"We included the webcam clips and social networking implementations because we wanted to build an experience that went beyond just the 20-episode show," said Brian Singleton, creative producer for Attention Span Media. "You can't just take TV content and throw it online, so we brought all of those things into the creative process from the beginning." Singleton said that the characters have presences on Facebook and MySpace, in addition to their "home" on the site.
"Dorm Life" is the first major effort to come out of Los Angeles-based Attention Span Media, the brainchild of Emmy Award-winning TV and film producers Garrett Law, A.J. Lewis and Peter White. In addition to its own content, the studio's team of writers, directors and other creatives also develops content for online and mobile portals like The Huffington Post and MoGreet.
Law, who serves as Attention Span Media's COO, says that the studio has also been in talks with interactive agencies for the development of content that integrates specific brand messages. The "Dorm Life" series, for example, is monetized through banner and Flash ads on the site, as well as an occasional few seconds of pre-roll video in the webcam vignettes. Still, Law said that the balance between ads and content--particularly short-form video on the Web or via phone--is a delicate one.
Singleton agreed. "The target demo for 'Dorm Life' is pretty ad-savvy, so they know when people are throwing ads in their face. The most important thing is to include ads in a way that doesn't detract from the user experience," he said.
The studio's next effort is for MoGreet, a mobile video messaging currently in stealth mode, which Law says will have a wider demographic and demonstrate Attention Span Media's content development range. "Mobile is an altogether different medium for production, because the medium dictates things like how you film, how you frame the characters, and the length of the clips." Law said. "You have to have the writers and directors and marketing talent to be able to pull it off successfully. And we do."