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The All-For-Nots is a webseries produced by Dinosaur Diorama and Michael Eisner / Vuguru. It debuted in 2008 online and on television on Mark Cuban's HDNet. At the time of its debut, it was the largest webseries production to date (75+ episodes over the course of 6 months).
The All-For-Nots starred a cast of musician-actors including Kevin Johnston, Vanessa Reseland, Michael Moravek, Erica Harsch, Brian Cheng and Marielle Heller. I was also among the cast, as well as being one of the creators/producers (along with Kathleen Grace), writers (with Matt Yeager and Andrew Wagner) and composers (with Johnston, Reseland and Kyle Jarrow). The show came about after Michael Eisner approached Kathleen Grace and I with an offer to buy and produce more episodes of The Burg. We declined that offer in favor of making a new show.
We originally pitched this project as a 13-episode, roughly 2-hour gritty mockumentary series called Faces For Radio. Our vision would that it would be edgy, dirty, and shot mostly with available light, as we booked our invented band into real clubs and took them on a real tour. But it did not turn out that way.
First, Mark Cuban's HDNet agreed to air the show on TV. This development necessitated us switching from small DV cameras to cumbersome HDs, and overall change our look from dirty to quite clean. Second, sponsors got involved, which necessitated us removing references to drugs and sex. This also meant we had to now force-integrate the Dodge Nitro and Expedia.com. Third, for some reason our 13 tight episodes and collection of funny shorts was expanded into 24 full length episodes, each with 1 to 3 shorts attached, for a total of 75+ pieces totaling almost 6 hours of content over 24 weeks. Our budget of $500,000 would have been more than enough to complete a fantastic 2-hour series. Now we had to complete the equivalent of three indie films on the budget of half of one. This meant we could no longer travel across country, and we had to hire all non-Union actors.
The upside to this casting was, we had to look for musicians first, and we ended up forming a band that actually became real. We played shows all around New York, toured Montreal and Boston, and kicked off the series with a big show at SXSW in 2008. We recorded a 12-song album (mostly to score the series). But the highlight was definitely our performance on the Jimmy Kimmel show in June 2008.
In the end, response to The All-For-Nots was mixed. Viewership was decent, but reviews were not kind. Part of this was due to heightened expectations after The Burg, and this show having very little in common with it. But it also came down to pure old choice-making. Better decisions all around, in the writing, acting, directing, composing, promoting, and executive producing, could have resulted in a far superior show. In fact, I think a condensed two-hour feature edit of the show could be actually quite rewarding, and might give the project a second life on Netflix. But that is unlikely to happen.
Still, I view The All-For-Nots as a significant accomplishment. It was an extremely ambitious project, and we completed it. There was talk of continuing it for a reduced second season, but that subsided in late 2009. The All-For-Nots was nominated for 3 Streamy Awards in 2008 for Best Ad Integration, Best Music, and Best Cinematography (by Jack Ferry).