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Friday, January 25, 2013

Fighting the Fickle

We have had some interesting conversations about the world of Web Series this week, and one thing that comes up in most of our conversations is why we are doing things the way that we are.  Writing a 39 Webisode season and releasing it weekly is an ambitious undertaking. Planning on doing it for several years is nothing short of insane!  

Here, my co-creator of Shotgun Mythos and the all around wizard behind the curtain of the show, Clint Gaige explains the logic of our plan of action, and why consistency is important. 






I talk with a lot of filmmakers and artists and the conversation usually goes something like this.

THEM: I'm thinking of doing a web series or something like that. I hear there is good money in it.

Usually, this is where I fall down on the floor laughing uncontrollably. After a few minutes I regain my composure and get up off the ground wiping tears from my eyes.

ME: Okay, how are you structuring your series and what is your plan for year round content?

THEM: Well, its really a short film or movie that we're going to release in 5 minute pieces.

ME: That's not a Web series, that's a movie that requires your audience to wait for weeks to watch. You're asking your audience to watch 7 days worth of commercials between every segment.  And, what comes next?

THEM: I might write a sequel.

ME: Good luck.

Okay, if this is you, let me explain why this is a mistake. Your audience is barraged with quality content on 200 television stations, YouTube, Xbox, PS3, Movie releases. They don't have time to find you instantly. It takes months to build an audience on word of mouth. By the time your film is over, you will have just started to hit your stride and the content is done. How do you build an audience if there is nothing new to show them? How do you keep their interest if you take a year long hiatus to work on your sequel?

The web audience is fickle. The internet has so much content available ranging from cute kittens to full on productions from Brian Singer. If you want to be successful, you have to be consistent and you have to treat your audience with respect. Because while they are a fickle audience, and will find a new favorite on a dime, they are also the most loyal viewers in the world, if you treat them well. There is still an underground vibe attached to the web series. The audience appreciates finding a nugget of gold. They want to be the first one to say to their friends, "Have you seen such and such?"

  So, how do you become that nugget of gold? Well, it would be self serving if I were to say, we are that nugget. I believe we are producing a solid series that we are incredibly proud of. But, we give our audience as much as is humanly possible. We write a daily blog allowing the viewers to peek under the hood. We produce a weekly podcast interviewing cast and crew. And, we release our episodes every week at the same time every week. Our plan includes 39 episodes with 52 weeks of content, making sure that our audience will not have to remember us and find us again come Season 2. In fact, we have outlined seven seasons. We are working with an artist to release a graphic novel and we are in talks with a gaming company to produce an old school paper and pencil RPG of our show.

So, when we are promoting our series we ask one simple question. If I was a viewer, would I appreciate this extra? Because the end goal is simple, viewers. Everything we do to promote our series is dedicated to keeping our fans engaged and rewarding them for watching and being a part of the series.

So, if you are making a Web series, find ways to keep your viewers engaged year round. And, if you are thinking of making a Web series, please do so, but do it right, your audience deserves your best.



9 comments:

  1. I always try to spell Web series with a capital "W". I picked up this habit from the New York Times. If you look at the origin of the term it comes from World wide web and hence the capital. A small detail, yet, but one of immense significance in terms of outlook.

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  2. http://plus.google.com/101175516092771757092/posts/fYXEU7FEQMb

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  3. Tip: if you include a relevant pix in a post it not only increases the traction of a post but it also looks much better when viewed on a mobile device.

    http://www.webseriestoday.com/?m=1

    Incidentally, if you save this bookmark to your home page on a mobile device, it will act as a "mobile app" for Web Series Today.

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  4. Thank you for the information. We will adjust our posts accordingly.

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  5. Cool. As the old saying goes, "a picture is worth 1000 words". The key is to have an image that instantly communicates the central message, and then build on that with text or video.

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  6. I did follow your advice and load a pic, but it didn't show up.

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    Replies
    1. You need to make sure you see the code added to the page after you upload the image. If you close the upload box before the code has been added it will not show up.

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  7. Oh I've had the same problem..glad to know I'm not alone...thanks modelmotion and Lonelyfish Tachyfin....I will share this with my editor who always uploads the video for me.

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