Case Study

She'd Kill for a Baby, or for Money

'Pink' Web Series Explores Assassin's Mind

By Published on .

The Creators: Mike Maden and Blake Calhoun with Loud Pictures are co-producers and co-creators for "Pink," a Web series that launched last year. Before forming the production company, the pair had worked together on independent films. Mr. Maden is the writer for "Pink," Mr. Calhoun the director.

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Distribution: The digital media management and distribution studio Generate, led by former WB CEO Jordan Levin, is the distribution and advertising partner for "Pink." The first season of "Pink" premiered last fall and ran on Pinktheseries.com, YouTube, MySpace and Revver. During the first season, the show was featured on the home page of YouTube, boosting its views and its audience. Throughout the run of the first season, the show generated nearly 5 million views. Hulu now also carries the first season. The second season premiered exclusively on Vuze.com on Sept. 15 and a day later across the other distribution partners: TheWB.com, YouTube, Hulu, Break, Blip, Metacafe, MSN, Yahoo, DailyMotion, MySpace, Veoh, iTunes and Joost. Vuze receives a 24-hour exclusivity window for each episode.

The Sponsors: Generate said it's currently meeting with brand advertisers about the show. The studio hired its sales team two months ago after post-production for season two had begun. "The goal was to get the second season shot and online as soon as possible because the fans were getting kind of impatient," said Wilson Cleveland, a spokesperson for Generate. "The strategy is to drive views on all sites, hence the broad distribution, and approach brands with illustration of success already in-hand."

The Content: "Pink" tells the story of the "modern American female dilemma," Mr. Maden said. The twist? Add a gun into the mix. The main character, played by former "VIP" co-star Natalie Raitano, is a career assassin who tires of her life of killing. She quits but winds up in prison. While locked up, her biological clock starts ticking, so to become a mom, she must get out of prison. She gets out and returns to a life of killing. "She is always chasing a man, either one to marry or one to kill," Mr. Maden said. The first season ran for 10 episodes and each installment lasts about three to four minutes. The second season will run through December and a third season will launch in February. Together the second and third seasons will include 25 episodes.

Backstory: The Loud Pictures team met when Mr. Maden wrote a screenplay for a film called "Stranglehold" that's currently in development for Mr. Calhoun to produce. After partnering on "Stranglehold," Mr. Calhoun suggested they create a Web series. They envisioned "Pink" as "`Eastern Promises' on a college campus," Mr. Maden said. Loud Pictures partnered with Generate after the success of the first season. In addition to managing the production, advertising and distribution of the show, Generate also helps coordinate the Loud Pictures team through Generate's talent management division.

Endgame: Mr. Maden said he and Mr. Calhoun enjoy crafting stories for the Internet. "We love telling stories," he said. "We love this process. The Web gives you the space and freedom to do that and some of those stories might be better suited for TV and film, and possibly could go there. But right now we want to focus on this form because it's unique and unusual. You structure it like a film, release it like a TV series and have to do it in three- to four-minute increments. It's a hard skill to master, but we are doing it and making ourselves better storytellers."
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