WBEZ | web series http://www.wbez.org/tags/web-series Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The future of Chicago film, TV http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/future-chicago-film-tv-109048 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" flickr="" spencer="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Flickr%3ASpencer%20Hughes.jpg" title="Filming an explosion for &quot;Transformers 4.&quot; (Flickr/Spencer Hughes)" transformers="" /></div><p><a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/meet-the-new-bossyou-get-what-you-pay-for/Content?oid=924074" target="_blank">Illinois Film Office head</a>&nbsp;Betsy Steinberg recently told the <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/illinois-film-industry-booming-tax-breaks-expiring/Content?oid=11339369" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Reader</em></a> that while studios are making fewer films, &quot;a huge influx of episodic television&quot; has been great for job security. &quot;We love our movies,&quot; she adds, &quot;but one season of &#39;Chicago Fire&#39; could easily outspend a blockbuster movie.&quot;</p><p>Steinberg says that six TV series are currently filming in Chicago:</p><ul><li>NBC&#39;s &quot;Chicago PD&quot;</li><li>NBC&#39;s &quot;Chicago Fire&quot;</li><li>ABC&#39;s &quot;Betrayal&quot;</li><li>ABC&#39;s &quot;Mind Games&quot;</li><li>USA network comedy &quot;Sirens&quot;</li><li>NBC&#39;s &quot;Crisis&quot;&nbsp;</li></ul><p>Meanwhile, the blockbuster films that used Chicago as a backdrop in 2013 include:</p><ul><li>the Wachowski&#39;s &quot;Jupiter Ascending&quot;</li><li>Michael Bay&#39;s &quot;Transformers 4&quot;</li><li>the Bollywood musical &quot;Dhoom 3&quot;</li><li>the dystopian thriller &quot;Divergent&quot;&nbsp;</li></ul><p>When asked for comment on this record-breaking year for film and television in Chicago, Steinberg said the success is due in large part to the <a href="http://www.illinois.gov/dceo/whyillinois/Film/FilmTaxCredit/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">Illinois Film Tax Credit</a>, which offers producers a credit of 30 percent of all qualified expenditures.</p><p>&quot;As much as people love to be in Chicago, and as much as Chicago is such an excellent setting for film and television, we wouldn&#39;t have any business without the tax credit,&quot; Steinberg explained, &quot;In today&#39;s climate, with many states competing in the very lucrative film and television industry, our 30 percent tax credit has been instrumental in attracting business.&quot;</p><p>But what will happen when Section 181, the federal film tax benefit that guarantees investors will get back up to <a href="http://dakdan.com/investor_relations.html" target="_blank">75 percent</a>&nbsp;of&nbsp;their investment before a film is even distributed, expires at the end of this year?</p><p>Section 181 has expired before,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/illinois-film-industry-booming-tax-breaks-expiring/Content?oid=11339369" target="_blank">most recently in 2011</a>, and been reinstated. Plus, according to Steinberg, the Illinois Film Tax Credit is much more integral to productions at the state level than Section 181.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m sure there are plenty of producers, especially those who are in a certain range of $15 to $20 million films, who have been relying quite heavily on Section 181,&quot; Steinberg says, &quot;But the type of business that we have been seeing, both in television and with studio movie blockbusters, aren&#39;t really the productions that depend on Section 181.&quot;</p><p>The evolution of <a href="http://www.chicagofilmstudios.com" target="_blank">Cinespace Studios</a>&nbsp;also has played a major role in elevating the Chicago film and TV industry to new heights. Adds Steinberg: &quot;Cinespace has increased the square footage that projects can now use to build huge sets. So basically, because of all this increased space, we can now hold a volume of work never before possible.&quot;</p><p>Still, in a city crammed with raw filmmaking talent and increasingly creative means for distribution, do other alternatives for film and TV production exist?&nbsp;</p><p>Future success may lie in the web series, which has formed a kind of underground scene in Chicago that also has been rapidly gaining traction online.</p><p>&quot;Easy Abby,&quot; a lesbian romcom web series from Chicago-based writer/director Wendy Jo Carlton, recently hit <a href="http://easyabby.com/2013/05/11/easy-abby-hits-5-million-views/" target="_blank">5 million views</a>&nbsp;and has garnered substantial audiences in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France, Germany, and the UK.</p><p>Other popular web series filmed in the Chicago area include the <a href="http://funemployedchicago.com/about-us/" target="_blank">millennial comedy</a> &quot;Funemployed,&quot; now in Season 3;&nbsp;&quot;Kam Kardashian,&quot; written up by the Chicago Tribune as &quot;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-25/entertainment/ct-mov-0426-chicago-closeup-20130426_1_minority-status-web-series-kardashians" target="_blank">a web series worth watching</a>;&quot; and &quot;Celestial Bodies,&quot; a live-action&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/CelestialBodiesTV" target="_blank">space adventure</a> show for all ages that features a bevy of Chicago writers, artists, actors, and athletes.</p><p>Coming soon:&nbsp;a new project from award-winning local writer/director <a href="http://www.jasonknade.com/about/" target="_blank">Jason Knade</a> and &quot;My Block, My Hood, My City&quot; from Chicago author&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/738632684/my-block-my-hood-my-city" target="_blank">Jahmal Cole</a>.</p><p>As much as I hope that big-budget TV shows and features will continue to be made in Chicago for many years to come, I&#39;m also excited to see which Kickstarter-funded local web series and indie films will catapult their creators to national or even worldwide stardom.&nbsp;</p><p>After all, wouldn&#39;t it be nice if the resounding refrain from industry professionals was not &quot;You have to move to L.A. to make this happen,&quot; but rather, &quot;Why move to Hollywood when you can do it here?&quot;</p><p><em>Note: A previous version of this story misstated the expiration date of a film tax credit. The text has been updated to correct this error. Additional comment from the Illinois Film Office have also been added to further clarify. </em></p></p> Fri, 01 Nov 2013 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/future-chicago-film-tv-109048 Finding 'Geek Love' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/geek-love-new-normal-105118 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Geek_Love.jpg" title="'Geek Love' is an online reality series that focuses on Sci-Fi Speed Dating, a speed dating business founded by Ryan Glitch that brings “like-minded people together to embrace their idiosyncrasies and find love” at events like Comic-Con. (Geek Love/IGN)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Whenever I meet someone with the slightest bit of dating potential, I wait for the inevitable statement of identity that all hipster elitists seem to share: &quot;I am <em>such</em>&nbsp;a nerd.&quot;&nbsp;Some people define their expertise by category (gamer, techie, film snob, music geek etc.) while others claim to be masters of all subjects. Many of them are just poseurs, hoping to woo me with their extensive knowledge of Internet memes and coffee table books from Urban Outfitters. Still, the trend speaks for itself: nerd culture and pop culture have become inexplicably intertwined.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>So, what happens when you fall somewhere in between? I&#39;m way too nerdy to resist a&nbsp;marathon of <em>Doctor Who </em>or a&nbsp;midnight premiere of <em>Harry Pott</em><em>er (</em>in full costume,&nbsp;of course!)&nbsp;but I&#39;m also not quite geeky enough to attend a&nbsp;robot&nbsp;convention or learn advanced Klingon. While I enjoy playing Galaga at my neighborhood barcade and reading obscene amounts of Mulder/Scully fan fiction, I&#39;ve never played a video game (my parents didn&#39;t allow them in the house when I was growing up) and I&#39;ve only read a handful of comic books from cover-to-cover.&nbsp;Does that make me ineligible for geekdom? Is there a nerd hierarchy that I must adhere to in order to claim membership?&nbsp;</p><p>Obviously, putting on a pair of hipster glasses and watching PBS on occasion does not make you a real nerd. However, with the rabid popularity of superhero movies like <em>The Avengers</em> and television shows like <em>The Big Bang Theory</em>, even people who don&#39;t go around describing themselves as nerds secretly wish that they had more nerdy qualities.&nbsp;</p><p>Enter <em>Geek Love</em>, a reality show about Sci-Fi Speed Dating that began as a one-hour special on TLC and now thrives as a web series on IGN&#39;s START YouTube channel. The nine-episode series premiered on January 3, 2013 and airs new episodes every Thursday at 12 p.m. PT. Check out Episode 1 below, as a bonafide&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Brony">Brony </a>named Alex tries to step out of the friend zone (been there, man) and find a geekmate for life at New York&#39;s Comic-Con:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/sQ5iwGApwLM" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Although Chicagoans will have to wait until August for the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wizardworld.com/home-ch.html">Wizard World </a>Comic-Con at the Rosemont Convention Center, several smaller-scale events are coming up soon.</p><p>Lauren Rapciak of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/geek-girl-chicago/2013/01/ways-to-meet-geeky-girlfriend-or-boyfriend-in-chicago/">Geek Girl Chicago&nbsp;</a>&nbsp;just posted her list for the spring, which includes the Chicago Nerd Social Club&#39;s <a href="http://www.facebook.com/events/552580318085742/">Newbie Welcoming Party</a> on February 2, the Nerds at Heart <a href="http://www.eventbrite.com/org/1143977175">Sixth Annual Lovefest</a> on February 14 and even a Chicago Sci-Fi Speed Dating event tentatively scheduled for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.c2e2.com">C2E2</a>&nbsp;on April 26. Most of these groups offer queer-friendly meetups as well, so everyone has an equal chance of finding someone special.&nbsp;</p><p>Here&#39;s my advice for those geeky singles who would prefer <em>not</em> to spend the dreaded month of February alone: keep your options open. Instead of searching for a carbon copy of yourself, be open to the possibility of new experiences and adventures outside of your comfort zone. Believe me, not sharing all of the same fandoms can be a good thing (unless the other person doesn&#39;t know what a fandom is, in which case you should get out quick). &nbsp;</p><p>What are your thoughts on nerd culture and dating in Chicago? Leave a comment below or send me a tweet <a href="http://twitter.com/leahkpickett">@leahkpickett</a>.&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 25 Jan 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-01/geek-love-new-normal-105118