Teen Hits the Big Time With Web Site
Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
LOS ANGELES (AP) â€” In many ways, Ashley Power is the stereotypical Southern California teen, with sun-streaked hair and speech peppered with ``like, you know.''
Unlike her fellow high school sophomores, however, Power runs her own company, stars in her own slickly-produced Internet series and might end up taking her Web site to television.
Goosehead.com has caught the attention of Hollywood executives eager to find new ways to appeal to teens â€” an elusive, yet potentially profitable audience.
On Friday, MGM Television Entertainment signed a first-look one year deal with the company, which includes a chance at turning Power's Web show, ``Whatever,'' into a one-hour, weekly series for the Showtime Network. Who would star in the series? Ashley Power.
``I'm happy to have the opportunity to make the show I want to make, enjoy life and still be a kid,'' the 15-year-old said Friday.
After morning classes at Notre Dame High School, Power was calling on a cell phone from a mall in Sherman Oaks. She was putting in an appearance at a pajama store that lent her sleepwear for an interview that aired Thursday evening on the ABC program ``Prime Time Thursday.''
Goosehead.com started as Power's collection of photographs, links, music files and computer artwork. The site ballooned into an enterprise earlier this year when Power began to help write a live-action series for her site called ``Whatever.''
The program is based on her life and tackles adolescent issues ranging from sexuality to sibling rivalry. Episode 3 is titled ``Heaven, Hell and Parents.''
The show is directed by Power's stepfather, Mark Schilder, who also is co-chairman of the company, which employs 30. Much of the site's revenue comes from advertising and product tie-ins.
``Ashley and I write the shows together,'' Schilder said in a recent interview. ``She writes notes about everything that goes on in her life, things that strike her as funny, as poignant, and she brings those notes to me.''
The shows, which run about 10 minutes, cost between $20,000 and $30,000 to produce. The site is funded by family and friends, with some sponsorship from major firms, such as Oakley, which makes sports apparel. Actor Richard Dreyfus, a friend of the family, recently agreed to create programming for the site.
Perhaps because the site does not have big investors who demand fast returns, it has developed to the point of Friday's deal with MGM, while other, better-funded sites aimed at teens have folded or are struggling.
Through it all, Power struggles to balance the demands of her private and very public life.
``There are times when I'm like, 'Oh my God, I wanted to go to a dance or go out with my friends,' and there is work stuff to be handled,'' Power said. ``I've thought about priorities and what I want to stand for in all parts of my life. This is really important to me. There's no turning back.''
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