There’s Facebook, there’s Twitter and there’s Google-Plus, the so-called epicenter of social networking.
But is that where networking ends? No … it’s just the beginning.
Theatrics, the creators of what they call the first mass participation television program, have launched a popular online science-fiction series called “Beckinfield.” It’s set in a small town where mysteries abound, and it already has a cast of thousands — literally. And you can be a part of it, too.
As he was first developing the idea, Bob Gebert — a co-founder and vice president of creative for “Beckinfield,” said the idea was to produce something that aspiring actors could be a part of from the comfort of their own home. “I said, what if we take all this and put it under one umbrella and create a small town. I took it to Tracy, and he took it and saw it as a much bigger sort of thing, and added all the social elements to it.”
Gebert is talking about Tracy Evans, the owner of Tracy Evans Productions who is Theatrics chief operations officer, playing a key role in bringing “Beckinfield” to life.
“Beckinfield” premiered last year, and each week, the nearly 3,000 actors who are currently a part of the project, receive story updates. They, in turn, film a video diary in the character they developed, using it to advance the story of a town whose run-in with the spirits of the natives who once occupied the land is wreaking havoc throughout the entire community.
The project also involves the talent of BIff Van Cleve, who handles the business side of the company, as well as casting director Scott David (“Criminal Minds,” “Leverage”) as well as writer Marc Scott Zicree (“Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “Babylon 5”).
While it would be impossible to view all of the thousands of videos already uploaded to the site, the idea is that viewers will choose various characters to follow, and experience the story from almost every perspective.
Both Evans and Gebert recently talked to Alpha Waves Radio about the project, and the inclusion of a big name from science-fiction: “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star and two-time Trek movie director Jonathan Frakes.
Frakes, who played Cmdr. William Riker in TNG, comes on board “Beckinfield” as Dylan Marks, a director of a play that will chronicle the history of the town. Characters can audition for this in-story play through their video diaries, and a winner (who will take home $10,000 in real life) will be announced at the upcoming MacWorld conference in San Francisco at the end of January.
“We have brought in an incredible casting director in Scott David, and when we decided that we were going to do this in-world contest and bring in a celebrity director who is part of the world of Beckinfield, Scott recommended the wonderful Jonathan Frakes,” Evans said. “He has become a character, and is actually going to be the final judge of this content that we have currently running.”
The design and marketing of “Beckinfield” comes from $2 million in seed funding with an eye toward expanding the townfolk even more through a paid subscription model.
Right now, those funds are helping to pay for the team of 18 who work behind the scenes to make “Beckinfield” possible, as well as a major advertising push to get the word out.
“If we don’t have people participating, then there is no mass participation,” Evans said.
Want to participate but don’t know if you have the skills to succeed? Don’t worry, Theatrics provides a number of tutorials and other guides to help everyone stay active and build their social network.
To get started, visit Theatrics.com and either create a character, or simply become a viewer. Either way, you can watch hundreds of videos from other participants, and even get a recap of the story so far.
The deadline to enter the Ultimate Online Audition Contest is Jan. 21. Not only will the winner receive $10,000, but a trip for two to Hollywood.
Alpha Waves Radio can be heard twice monthly through Podbean as well as through a free subscription from the Apple iTunes Store. The complete interview with Gebert and Evans can be heard right now in the Alpha Waves podcast.
In the next broadcast of Alpha Waves, scheduled for Jan. 26, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” alum Chase Masterson will sign on to share not only has been keeping her busy recently, but also talk about what life was like once her days as Leeta ended. It’s a deep and personal look at what actors have to struggle through all the time as they move from one project to the next.