Fly or Die: How to Build a TV Series on BitTorrent

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Download Fly or Die on BitTorrent.

Say you’ve got an idea for the next great scripted series. Well, you’re in good company. Each summer, the major American broadcast television networks receive about 500 elevator pitches for new shows from writers and producers. In fall, the field is narrowed down to 70. By January, 20 pilots are picked as potential winners, and produced. Executives from each of the big networks may choose between 4-8 shows for series status. And typically, less than two of these survive for more than one season.

Tim Staples and Joel Bergvall on the set of Fly or Die

Tim Staples and Joel Bergvall on the set of Fly or Die

This is the established math of TV development: what the many tune into each night, handpicked by the few. The average viewer can only begin to weigh in on a pilot after it’s been produced. The black box model of television development has big hits to recommend it. But today’s viewer is as much a contributor as a straight-up content consumer. Reddit shapes plot lines. Twitter is a writers’ room. American Idols are chosen via text. Youtube is our film school. Is series development something that should be open-sourced? What if you opened up the pilot process to the people of the Internet? What if a TV series started acting like a startup?

We’re partnering with Converge Studios to find out. Our latest BitTorrent Bundle is a pilot pitch for a new scripted series directed by Joel Bergvall, Fly or Die; a show that documents the inner workings of the music industry. Inspired by the multi-platinum pop producers Rock Mafia, it blurs the line between fact and fiction; a window into a world fueled by ego, insecurity, crazy talent, and star power, featuring cameos from Gavin DeGraw, Vanessa Hudgens, Jesse McCartney, Ken Baker, YLA, and more.

Fly or Die documents the stranger-than-fiction world of LA power producers.

Fly or Die documents the stranger-than-fiction world of LA power producers.

Vanessa Hudgens

Vanessa Hudgens

This is the true story of how music gets made. And it’s also the larger-than-life tall tale of life inside the industry trenches; how artists struggle to balance passion projects with paychecks. In this case, the narrative is happening off-screen, too. Fly or Die is currently a pilot pitch. And BitTorrent fans, not network executives, get to decide what happens next. For Rock Mafia, it’s about getting people involved in the experience:

“Creativity is about sharing. BitTorrent supplies this vast net of new people and ideas. To get that interaction; to get that feedback: that’s the new model. These types of new distribution platforms are crucial to the creative community. They’re what fuel growth: for artists, and for entertainment. And that’s really exciting.”

These new distribution platforms are totally crucial to the the creative community , they should be totally recognized for the power. They should actually excite everybody because that’s what fuels growth and what fuels growth is actually healthy for entertainment and it’s healthy for content.

Tim James, Rock Mafia

This is television, built for the Internet.

“We were working on a project and wanted to go direct-to-fan. We were looking at different ways to make that work; everything from YouTube, to social media, to celebrity channels. We came to BitTorrent with a crazy idea — a new way to get content developed and distributed. For us, it was an opportunity to take a great show and test it; to develop iteratively, together with our audience.”

Tim Staples, Converge

Download the series trailer for free. If you like what you see, enter your email to become part of the show’s production team. You’ll unlock 7 bonus videos, background on the show, the music, and the story, and an invitation to join the community that will creatively shape the Fly of Die’s future: impacting everything from storyline to distribution.

Television, by the people, for the people. Download the Bundle, and develop the first BitTorrent-built scripted series.

The Fly or Die BitTorrent Bundle

Fly or Die Free Download:

Fly or Die Trailer [Video]
ROCK MAFIA’s Fly Or Die Music Video (created by Rock Mafia and Michah Chambers Goldberg, animated and directed by Micah Chambers Goldberg) [Link]

Fly or Die Bonus Content (unlock with your email):

Invitation from Producers (Tim Staples, Joel Bergvall) [PDF]
The Show (Behind-the-Scenes) [Video]
Meet the Characters [3 Videos]
Inspired by ROCK MAFIA [Video]
Meet YLA [Video]
The Creative Process [Video]
Show Synopsis [PDF]
Behind-the-Scenes Photo book [PDF]

YLA

YLA

More on Rock Mafia and Converge.

Get updates on Fly or Die.

About BitTorrent Bundles:

The BitTorrent Bundle is an Alpha project, made with and for the web’s creative community. Our mission is to help artists connect directly with fans, inside the content they share.

Each BitTorrent Bundle, like the one created in partnership with Fly or Die, allows artists to distribute content to 170 million BitTorrent users. And each Bundle comes with a key. Fans can unlock artist content with an email address, or a donation. The idea is to make each song a storefront; and each file more valuable, each time it’s shared. Got ideas for the next BitTorrent Bundle? Hit us up.

Image Credit: Daniel Saxlid

Matt Mason
Written by: Matt Mason

Matt Mason currently serves as Vice President of Marketing at BitTorrent, Inc. He is also the bestselling author of The Pirate’s Dilemma, the first book in the history of the world to hit the number one spot on Amazon’s economics/free enterprise bestseller list and the rap bestseller list at the same time. He has written and produced TV series, screenplays, comic strips, apps and records, not to mention award-winning, global advertising campaigns. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, The Observer Music Monthly, Dazed & Confused, Adweek, VICE, and other publications in more than 20 countries.

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