Welcome to the Scene

By Deane Barker on November 13, 2005

THE.SCENE: I’m rapidly becoming addicted to “The Scene,” a soap opera about the exploits of Brian Sandro, a member of a DVD-pirating group.

There have been 14 episodes so far, and I’ve watched three of them. Each is about 20 minutes long, and consists of a screencast of Brian’s desktop, with a video inset of him sitting at his computer in the top left.

The storyline plays out as Brian chats with his pirate buddies, his girlfriend Melissa, and a mysterious Asian contact. As a member of this group, Brian lives by a code that says he’ll never sell anything — they live to pirate content and distribute it for free.

But Brian’s Dad is disabled with a stroke, and Brian is behind on his tuition payments at NYU. So when his Asian contact offers him $2,500 for “The Incredibles,” things get interesting. Is Brian betraying his group by selling stuff on the side? Is there honor among thieves?

I got all 14 episodes via BitTorrent (it’s all Creative Commons licensed). It’s pretty amazing how the filmmakers draw you in with nothing but chat, emails, and an occasional phone call (there’s one “actor” — the guy who plays Brian — but so far he’s just sat in front of his computer screen and taken one phone call). There’s an enourmous amount of background information that I’ve just managed to infer from how various things play out on Brian’s desktop.

Additionally, it’s an interesting look inside the pirate subculture. It certainly seems authentic, though I can’t vouch for any of it. I can only assume groups like this actually exist.

Go watch the first episode. There’s a nice cliffhanger at the end that I bet will get you to watch the second.



  1. Quick spoiler that doesn’t spoil anything plot-related:

    They’re not all about Brian (most recent one comes to mind…).

    Just a thought ;)

    Love the series, though. Once a month is not often enough for me >.<

  2. Also, there’s product placement in the first episode —

    While Brian is waiting for something to happen, he opens a Web site and almost starts playing what looks like a Flash game of some kind. The Web site is by the same company that sponsored the episode.

  3. I’ve been thoroughly addicted to this show since it was first mentioned on slashdot. Very good stuff.

    As another commenter noted, there are some that aren’t from Brian’s POV, which definitely adds some spice.

    Even my fiancee is into the show.

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