“When Scandal came along we were not a show that was necessarily poised to be a hit,” Washington said today in a conversation at the Consumer Electronics Show. “It had a very small order of episodes and we found ourselves in a position … where we had to push to create community and to build a community around the show that could uplift it.”
Washington said she hopes to harness the same power of community with her latest project, to debut on Facebook Watch, Five Points. The 10-episode series follows five high school students in Chicago through a life-changing event — and tells the story from different perspectives.
“What I’m thrilled about is not only the content itself — the story, the acting, how its a shot,” said Washington, but also the opportunity to create communities on Facebook to discuss the host of social issues the story tackles. “There are some really important coming-of-age issues that we deal with. It’s the LGBT community. It’s gun violence. Drug use. Bullying.”
Washington envisions leveraging the tools of Facebook, including Facebook live and the ability to create user profiles in the characters’ names, to allow for interaction between the performers and the audience.
The series is a high-profile example of the evolution of video on Facebook, which started with short videos that automatically began playing as a user thumbed through his or her news feed and moved into live streaming with Facebook Live.
“Facebook Watch is platform for shows where creators and publishers can finally reach an audience and build passionate communities of fans,” said Facebook’s Fidji Simo. “It’s really a place where content, community and conversations come together.”
Here’s the full conversation: