Launched in December 2014, Beirut+ TV achieved nationwide success as the first animated web series in Lebanon, bringing viewers the ‘crème de la crème’ of local TV shows. As the ‘positively charged’ team of animators and illustrators prepares to launch their second season, we sat down with co-founder Maya Zankoul for an insider peek on what goes on behind the scenes.


The web series is originally a project by Wezank, an explainer video platform co-founded by Toni Yammine and Maya Zankoul in 2013. “The idea has been on our mind for the last 5 years. However, we did not have the logistics at the time to implement it. Fast forward a few years, Toni and I started Wezank, with a team of talented animators and illustrators. We were finally ready to make our dream a reality,” Zankoul told Beirut.com.

With its diverse topic selection, fresh graphics and quirky set of breaking news, Beirut+ TV was highly welcomed by Lebanese internet users, who saw in it a vibrant satirical news platform at a time of growing discontent with the type of content presented by traditional TV channels.

“Our focus is Facebook, although we also upload the episodes to YouTube. So our main evaluation is based on the likes, comments, shares and views that each video gets,” Zankoul explained. “So far, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and people are asking for more. We recently finished season 1 and people are impatiently waiting for season 2 to start.”



The creative process that goes into the making of each animated episodes is a challenge in itself. “Each episode takes more or less a week of work. Writing the script and recording the voices happens over a couple of days. Illustration takes one day. And then a couple of days for animation and sound design,” Zankoul noted.

But the real challenge was more logistic than creative. “Because we do the work on top of our usual work (explainer videos for clients), it's hard to find time to work on episodes and it ends up at the very bottom of a long to-do list. So our main challenge is finding time to prepare episodes, most of which we end up overnighting to finalize on time,” Zankoul told Beirut.com.

However, the Beirut+ team was able to reach a fruitful compromise at the end of the day, bringing viewers 19 animated episodes during its first season. Their most popular episode to date as revealed by Zankoul is "The Cousins", a spoof of reality show "The Sisters" which started airing on LBC a few months ago.



The web series is also fueled by an unparalleled selection of presenters including main anchors Vanessa and Fred, field reporter Roy, in addition to the most accurate fortune teller of all, Mkheyel Koussa (because every Lebanese TV station has got to set an eye on the future, you know).

“Our main presenters are Vanessa, Fred and Roy, voices by Serena Chami, Fouad Yammine and Adon Khoury. The two main anchors are a parody of real TV anchors, and Roy is the reporter who is outside the studio and on the scene,” Zankoul explained. Beirut+ TV will soon be back in its second season after a short hiatus and the producers are up for some interesting new ideas. “So many plans, so little time! We're currently preparing season 2 episodes, and we'd like someday to publish the episodes on DVD... And why not on the big screen someday!” Zankoul concluded.

Follow Beirut+ TV on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with their latest updates.


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