In the old days, a first-time director might dream of making a low-budget indie movie that does well on DVD, or even gets picked up for limited distribution. But now, it's all about the web series. The latest proof: The Artifact, a new web series which Illinois nerd William Fraser is making in his spare time. The Artifact takes place five years in the future, when a virus called Deep Black wipes out 80 percent of Earth's population. The low-budget series, designed to last 20 or 25 episodes with a pre-planned end point, is on YouTube and at And Fraser hopes to follow in the footsteps of Amanda Tapping's Sanctuary, and take his show to the Sci Fi Channel. It's the new nerd dream. [Lake County Journals]