March 20, 2014 9:00am PT by Natalie Jarvey
Machinima Premieres Web Series 'Enormous'
Machinima is asking viewers to help decide whether its newest pilot should become a full-fledged web series.
The YouTube multichannel network Thursday debuted the pilot for Enormous, a live-action series based on the Image Comics graphic novel of the same name. The West Hollywood company will study audience response to the pilot before ordering it to series.
Written by Tim Daniel and illustrated by Mehdi Cheggour, the comic tells the story of a post-apocalyptic world where humans are prey for giant insects. Producer Adrian Askarieh (Hit Man) optioned the project with Machinima more than a year ago.
The live-action pilot is written by Andrew Ovredal and directed by BenDavid Grabinski. It stars Ceren Lee as a mother who has lost her child and now rescues abandoned children. Erica Gimpel (Veronica Mars) and Steve Braun (Wrong Turn 2) also star.
Enormous is one of a handful of Machinima original series whose fate will be decided by fans. Machinima vp development Andy Shapiro tells THR that the audience feedback process is meant to keep costs down and engage viewers.
"We need to be able to test things," he says. "We need to be able to get our audience integrated early on. Hearing what people are looking for will help guide us a little bit more."
Machinima will use viewership metrics, conversations around the projects and internal discussions to determine which series it ultimately will pick up.
For director Grabinski, that means the next few months will be a waiting game.
"I have a million ideas and I'd love to just jump into it," he says. "But the thing that's fascinating is that there are a lot of opportunities dictated by [the audience reaction]. It's different than anything I've done before."
Production on Enormous began in October 2013 and cost in the low six figures, says Askarieh, adding that Machinima "backed us all the way. I will always be grateful to them and for their vision in letting us do Enormous the way we wanted."
The Enormous pilot streams on Machinima Prime, a YouTube channel devoted to the company's original scripted series. The company's first big push into original content was Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, a full-length series based on the popular Microsoft game that premiered in 2012.
Shapiro says short web series such as Enormous are meant to help round out Machinima's original content offerings.
"The end goal for all of this from a programming point of view is to fall into a cadence that allows us regular scripted programming."