A few weeks ago, Coast City Comicon organizer Tristan Gallagher had a secret. Asked about a Comicon event titled the “Entertainment Experiment Panel,” Gallagher claimed he’d been sworn to secrecy, adding only, “Seriously, this is kind of a big deal.”
He wasn’t kidding.
Described as “a global network for Maine Web artists,” the Entertainment Experiment (entertainmentexperiment.com), a website launched by the creators of the acclaimed Maine webseries “Ragged Isle,” aims to become nothing less than the focal point for Maine-made Web content. As “Ragged Isle”/Entertainment Experiment co-creator Barry Dodd puts it, “Our goal is to help legitimize the work of all of these artists by providing an optimum viewing experience” for people seeking original local filmmaking.
The Entertainment Experiment’s inaugural class of webseries include “Ragged Isle” (Dodd’s “Twin Peaks”-esque supernatural thriller); “No Refund for Content” (about the comedic misadventures of the beleaguered staff of an indie Portland movie theater); “Food Coma TV” (Portland epicurean Joe Ricchio’s dinner, drinks and conversation series); “The Spoiler Alert” (a talk show about the best Web offerings hosted by the Entertainment Experiment’s own Justin St. Louis); local cooking show “Veg EZ”; “The Cleansed” (a post-apocalyptic audio drama set in Bangor); “Haunt ME” (a reality series about Maine ghost hunters); and “Vacationlanders” (acclaimed futurism about hearty Mainers making do after the government declares the state an “unorganized territory”).
It’s a varied and impressive lineup of established shows that Dodd hopes “will have a second chance to build viewership” through their appearance on the site.
However, the Entertainment Experiment has bigger hopes for the future. Dodd says it is actively soliciting new Web content from all around the state.
“If it was built to be on the Web and built by Mainers, I want to have it here on the site,” he said. “Eventually, we plan to have channel pages — the comedy channel, the drama channel, music videos, reality programs, short films, even webcomics and podcasts.”
It’s no secret that the increasing availability of technology has made Maine filmmaking more attainable than ever for aspiring creators. Dodd hopes the opportunity for exposure that the Entertainment Experiment can provide will give artists statewide the incentive to get their vision up and running.
“All these shows have their own take on our state and how to utilize it in their art,” said Dodd. “We hope to get a real feel of what people are doing up here in Maine.”
Dennis Perkins is a Portland freelance writer.