Episode One | posted on July 4, 2007 46 comments | tweet | share on facebook
  1. Josh Oakhurst 5 Jul 2007

    S T Y L I E ! ! !

    Dope dope dope, RBK. This is gonna pop.

  2. Patrick 5 Jul 2007

    Very interesting, I’m looking forward to the series. Good luck & congratulations!

  3. Frank 5 Jul 2007

    Really dug it. Passed the link on; hope folks watch. I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’ll speak anyway:

    Watch out for style just for the sake of style.

    Watch out that your motifs don’t become cliches.

    I’m anxious to see the next episode. Good luck.

  4. Connor Hagen 5 Jul 2007

    TIGHT!!! Just like that?

  5. Jeremy Holiday 5 Jul 2007

    This is looking really tight. Its creative and well shot. It looks you got a good lens on whatever camera you are using. Also, it is a great opening to a series, great hook, well times / executed.

  6. moe berry 6 Jul 2007

    Makes you want to come back for more. Work on making the wind scenes more believable by having the characters look less scrubbed. Great beginning….Y’all are going to make it.

  7. Steve Paul 6 Jul 2007

    Well done, cutting edge. Will be tuned in. Good charaterization.

  8. Irina 7 Jul 2007

    Beautifully shot! I am so impressed. Really looking forward to the next episode.

  9. Ryan Denerley 7 Jul 2007

    thankx Damian. Good flik, Let me know when you do another.

  10. John 9 Jul 2007

    I like it. The mood hits you right from the start. Great way to modernize the spaghetti western, clean and dark. Loved how you took the black concrete and turned it into a dusty trail, classic homage but useful in setting the tone of the story. I passed on the link to all my friends, and you know I’ll be watching the next one.
    Plus, respect to the early z-boy cameo with the cig.

  11. Karl 9 Jul 2007

    Well done! Cinematography, editing, direction. All top notch. Best of luck.

  12. Elliot 10 Jul 2007

    Terrific idea, great execution. I’ve watched a lot of video online, and this is the pretty much the first thing I’ve seen that makes me believe that online serial stories as good as the best TV shows and movies are possible (though ‘Sam has 7 Friends’ was passable). I greatly admire you for going w/o advertising. If you stick w/ this strategy, in the long run, I believe it will pay off. Just look at how different HBO shows are from most network shows. If you could get an audience established for free, maybe you could charge a tiny bit for the second season (99 cents on ITunes?).

    Though I loved the atmosphere and look of the 1st ep, I thought it could’ve used more action. I’m all for trying to expand the attention span of the online viewer beyond 10 secs, but any visual story, be it movie, TV show, miniseries, should give us more of the character motives upfront. Don’t keep us in the dark too long. Just my 2cents.

  13. Russell Heimlich 10 Jul 2007

    Nice work, this looks really slick. I can’t wait to see more episodes. I hope you release a regular RSS feed of the video podcast versions so I can follow along on my way to work. Keep ‘em coming.

    Here is my initial review about The West Side here, at my blog -> http://www.russellheimlich.com/blog/new-internet-mini-series-the-west-side/

  14. Brian Liloia 11 Jul 2007

    Nice work.

  15. Dustin 14 Jul 2007

    Moved way too slow to keep my attention and actually sell the western feel. Also, whatever 35mm adapter you’re using is not fairing well once you do the stylized coloring in post. I swear I could see the ground glass moving on every shot. Other then that I think you guys are on the right track. If the story is good enough you won’t have to rely on the shallow depth of field and desaturation to make the series unique.

  16. Ryan Bilsborrow-Koo 15 Jul 2007

    Thanks everyone for the positive and constructive feedback.

    Dustin, I’m not sure what you mean by “moved too slow to sell the western feel.” I would posit that most Westerns use what you might call “sluggish” pacing to emphasize atmosphere and tension. Right now we’re moving ten times faster than, say, Once Upon a Time in the West.

    As for you swearing you could see the ground glass on our 35mm adapter moving on every shot, it’s actually a static GG, so technically it’s not moving at all. And while I’ve been acutely aware of the visible grain structure throughout the production process, there were plenty of considerations that went into picking our 35mm adapter–chiefly price and ability to run-and-gun–and I’m more than satisfied with the result, all things considered.

    Other then [sic] that, I agree with you and hope our story is good enough to elevate this discussion above issues of craft on a sub-$1000 production.

  17. Tim Street 16 Jul 2007

    Nice work. I look forward to the next one.

  18. Simper 17 Jul 2007

    Excellent – pretty damn impressive, bro.

    …and a particularly good closing – hooking without being an ass to the viewer.

  19. Scott 18 Jul 2007

    Just like that? What?
    Dustin is a tool. Don’t be a hater, son.

  20. Steve Woolf 20 Jul 2007

    Great feel, and love the use of New York in this. Looking forward to the next ep.

  21. Justine 22 Jul 2007

    I loved the visuals and the music!! I haven’t seen very many westerns at all, so I can’t say much about the genre/story, but the end definitely kept me engaged. I was curious about the wind – is that something you used to evoke the western feel or something else? Again, I have no idea what I’m talking about. The diamonds were a great visual effect, as well as a cool idea. The beginning made me smile. Overall, I loved the atmosphere: it was engaging enough to draw me in even though I didn’t know much about what’s going on in the story.

  22. Dustin 24 Jul 2007

    Scott…chill out dude…I made some constructive comments about a short episode that I personally really enjoyed. I was just trying to tell them that the slow pace that usually sells the western feel may not be required for this series. It would have stood well on it’s own without the sluggish pacing.

    As far as 35mm adapters go I feel the frustration of picking the perfect one for the job. Static GG’s give lots of visible grain, while rotating ones can get caught by the shutter causing some weird circular anomalies in the image. I finally chose the P&S Technik adapter, based on testing it against 4 other adapters. Though the best bang/buck ratio has to be the Redrock M2 when it’s set-up properly.

    I’m excited to see the next episode. This series has a lot of potential. Hopefully my comments were taken as constructive…bc they were certainly meant that way. Good luck posting the next episode guys.

  23. Vidhammer » Profile: The West Side 28 Jul 2007

    [...] Latest Episode: Episode One [...]

  24. Lee 9 Aug 2007

    I think the dead guy at the end blinked. Very well done. I had to watch it all the way to the end.

  25. jiggamegga 15 Aug 2007

    Over all I’m very impressed and encourage you to keep at it. Its great to see something that’s well produced and thoughtfully constructed on the web amidst the sea of amateur BS.

    Love the style and the sound. I agree that the pace was a little slow. The character’s interactions seemed empty, devoid of personal history – will be cool to see how they develope. By the way, my fav western of all time is Deadwood. If you haven’t seen it check it out, their character developement is INSANE! Could be some ideas in there.

  26. Alasdair Mackintosh 21 Aug 2007

    Massively ambitous, and very interesting.

    You’re balancing on a high wire here. Get it wrong, and you could fall into empty pastiche, shallow spoof, or stylish vacancy. But so far everything is perfectly co-ordinated. One recognises the allusions (the dust in the wind, the stranger striding into town, the guns on every hip) but they seem fresh and interesting. I sincerely hope you can keep going at the same level of quality.

    I’d love to see more information about how this was made, and how you achieved the look that you have, but not if it will slow down progress on the next episode.

  27. Jon Cormier 25 Aug 2007

    Wow. Really well done.

  28. Noel Cabrera 28 Sep 2007

    HEy guys im just starting to get into filmaking and it really is inspiaring to see what you guy have done here godly visuals number 1 and the homeage to westerns in nyc instant classic if you guys need extra help ill be happy to help *i need experience * ill do anything you can reach me at noahcold@yahoo.com

  29. Rhianna M. 29 Sep 2007

    Wow, I loved this. Black and white added alot to it.

  30. Kid Cadaver 5 Oct 2007

    nice work. i wanna see where this goes. you had the protagonist shoot dude in the back tho?? how can i respect him now? he broke gun-slinger rule #1. i hope you have him redeem himself cus it was disappointing. nicely shot tho.

  31. The resurgence of the Western at No Film School 17 Oct 2007

    [...] year spent writing and producing our urban Western, The West Side, Zack and I finally premiered the first episode of the serialized feature in July. Now, months later, Western films are dotting the Hollywood [...]

  32. Peter O'Keefe 5 Nov 2007

    What’s the ETA on Episode 2?

  33. The West Side — Blog — At long last, Episode Two 29 Nov 2007

    [...] it’s worth the wait; and for those of you just joining us, welcome (and be sure to check out Episode One). And as always, tell a friend! posted on 11/29/07 | [...]

  34. pat 8 Dec 2007

    just awesome…

  35. Greg K 13 Dec 2007

    It’s def well done !! I dont know why but i would have put narration on the beginning , somehow to me that’s what it is missing, but its just me, We kind of don`t know what it’s about for too long :)

  36. mario Nicholas 15 Feb 2008

    Love it! Perspective, Lighting, Depth of Field. All the things I am concerned with are right on point!

  37. Ryan Adams 30 Mar 2008

    This is truly one of a kind. You have real skill or should I say skills DP. Editor, Director, Writer & Producer… did you get your own coffee as well.

  38. Carson Grant 26 May 2008

    One of the most creative, cutting edge episodes, offering a unique look into the darker side of characters’ personalities. NICE

  39. shane 21 Oct 2008

    corny. everything looks too slick. you’re not updating or reinventing conventions, just repeating them. main character is a low budget Omar minus the homo tendencies (or is that coming later?)

  40. DC Benny 24 Dec 2008

    Wow. That is off the hook. Beautifully shot, however the hell you did it. Just gorgeous. What an original spin to revive a great genre. My friends told me about this and it lived up to the hype. Good luck.

  41. Brittnee Burke 12 Jan 2009

    I loved it. Yep, the dead guy did blink. This new style western is going to disturb John Wayne, but if he was here he would certainly give everyone involved the modern HI 5.
    This was really interesting and enjoyable. Keep doing what ya doing.

  42. Rachel Packer 30 Jan 2009

    This shit was fucked up
    i hated this motherfucking movie because of the bad acting and bad pacing. The cinematography was off the hook though, real good shit.

  43. Ahmad 29 Jul 2009

    Whaddup Zack…my 1st episode…plan on watchin all of them at my desk…shit is HOT!!!!

  44. Umesh B 23 Dec 2010

    Wow this was great.
    Loved everything from the cinematography to the mood to the music to the suspense of everything.
    Great 1st episode.
    Cheers

  45. Marlon Royal Reid 18 Aug 2011

    LOVED IT……

  46. Eddie Robles 7 Sep 2011

    I love Westerns – so I want you to know that you have lived my dream by doing a short series like this. I am 37 yrs old, an NYU droput, former Army writer/photographer and P.A. specialist and now a subsriber to your site. Lived in NY, Puerto Rico and now Dallas, but it all almost adds to nougtht unless I’m writing shorts, shooting videos or pictures. I’m going to contribute to “Man-child.” This first episode has good rythm to it – and rythm is important. That’s all I have to say for now. I’ll save my comments for the last episode. LIVE YOUR DREAM and remember others like me are watching you realize the dreams we have. Eddie Robles

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The West Side is an urban western. Learn more... We won a Webby Award!