The dream of the amateur filmmaker is to nail the web series game.
Having witnessed the success of The Guild, the viral power of Dr. Horrible Sing Along Blog, or the long lasting Homestar Runner, we can see how powerful a successful web series can be. Just from merchandising and fan support an artist can make a living. Or for some like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, they made a web series pilot that lead into a tv series.
Not every video series on YouTube is going to be a success, but these six tips will increase your chances.
1 – Always be Working on Your Script
The Story is the web series. You can shoot on an iPhone 3, have terrible lighting, and shoot it in your studio apartment, but if the story sucks people will not watch.
To give yourself the best possible shot, make sure to run the script and the premise past at least one person. I have five people that I run most my ideas past every time. They are all good friends of mine that will be 100% honest about how they feel about the idea. These five people keep me from doing a bad project or starting production before an idea is fully fleshed out.
After you get feedback and up till the filming, you will want to keep improving and working on the script. Use the time to punch up the jokes, enhance dialogue, rethink what can be cut, etc. Some creators will even change lines or have a few options during filming.
2 – Your Team Makes the Show
With the story as the most important part of a web series, it won’t be much without your crew. So, choose wisely and take care of them. Every member of the team is important, and you need to let them know that.
At the same time, it is critical during shooting you put all your attention on the actors.
If you have a great crew working on the project, they will understand that during filming, the actors are everything. If the lighting isn’t perfect, the scene will be okay as long as the actors nail their performance.
3 – Keep it Short
There is no hard and fast rule on specific length, but it is important to make your video as short as possible. If you can tell a story in under a minute, do it.
This is a decision each web series creator must face. Just ask yourself, can I make this shorter and still tell the story?
4 – Marketing
Marketing is one of those things most creatives hate. We get so caught up in the work that we forget to tell others about it. This is an enormous mistake.
We like to believe that “if we build it, they will come.” Unfortunately, this is rarely (if ever) the case. To get people to watch you video series you need to let them know about it and remind them.
Marketing for a web series can be an entire book and beyond the scope of this blog post. Just remember that if you have a budget, keep some for marketing. And either way, schedule time or find someone to promote the project once people can start watching it.
5 – Allow Flexibility in Schedule
You want to be two to three episodes ahead of the currently published video.
I can’t tell you the number of promises and deadlines I’ve broken because of not allowing flexibility in the schedule of projects. It is hard to hold back when you finish that first episode, but you will be thankful once you hit the first snag, have an actor get sick, or realize something needs to be re-shot.
Flexibility in your production schedule can be a life savor!
6 – Go Do it!
Once you have a solid script and a production plan (with flexibility), you have no excuse not to be shooting.
Get away from reading websites and/or watching other videos, and go create your masterpiece.
What are you waiting for?