Doctor of Philosophy
School of the Arts, English and Media
This thesis consists of two main components: Part One, the critical component, is a written dissertation; and Part Two, the practical component, comprises the production bible and proof of concept video for an original web series entitled K-Noir.
The project contributes to scholarship and practice in the creative industries field by exploring the burgeoning digital medium of fictional web series as a tool and pathway for actor/producers to take control of their creative output and advance their careers. It investigates how such practitioners generate stories, shape their artistic niche, build audiences, and develop online subcultures. Informed by an investigation into cultural policy, industry practice, and screen media consumption, the research provides unique insights into the production process of an original web series while expanding our knowledge of the digital media domain and its social and cultural impacts.
Since the arrival of YouTube in 2005, scholarship has endeavoured to keep up with the evolution of web series and the subsequent transformation of the digital mediascape (Cunningham & Craig 2019b; Cunningham 2015). Research has also been undertaken on low-budget filmmaking techniques (Cake, Maher & McGrath 2021; Maddock 2019), processes (Lobato 2009) and approaches (Dooley 2014). Similarly, web series consumption (Screen Australia 2017), production (Christian 2018) and online participatory culture (Schiller 2018; Innocenti & Pescatore 2014; Burgess & Green 2009) have been the subject of careful analysis. However, a large gap exists in research on the use, practicalities and viability of employing the web series format as a means for actor/producers to create industrial value and achieve agency as storytellers and filmmakers. This can be a highly transformative practice for both the content creator and the audience when each stage of the production process is executed with an informed and deliberate approach. But what factors warrant further consideration at each production stage to ensure that creating a web series is a manageable and ultimately valuable undertaking for an actor/producer?
This project fuses a cross-section of Australian industry practitioner views on the increasingly prevalent digital medium with practical analysis of the process of creating an original web series production bible, script, and proof of concept video. It explores how the process of producing a series may contribute to building an artist’s profile and career prospects by delving into the key concepts of ‘agency’ and ‘creative entrepreneurship’ through an industrial value framework, adapted from Turnbull and McCutcheon’s ‘total value’ framework (Turnbull & McCutcheon 2019). By promoting and encouraging the creation and performance of original content, the project adds significant social and cultural value to the broader screen industry, particularly for Australia’s next generation of content creators. Ultimately this study breaks new ground in the creative industries by demonstrating how the low-budget, independent web series format is utilised by actor/producers to shape and drive their artistic voices, audiences, and career trajectories.
Haudos de Possesse, Sarah, Independent Fictional Web Series: Navigating New Pathways in an Era of Digital Content Saturation, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of the Arts, English and Media, University of Wollongong, 2023. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses1/1746
FoR codes (2008)
1902 FILM, TELEVISION AND DIGITAL MEDIA, 1904 PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING
This thesis is unavailable until Monday, February 09, 2026
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.