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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fear & Loathing

Creating a scripted web series is daunting and a bit frightening. If you don't have at least one moment of pure panic, then you're not doing it right. At least, that's my opinion. I think there has to be a moment that you realize, not only the magnitude of what you are trying to accomplish but the work that remains to be done and you should feel overwhelmed...but, only for a moment.

There is an old saying, "if it was easy, everyone would do it." And, while it might feel that everyone is doing it...the truth is, most web series are either commentary or improv comedy. Scripted series are fairly rare, because they're harder at every step. It starts with the writing and the work never seems to stop. But, that's why we try to climb this mountain. We want to prove to someone, somewhere that we belong.

For me, I think my moment of panic came a few weeks ago. Winter storms were impacting filming, actors were sick and we were way behind. We weren't even sure we would be on schedule for our releases. When we originally set out to plan the shoot, there was no way we would fall behind...on paper. Reality has a way of mocking all of your plans. 

But, we did the only thing you really can in a situation like that...we put our heads together and pushed through. Thanks to a great cast we are back on schedule...for the most part :)

We've got the next three weeks of episodes all in the can and edited. We need to film one scene that needs to be inserted into that 4th week's episode, and after that we have the next 6 weeks in the proverbial can. The goal is to have the season wrapped filming by the 2nd week of June. 

Season 2 has been written and already scheduled for filming next year, and it’s all looking good. But, it was hard work getting there. And, that brings me back to my point...panic helped. The panic forced us to buckle down and push through. Momentary panic is the reason we're back on track. 
So, as you push through your scripted series, keep in mind is okay to panic...but, its not okay to allow that panic to sink you. There… I covered the fear aspect, what about the loathing?

I've learned, after 20 years in the business, that it’s okay to be disappointed. It’s okay to feel that you didn't quite do the best job you could. I know that there are those who argue that you should be your own cheerleader and your own Minister of Propaganda...but, I think it’s healthier to look at your series critically. Learn where you made your mistakes and how to fix it. Once you start calling your show a series, then you are accepting that it is a living breathing art form...and that means that it has to grow and evolve. That means it needs to get better all the time. 

Look at the makeup effects from Babylon 5's first season...they were atrocious. They literally have a guy in a suit (you can clearly see the seams) trying to look frightening. 

Every multi-million dollar TV production goes through growing pains, why should your shoe string budgeted series be any different?

 I have given you permission to panic and to be disappointed. But, there is one thing you can never give yourself...and that is complacency. Use the fear and loathing to your advantage and most important...have fun. You're doing cool work and you're giving yourself the best film school in the world...practical application. 

1 comment:

  1. Great comment or article....just shared it...panic a bit on rewrites...let the inmates run the asylum on 1st script go around...let the characters take you where they want to go and on rewrites take them where you want them to go if they are not where they should be...and when problems shooting arise, that is not only your moment to shine but to be truly creative.


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