With web series and digital media becoming more popular over the last few years, there have been people like Lauren Atkins, who want to showcase these types of works and honor them. Atkins created the first NYC Web Fest just two years ago and was met with such success that she's here welcoming in the third.
netTVnow: What prompted you to create NYC Web Fest?
Lauren Atkins: In 2013, I was shopping our web series with JamisonKane Entertainment, about stand-up comedy around. After researching festivals I realized that were several on the West coast, but nothing in NYC. Meanwhile, I had gone to so many meet ups for creators here and they were always well attended. I thought to myself, "Why hasn't anyone created a New York festival?" So I did it.
netTVnow: What had you hoped to accomplish from it?
LA: Oddly enough, what I hoped to accomplish has already happened. I wanted to create a place where creators from around the world can come to watch, learn, schmooze and have a good time. Creators flew in from Australia, the UK, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy and through the US. I was so humbled and grateful.
I also wanted to host a premiere of a new series, which happened last year with Lewis Black’s The Mentors.
netTVnow: What were some challenges you faced in creating the web fest?
LA: The biggest challenge was starting something that had not been done in New York before. This is a cynical town and I’m among those cynics, so I get it.
netTVnow: I know you worked on an award winning web series of your own, can you tell me more about it and your background?
LA: The web series was a great experience, but mainly because I can relate to what every creator that submits their work is going through. It’s like being a move director who has a background in acting.
As for my background, I went on my first audition decades ago. Growing up in Toronto, I was involved in school plays, choir, I modeled, worked as a PA at a local TV station, did tons of extra work on films - you name it! In NYC, I’ve been running JamisonKane Entertainment, founded by dentist/comedian Mike King. We’ve pitched a few TV ideas, and this summer we’re premiering his new play which I’m co-producing.
netTVnow: That’s amazing! Why do you think web series and digital media type projects are beginning to become more and more popular?
LA: We’re living in an era where there are no “gate-keepers” holding us back creatively anymore. If you need money to make a film, you crowdfund. Can’t afford a publicist? Use social media. And of course, when your work is ready, you upload it for free. What a time to be alive!
netTVnow: I know that NYC Web Fest is taking submissions, what types of projects are you looking for?
LA: We welcome all types of projects, web series or vlogs in all genres. I love seeing something that pushes the envelope - something you’d never see on TV.
netTVnow: Are there any panels in line for the festival?
LA: Last year we had a Q&A with Colin Quinn’s producer and director from Cop Show, plus the cast and crew of The Mentors were there after their premiere. Both panels were very well received.
For this year, we’re working on some potential panels right now - but our festival doesn’t focus on them that much. Our main goal is to showcase the talent on the screen.
netTVnow: Do you have any advice for others who are looking to get involved in the web series community?
LA: Nike said it best, “Just do it.” Do as much research as you can of course, but ultimately if you have an idea, start writing and get to it.
This year’s NYC Web Fest will take place November 10-12 in Manhattan. For more information on the festival or if you’re interested in attending, please visit www.NYCWebFest.com to learn more.
If you are interested in submitting your work you can do so here.