'Captain Blasto' Obliterates Film-Web Video Barrier
The Creator: Chris Preksta is a filmmaker who wrote, directed and produced the feature film "Captain Blasto." The movie is currently available on the Web, where it's released in short episodes twice a month. The Web cut of "Captain Blasto" is produced by Mercury Men Pictures, a new media production shop founded by Mr. Preksta last year.
The Distributor: "Captain Blasto" is available at Captainblasto.com, blip.tv, YouTube, iTunes and MySpace. The film-turned-Web-series is being released online in 5- to 7- minute episodes. It debuted in May and will run through October. All told, the Web cut of the film will run one hour and fifteen minutes, a full 30 minutes shorter than the feature film. Each episode generates about 10,000 views. The premiere episode was a featured video on YouTube, where it earned more than 100,000 views. "More people saw 'Captain Blasto' during its first hour featured on YouTube than in the whole three years of its festival run," Mr. Preksta said.
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The Sponsors: "Captain Blasto" is not currently ad-supported. Mr. Preksta said he is currently talking to advertisers about sponsoring two new projects that he'll begin work on in the fall.
The Content: "Captain Blasto" is the story of a comic-book obsessed high school student whose boredom prompts him to recruit a group of middle-aged men to stage robberies that he can then break up, superhero style. The audience is largely comprised of comic book aficionados, though Mr. Preksta said he also hears from high schoolers and viewers in their 40s who like the show. The show has been covered in online outlets including Aint it Cool News and Pulp Secret.
Backstory: In 2003 Mr. Preksta spent four months shooting and editing "Captain Blasto" as a feature film. The film made its way to the film festival circuit in 2005, hitting Newport Beach Film Festival, London Independent Film Festival and others. That was good, but Mr. Preksta wanted "Captain Blasto" to have another life. So he put it on the Web in May and now it runs as an online serial. Mr. Preksta edited the series for online consumption. The work Mr. Preksta did in editing the film for the Internet offers a useful case study for other filmmakers who want to transpose their work from one medium to another. As an example, the first five minutes of the Web version actually encompass 17 minutes in the film, he said. "You have to edit the story to its barest bones and we didn't have much room to leave in scenes that didn't fully focus on the main plot," he said. "Some scenes needed to be cut and some scenes were cut down to be a lot quicker."
Endgame: "Captain Blasto" is a calling card project for Mr. Preksta. He said he's made connections with other filmmakers through the film. The Web series will run through October and will be available on DVD in the months following. DVD sales will help fund future projects, Preksta said. That includes "The Mercury Men," a black and white sci-fi adventure, and "A Great Disturbance," a mockumentary about Star Wars fans.