Red Bull may be known for its energy drinks and and sponsorship of daredevils like Felix Baumgartner in breaking world records, but they’ve also branched into online video by launching the first YouTube sports channel as well their own music channel. Now Red Bull Media is launching its own scripted web series “Exit Vine.” The show follows Iowan rocker girl Natalie Lake as she moves to Los Angeles to find success. The first episode premiered today, and a new episode will follow every other Monday.
What makes “Exit Vine” more interesting than the many web series out there is that the audience has a say on the plotline. At the end of every episode, viewers are encouraged to comment where the story goes next. NMR caught up with “Exit Vine” director George Mays about his interactive series and how viewers can participate in charting Natalie’s journey.
What prompted you to come up with this web series? Any inspiration from real-life experiences?
George May: As a global media company, Red Bull Media House is always looking to innovate existing formulas. The idea for “Exit Vine” was to fully utilize the interactive components of the YouTube platform, which led to our first-ever scripted series experiment that would not only help to reach a wide audience, but also grow the YouTube subscriber base on the Red Bull Music Channel. I have personally been in seven bands in Los Angeles, and I thought that, for a music channel, a comedy/drama about the ups and downs of a band trying to make it in Los Angeles was fertile territory for a story where viewers are also participants in the narrative development.
Why do you want the viewers to choose the plot’s direction?
It’s important to experiment in original web programming models, and in the case of “Exit Vine,” I know that the audience will be surprised that they will actually be active contributors to the plot’s direction. It’s not only entertaining to watch, but this interaction also gives the viewer some dominion over the fate of the characters and, hopefully, invested in the story throughout the season.
Could you tell us what viewers can look forward to when watching “Exit Vine”?
“Exit Vine” follows the story of Natalie Lake, a rocker girl from Iowa who moves to Los Angeles to start a band after her drunk bass player blows a chance for her to make a record in Los Angeles at an Iowa battle of the bands. In Los Angeles, Natalie becomes inspired by a pop star named Encore who later becomes her nemesis. Part rock opera, part satire, Natalie’s journey emphasizes the true ups and downs of what it’s like to play music in one of the most high pressured music cities in the world: Los Angeles.
Tell us more about the characters. What makes them unique to this series?
The Red Bull Music Channel on YouTube is an authentic destination for stories around music and culture, so it was important that the cast of the channel’s first scripted series, “Exit Vine,” were naturally musicians, as well as actors. The characters do all of the singing and playing themselves, and in Natalie, it was important for that character to embody the spirit of “never quitting until you get what you want, until you reach your dream” that thrives within all driven artists.
What other YouTube projects can we look forward to from Red Bull in the future?
Red Bull Media House has curated and programmed the Red Bull Channel on YouTube focusing on original web series in the sports genre. “Exit Vine” on the Red Bull Music Channel on YouTube is an endeavor to experiment with the traditional production and storytelling process by incorporating audience participation, which could help inspire programming across platforms in the future.