If you have kids — or, let’s face it, if you’ve been alive during the past few decades — you know about the Mario Bros video game franchise. Evan Daugherty certainly knows the Bros: The Snow White And The Huntsman scribe has teamed with Maker Studios’ gaming and geek culture network Polaris to create The Four Players, a quartet of live-action shorts that give each of the playable characters from Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros 2 game a gritty twist. “Making these short films gave me a chance to really ‘do my own thing’ while having a little fun treating one of my favorite video game properties with a darker vibe,” said the UTA-repped Daugherty, who also penned the upcoming Divergent and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and is working on G.I. Joe 3. “I had been kicking around the idea for years before I was even working in the industry, so to finally be able to share these films with fans on Polaris is a very exciting thing.” Daugherty funded the films himself. The Fixer (which focuses on Mario), The Addict (his brother Luigi), The Star (imperiled Princess Peach) and The Soldier (Toad) are posted at Polaris’ YouTube channel. Check out Mario doin’ work in The Fixer below:
David Bloom is a Deadline contributor.
That’s the intriguing notion floated by Kelly Day, who headed online video distributor Blip.TV before it was bought by Maker Studios, the even bigger creator and distributor of online content based in Culver City. Day, still an adviser to Maker, was keynote speaker as the WestDoc conference for documentary, nonfiction and reality-show makers opened this morning. Online pundits have been griping lately about the 45% cut of ad revenue that Google takes for video it distributes on YouTube, up from a 70-30 split early in the platform’s life. While Day acknowledged it’s expensive and technically complicated for Google to host and distribute the massive amounts of video it makes available on YouTube, show creators have a sense that, because YouTube has so much content, “for the most part there hasn’t been a lot of sophistication about how to monetize the best of that content.” For companies such as Maker that operate so-called Multi-Channel Networks, or MCNs, that represent dozens or even thousands of individual online creators, “there is a great opportunity to think about how to package and monetize that content better,” Day said. And Google might not even mind, she said, given its previous pronouncements and how it allowed a similar ecology of outside companies to grow and thrive atop its core search-engine business.