Anyone But Me is a drama series, which concluded its three-season run in 2012. It has won numerous awards, including from the Streamys (lead actress), Writers Guild (original new media), IAWTV (directing), Indie Soap Awards (writing, guest appearance, marketing/fundraising), Clicker (best web drama), Tellys (people’s choice). It has been lauded by numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Curve and Fast Company. This essay is part of Televisual‘s “Indie TV Innovation” series.
From its inception in 2007 to now, there isn’t much that neither Susan nor I haven’t said about Anyone But Me. So as I sit down to write this and look to the writing Gods for some help, I’m reminded of a conversation I had with an industry colleague a short time ago. I won’t embarrass him by stating his name but he’s worked in the industry as long as I have and has made an impact in the industry on the distribution end. He said to me, with absolute conviction, that Anyone But Me must always be remembered, not only for the story and subject matter but also for its impact on the web industry as one of its early pioneers. He even volunteered his services as moderator for the Anyone But Me 10-year reunion, so, stay tuned, his identity may be revealed sometime down the road. But what I took away from the conversation was the web industry now has enough years behind it to start claiming our history. And considering our once uncertain future, it’s an incredible achievement that we should all recognize with amazement and a little relief.
There are quite a few industry changing things happening right now, especially over the past year. Prior to that I had worries the industry had reached a plateau, leaving me and many web series producers to wonder where we do we go from here. But with the push by YouTube and now with the presence of mainstream big guns from Netflix to Amazon, the online series is quickly becoming a legitimate option for entertainment. And the time of producers having to rely solely on cash from a brand to fund a series is over. We can now look to digital studios, big and small.
I can’t help but think if we had launched Anyone But Me a year ago instead of 5 years ago, what other opportunities there would be for the show’s growth and exposure. Yes, Anyone But Me has done well by many standards, but we’ve had our share of struggles. One obstacle (of many) that comes to mind is exposure in a mainstream media that a very short time ago wouldn’t be caught dead reporting on a “webisode.” But in a new medium and industry someone has to go first, pave the road for others that have courageous plans to travel your path. Now, I can’t continue this without saying how much Quarterlife meant to Anyone But Me. Or a long ago evening where Susan and I attended an event about the unknown world of web series that – lucky for us – pioneers Thom Woodley and Kathleen Grace were the featured panelists. I also remember looking to other shows like Clark and Michael, Pink and Prom Queen to get an idea how this whole web series thing worked. There were shows before Anyone But Me that I’ve never forgotten and I hope you don’t either.
As someone who grew up devouring film history, adamant about the importance of learning the history of the field I wanted to work in, I feel incredibly honored and blessed to now be a part of history in a medium I could never have imagined less than 10 years ago.
–Tina Cesa Ward
Tina Cesa Ward is the executive producer, writer and director of Anyone But Me. In 2011, along with Susan Miller, she won a the first ever Writers Guild award for original work in new media. This year she won an IAWTV Award for directing the series. In 2010 she directed the branded series Bestsellers and in 2011 debuted her series Good People in Love. Her short film, In Their Absence, has screened at over a dozen festivals and won numerous awards; it was named one of the best short films of the decade by the Festival de Cortos MíraLes. Her stage work won her the Jean Dalrymple Award for best director in 2002.