By Sahil Patel
Hulu has acquired the US rights to four short-form web series from Smokebomb Entertainment, the digital division of Canadian producer and distributor Shaftesbury.
“State of Syn” is a sci-fi that follows a young woman who is pulled into a web of mystery surrounding her father’s former company after his unexplained death. The series is described as a “3D-enabled science fiction motion novel,” combining live-action photography with animated “hyper-real” backgrounds. It stars Jewel Staite (“Firefly”) and David Hewlett (“Stargate SG-1”) and was produced in partnership with the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream and the OMDC’s Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit. The series runs for eight five-minute episodes, which will be available on Hulu on January 18, 2014.
“Long Story, Short,” is a romantic dramedy series about a 21-year-old woman and her two best friends as they try to deal with messy relationships, bad dates, drunken mishaps, and other “assorted humiliations.” The series, which originally aired on KoldCast in the US and Canada in August, was created by Katie Boland (“Reign”) and co-created by Gail Harvey (“Lost Girl”). “Long Story, Short” is written by Boland and directed by Harvey, with both also producing the show in partnership with the Independent Production Fund. The series spans 11 five-minute episodes, all of which will be available on Hulu on February 15, 2014.
“Unlikely Heroes,” described as a tween adventure series, follows a group of nerds on a hike through the woods who come across a couple of mysterious, ancient artifacts. Adventure ensues. The series originally premiered in Canada on YTV.com on Octoer 22. It was produced with the participation of the Independent Production Fund and support from the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The series consists of eight five-minute episodes. A release date for Hulu has not been determined yet.
“Totally Amp’d” tells the story of a group of musically gifted kids who are brought together to become the next big pop group. It stars Ashley Leggat (“Life with Derek”), Cristine Propseri (“Degrassi: The Next Generation”), and Demetrius Joyette (“Wingin’ It”). The series is currently available in Canada on YTV.com. It was financed with the participation of the Canada Media Fund’s Experimental Stream and the OMDC’s Ontario Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit. The show spans 10, six-minute episodes. A US premiere date for Hulu has not been determined.
While the official premiere dates for “Unlikely Heroes” and “Totally Amp’d” were not disclosed, Smokebomb says to expect them to be available in the next three months.
Similar to what you’re seeing with television shows, some of these programs also offer companion mobile experiences. For instance, Smokebomb is partnering with SF-based mobile game developer Mind Pirate to create an app for Google Glass. This app will look to extend the “State of Syn” story-world to those who own the wearable tech. The plan is to have an app ready by March 2014.
“It’s always been Smokebomb’s goal to create and produce content that can appear on any screen in any market, and our partnership with Hulu exemplifies this,” said Jay Bennett, VP of digital and creative director of Smokebomb Entertainment. “Not only is this an opportunity to expand the reach of our digital slate, it also allows us to bring the companion apps for these series to wider audiences, including working with Google Glass to extend storytelling to the next generation of technology.”