A new wave of cinema is hitting the internet, more specifically the handheld internet. In case you have been off the planet this past week, the thing everyone has been talking about (besides gravity waves) is the new scripted series ‘Shield5‘, and oh yeah, it’s only broadcasted on Instagram! The series is 28 daily episodes of 15 seconds, with segmented images in between the episodes that tease the storyline and introduce characters. To get full credit though, the cheesier lo-fi comedy Desert Friends pioneered the mini-genre and now has over 24K followers and 100 episodes.

Shield5 takes it to a new level in terms of production values. The story takes place in present day London. 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 storyline seems one from a typical TV show, but the new format twist puts such a fresh perspective on an entirely new genre. Quick, edgy scenes with no fluff create an incredible amount of addiction to progression, and I see the great potential for mini-mini series growing out of this. Think about the bigger studios, with a chance to create sub-series or even spinoffs on certain characters or stories. Image mini episodes of Game of Thrones, to keep up with background stories that haven’t appeared in a few episodes, this would be a perfect way to keep your audience engaged between episodes or even seasons.

It’s crazy that it took so long!

We’ve been urging our viewers to explore making mini-shorts on Instagram and Vine, but filmmakers seem to have been scared to enter those confined boundaries. Hopefully @Shield5 success will inspire and encourage filmmakers to explore the possibilities. I’ve been pushing Insta Trailers since we got on Instagram, and noticed more and more filmmakers reediting their short trailers into 15 second snippets, it’s fun, fast and effective.

Is it here to stay?

It’s hard to say, but I certainly hope so! People are addicted to social media and we need new means of entertainment to constantly be explored to keep up with changes. I am certainly not saying that social media films will ever replace TV shows, but its an incredible and suitable adaption to today’s on-the-go audiences and a fun way to keep audiences engaged.

On its own, an episode can sometimes be underwhelming, but an underwhelming scene can be a set up for a consequent scene that contains a thrill of unexpected excitement – like we see in @Shield5 episode 8. I am a little disappointed that the format is not shot in 1:1 to keep the true Instagram nature, but hell, you can binge watch an entire season in 7 minutes!