Its KEY

Reel Talk

In Communication, Griot, Movies, Networking, Technology, TV Shows on December 11, 2013 at 8:37 am

ReelTalk3If you make a good film product but no one ever sees it, did you really ever make it at all? Wait. That’s the questionable pose for the tree in the forest falling with no one around to see it –well it just so happens this analogy fits well in context to filmmaking too.

I’m a lover of art films, art house films, underground documentaries, hip hop documentaries, cultural pieces, music videos and the distribution outlets that broadcast them.

No matter how creative the writer is in scripting and casting a production, if he does not have the proper venue to broadcast, he may as well be performing in his series in his parents living room. Talk about limited exposure.

A hefty [number] following is crucial if you are trying to advance your video project and YouTube knows that rule best.  A good web series will need a good home with adequate marketing and traffic.

First thing’s first, let’s talk about creating a web series, while searching for an edge on the process I came across Tom Cruises wisdom (via ReelSeo.com) on this very subject and couldn’t resist reblogging.  Take heed and try your hand at webisode creation:

Web series are the equivalent of self-published novels for many aspiring video creators.  They have complete control over what the final product looks like, although they may not have the money to pull off their ultimate vision.  They are a way to showcase your talents and possibly move on to something bigger in the future, but for many, web series is where it’s at.  It’s a unique way to tell a story, and basically these shows’ entire seasons can be told in the span of an episode or two of regular TV series.

1. Start With A Story

The first point that I’d like to talk about from the Tom Cruise blog post is starting with a story.  What is the story, how do you want to tell it, and basically, each of these episodes should contain a three-act structure even if it only lasts 5-6 minutes.  For easy examples of this, take a look at web series wonder The Guild, which manages to make a season that lasts around or little over an hour into something that seems much grander in scale.  It’s all because each episode is packed with content and very quickly moves its story forward.

It clearly outlines the stakes at the very beginning.  By the first 20 seconds, you know that something (racy) has occurred and it could affect the relationship with her friends.  Boom.

2. FIND AN AUDIENCE

We talk about this all the time, about finding the audience for your channel and directing content towards them. You have to figure out who is going to watch your creation, because it certainly isn’t going to be everybody. It’s going to be a select group, even if it proves popular. So, your science fiction web series should be shared with blogs and sites that are dedicated to science fiction. Maybe you share it with everyone you know who likes science fiction. Maybe you ask those people to share it with other people. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to find your genre, who enjoys that type of thing, and find those people on the Internet.
TomCruise.com quotes Felicia Day’s own blog post, “Web Series: Four Things To Ask Yourself Before Starting.” Of course, that post is amazingly good advice in its own right, right there from a person who is considered the queen of web series. I’ve expanded their own quote to include the entire first paragraph of her third step:

I think a key to web series, that builds upon points #1 and #2, is that trying to please everyone will never work on the web. The Guild is popular because we started in a niche and grew out from there. The internet isn’t TV: It’s 20 million channels rather than 200. If you can’t sit down and easily identify what kind of person will like your show and name 5 places that person might go to on the internet, you will have a hard time getting the word out, no matter how good it is.

So if your series has even limited amount of appeal, you’ll have to do the homework to find out who would watch your show, and find the places those people go to advertise/share your content.

 3. The Money Problem/Dedication

 The Tom Cruise blog calls this, “Show Me The Money,” which is the only thing remotely Tom Cruise in this post.  I’ve seen a lot of web series, no matter how successful, get absolutely lost and apparently have no ability to produce a constant stream of episodes, mainly because of the money issue.  Let’s face it, you aren’t likely to get rich doing a web series, and where there is no money, there is also a lack of time, because you’re likely working a job to get the little money you can put into a series.

Still, a successful one requires dedication.  An episode a week or every two weeks is the way to go, which is why I would suggest before even publishing your first video, you create a backlog of episodes so that you can supply content every week while you produce more.  Figure out how long it takes to create an episode, and have a corresponding amount of episodes ready to publish while you create others.

In fact, later in the post, Hitman 101 web series creator Scott Staven makes this very point when talking about how he released a constant stream of content:

ReelTalk3 Quote

With a web series this is possible because it’s not going to require up-to-date information to produce content.  You aren’t making a Philip DeFranco-style of web videos here, where the day’s news supplies content.  You have a script to follow.

I think a lot of web series that I’ve followed and had interrupted over the last year or so could have benefited by not publishing until they were ready to publish a whole season, or at least most of it.

The Tom Cruise blog mentions that some web series have been successful in various ways, but most of the ones they cover are the ones that have had celebrities backing them, like Tom Hanks’ Electric City or Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy.  If you’ve got access to celebrities, your chances obviously are higher to get money, but I’ve seen a lot of celebrity-backed web series get less views than average, everyday videos on YouTube.

Here’s the first episode of Web Therapy, with guest star Meryl Streep:

4. Using Available Resources

 Skipping ahead in their post, I found this interesting section where they talk to LAWEBFEST founder Mike Ajakwe, Jr.  After hitting on some points already discussed in the article, he mentions something about “using the resources around you.”  This is finding people who are eager to help and just want the experience.  Here’s a great quote:

If you live in a filmmaking hub, but even if you don’t, you can find talented people will often work for free for the experience or to bolster their resume. “There are so many people around you that can help. There are sound people, hair and make-up people, wardrobe experts,” he says. “If you put an ad on Craigslist in the area of production, the people who will respond are amazing.”

Now, this is still the kind of thought process that makes web series and web-based entertainment lower than TV series in many people’s eyes, because web series are still considered “starting points” or “a place to get experience.”  But remember, web series and the like are still in their infancy compared to any other form of entertainment, and you can’t let the perception get you down.  Web series are just like any other form of entertainment, and you can’t expect to get rich doing it right away.

The key is to keep grinding and doing what you love, and one day the series might become a hit, or you might get discovered.  But the important thing is that you’re not doing it for the money, even though you should do everything in your power to get it seen.

5. Have A Plan

 Ajakwe also says to have a plan.  And what that means is that you’re the boss and people want to follow you, and you should be a decisive leader.  It reminds me of some tips Ryan Connolly laid out in this episode of Film Riot concerning his experience on his short film Losses:


6. The Quality

 As always, it’s not that you look like a slickly produced Hollywood movie, but you should at least look like you know what you’re doing, and sound and lighting are key.  Almost every bad video is upended by bad sound, and in many cases, bad lighting.  People should be able to see and hear you clearly, and if you can create even the slightest of a mood with your lighting, even more points to you.  This is something else that Hitman 101 creator Staven talks about in his interview with TomCruise.com.  I highly suggest you take a look at that discussion because it has a wealth of information.

 7. Use Resources

There are a number of places you can find information on how to find success. Check out the YouTube Creator Playbook, and for awesome film/video tricks on the cheap, Revision3’s Film Riot.  Also, Freddie Wong wrote this excellent post about how his channel got popular.  Another good resource is TubeFilter.tv, a great blog to stay up to date with information regarding web series.  These, in addition to the other links already posted here, should give you a really good start.

[BIG UPS to the Reference Source: ReelSeo.com]

green divider

Starting a web series is a great way to go
for any new producer with an up and coming show.

An audience is needed to prove content worthiness on a grand scale,
I’m Qui
and Exposure is Key if any production intends to mass sale.

5-4-3-2-1 Lights! Camera Action!
No scene is a get rich quick thing –
Viva la Film because it is fun!

#ReelTalk
#ExposureIsKey
#ConsiderationIsKey

Other Sources: Web Series Channel, Define Web Series Success

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