Creator Katie Shannon and executive producer Amy DePaola introduce 617 The Series, a new media project aiming to bring TV-formatted serial episodes directly to the Web. The production quality is high, and the acting is great (Nick Apostolides , who appeared in Mark Bernstein’s The Trojan Girls, steals the show as Sully).

Aside from a few standout examples of high-quality short web serials, the television and film industries have lagged behind the publishing and music industries in terms of producing content designed primarily for Web distribution. Shannon and DePaola hope to change that.

Musicians like Amanda Palmer and Jonathan Coulton have embraced self-publishing on the web as a way to connect more directly with fans. DePaola shares her hope for 617 to have the same connection with fans:

We can control the content that is addressed in the series as well as make the experience for our audience more fulfilled by providing a curtain behind the show. Right now we allow our audience to experience more than just our pilot by providing spoof videos, which allow you to learn more about our characters, as well as a podcast where Katie and I discuss the creative initiatives that we are taking. As our funding increases we hope to expand the interactive experience that our audience can have with our cast and production.

The next step for 617 is to secure funding, and the producers have created a Kickstarter project to expand the show into a multi-platform new media experience. DePaola explains the project:

The web based platform allows us to understand our audience more. That is a no-brainer these days. For us to figure out how to better engage our audience we definitely need more funding for our social media and marketing campaigns. We'd love to expand into applications and games for our audience to participate in that are inspired by or related to the characters on our show.

The Kickstarter deadline is January 16. The money will fund production of two more episodes and the marketing behind the social media aspect of the show.