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EastSiders

...because if you’re familiar with web series, you probably think they need to be short, funny and pander to obvious stereotypes in order to succeed. Kit Williamson’s “EastSiders” didn’t necessarily intend to prove all of this wrong, but that’s exactly what the show does. By offering a complex depiction of a non-traditional gay couple, the show is a great example of how more serious content can find a place on the internet. The attention to detail also goes further than just the writing and storytelling, with every element of production striving for a higher standard than the average new media content.



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EastSiders Sea 2 Trailer

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Meet the Eastsiders - Kit Williamson and John Halbach (Start at 5m30s)

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Kit Williamson and how Kickstarter played a role in creating EastSiders

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Like a lot of DIY filmmakers, Williamson didn’t have a lot of resources at his disposal when he first started out. However, he believed in his idea so much that he initially self-financed the first few episodes. This process was not without its difficulties, with Williamson often relying on many friends with patience and overall good will towards what he was trying to do. Once the early episodes were available, Williamson was able to turn to crowdfunding via Kickstarter to finish the first season of the show. When he returned to Kickstarter to raise money for Season 2, he managed to raise over $100,000. As the series gained more of an audience, not to mention overall acclaim, it eventually found a home on the digital platforms of Logo TV and Vimeo.

There are a lot of practical reasons for keeping digital content short, from lower production costs to the average attention span of the intended audience. Williamson wanted to give his story enough space to breathe, without trying to shove all the plot information and character development into two or three minute’s worth of film. By letting his finished product range anywhere from ten to twenty minutes, he gained some of the narrative advantages of a traditional television format with the creative freedom of not having to structure for ad sponsors or time slots. By aiming for more of a professional caliber in the storytelling, Williamson also raised the bar on his overall production value as well. While a lot of new media has moved further away from the amateur quality of a lot of earlier productions, “EastSiders” was among the first to show that a web series didn’t need to seem like it was made by kids for kids.

Williamson didn’t set out to revolutionize internet content with his series. However, he did want to offer a different version of the homosexual characters often seen in traditional media. While portrayals have certainly come a long way even since “Will & Grace,” gay characters still often have their sexuality define them via stereotypes instead of being another aspect of their humanity. Williamson used his story in “EastSiders” as a way for gay and straight characters to interact without being painfully aware of their differing sexual preferences. In doing so, he showed how web series can be another means for the kind of bold character depictions we expect from independent films and groundbreaking television shows.

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webpage

EastSiders (official website)

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Article

Exclusive Interview: “EastSiders” Multi-Talent Kit Williamson Talks Season 2

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Jackson Native’s ‘EastSiders’ preps for 2nd season

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Crowdfunding 101 With EastSiders Creator Kit Williamson

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‘Eastsiders’ Creator Kit Williamson On The Series’ Fantastic Second Season

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Steph’s LA Weekly Featured Series – Eastsiders – Full Interview with Kit Williamson

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