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Max Barry wrote the novels Syrup, Jennifer Government, Company, Machine Man, and Lexicon. He also created the game NationStates and once found a sock full of pennies.

Blog

Mon 16
Aug
2004

Something Desirable

What Max Reckons Sometimes you have to sit back and say, “Damn, this internet thing is cool.” I mean, obviously we all know it’s pretty handy. You can send e-mails on it and steal music and read newspapers for free. But occasionally you get reminded just how cool it is, in the world-shaking, society-defining sense of the word. Like when you go to this site.

Something To Be Desired is what happens when a bunch of people decide it’d be neat to make a TV series, only without the TV part. Instead they put up each episode on their web site, where you can watch it for free. A drama-comedy set around a Pittsburgh radio station, Something To Be Desired is clearly being made with very little money but bucket-loads of talent and enthusiasm, and it’s totally addictive: you download one ten-minute episode and then you have to find out whether Jack and Dierdre are going to sleep together and before you know it two and a half hours have passed, you’ve watched the whole thing, and you can’t believe you have to wait two weeks for the next episode.

Before the internet, I never would have seen this. In fact, it probably wouldn’t have been made, because why spend the time and money producing a series that has very little chance of ever being broadcast? But the web offers creative people a new way to drop their work directly in front of an audience. There’s no need for pitch meetings, for agents, for attending industry events in the vain hope of networking with someone who can get you a meeting with someone at a studio; instead, you just produce something, stick it on your web site, and if it’s any good, ordinary people hear about it and come check it out.

This is the vanguard of a major decentralization of the creative arts industry. As the internet evolves, hundreds of thousands of amateur artists are going to forget about trying to batter down the closed doors in Hollywood, the networks, and the publishing industry. Instead, they’ll just publish their work on the net. Some of it will be brilliant. Much of it will be terrible. But all of it will be given a real chance to find an audience, a chance that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. And, damn, that’s cool.

Comments

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Erin (#1481)

Location: Seattle
Quote: "Living is easy with eyes closed"
Posted: 5070 days ago

I just watched all of STBD. I really liked it. You're absolutely correct in saying that the internet is an amazing thing. Too bad they're overseas right now. I hate waiting for new episodes. I just wanted to comment so that I could thank you for showing me this awesome show!

Erin (#1481)

Location: Seattle
Quote: "Living is easy with eyes closed"
Posted: 5070 days ago

Forgot to mention it, but I'm sure you already noticed that Jack is readin Jennifer Government in Season 2. It made me smile.

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