Generally speaking the term ‘Webisode’ is pretty woeful. A bastardisation of Web and Episode it just doesn’t roll of the tongue in a pleasant way. Even more important than its aural aesthetics, it is a term that seems invariably diminutive - a ‘webisode’ feels small, disposable, simple. In an age where broadband pipes are quickly replacing broadcast towers and satellite dishes as the means by which screen media is delivered to our homes (let alone wireless data to our net-connected mobile devices), the quality, form or significance distinctions of the ‘Webisode’ seem very much out of place.
Even my preferred terms of WebSeries and OnlineSeries would appear to have limited life-spans in an age quickly coming where ‘everything’ is online and where there are no viable or useful distinctions between broadcast and streaming.
Yet, none the less, the principles of Online Episodic Storytelling I would contend should be at the very heart of thinking by contemporary screen-media practitioners. In the digital age some media will be interactive and some will not, some will be multi-platform and some will not; but all media will be ‘Online’ in some way and the overwhelming majority of screen stories will be told in episodes. So that positions these two elements of Online and Episodic to be the central pillars of our thinking.
In this vein I presented earlier this year at the Australian International Documentary Conference in Adelaide on the topic of Episodic Documentary with a particular focus on online and multi-platform. In a spare moment as I dashed between sessions, researcher Atalanti Dionysus conducted an interview with me on the nature of ‘Webisodes’. The results of which you can see below - this is part 1 with parts 2 and 3 availible on the new online resource entitled The Journey of Documentary.