Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Jer3miah: It Has Potential

The video series The Book of Jer3miah tells the story of Jeremiah Whitney, a freshman in college whose world is turned upside down when he becomes involved in a conspiracy theory and learns of his religious/supernatural purpose in life. The series consists of multiple video clips, each about five minutes long, that tell Jeremiah's story in short segments. The video series is filmed from a hand-held video camera, giving the impression that the video is being "told" from the perspective of which ever character is holding the camera. It's a unique idea with a lot of potential; however, it still has a lot of bugs to work out.
I've never watched a web series before so I was not prepared for or used to the short clips and segments Jeremiah's story was told in. It made the story feel choppy and disconnected as each segment ended. This caused jumps in the plot line and there were times when I felt I'd missed something when in reality it was just the end of one episode and the beginning of another.
A big problem with the series for me was its lack of character development. From the beginning of the series bad things start happening to the main character and yet, I don't know why I should care. Within the first ten minutes of the show Jeremiah has found out his birthday is actually in April as opposed to December and his parents are both killed. While these are shocking events, I don't know enough about Jeremiah to care about the fact that his world is no longer what it seemed. I want to know the characters better so I can understand what is going on and its impact on the characters.
One thing that did, to some degree, help with character development was the the shifting of the camera from one character to another. Seeing what different characters focused on as they recorded showed me their personality which helped me get to know them and start to connect with them. However, this base is not strong enough to carry an entire web series.
Overall, I think the web series had a few issues, but it was unique and attention grabbing at its attempt to do something new. It's laid the foundation for similar efforts in the future that will potentially have less bugs and carry the concept of an LDS sci-fi web series even farther.

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  1. I agree that they jumped in the story too soon, before we cared about or knew Jeremiah. I think that's part of the problem with short clips, they want something exciting in each one, so there's no time for simple development.

  2. Valerie's right about the fact that each episode has to have something interesting that will keep the plot moving. But I think they could've and should've made more of those interesting things hats yet-developing moments. The ones they did have were good, but we needed more in order to care about the characters enough. There's the argument that there wouldn'y be time for that. I think it'd be worth it to add more episodes in exchange for better connections with the characters.