The World Wide Web aka www (a little history for those who had no idea). It definitely has changed the game drastically, sometimes for the worse. Anyone with a camera and a clue can make a movie, even if they have not an ounce of talent. Really sad. So this is the environment in which those of us who have trained, drudged and spent years mastering a craft have to contend with… EVERYBODY. That’s some stiff competition.
Now I join the thousands who have created the indie version of television and planted it on a public platform to be criticized, dismissed and forgotten. When you tell another creative peer, “Hey, I’m going to write/produce a web series?”, don’t be surprised if the blank “who gives a rat’s ass” gaze spreads across their face. It’s not that they think your idea blows behind comprehension, it’s a simple truth… EVERYBODY is producing a web series. So the challenge is (and those who have taken the time to know me… Know… I love a challenge), how to stand apart among the rest. How can I make this series become a diamond in the rough? Being that it’s basically dramatic in nature with some suspenseful moments and as most successful web series are comedic… the question becomes even further weighted.
Here’s what I think can be the road to salvation: (at least for the web series I want to produce)
1. Include you know, like… gen X and Y. Create a product they could relate to. So your premise should be something relevant to them.
2. Music, music, music. Use local musicians who have a fan base and promote their music relentlessly along with your product—maybe even shoot a small music video to go along with your web series–if it’s in the budget of course.
3. Less is better and that means a small cast. Remember, we only have maybe at least 45 minutes to get to know your characters. And on that note: What does your main character want? Should be present EVERY episode.
4. What happened to cliffhangers? Give us a reason to watch the next episode.
5. This is the biggie for me: Lead character with presense. My advice is to cast talent (known/unknown) who have an immense amount of presence. Gen x and y have short attention spans–grab them with a lead character they can care about watching on their iphones, androids and ipads.
So you see… marketing is key. Use a big studio attitude for your no budget project. You can’t go wrong there.
Some good examples to follow, which kept the focus simple, was character driven and delivered a build up that segued nicely into the next episodes.
12 Steps to Recovery (although cast was large, the main character had a clear defined goal)
Some other links of encouragement: