As a generation raised by smart phones, we’ve become used to the concept of instant gratification. It’s one of the reasons why apps like Snapchat, Vine, and Instagram are so popular – people want their fix of aesthetically pleasing photos, videos, and stories, and they want it right now.
On the other hand, with the recent successes of NPR’s Serial podcast and Netflix’s Making a Murderer series, we also seem to be a generation that enjoys unpacking and unravelling mysteries every week, enthusiastically sitting through hours of content, waiting for that triumphant “Ah ha!” moment at the end (unless you’re a Serial fan, in which case you look like this at the end):
With this in mind, Instagram has decided to jump on board the innovative serialized-thriller train, journeying into the filmmaking world with its brand new, exclusive-to-Instagram series, Shield 5. Honing in on an as-yet-untouched market, the social media app is taking a step away from its filtered origins to introduce a new style of filmmaking, publishing 28, 15-second episodes at 5pm every day throughout February.
Created by Anthony Wilcox and Adam Dewar, the synopsis is available on Shield 5’s official website:
London. Present Day. Security driver John Swift is arrested for his involvement in a diamond heist and subsequent death of a colleague. Determined to prove his innocence, he finds himself on the run from both the police and those he believes have framed him. Embroiled in a perilous game of cat and mouse, will he be able to evade capture long enough to uncover the truth?
The show stars Christian Cooke as the main character, John Swift, and will also feature Elliot Gleave (best known as the musician Example) alongside other cast members Wallis Day and Kieran O’Brien.
Having only begun broadcasting on February 1st, the official Instagram page’s following is currently at 15.8k but will most likely grow if the series proves as popular as others like Serial.
Instagram is not the first platform to experiment with storytelling. Snapchat has created its own mini-series in the past, including SnapperHero, which starred various popular YouTubers and Viners, and Literally Can’t Even, created by and starring Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn, the daughters of Steven Spielberg and John Goldwyn, respectively.
Meanwhile, other innovative forms of filmmaking have also come around, with Sundance favorite Tangerine having been filmed entirely on iPhone 5s smartphones (although it was due to budget constraints, the choice set a new benchmark in independent filmmaking).
If Shield 5 proves to be a success, it’ll only be a matter of time before Instagram, and other social media apps, begin rolling out replicas to imitate the success and fill the serialized-thriller voids left by Serial and Making a Murderer.