Want to run your own web series?
Mass Participation TV Potentials!
Ask A Healer Creativity Articles
Are you an actor waiting for a great role? Why not create it yourself? That's right, create and promote your own show, build your audience, invite other performers to contribute. It's your show so you can build it exactly how you wish!
I did this for a couple of years, on a free platform that was then provided by a company called Theatrics. Since then, the site has closed but I'm hoping there are others out there to step in for this awesome experience. Mass Participation tv is where different folks, from all over the world, can create a story together. In the case of theatrics, we first started with a series called Beckinfield. I was part of this for a couple of years. Then, they attempted to brand out into letting us start our own shows. I created one called Shadrach Village and participated in a couple of other shows by Beckinfielders. It was great fun and I was sad when it ended but it did highlight the potential.
by N J Howell
enjoy a creative moment
need audition monologues?
can you cry on cue?
Shadrach Village, Where Dreams Can Breathe... Princess Oleska Invites You! Special thanks to Sharon and Richie McKnight for terrific editing of my intro as well as several other videos for the series. Sharon and Richie also played characters on the show and as such, housed Shadrach Village in their old plumbing warehouse!
Shadrach Village Intro
Update: Since theatrics has closed their site I am unsure whether or not I'll be moving Shadrach Village to another website or maybe making a short film from it at some point in the future. Please follow my twitter for updates: @cosmicholistic
Synopsis of my original web series, previously hosted on the Theatrics Platform: Shadrach Village is a rather magical place in an abandoned warehouse where creative souls come to remember and enliven their dreams. At Shadrach Village, there is a magical lion named Leo who shows up whenever Villagers or townfolk are in trouble so you can see it really is a magical place. Living at the village is rustic living. When the village started there wasn't even running water. Soon, thanks to the generosity of an annonymous donor, there was a flushing toilet and another befriender donated cell phones! At the time the theatrics website came down, there was still no electricity in the the old Flushing Warehouse but the Villagers were resourceful and candles created nice ambience. This was my show on the theatrics platform, peopled with fellow actors who create a fun and interesting cast. Shadrach Village is just one example of what was once possible in the new Theatrics Platform. I'm so proud of the cast. Each character is so unique and adds something special to the village. I hope I can take the concept (I own that, not theatrics, another nice perk of their free MPTV site) and recreate Shadrach Village elsewhere.
Shadrach Village was and will continue to be a pg show with an uplifting theme so if you're wanting another type of show to participate in, look around online or create one of your own! Other characters I've had fun playing on theatrics included Nurse Gertrude on The Edge of Sanity and the lovely Nanny Spratt of The Castle Hassle. I got to play around with a German and Cockney accent, and develop original characters on these shows as well. If I'd had time, I think I could have mastered the accents and also the character development. As it is, Nurse Gertrude and Nanny Spratt remain two characters I can pull out of my hat for improvs or auditions and that's no small thing. Two other former Beckinfielders were the show runners for Edge of Sanity and The Castle Hassle, my friend Iulia Nastaste and Tina Lee Johnson.
How my MPTV connection started: From 2010 to May 2 of this year, I participated in an incredible acting experience. It was a Mass Participation TV project about a supernaturally strange town called Beckinfield, peopled with extraordinary characters. For me, it was 2 years of pure creative joy and I admit I was pretty sad when it ended but the good news is that Theatrics had another idea up their sleeve.
MPTV stands for Mass Participation TV and it's an online space where I became a part of a fictional town called Beckinfield, California, created a unique character, Leda Jo Gupta, the owner of "Leda Jo's Bar and Grill". The bar and grill was my own creation and became the go-to spot for just about everyone in town.
We had awesome collabs involving lots of Beckinfielders. We had lots of parties at Leda Jo's Bar and Grill too. Our largest collab was the Poetry Slam and Sing Off, which had over 2 dozen Beckinfielders participating, each posting their video in 5 minute segments that made it appear as if they were all together at the bar and grill. It was AWESOME! I posted a playlist on youtube of one particularly fun Halloween Party.
We Beckinfielders were given topics each week by the creators of the series but we took it from there. It was a great writing experience. I wrote my own storyline and interacted with a lot of talented actors from all over the world. It was really a dream for actors as well as writers, but wasn't limited to professionals. Anyone could join and, as long as they adhered to the guidelines, could post video blogs of their own as part of this fictional town. There were instructions that help you structure your show, after you registered. I miss Beckinfield.
Who was Involved?
Theatrics was the brainchild of Bob Gebert, Tracy Evans and Biff Van Cleve. There was some change of hands before a new theatrics was unveiled, I am not sure who was involved at that point but it's all gone now. There were thousands of actors involved in creating the storylines for Beckinfield, though a lot of those did not post every week. There was a rather large increase in those numbers during the period that the Ultimate Online Audition Contest was running.
Jonathan Frakes temporarily created the character of Dylan Marks, Hollywood Director, who came to Beckinfield to cast a little theatre production. Townspeople (actors playing characters in Beckinfield) auditioned and were cast in roles for the play, The Legends of Beckinfield. Finalists each took home $200 prizes (I was one of those finalists) and the winner took $10,000 (My friend and accomplished L.A. actor, Michael Town).
Other Hollywood Tie-Ins:
Scott David, a well-known casting director in Hollywood, reviewed B-field videos every month and chose three of his favorite Beckinfielders to commend. These are called "Scott's Picks" and I had the honor of being chosen more than once. I really enjoyed opening up my email to see that I was a Scott's Pick for the month. I miss the collaborations, the contests, the whole nine yards.
Also, of my favorite L.A. folks, Marc Zicree, was involved in the Beckinfield fun. Marc acted as a consultant and article contributor and even accepted audition tapes for his new movie from Beckinfield actors. I met Marc when I attended his Round Table and 6-week mentoring classes. His latest project is Space Command, for which funds were quickly raised on kickstarter.com. I've read some excellent articles by both Marc Zicree and Scott David on the website as well.
It's over ...
As of May 2, Beckinfield went on hiatus ... that part is over ... and we've recently been notified that the entire platform is coming down very soon. Since then, the site has indeed been taken down. theatrics is no more.