The Story of Developing Philly

Developing Philly is a web series about the rise of the Philadelphia innovation community.

In 2004, filmmaker and tech enthusiast David Dylan Thomas moved to Philadelphia and discovered a distinct lack of tech. He’d been spoiled by attending his first SXSW Interactive festival the year before and just expected to see thriving tech communities wherever he went.

Not five years later, he noticed a change had begun. He’d started attending tech conferences in Philadelphia on a regular basis and meeting lots of interesting people building lots of interesting things. And something called Indy Hall was running out of room.

Today, Philadelphia is preparing for it’s third Philly Tech Week. Open Data is de rigeur. And you can’t throw a rock without hitting a hackathon.

But let’s flash back to 2011.

Thomas attends yet another SXSW keynote at which he hears Felicia Day talk about web series, a format he’s been curious to try. She talks about writing what you know, and he thinks that what he knows is the tech community in Philly. But to create a fictional series about techies in Philly, he’s going to need to hear more of their stories. So he’s going to have to interview them.

And then he realizes that that’s the series!

But let’s flash back to 2010.

Thomas meets Maurice Gaston at BarCamp Philly and they get to talking briefly about filmmaking and tech. They meet again at SXSW. And finally again at the next BarCamp Philly and they start looking for a project to work on together.

And then Thomas tells Gaston about his idea. And then they both buy DSLR’s.

The rest of 2012 is a blur of interviews and planning meetings and, yes, agile methodology applied to production and post-production schedules and now, after a year and change, it’s ready for the world.

Nuts and Bolts

Developing Philly is a web series about the rise of the Philadelphia innovation community.

The first season is 7 episodes of approximately 13 minutes each, released weekly to Vimeo, YouTube, and the Developing Philly website starting Friday, April 26th.

Season one will cover the evolution of the community as it exists now, beginning with the tech scene of the 90’s through the boom and bust and going into the changing circumstances both in Philly and technology at large that led to the scene we see today.

We also take a look at the events and organizations that helped shape and grow the community and the role coworking has played in its evolution.

We explore different startups that have emerged from the scene, and how their relationship to Philadelphia has influenced their growth.

We end by taking a look at the future, and the directions the community might take going forward, with issues like retention, location, and city government playing a potential role.


Some episodes of Developing Philly will premiere early at live events throughout the city.

The first two episodes premiered at Venturef0rth during Philly Tech Week on Wednesday, April 24th at 6:30 pm. There was a Q & A afterward with series creators David Dylan Thomas and Maurice Gaston and special guests Elliot Menschik and Meredith Broussard.

Creators’ Biographies

David Dylan Thomas
Director, Co-producer, Editor
Thomas has been making films since he was in high school with two VCRs splicing together a rockumentary of local bands. He’s been in love with technology since he worked in distance education in 2000. Currently, he tries to indulge both passions by making this web series, running the Content Strategy Philly meetup, and creating Content Camp, an unconference about the future of content.

Maurice Gaston
Cinematographer, Co-producer, Music
Trained as an engineer, Gaston (while no stranger to video, music production, and the occasional editing) is now principally a geek who writes code for a living. Telling stories and making things are the two primary drivers that war for his attention. It’s the former that drew him to work with Thomas on Developing Philly. And it’s the drive towards the latter that helped it to exist.

Special Thanks

Lauren Galanter (For the name, “Developing Philly”)

Tim Allen
Michael Auritt
Sean Blanda
Chris Cera
Brad Denenberg
Sarah DiGioia
Alex Hillman
Mike Krupit
Elliot Menschik
Nina Thomas

Filming Dates:

January 2012 – ongoing


Press Contact:

Press Night:

April 24th, 2013
417 N 8th St #201
Philadelphia, PA 19123