Gustavo The Great, 52 Films/52 Weeks, Angeles Crest, 4am, 2011.
Our second episode about episodic’s!
What stunning thematic dialogue we are having!
So, since we have already covered a little about the creative side of web series in the first article, I wanted to talk about money, marketing, resources and where to place you content when completed.
We all need it, and although web series can be extremely inexpensive and the costs are spread over a longer period than other formats, there still are costs, so you will need some money.
As very, very independent filmmakers, we are all used to coughing up the cash ourselves, and because of that it can be harder to get our heads around actually raising money. But the thing about a web series is that it lends itself quite well to crowd funding, you can shoot a couple of episodes and then use them to help raise the money to finish the series.
Crown funding sites like kickstarter http://www.kickstarter.com and indiegogo http://www.indiegogo.com are a great way to raise some cash and also to promote your show. My son often browses kickstarter to see whats being created, and once you have your project up, linking that to Facebook etc is very simple. You can use the ongoing nature of a web series to support the marketing, and even include the fans in the creative process, asking for ideas for plot twists or characters. As incentives on kickstarter people often offer walk on parts as gifts to donators.
But you don’t need to raise a ton of cash to begin with, just make sure you have a very good story, with something compelling to say, otherwise no one will be interested enough to help you make it, let alone watch it!
Although money is a concern, if you do good work and you are consistent, the money you need to help you continue will come, people recognise great programming, especially amongst so much not so great programming! I have had many ‘down to the wire’ moments filmmaking, not sure how I was going to find the money for food etc, but, someway, somehow, something turns up, it neve fails to amazes me, but it’s true!
….hmm….not my forte to be honest. I only wish that we had someone to help with marketing when we made 52 films/ 52 weeks in 2011. We were so busy making the films, we just couldnt keep up with it. but these days, with so much content floating around on the inter-web, you must have some kind of campaign, or no one will know you are there and that would be a terrible shame after all the hard work of making the show!
Get yourself a website.
You no longer have to sell your first born to be able to do this, no need for a web designer even, unless there are your cousin or something and will work for fried rice.
Ahh the joys of wordpress…
Free, simple-ish to use, and strewn with helpful hints and lovely templates. Get good at it!
You an even buy a url, very cheaply, so no one need even know you made it yourself!
A bit of a bio, a bit of background on the project and an imbedded video and you are off!
Its well worth the effort, and it will give you a base for your project, a home page if you will, a shop front even!
This website will be the center of your production, keep it updated with your on going filming process, casting, location scouts etc, and use it to launch the show you are creating.
Just because you are your own studio and have no money, doesnt mean you cant compete with the big guys!
Remember, you are building your fan base, your audience, and, potentially, your support system, which includes resources, locations, props etc, even financial donations.
Speaking of resources, there are many on line right now, desperate for you to visit and plunder them.
You tube has its own tutorials http://www.youtube.com/yt/creators/ on filmmaking, designed to help potential content creators produce quality shows, all of this as well as the thousands of uploaded filmmaking tips from world wide contributors.
2 Reel Guys http://2reelguys.com is a series of videos hosted by Norman Hollyn, industry professional and USC professor and Larry Jordan, post-production consultant and producer. This series of videos explores the process of visual storytelling, every episode covering topics from story, lighting, collaboration, music, and working with actors. These are an invaluable resource and well worth watching.
Vimeo Video School http://vimeo.com/videoschool is another resource for help and inspiration. Filmmakers of every level can benefit from these detailed and informative films made by in-house Vimeo staff, you are also invited to submit your own ‘how to’ tutorials, a great way to expand your network!
There are also some great post production resources that are quite affordable and can really help you make the most of the look and sound of your project. Remember, your audience is pretty sophisticated, many years of watching CSI and Bones has ruined them for us low budget filmmakers! So a little tweak here and there could make all the difference, and even if your CGI space ship is a little on the ‘Doctor Who’ side, your fans will appreciate the effort!
So here are a few affordable post production destinations for you!
Video Copilot http://www.videocopilot.net specialises in after effect, and has a simple catalogue of motion graphic or plug in products.
Video Hive http://videohive.net is another great resource, with lots of great stock footage and graphics, very reasonable!
Music Alley http://www.musicalley.com is a wonderful place to find music directly from musicians looking to exchange their catalogue for exposure and credit, some really interesting stuff here.
Audio Jungle http://audiojungle.net is a stock house full of music loops and sound effects.
Free Sound http://www.freesound.org is exactly what it says! Excellent place for sound effects and completely free….just what we like to hear!
Remember, if you do use music, make sure you have permission, or it’s not copy written, and, while I’m talking about legal concerns, don’t forget to have everyone you work with, actors or crew, sign a contract. Even though you might not be able to pay anyone yet, you could if you raise some money through all their hard work, so you can work in a deferred amount to the agreement if you want to, but get everyone to sign a release allowing you to use their contribution, be it actors, crew or location.
So thats it!
I am sure there’s more I could say, but there’s a world of information out there to help you!
Don’t feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the huge amount of content online right now, good work always finds an audience, quality filmmaking of whatever variety will always be found, even amongst the many thousands of websites and video outlets.
The internet is a gift to low budget filmmakers, a distribution platform that can host your beloved piece of art in perpetuity, with access to anyone on the planet, and beyond.
After all, isn’t that what we all want in the end, immortality!
Now go and pick up your camera, you’ve got some great work to do!