::::: Welcome to Web Series Today "collaborative environment"
::::: Help get LGPedia back online!!!!! <== ACT TODAY!!!!!
::::: Welcome to new Web Series Today blog "authors". <= PLEASE READ CAREFULLY!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

4 Important Things You Must Know About Before Shooting a Web Series

This article was published by Jeremy Campbell who's Founder and President of the video production collaboration and freelancing site Spidvid.

Shooting a web series is a lot like playing a carnival game. It seems easy enough on it’s face, but once you actually try it you realize there is way more going on behind the scenes than you first realized.

Awhile ago I spoke to a web series creator (Richard Boehmcke of Twentease), and learned a few things I want to share here, coming from his perspective in his words.

There are four things you must know about before writing a script for, or shooting a web series:

1. Write to Shoot - I wrote and shot my first episode within a short time span, but then I had many months to write the next 7 episodes before we shot any of them. While this was great for saving time, it also allowed my imagination to run wild. I was focused more on the story and the arc of the characters, than the actual implementation of the project. I wrote scenes that took place in a museum, on a bus, in a nightclub, and in a taxi without ever considering how hard they might be to shoot. In the end we had to rewrite most of the scenes because it just wasn't practical to shoot in a dozen different locations. Make sure the scene in the script is a place you can shoot in with minimal effort.

2. If You Have No Sound You Have No Web Series - The first episode we shot we paid very little attention to the microphone. Now, it’s one of the most important elements of our setup. People will forgive low film quality before they will forgive poor sound. We are used to watching things that are moderately entertaining in low resolution. However if you can't understand what the actors are saying, nobody is going to pretend they are watching a silent film. Make sure you get your sound right the first time. Double-check the sound IMMEDIATELY after you shoot the scene. Finding out you didn't get it right while still on set is way better than figuring that out during the editing process.

3. Trying To Do It All Is Suicide - I love being a writer/director, but it's dangerous. Even if you are the best writer/director/producer/actor/whatever, it is impossible to be the best at all of them at the same time. Doing two (or three or four) things at once means that something has to suffer. Often, you don't realize what has suffered until it's time to edit. And then you see you missed correcting an actor's mistake because you were too busy trying to get the perfect lighting for the shot. Find talented people to fill the other roles. It will allow you to make a much better product.

4. 720 is Better Than 1080 - The reason? Time. When it comes down to it, yes 1080 is a better quality than 720, but the amount of extra time it takes to move the files, render them during editing, and export a final product are often more trouble than it is worth. Plus most people don't have the patience or the bandwidth to wait for something to load up in 1080. If you are doing a scripted web series, it's OK to have it exist in 720. Nobody is expecting products done on a shoestring budget to look like cinematic masterpieces. It just needs to look good enough to get you to the next step.

It's easy to think that we are capable of anything, and that we want to make the biggest, best, most HD web series ever. But that is often impractical. It is far more beneficial is to break it down into smaller chunks. First, evaluate your end goal. Next, take a look at your resources. Then, figure out how your resources can help you reach that end goal. Finally, go make something incredibly awesome and impossible to ignore.

Do you have another tip that you would like to share? If so, feel free to below with a comment! 


  1. I should have read this before I did "Pink Slip" but then I probably wouldn't have done it....for me it was all about fun...having fun for me and for my cast and crew...and since I paid for it myself, by not leaving the house for months on end (and saving the money I would have spent having coffee, drinks or dinner with friends) I funded it myself and therefore was the Producer (although there is more to Producing than that for sure...but I was clueless)...I wrote it myself too, because I was mad at my husband who did a Web Series with a Director who did not understand or want a costume designer or a production designer...and that's all I had wanted to do...so to prove them wrong...I wrote "Pink Slip" and shot it all (or almost all) in a relatively empty white walled and ceilinged basement....so then I had to be the Production Designer, and trust me I was clueless how to turn an empty room without a runway into a fashion show...so I just watched a lot of "Sex and the City" shows and saw one where the camera focused on Carrie and friends and not the models...so even though my line producer, DP and crew told me it could not be done....that is exactly what we did and I think it worked..sort of...probably more than sort of, because pros were contacting me and saying I have to shoot a fashion show for my Web Series, tv show, film etc..and I recall that you said you didn't have a runway...how did you do that....? We did have some problems with sound on the 2nd episode, but only because the headphones broke and I couldn't hear and didn't have enough money to stop the shoot and change them.....I'm not saying we did a perfect job...far from it....but for me the fun was doing it all...one a couple of the episodes I ended up having to be my own 2nd AD the night before the shoot when someone got sick and another AD couldn't get away from the film he was shooting...I'm just saying...if you can afford to hire people to do it for you, by all means I totally agree with you.....then just concentrate on what you do best.....but if you can't or you love many aspects and feel you have the talent and can multi-task go for it...if it saves you money...and it did...it really did save a ton of money doing so much by myself and mostly since I'd never been to film school and only been on set as an extra 3 times in NYC....I just learned so much from my wonderful and patient line producer and 1st AD who ended up becoming my leading man Max (when the originally cast actor didn't work out)...they were so helpful to me.....just go for it...but if you can afford it...do exactly as the other post from Spidvid tells you....get good people to do the stuff you can't do and concentrate on what you can do and want to do.

  2. We would add, work on building an audience before you release. Doing all of the above gets you a really great video for family and friends to watch; none of it will get you an audience. You can have a great story and quality video, but no audience. It is very very difficult to rise above the chaotic noise of YouTube. Pay attention to YouTube's Creator's Playbook, but even that is bare minimum. You will have to spend a lot of time discovering unique ways to find your audience. We are still working on that. Long way to go. Good luck everyone and keep sharing; it gives us all a swing at it.


If you want to become an "author" on Web Series Today please read: http://tinyurl.com/becomeaWSTauthor

For more detailed information about Web Series Today please read: Web Series Today:

For other info contact: [email protected]

Join the discussion: http://www.tinyurl.com/webseriescommunity