The Web component for the eight-episode, weekly series is already in place as the pilot episode, “Who Am I,” is available on Facebook and on Comcast’s video sharing site Ziddio. The project was announced earlier this year and has Facebook users recording and submitting clips of their lives based on topics such as who am I, heartbreak, road trip, wild nights, and my memory.
The user clips are taken by R.J. Cutler of Actual Reality Pictures and weaved, with motion graphics and music, into a half-hour show based on a theme. Cutler is an Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning producer of TV shows, including “American High” and “30 Days,” and his touch will be crucial to the success and future of the “Facebook Diaries.”
If done well, the “Facebook Diaries” might provide a new wrinkle in the reality TV genre and, possibly, break away from video on demand to cable or network TV. But that’s a big “if.”
Left up to the Facebook users, the clips submitted were not that much different, or interesting, than what’s uploaded to YouTube. Good stuff is there, but you got to find it. Not surprisingly, each Facebook clip is rated like YouTube, but many of the ratings were one or two “stars”, which accurately reflected the quality of the content.
But adding Cutler is an interesting twist, and the quality of the “Facebook Diaries” — at least in the pilot episode — sky rockets. Cutler, hopefully, has a keen ear to user stories, finding the best ones, editing them in a way that makes the overall program interesting and worth watching, and by doing so takes the whole concept of user-generated content to another level.
The clips that don’t make it into a final episode — what falls onto the proverbial “cutting room floor” — may still be of interest to someone and will be available on the Web. It would be nice to have an index, with links of what was used in each episode, what was considered, and perhaps what was submitted.