Sunday, January 3, 2016

Nightwing: The Series

A few years ago, Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le launched a Kickstarter campaign to create a short video series based on the DC Comics character Nightwing. It got more than 150% of its goal, and the resulting production has been up on YouTube for a while now.
I was pretty impressed with Nightwing: The Series, allowing for the limitations of the fan-produced format. MG Studio in Las Vegas provided a lot of the resources, so the production quality is high, and the crew clearly knew what they were doing. The writing certainly felt like a Nightwing story out of the comics, and the actors did a pretty decent job. There are a few fight scenes that were nicely choreographed; I've seen worse on fully-funded TV series. No one will be winning any academy awards, but nothing fell completely flat, either.

Nightwing: The Series is a fan production, without direct involvement from DC Comics (who own the characters) or Warner Brothers (who own the movie rights). That means it's not legal to sell anything related to it, so barring some wealthy folks doing it on their own dime, crowdfunding was just about the only way it was going to be made. Before Kickstarter and YouTube, this production probably wouldn't exist, and certainly wouldn't be as easily accessible to the general public.

There are a total of five episodes, running about 40 minutes, so it's more or less the length of an hour-long episode of a regular TV show. Since they're trying to tell an entire story in that time, it certainly crams a lot into a short period. Feels a lot like a pilot episode for a longer series, really, but that's not a complaint. It's impressive how much they were able to fit into the limited time with the resources available.

I'm pretty glad that the crowdfunding of Kickstarter and world-wide distribution of YouTube was available to make something like Nightwing: The Series possible. It's worth spending an hour  to watch it, for fans of the DC Comics character, or for any aspiring film producer interested in seeing what a small group of dedicated folks can put together with very limited resources.

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