Today we are celebrating Marble Hornets, the runner-up in our big Webseries Wednesday poll, with an exclusive interview!
When we launched Webseries Wednesday on Hypable, we did a massive poll to determine the ultimate webseries. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries took first place, with the scary Marble Hornets coming in a close second.
Now we have an interview with Marble Hornets creator Troy Wagner, where he delves deeper into how this smash hit series was created.
Hypable: As shown from our poll, Marble Hornets is very popular! What do you think draws people to the show?
Troy Wagner: Yeah, I’m amazed we got so many votes! I’m more than happy with coming in second place to a series as big as The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, too. Big congratulations the them for coming out on top!
As far as what draws people to Marble Hornets, I’ve gotten lots of different answers to that question from lots of different people. The overall thing, I’d say, is the mystery behind it all. The audience knows as much as the protagonist Jay does, and I think the feeling of slowly uncovering all of this with him is something people like. There’s also the people that are in it just to be scared, which is also a totally valid reason to watch. I think something we usually try to work towards is “come for the scares, stay for the story.”
What sets it apart from other webseries?
TW: I think it’s the free-flowing nature of it. No one entry has a minimum or maximum length. Some entries are a few dozen seconds, while others have pushed 16 minutes. It’s however long it takes to show the next bit of information. Besides, we figure runtime isn’t going to be something on the minds of the characters that are “shooting” it, which I think adds to the realism. That’s not to say it’s the first ever webseries to do that though. Lonelygirl15 was set up in much the same way, back when it was going on.
How have you found the webseries format working both for the story format and building an audience?
TW: Marble Hornets is set up in a very strange way, in terms of how the mechanics of it all work. The entire thing is told through the first person perspective of whoever is holding the camera at the time, and the Youtube channel that all these videos are going to also exists in the world of the story as well. It’s all really weird things to consider when writing, and it’s challenging to keep all of the rules in mind.
With television and movies, companies pay large amounts of money for things like focus groups and maximizing exposure for a certain demographic. When dealing solely with the internet, you’re able to get near instantaneous feedback from tons of different places (twitter, facebook, tumblr, etc). That’s something that definitely helps the content creators refine their stuff, to see what’s working well and what needs to be tweaked or removed. Constantly working to make it better is what will typically lead to a better product, and ultimately more viewers.
Tell us about the movie adaptation! How will it be different from the series?
TW: Oh man, I wish I could tell you everything about it! I’d definitely get in trouble if I did though. Everyone is keeping a tight lid on it for now, but it’s all going surprisingly smoothly thus far. I can’t wait for everyone to be able to see it.
After so many episodes, have you gained any insight into making webseries you wished you’d known at the beginning?
TW: It’s impossible to please 100% of people 100% of the time. No matter what you do there will always be people that just aren’t into it, and that’s completely fine. The more you stress about trying to make every single person happy, the more likely it’ll be that you’ll end up with a bland mess. It’s really important to remember that YOU should also like what you’re making. People lose sight of that sometimes, myself included.
With Netflix, Amazon and YouTube all moving in on the original series market, do you have any thoughts about how the webseries movement will affect the television landscape/industry in the future?
TW: I think we’re at the beginning of a major major shift in how people watch things now. With internet speeds increasing, and with fiber optics HOPEFULLY just around the corner, making long form shows specifically for the internet is much easier for pretty much everyone, not just the larger companies like Netflix or Amazon. I think, because of this, television networks are now at a disadvantage and will need to find a way to change with the times. In my own personal opinion, I think a time might be coming where the line between a TV and your computer will be pretty blurred. More so than it already is now, even. What all that entails, I’m not sure, but I think it’s a very exciting time.
Next week in Webseries Wednesdays, we’ll feature a new webseries, so stay tuned!