Web series Anyone But Me is launching its first-ever Web-a-Thon Tuesday to crowdsource funding for its third season. The event is the first of its kind in the world of online TV, and will need to raise $120,000 in just three days to bring the show back.
The series, which calls Blip.tv home, has been praised as a teen drama for the ethnically and sexually diverse post-9/11 generation. It has received honors from both the Webby and Streamy awards, but the Web-a-Thon is its biggest hurdle yet. If successful, it could spark a new trend in the Web TV industry as shows search for funding.
"We ruled out the subscription model because we don’t want to limit our reach," says Susan Miller, who created the show with Tina Cesa Ward. The series received private funding for the first two seasons. "Everyone’s scrambling to find a business paradigm to sustain the Web, and this is kind of a thrilling experiment. The best thing about the Web is inclusivity."
To capitalize on the tremendous amount of support the show's 5 million viewers have expressed, the cast and crew of Anyone But Me are pulling out all the stops. In addition to original videos launching at 4 p.m. over the next few days (including a walking tour of New York City locations from the show, interviews with the actors, and an elusive cast competition), the team will host an online auction where fans can bid on prizes from a walk-on role to lunch with the creators, among others.
"We wanted to make something for our fans beyond their expectations, something to demonstrate how we regard them as collaborators, in a way," says Miller, whose past credits include The L Word and Thirtysomething. "If we’re going to ask them to sacrifice even just a few dollars, then we have to show up for them in a major way."
Should the show not reach its fundraising goal in full, Miller is hopeful that they’ll be able to attract financing or sponsorship to support their remaining needs. "There are companies out there who may not know us, but they’re going to hear from us," she says. "I mean, five million views! For an original scripted drama! Come on."