Webisodes are something I haven't come across a great deal in my adventures in online documentary land. Anecdotally, it seems documentary filmmakers are more focused on creating one main event or site, and haven't given as much thought to the gradual addition of regular content to an online project - which seems odd given the mass of documentary television series.
Black Folk Don't, a project I came across at the recent Media That Matters conference in Washington DC, is a fabulous use of the webisode form. It drags into the spotlight a range of stereotypes suggesting that black people 'don't do' certain things, say, winter sports, or yoga.
Filmmaker Angela Tucker emailed a bunch of friends and asked them to list all the stereotypes of this sort they'd encountered, and she whittled the list down into the topics for her first series. Even bringing up the topic at all rattled a few people, but the result is an entertaining engagement with racial typecasting.
It's particularly effective as while it is touching on complex background issues, it's essentially a very simple idea - ask a bunch of people what they think of a statement and stick it on the web. And boy has it attracted viewers - a number of people at the conference found it the most exciting project discussed all day. Some could even be seen in the audience watching episodes on their tablets and laptops, and surely the highest compliment for content is people getting sucked in to watch it.
The series has been so successful that season two is on its way - episode topics were announced at the conference and they include Black Folk Don't camp, swim, do eating disorders, do atheism, commit suicide, and get married.