Case Study

Hazing! Angst! Mystery! It's 'Sorority Forever'

Mysto-drama Stars LonelyGirl's Jessica Rose

By Published on .

The Creators: Big Fantastic is a digital-media production shop in Los Angeles that produces the Web series "Sorority Forever" for The Big Fantastic team consists of Douglas Cheney, Chris Hampel, Chris McCaleb and Ryan Wise. The quartet has made a name for themselves as one of the top production houses for Web shows. They produced the dramatic series "Sam Has 7 Friends" in 2006, which attracted the attention of former Disney chief Michael Eisner. After seeing that show, Mr. Eisner contacted Big Fantastic and inked a deal to have the company create "Prom Queen," the first Web series Mr. Eisner released under his new media studio Vuguru. Since then, Big Fantastic has also produced the Web show "Foreign Body" for Vuguru, based on the Robin Cook book of the same name, and "Cockpit" for the Web shop "60 Frames." The team's current show is "Sorority Forever," a mystery set inside a college sorority. The show stars Jessica Rose of "LonelyGirl" fame as a reluctant sorority pledge.

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The Distributors: "Sorority Forever" launched on in mid-Sept. and also runs on its own custom site on MySpaceTV. New episodes premiered daily on MySpace, DailyMotion, Joost, Sling, TiVo, Veoh and through Oct. 31.

The Sponsors: The sponsors for "Sorority Forever" have included H&M on

The Content: "Sorority Forever" takes places at Phi Chi Kappa, billed on the show's site as the hottest sorority on campus. Freshmen girls dream of getting into the sorority, but once inside they discover mysteries in the house and a terrifying secret. Thematically, the show relates to its predecessor, "Prom Queen," as a young adult mystery. "Prom Queen" is one of the most successful Web series of all time, having earned more than 20 million views. "Sorority Forever" was created with interactive elements and fans can get involved in the show. All the characters have MySpace pages that are updated regularly with photos, videos and comments to one another and to fans. Mr. Wise said some fans take the interactivity to an extreme extent. "One fan, Jess, asked the character Rachel how she could become a Phi Chi Kappa." "Rachel told her to submit a video stating why she thinks she is Phi Chi material." She made the video, submitted it to Rachel and is now actually in episode 38."

Backstory: After creating "Prom Queen," Mr. McCaleb said he wanted to take the programming to the next level. He and his co-founders considered a range of different college stories for their next project. Mr. McCaleb said they were drawn to a story about sororities because the secret societies are intrinsically mysterious. "We developed the concept, the story, the characters, and wrote it all into a detailed pitch," he said. "As soon as it looked like the show was actually going to happen, we invested in a lot of detailed research. We did over 25 hour-long interviews with current, former and ex- sorority sisters. We're four guys, who weren't in a sorority, so it was very important to us that the experience be presented with as much authenticity as possible. We learned a lot from these interviews, both the upside and downside of the sisterhood."

Endgame: The show ended Oct. 31. Mr. McCaleb and Mr. Wise said their future interests remain in storytelling whatever the medium. "Our goal is to make shows that people enjoy watching weather it be on the Internet, television, film, or hologram," Mr. Wise said.
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