“High Maintenance” embraces the non-linear consumption habits of the internet to create a cohesive and addictive narrative.
...because it's the little web series that made it big, gaining wider distribution through Vimeo and then landing on HBO. The show is also a great example of turning the budget limitations of a web series into creative filmmaking solutions. Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld used the little resources available to their advantage by writing each episode around the specific actors and locations at their disposal. The result is a free-flowing narrative about a pot delivery service in New York that focuses on interesting characters in unique situations instead of a structured series arc.
More on High Maintenance
Although “High Maintenance” is a character-driven show rather than a serialized narrative, each script follows a structure developed by the creators. The so-called “five-point” structure breaks each webisode into miniature acts centered on the characters and their interactions. The final act or climax often involves some kind revelation or reversal, which offers insight into the characters’ lives the audience had not expected. While critics may point to this as just a new formula, Sinclair and Blichfeld are among the few people to create a narrative structure that works well for short content over repeated episodes.
As a web series, “High Maintenance” takes advantage of the creative freedom allowed on the internet. Without the interference of network executives concerned mainly about ad revenue, Blichfeld and Sinclair were able to realize their vision of a show about an aimless, unnamed protagonist selling drugs to oddball New Yorkers. At the same time, they were also careful to avoid the pitfalls of producing amateur content on the web. In addition to writing scripts within their budget limitations, the creators also spent nearly eight months editing the first five minute “pilot” episode (in addition to the time spent writing and developing the story and script). During this extended post-production, Sinclair and Blichfeld rejected the originally more elaborate backstory of the protagonist and settled on the minimalist narrative structure and style of the series.
When Vimeo offered to produce the next episodes of “High Maintenance,” the series became a pioneer for other web shows in terms of funding and distribution. Blichfeld and Sinclair shot the first thirteen episodes on their own budget, which often meant friends and family members were willing to work for free. Vimeo also wisely gave the creators the same artistic freedom in writing and shooting the episodes, with the only stipulation that Blichfeld and Sinclair actually produce the content. While this move eventually propelled the series into a deal with HBO, it effectively created a new model for television on the web.
What’s the Difference Between Shooting a Web Series and an Indie Film?Read more
6 Things I wish i had Known Before Making a Web SeriesRead more
Create Your Own TV Series for the InternetBuy now $27
Writers on the Web: Interview with Amy Berg, TV Writer and Creator of “Caper”Read more
Ben Sinclair & Katja BlichfeldRead more
Why Web Series are the New Frontier of Content CreationRead more
This Addictive Web Series Is Better Than Anything On TVRead more
Vimeo Serves Up Another Hit Of High MaintenanceRead more
‘High Maintenance’ offers a witty, insightful and sometimes heartbreaking view of New York City through the eyes of a marijuana delivery manRead more
The Creators of ‘High Maintenance’ Are Stoned and Eating All the Snacks in Vimeo’s OfficeRead more
High Maintenance’s Budding Success Is About Way More Than DrugsRead more
Watch This Now: ‘High Maintenance’ Munchies (Video)Read more
Vimeo To Finance Six New Episodes Of ‘High Maintenance’ Web SeriesRead more
The Infinite Reasons to Watch This Year’s Best Web Series, ‘High Maintenance’Read more
The Creators of Web Series High Maintenance Talk Cutting The Fat of Your Story, Five Point Episode Structure and Their Mission to Redefine ‘The Stoner’Read more
Friends and Favors: ‘High Maintenance’ Creators Share Their Secret To SuccessRead more