The programming announcements for Verizon’s new mobile-first platform Go90 keep coming fast and furious. On Wednesday, it was UphoricTV. Yesterday, it was Endemol Beyond USA. Today, it’s New Form Digital, which revealed it will premiere six original series on Go90 over the next year. Each series will consist of 12 episodes ranging in length from 12 to 22 minutes. The deal also calls for additional exclusive supplemental content, including behind-the-scenes videos.
First up is “The Fourth Door,” which will debut next month. Created and directed by Tony E. Valenzuela, founder of the “Twilight Zone”-esque YouTube channel BlackBoxTV (668K subscribers, 60 million views), it originated as one of the 14 short films commissioned as part of New Form’s first Incubator Series, launched in July 2014.
Below is the short “The Fourth Door” from New Form Digital’s Incubator Series.
“The Fourth Door” tells the tale of a woman who wakes up in a way station between this life and the next, populated by mysterious, dangerous creatures who force her to face the past, present and future in order to save the man she loves.
“It’s a departure for me, but the story demanded that I up my game as a director and started letting go of some of the cliches and tricks I’ve been carrying around for a couple of years,” Valenzuela said. “I’ve really had to create a new language in the way I direct and work with crews and artists, because the subject matter demands it.”
Valenzuela also adopted a new look for the shoot, dyeing his dark brown locks blonde.
“You’ve got to do a Sgt. Pepper’s every once in awhile,” Valenzuela told VideoInk during a phone call on Friday, as his roots were being touched up. “You’ve got to put on a costume and find a new way to express yourself.”
Earlier this week, Valenzuela marked the fifth anniversary of BlackBoxTV by releasing a music video that showed off an even more extreme look.
Valenzuela still has a few more days left of shooting on “The Fourth Door.” He’s not allowed to talk about who’s in the cast at the moment, but he did reveal that he’s filming on locations in Downtown L.A. and Banning, Ca., (near where he grew up in the city of Pomona) with a crew of frequent collaborators including cinematographer Zach Voytas, who shot Valenzuela’s short “Versions of Elloise” on YouTube Space LA’s Halloween set last year.
In the meantime, Valenzuela has already completed work on his feature film directorial debut “Villisca,” about a trio of troubled teens who decide to spend the night in haunted house where real-life axe murders were committed in 1912, and there’s talk of a second season of “Fight of the Living Dead,” the zombie apocalypse reality-competition show he executive produced that debuted on ConTV in March.
Billed as a next generation studio devoted to incubating new talent and developing original series for digital platforms, New Form Digital was launched in the spring of 2014 as an independent venture backed by Discovery Communications, Imagine Films chairmen Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and co-chairman Michael Rosenberg, attorney Craig Jacobson, former Tribune Broadcasting president Ed Wilson, former William Morris chief Jim Wiatt and CAA. Earlier this month, two series it produced, PJ Ligouri’s “Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures” and Sawyer Hartman’s “The Parallax Theory,” premiered exclusively on Vimeo.
Go90 is an ad-supported video platform offering users a mix of live events, prime time TV shows, curated web clips and and original series. Designed to be viewed holding a smart phone at a 90-degree angle (hence the 90), it is currently being beta tested with approximately 5 million Verizon customers,
“The cool thing that New Form is doing and what we’re doing with Verizon is they’re giving us a platform to innovate where it’s okay to have new ideas, and you don’t just have to keep regurgitating things from the ’80s and ‘90s,” Valenzuela said. New Form Digital chief creative officer Kathleen Grace “always says that it’s creators first, and sometimes that just sounds like a big cliche, but in my experience with them, it’s true. They’re like, just make something you believe in.”
The other New Form Digital series for Go90 are as follows:
“#DoOver”: A “Groundhog Day”-style tale in which a woman is stuck repeating her epic 25th birthday bash, which goes up in flames, over and over again. Created and written by Kathleen Grace and Shawn Dempewolff-Barrett.
“Miss Earth”: An intergalactic sci-fi comedy following Victoria Young, a pageant queen on Earth, who takes the place of her battle-tested twin sister in a competition with all of humanity at stake. Created by and starring Anna Akana.
“Mr. Student Body President”: A dark political comedy about an incredibly likable and charming teenage dictator, created and directed by Ryan Hunter and Jack Ferry.
“Cold”: A dramatic crime series about a teenage girl who seeks out her birth parents only to find that her separation from them was the result of a tragedy. As she explores the town where she would have grown up, looking to uncover what happened, she discovers the quaint community holds many secrets. Created and directed by Emily Diana Ruth.
An additional series will be announced shortly.