MCMFriday, June 18, 2004
This post is from a version of my blog with inconsistent timestamps: evidently I was very good at defining 'modified' dates, but not 'created' dates. As such, I can't be sure when the content was actually written. Sorry!

This is partly story and partly logistics, but I'm thinking it has more to do with writing style than anything. Please bear with me while I explain this as best I can...

If you have seen Alias, you'll know what I mean by this. In the first two seasons of that show (especially the first), they had a brilliant bit of writing going on where every single commercial break ended with almost a mini-cliffhanger that was so jarring that you truly had no idea it was coming, and it made you want to stick around to see how it played out. I haven't seen any other entertainment that can replicate that feeling since, and I don't think anyone has done it as well before.

That brings me to the big issue at hand: how to manage commercials. We do not necessarily need commercial breaks in Liberty Bell, especially if it is being released primarily over the web and DVD. There are a lot of shows that do well without commercials, but I would suggest that in some cases, the need for the break almost acts as a structural crutch for the format... if you don't put in a break, it doesn't seem like a show as much.

The ideal for a show like LB is to keep the action close to Garamond at the risk of over-exposing him (the more we see the other side of the story, the less the paranoia and uncertainty), and to keep the tension as tight as we can the whole way through. There'll definitely be action in the show (Darien), but it almost seems necessary to set unreasonable goals for cliffhangers just so that it stays vital all the way through.

Best way to explain it: I'm contemplating episode 1, where Garamond has just escaped (temporarily) from the 5p14t gang, and is having a little breather. Does he start thinking about his situation, or do we jump into more action? If we did the movie way, you'd either be very introspective for a while, or you'd keep the pace up so there isn't a break. But what a commercial break does is allows us to put the start of the action there, take a break, end the action sooner (it would feel too long otherwise), and then get introspective sooner.

I think we really need those RRCC bits in there. If we could buffer each break with those, they'd even work on the web, regardless of the TV question.


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