• Room 8 The Series

    The Hotspot highlights Web content created by writers working under a WGA contract.

THE HOTSPOT

Room 8 The Series
Room 8 is an online series spin-off from longstanding TV soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful. Room 8 originated as part of the show; a fictional soap opera (soap-within-a-soap) watched by Bold and Beautiful characters. When the Room 8 show segment gained a fan base, this resulted in the online spinoff that was launched in 2013. Episodes are available for view on the series website. The plotline: two strangers unwittingly rent the same apartment and wind up living together in the hopes of resolving the conflict. But soon the unlikely roommates begin to get on each other's nerves. This makes for an entertaining romantic sitcom situation. The two main characters Maya and Carter are played by Bold and Beautiful actors Karla Morley and Lawrence Saint-Victor, who also wrote the episodes.


PODCASTS

Spreaker
Spreaker describes itself as "a platform for creating, listening and sharing audio content online" via iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices. Started by Italy-based Francesco Baschieri and Marco Pracucci, Spreaker is a social platform offering create-your-own-podcast info and tools aimed at podcasters, radio hosts, indie music producers, and bands. It also acts as a launch pad for Spreaker member radio shows. While there is a freebie entry level membership that allows free tools and instructions for new members to launch their own no-frills podcast, there are also monthly subscription levels of membership offered with more production tools, bells and whistles.

Radiolab
Radiolab is a popular podcast launched in 2009 as a spinoff of the Peabody Award-winning WNYC public radio show hosted by producer Jad Abumrad and veteran network television network (ABC, CBS, and PBS) correspondent Robert Krulwich. Despite Radiolab's focus on scientific and philosophical topics, the series is surprisingly entertaining and interesting. Many of the podcast episodes are called "shorts." These are topic snippets, some of which enhance the subject matter of the one-hour public broadcast radio show.


WEB COMEDY

The Guild
The Guild is a popular Web sitcom with a five season run from 2007 to 2013. It was created by actress Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who is also the series star. The plotline centers on members of a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Gamers guild, an unusual sitcom milieu. In real life, Day is an avid gamer, so she wrote the show from personal experience. Season one premiered on YouTube in 2007. Seasons two through five ran through 2013 with the help of a creative partnership with Microsoft, allowing episodes to stream via Xbox, Zune, and MSN Video mobile platforms. When the Microsoft partnership ended after season five, "The Guild" episodes were moved to Felicia Day's YouTube channel "Geek and Sundry." And they are also available for streaming on Netflix and Hulu.

Whatever, Linda
Whatever, Linda is a 10-part scripted online sitcom that takes place in the 1970s, but the plotline very much resonates today. It's about two female office workers who are employed by a Madoff-like financier. One of the "girls" engineers a Ponzi scheme that puts both in jeopardy and eventually results in their employer's undoing. The Canadian-based series was created by Hannah Cheesman and actor-producer Julian Dezotti. And Cheesman co-stars with actress MacKenzie Donaldson (Orphan Black).

F TO 7TH
Created by Ingrid Jungermann, F To 7th is her semi-autobiographical sitcom subtitled "a homoneurotic web series." It's self-described as Ingrid's struggles to "find herself in a world where sexuality and gender have left her old-fashioned lesbianism behind." Series guest stars include Amy Sedaris, Gaby Hoffman, Olympia Dukakis, and Janeane Garofalo. F To 7th is a spinoff series of popular hipster Brooklyn-based webcom The Slope.

The Actress: The Series
The Actress is a series created by and starring Ann Carr as an "underemployed" New York City actress. In real life, Carr is a veteran member of acclaimed improv group The Upright Citizens Brigade. The Actress: The Series launched in 2010 and is in its third season. It is co-written by Carr and comedian Warren Holstein, her husband. The Actress has an edgy uncomfortable humor style in a similar vein as Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Gary Saves the Graveyard
Gary Saves the Graveyard is an online horror spoof also from members of The Upright Citizens Brigade. Series creators include Todd Bieber, Nicole Byer, Michael Delacey, and Jim Santangeli. The plotline: Gary is a cemetery groundskeeper who is reunited with an old friend. The bad news is that the old friend has been dead for 20 years and the "reunion" takes place at the graveyard. And yes, zombies are on the loose. Gary Saves the Graveyard is hilarious and has broadcast-ready production values.

IN TRANSITION with Margaret Cho
IN TRANSITION with Margaret Cho sounds like a one-woman Margaret Cho show, but it is a women-in-prison Web spoof series. Its ensemble cast includes co-stars Selene Luna and Yvette Saunders. Veteran reality TV producer Rico Martinez co-produced IN TRANSITION along with John Stapleton. 14 episodes are available for view on Cho's YouTube channel.

Eat Our Feelings
Eat Our Feelings is a Web series that spoofs the Food TV cable genre. It is part cooking show and part traditional scripted TV sitcom. Show co-stars are real-life actress best friends Sasha Winters and Emma Jane Gonzalez. They are also series creator-writers. Their comedy chemistry is undeniable.


ONLINE ANIMATION

Cyanide & Happiness
Cyanide & Happiness is a daily online comic written and illustrated by artists Rob Den Bleyker, Kris Wilson, Dave McElfatrick, and Matt Melvin. It started in 2005 as a violent death stick figure comic strip, and then eventually animated versions were added. It can be hilarious even though the dark humor may not be for everyone. Cyanide and Happiness is now part of humor website explosm.net.

Salad Fingers by David Firth
Salad Fingers is a British animated Web series created by David Firth and Christian Webb in 2004. Mental health and alienation are its issues of focus, so the humor may be offensive to some. The main character is a humanoid that lives alone with three finger puppets, probably his only friends. Each episode is 2-10 minutes long. The series can be viewed on David Firth's website Fat-pie.com.

Crack-Duck
Crack-Duck is a cartoon about a duck that runs an apartment building, Grungetown Towers. It was created and voiced by Canadian writer-actor Danny Lacy, and was animated by Stephen Sloan. The series was bought by Canadian TV channel biTe TV, which also distributes the seven surreal episodes of Crack-Duck to adult animation channel Mondo Media.