept of having a girl in the thumbnail of a newly released short film for huge numbers (views)! In such a case, we must really appreciate the kind of cinematic experience that the newly released ones have tried to offer us with. One of them is 403. 403 is definitely a step ahead for us in the form of digital content. In terms of quality. The budget is almost certainly visible on the screen with the kind of production design and other aspects being very relevant. But, somewhere there is a kind of a northern influence to it in terms of the way things are being dealt in it. By northern, I mean the influence of the web series that have made it big there. But, they don’t realize that something that has made it big there was quite connectable & one among the audience there!  When something of that type is being tried out here, it definitely wouldn’t be rooted to the audience that we are and hence will feel out of place!

Also, for how many days are we going to be offered with the sitcom induced web series? For how long will our web series be confined to one single location? Trust me, this concept irritates quite a large section of audience right now. The days of an entire web series in one single location was prevalent  about 3-4 years in the north itself. There is an altogether different experience that the north is giving us right now in the form of web series (watch out for TVF mainly). Yet, here we are still holding on to this concept that is long gone now! We don’t want another livin, another Half Boil or  another American Mappilai!

Reality +Fiction= WOW!

As we all know, relatability is the most superior thing for an audience to watch something like a web series that goes episodical. But how many of these web series are actually connectable for the audience? Very very few. Let’s consider Nila Nila odi vaa. This web series deals with vampire in the modern world and the troubles surrounding it. Quite an intriguing plot it is . At the start, One obviously feels out of place because of the alien concept that it has. But, as the series progresses, this alienating feel just radically increases! The reason is that there aren’t any back stories to how these vampires originated in it. Even if there was a not so satisfying back story relating to something from our reality that we see everyday, a strong connect would’ve been created.  This is one crucial point where the makers of this web series fail to bring us into it.

But, this is again the exact point where the makers of Kallasirrupu succeed! Though, many events in kallasirrupu were a bit extreme that one cannot tend to imagine, they were all simply connected to us by something that we experience in reality in our daily lives. First thing, the core was created from marriage. How many of us don’t know about the concept of marriage?  So, basic thing called marriage is infused with a crime. Now, this infusion is what makes it truly interesting & new for us quite opposite to what happened with nila nila odi vaa. Something similar had occurred with American mappilai. There was zero connect with the protagonist. There was no connect with the gay relationship in it. Due to this, there wasn’t any impact created on us at all. Maybe, if there were some elements that related all this with something from our reality that each of us have been experiencing from years together, it would’ve been a great watching experience for all us!

Stereotypical techniques needs to be eliminated!

The cinematic experience of a viewer cannot be taken for granted by a web series maker. An average viewer of a web series today has been exposed to many westernized content that rewards him with great storytelling with amazing cinematic experience. A average viewer of a web series on an OTT platform is far more evolved than an average film watcher. Hence, the experience needs to be guaranteed here for sure. It surely cannot be like what nila nila odi vaa did.  It has to break cliched techniques and has to be fresh. It cannot have the regular stereotypical comedy tune playing at the back for a comedy scene or a romantic string playing at the back for a romantic scene. Both of these could be noticed in Nila nila odi vaa.

An anthology web series?

An anthology for a web series may or may not be a good idea for a web series. It has its own pros and cons. A viewer that connects to one particular character in a series and travels along with him during the rest of the series may not prefer watching an anthology series. But, the one looking for new plots and concepts may enjoy an anthology. It is a 50/50 bet. But both these sections look for more than just a theme in an anthology. Just a theme isn’t intriguing enough. An anthology needs to have a world set in filled with Easter eggs in each of the episodes and most of all, a surprise is a must in an anthology. Consider Black mirror or even solo, there were surprises in store for the audience. In black mirror, it was the world and the subtle connect between each episode that brought us in whereas in Solo it was the various portrayls by the lead that brought us into it. Both of these didn’t occur in kalyanam kadandhu Pogum.


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