Monday, April 9, 2012
McKinney grads to launch app-based TV show
Ken Morris and Paul Evers plan to produce four seasons of Parked 3D.
Application-based television could soon be a technology trademark, thanks to two McKinney High School alums.
Ken Morris and Paul Evers are dollars away from launching the app-based TV show, Parked 3D, in hopes of bringing quality, distraction-free television to video-device users all over the world.
"It's kind of like American Idol," said Evers, a 2004 McKinney High grad who began working with Morris on the Parked 3D series about two years ago. "The audience gets to pick what TV shows they want to watch instead of what the studio is telling them they have to watch."
App TV allows users to access primary video and supplemental content, such as behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, within a self-contained app, straight from their iPhones, iPads, TVs and other devices. Through users' donations via Kickstarter, a film creator's dream fundraising initiative, Parked 3D could become the second-ever app-based TV show to hit the market.
The online funding platform, which facilitates the onset of TV shows, books, movies, and other creative outlets, enables app users to pick which projects they'd like to financially back. Morris and Evers will produce Parked 3D, a "heartfelt comedy" series about a musician who inherits his family's theme park after his father's death, if they raise $150,000 in pledges by April 27.
"We want to give the audience the power to choose the content they want," Evers said. "Kickstarter allows them to do that."
Such a technological revolution has been a long time coming for the destined producer duo. Morris graduated from McKinney High a year earlier, in 2003, and hung out with Evers, a fellow theatre kid, throughout their time in McKinney.
Evers moved to Los Angeles after high school, anxious to enter the film world, and Morris followed after he graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in 2008. Their career paths hit a crossroads soon thereafter.
"It was really random ... we just found each other on Facebook," Evers said. "We got together, and from there, we just started working together."
They produced the independent movie, Obselidia, which premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and won Excellence in Cinematography and the Alfred P. Sloan Science Prize, as well as Best Picture awards at ensuing festivals across the country. About a librarian obsessed with the world's end who meets someone enthralled with the future, Obselidia teaches viewers that they just may be missing out on the present.
The film, available on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube, seems the "kickstart" to Morris' and Evers' mark on modern technology. They've since worked together on four feature screenplays, adapted a book, and produced the 3D short Blood Oranges, all the while developing Parked 3D.
"We want independent films and TV shows to have that same opportunity to reach the public," Morris said.
And they want those shows to be 2D- and 3D-compatible, simply viewer-friendly.
"The idea is to create a place where viewers can go that has no commercials, no distractions; it's just content that they want to watch and some of the bonus features," Morris said. "You've already paid for the show, so why should you have to watch ads?"
Enters Parked 3D, projected as a 50-minute-per-episode, 15-episode TV series free of commercials. Viewers will be able to access it through their smart phones, iPads, TVs, Xbox, laptops, and all other video devices.
Depending on Kickstarter pledges, which range from 99 cents to $10,000, users can view and access the pilot episode, interviews with cast and crew, mini games, and Facebook and Twitter integration.
"They're technically donating, but they get gifts in return," Morris said. "We want people to realize that they're important to us, and by supporting this campaign, they're helping us, too."
Ideas for Parked 3D stem from both producers' experiences. Troy, the show's main character who returns from L.A. to a Washington theme park after his father dies of a heart attack, discovers the mystery of the life he left behind. Though his father is still alive, and doesn't run a theme park, Morris stitched his story -- how his and his father's relationship changed when he moved to L.A. -- into the show's plot.
"I want to take people through that journey," Morris said. "It's something everyone has to go through, really learning who their dad is."
When Evers moved to L.A. after high school, he worked at Universal Studios, where he learned the intricacies of a theme park. From pushing the "Go" button for the ride to running it in its entirety, Evers discovered theme-park living.
"It's really incredibly fascinating; there are so many bells and whistles and little trinkets, it's really exciting to share that with everyone," he said. "I think they'll be entertained."
The duo plans to produce four seasons of Parked 3D. Michael Piccirilli (Troy) and Samantha Lockwood (his girlfriend Larissa) play the show's main roles, while Carol Ann Susi of the popular CBS show The Big Bang Theory will play Tina, a bartender with the hots for Troy.
Though the script has received interest from major TV networks, Morris and Evers want to keep it how it is. App-based TV is where it's at.
"Pretty much anything with a video device will probably have apps on it," Evers said. "You'll be able to access it across all platforms."
Times have changed since the two left McKinney not even eight years ago. App-based TV is next in line. And they're ready.
"It allows people to basically customize their cable," Morris said. "It enables viewers to access the content they want to watch, nothing else."
For more information about Parked 3D, visit www.parked3d.com.
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