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Q & A: Rodrigo Garcia and Jon Avnet Break the Mold with Star-Powered, Women-Centric Web Channel, WIGS

Thompson on Hollywood By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood May 15, 2012 at 11:26AM

WIGS is a YouTube channel, but don't let the platform scare you off. Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia ("Albert Nobbs") and producer-director Jon Avnet ("Fried Green Tomatoes") have created what may be the first scripted, professionally developed web content aimed at women: WIGS. Starting with the launch of its first series Monday...
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WIGS

WIGS is a YouTube channel, but don't let the platform scare you off. Filmmaker Rodrigo Garcia ("Albert Nobbs," "In Treatment") and producer-director Jon Avnet ("Fried Green Tomatoes," "Up Close and Personal") have created what may be the first scripted, professionally developed web content aimed at women: WIGS.  Starting with the launch of its first series Monday, WIGS promises to fulfill an untapped market of dramatic, high quality, women-centric short films on the web.

In our interview below the jump, Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia detail the inception of the channel, the scandalous and mysterious women WIGS will profile, and the frightening excitement of the internet's immediate feedback loop.

The WIGS roster boasts both star power and salacious stories. Upcoming series and shorts showcase Jennifer Garner, Virginia Madsen, Michael C. Hall, America Ferrera, Jane Kaczmarek, Jena Malone, Caitlin Gerard, Stephen Moyer, Catherine O’Hara,  Allison Janney, Julia Stiles, Sarah Paulson, and Dakota Fanning.

WIGS gives an opportunity for writers, actors, and directors who want creative freedom, says Garcia.  This isn't cable, it doesn't have the scrutiny of a network show, and it's not a $20 million feature with an expensive release. "These are funny, intimate, and moving series for directors and writers trying to find new outlets," says Garcia.  Avnet adds, "They are hopefully entertaining, exciting, informative, and best of all worlds: addictive."

Caitlin Gerard ("The Social Network") the star of "Jan," the first series on WIGS
Caitlin Gerard ("The Social Network") the star of "Jan," the first series on WIGS

Monday, WIGS launches its first series: “Jan," (watch the first episode below and here).  Caitlin Gerard ("The Social Network") plays the titular Jan, a disheveled innocent who bumbles about breaking all manner of objects not nailed to the floor.  Virginia Madsen ("Sideways) plays her boss.  She's an intense, dominant photographer--a fierce Annie Lebowitz in black and bangles, who takes photos of women just after they've had sex for a series called "After Glow."  It's what the tagline promised: secretive, screwed up, sinful.

WIGS is an ambiguous acronym: Where It Gets… Spicy, Secretive, Screwed Up, Sinful, and other sexy "S" words.  The title of each show names the central female character and focuses on her mishaps, dilemmas, downfalls, and occasional breakthroughs.  For Jon Avnet, the shows are really about "second impressions," or as Garcia put it, "secret lives." The two directors love exploring these women's private experiences.  They revel in whatever lurks behind the smooth surface.

Their creative goals will either take advantage of or challenge YouTube's natural format.  The set-up of the platform tends to favor our most attention-poor moments.  But as Avnet says, our cultural consumption patterns now are suited to bursts; he mentions his rush through the first season of "Mad Men" in less than 24-hours.  YouTube's constant prompts to click to the next video might carry the viewer through several episodes of the series if the directors dole out the mysteries enticingly enough.

For more on the seductive future of WIGS, read Jon Avnet and Rodrigo Garcia's Q&A below.

This article is related to: Rodrigo García, Rodrigo García, Virginia Madsen, Jennifer Garner, Dakota Fanning, Allison Janney, Sarah Paulson, America Ferrera, Catherine O'Hara, YouTube, Digital Future, New Media & Technology


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.