Case Study

Romantic Futility Writ Large: 'Wainy Days'

Film and TV Vet Finds Freedom on Web

By Published on .

The Creator: New York-based director, writer and performer David Wain is the creator and star of MyDamnChannel's Web series "Wainy Days." Mr. Wain recently directed the Universal Pictures feature film "Role Models," set to open in November. Last year, he directed the movie "The Ten" and also counts "Wet Hot American Summer" among his directing credits. He previously starred in Comedy Central's "Stella."

The Distributors: MyDamnChannel is the primary home for "Wainy Days," which received a Webby Award this year for best comedy series and for best individual comedy episode. The show premiered in 2007 and has generated 6 million views over 26 episodes. MyDamnChannel syndicates it to YouTube, MySpace, DailyMotion, iMeem, Facebook, Yahoo! Video and others. A DVD of the series will come out soon.

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Advertisers: Fox SearchLight and Mr. Wain's "Role Models" are sponsoring the show currently. Previous sponsors have included run-of-site advertisers on MyDamnChannel.
Content: The series centers on the dating travails of Mr. Wain, magnified for comedic effect. Each episode runs about four to five minutes and usually takes a romantic date to absurdist lengths. Because of his Hollywood connections, Mr. Wain has landed high-profile guest stars including Paul Rudd, Jonah Hill, Elizabeth Banks, Janeane Garofalo and Ed Helms. The launch date of a fourth season has not yet been determined due to Mr. Wain's film commitments. When Mr. Wain began working on the movie "Role Models," he would shoot "Wainy Days" on weekends, "faking Los Angeles for New York," he said.

Backstory: "The original backstory to the show is when I was 11 or 12, I started to look around at girls and say, 'Oh my God, I love those people,'" Mr. Wain said. "I saw adults making out with each other and I said, 'One day that will be me. Cut to now and I am 39 years old and I have had a lifetime of running around New York City meeting a lot of crazy women and trying to meet the right one." When MyDamnChannel approached him about working on a show, the concept of meeting a new woman in each episode seemed like a natural fit, Mr. Wain said.

Endgame: Unlike many Web creators who aspire to television, Mr. Wain has a resume filled with film and television credits. For him, the Web affords freedom of creative expression that he doesn't have in other mediums. "When you make a movie, it's the opposite thing. You take months from shooting to getting to the theater, with hundreds of people and million of dollars and every thing is a battle. It was great [with 'Wainy Days' to say, 'Here is a five-page sketch, we shoot it and it will be online in a week.' I had total veto power, complete creative control, no strings attached. MyDamnChannel finds out the premise of the sketch when they get the final shot."

That works well for MyDamnChannel too, said Rob Barnett, the CEO of the site. "I signed David Wain because I knew that if I trusted his creative instincts and dropped the typical executive mumbo jumbo we'd get one of the best comic series on the Web," he said. That creative freedom is why Mr. Wain has attracted high-profile Hollywood guests stars who are eager to act without a studio or network calling the shots.

"The whole project sort of spontaneously combusted in the first place," Mr. Wain said. "Nothing about it had a plan and that continues to be the case."
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