With the arrival of various on-demand services and social media, web series are becoming more and more popular. A large number of film makers and writers are now turning to video sharing platforms such such as YouTube as a way of finding an audience, and for making their first steps in screenwriting and film production. Since cameras have become easy to get hold of, literally anyone can start working on their web series idea.
1) Keep The Idea Simple
The majority of web series tend to have relatively short episodes. It’s rare to find one that last more than 10 minutes a time. For that reason, the most of the series have rather simple premises. Furthermore, due to their limited budget they are often filmed in a limited number of locations, sometimes even only one. If your idea for a series is broad and contains lots of characters, the internet may not be the best place for it. If however you have an idea that can work on a small budget and when it’s delivered in small doses, then an internet audience is ideal.
2) No Budget or Low Budget?
In some cases, you could attempt to make your web series without spending a penny on production. On the other hand, if you are particularly ambitious, then you could launch a crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to raise money (see below). If you have an interesting idea and you can sell it to people, then you could raise enough money to make the series the way you want it.
For the majority of people, however, creating a web series is something done without any money at all. In that instance, you have to turn to family and friends in order to get everything you need for free. Try and find a local amateur dramatics group and see if any of the actors there would be willing to play a part in your series. Look online to try and find actors who are willing to work for the experience, a credited role, and a reference. Use the digital camera you have at home or borrow one from a friend or family member. The most important thing is getting out there and getting your series made.
4) Social Media & Marketing
When you have created the first episode and you have uploaded it to the video sharing site you have chosen, then it is time to start spreading the word. Promoting your series is tough work, and possibly one of the aspects that requires the most attention if you want your series to succeed. Utilise your social media outlets to tell all your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter about your series. But there is much more that can be done. If you have started a successful crowdfunding campaign, you will ideally have a small following already. These campaigns do not only help to finance your projects but also to raise awareness. Another great way (and who doesn’t want to potentially be awarded for their hard work?) to get your series seen is handing it in to film festivals that showcase web series, such as Raindance’s Web Fest on in September. Finding sponsors, using product placement and other ways of teaming up with brands or individuals that already have a large following can instantly boost your views. Lastly, you may want to create a website, facebook page and a blog specifically for your webseries.
After all the series will be based online, so make sure you use all the possibilities the internet offers you to promote yourself! This is where you will get the entirety of your viewers. Develop a feeling for your chosen video platform and make your series as attractive for this sharing site as possible. On YouTube, for example, it is vital to pick thumbnails to attract attention and titles that will both pop up in keyword searches as well as spark an interest. Lead your audience through the viewing experience with the help of playlists and annotations. Another vital aspect is the interacive element to a web-based series. Hopefully you will get a lot of audience engagement in the form of comments – make sure you reply to them and keep discussions flowing!
6) Don’t Give Up!
If you find that you don’t get as many views as you were hoping for with your first episode, don’t decide to just stop there. Keep making episodes until you have done what you feel is a complete series or season. Quite a few web series take a little while to develop a following, and people who are new to your show will be more inclined to keep watching if more episodes are readily available. Just keep going and all the hard work you put in could well pay off.