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Matkai Burmaster

That’s a Wrap on 2020: Fearless’ Best Year Yet

2020 was a whirlwind of weird. From killer bees to the crippling pandemic, we have all had to adjust the way we live, work, communicate, and stay entertained. Luckily, Fearless was here in 2020 to drive forward a large number of new advancements. We’ve summed up the year and wrapped it with a bow. Here’s what happened this year on Fearless.

Series Dominated Viewership

In 2020, Fearless Members watched a LOT of content. Perhaps due to the pandemic, but likely also due to Fearless’ fast-growing market dominance in the independent film and inclusive film spaces.  In particular, it was the episodic series that dominated views with Tony Babcock’s Extreme Actor, the Fearless Original Series So That Happened, and comedy gem Brennan & Victoria Make Rent earning record-setting views and defying all predictions. Extreme Actor was also the only series to boast a 20% re-watch rate – a figure we have yet to see with any other series proving that Babcock’s original programming is an entertaining and binge-able gem.

Creator Earnings Skyrocketed

We are excited to say that Creators earned more revenue in 2020 than any other year. On Fearless, Creators are paid based on how much their content is viewed with the top earning Creators seeing royalty increases of up to 210% in 2020.  In addition, we raised our rates for many of our Creators in 2020 to help independent creators earn more revenue and be able to weather the storm of 2020. Our new rates will continue as we are committed to matching or beating royalty rates set by major players in the streaming space.

Fearless Expanded to New Countries

In April 2020, we expanded Fearless from the US & Canada only to the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  This expansion was planned for September 2020 but was fast-tracked for April 1st due to the pandemic and Members’ increased view times and new Member signups.  The US & Canada continue to be Fearless’ largest market with South Africa seeing the largest growth of the five new countries added this year.

New Conversational Features

We know that an important part of cinema is the conversation that comes from watching and discussing films and series and the stories and messages they convey. This is why Fearless has begun to implement new conversation-based features into the Fearless app as well as though online mediums. From our new Fearless Faves’ series on YouTube to our new in-app Connect feature, Fearless is quickly expanding opportunities for Fearless members to share their thoughts, reviews and discuss the movies and shows on Fearless.

Friday Releases That Just Won’t Stop

Everyone knows that Fearless releases content on Fridays and only Fridays. This means that once a week, there’s a fresh set of content to discover and fall in love with. 2020 was no exception as Fearless added a diverse collection of new series, documentaries, thrillers, comedies and dramas.  In addition, Fearless added a new category with the launch of Animation this fall providing even more viewing options for Members and content creation opportunities for Creators.

What’s To Come

2020 was a great year for Fearless and there’s no end in sight. In 2021, Fearless will continue to pave the way for inclusive independent films and series and ensure that LGBTQ, female, Black, Indigenous, Disabled and under-represented perspectives are seen and amplified. In addition, Fearless will continue to provide revenue and exposure opportunities for independent Creators and ensure that stories from all walks of life are given the chance to truly be noticed and appreciated.

If you aren’t yet a Fearless Member, you can start your free 2-week trial by downloading the Fearless app for iOS and Android.

If you’re a creator looking to get your films or series streaming on Fearless, you can learn more at https://fearless.li/forcreators

If you’re a member of the press, you can request to be added to our press release email list by emailing press@fearless.li.

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Elvis Deane Made a Feature Film in Just a Few Days with No Money and a Ton of Bravery

The Ex started as a thought experiment in 2008 with Elvis Deane’s improv troupe at the time. Could he shoot a feature film in the middle of Toronto’s annual two-week summer fair, The Canadian National Exhibition (also known as “The Ex”)? The opening scene was always intended to show a couple on a seemingly interminable Ferris wheel ride, and there was just no way that Elvis and his team could pull that off.  At the time, his camera weighed 15 pounds. It wasn’t discreet, it wasn’t practical. 

Elvis Deane set the idea aside and moved on to other things. Finally, by 2016, technology caught up with the idea. Now a 4K stabilized camera could fit in a pocket.  His entire production equipment could fit into a small camera bag, with tiny audio recorders stuffed into each actor’s pockets and a microphone taped to their chests.  He resurrected the idea of The Ex and that kernel of the story he and the improv troupe had thought up eight years earlier; a couple falling apart in such a happy place.

They had a long two-day casting session and saw so many talented actors, but improv was the key ingredient.  Though Elvis Deane had written a script, he threw the dialogue away and worked with the cast over the course of a week before shooting to find what was important to each scene.  Certain scenes that didn’t quite feel right on the page got so much more depth when the combined brains and hearts of the actors fleshed the scene out with their own ideas.

They had a cast of five and a one week window before the carnies rolled up their wagons and rumbled down the highway.  Originally intended to entirely take place on the Exhibition grounds, they moved some scenes to the waterfront and parks to broaden the film’s scope and give them a few scenes away from the noise and crowds.  A handful of scenes that they started to shoot at the Exhibition had to be abandoned or moved to quieter spots because of the non-stop flood of carnival-goers walking through their shots.  Because of the short shooting schedule, Elvis generally only had three takes of any scene to cut to, and each take would be similar, but have differences in the specific dialogue.  The editors had to find the moments that cut together from take to take.

“The process of shooting a film in the wild without a script should have been scary, but it’s freeing.” says Elvis.  “In improv, you just have to take an idea that comes at you and make the best scene you can with it.  We had to apply that to every aspect of the film. I’ve since shot a few more short films this way, and while it’s not the only way I’ll film a movie, there’s a beautiful freedom in coming up with an inkling of an idea and exploring it with the actors until you tell a story together.”

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