Original Web Series, Added By You!
What internet networks do you guys know about for distributing webseries? I am not meaning Blip or Youtube. I'm talking about an internet platform that is like NBC or CBS. Somewhere with a built in audience that would be looking to pick up webseries that are produced by other webseries production houses.
There's a few I've come across like Hulu, Koldcast, Machinima (which goes through youtube), Indieflix, Funny Or Die.
Picture what America was like in the early 1800s west of the Mississippi. That's what the internet is like today. Now picture yourself and your family in a little horse drawn covered wagon. That's your web series. Back then America had something called the "Homestead Act," where almost anyone could stake a claim to land and set up a farm, and a place to live ... then the Gold Rush came ... and things got hectic. Many people forget who they were and why they'd come west. Where there was once an abundance, some saw the need to create scarcity. And that human foible more than anything created needed to create value in vastness of all that abundance. When the abundance itself was of more value than anything that could be found.
Enjoy the internet and your web series for what it is. And remember whose side you're on.
Exactly, Joey. Keep looking for corporate culture to validate your creation and you'll be asking "what" a lot. In the meantime, I have a link to some software to set up your own web net viewing platform. You didn't start your own production company to fall in line with everyone else, did you? Or did you? There is no such thing as a "built in" audience on the web, that's "corporate-speak" and a carry over from television for the illusion therein. The Hulus or the Funny or Dies out there have as much of a "built in" audience as do Youtube or Blip. It's temporal, meaning ADD on steroids. One video can get 10 million hits and the very next day no one remembers it, who created it or even why. So, ask yourself now, do you still want to chase the carrot plucked from the old world paradigm or set up your own farm in the new world order?
I am not saying I would like to attach to NBC or CBS. Those would be bad markets for an internet series to get attached to. I am looking for an internet platform to attach to. Yes there are more people who browse Youtube than those other sites. The problem is my web show would be a drop in the giant ocean of content that is Youtube. There is over 36 hours worth of content uploaded every minute to Youtube. Without pumping some serious money into advertising, how would I attract people to my show? I could pound the internet pavement promoting it, but I work a full time job, and when I am not working I am working on the web series. That leaves very little time to self promote.
I own and operate my own site, where my past videos are available. This has done very little in the ways of views. My blip videos only average a little over 1k views per video. No where near enough for my business partner and I to quit our day jobs and do this full time. The problem with my site is that it is not attractive. I am not a web designer, and I don't have the time to learn how to design a web page. I could hire a web designer, but that costs money, which I do not have any extra of.
Why shouldn't I license the distribution rights to my series? I am not good a self promoting, and I don't have the time or money for it. Why shouldn't I find a web based platform to distribute it? Someone who has the time and money to market it. Someone who already has a large audience that could watch it and attract more viewers.
I'm not saying I wouldn't like for people to come to my website to watch my videos. I would love that. Unfortunately it costs money to and notoriety to do that. If I build up a following on a distribution platform, some of that will carry over to my own website. I can then also use the money from it to improve my website and fund future webseries. Having my own little farm would be great, but if I can't sell my carrots to buy more seeds the farm will become barren.
Joey, if you're able to produce a web series, that in itself is a major accomplishment. You are already successful. Just keeping doing. And then just do it some more and then some more. One thousand viewers on blip.tv may not be enough for you, but believe me ... it's plenty. Let me tell you why, in order for you to break through to where you believe you should be -- you know --- major success, everyone and their mother watching your show -- you'll have to compete not with 35 million other uploaders but ONE MUTHERFUCKER who doesn't want to see you on his turf. The studios releasing the Avengers, Men in Black 3 and every other blockbuster is dominating air space and eye balls, online and off. You can't compete against them. You don't have the infrastructure, you don't have the money. So, let's go back to your one thousand viewers on Blip. How much better would you feel if it were 10,000? 10 times better? Because in the world that I've just explained 10000 wouldn't get you any more pull than 1000, and neither would 100000 for that matter. That's why this self-driven promotion addiction is a myth. It's Sisyphus' rock ... you find yourself ceaselessly rolling a rock up a hill until its own weight brings it right back to point one. 10000 viewers or 1 million viewers, everyone who is playing this game is asking the same questions. You can not complete against dominant culture, so why even try? Concentrate on producing your web series and just like any other business if there's a demand, people will come ... if not, they won't. Then it's up to you to decide whether or not to continue. It always begins with your passion to do it. Everything else falls into place. Remember something else we haven't even touched on. The viewing experience online is individual, not collective, the way television and films are. That's not gonna change anytime soon. Getting "eyeballs" to your show, will be two at a time, Just think about that for a second. Think about the difference between viewing habits in various mediums. And that's the ultimate reason numbers online are futile ... people aren't buying tickets, they're clicking and then clicking away ... that's not a ticket sale. no telling even if they've even seen the entire video. So the paradigm online is totally different, there are no rules ... and by the same token, nothing tried and true on reaching the promise land. Just keep doing the show and you're a success.
goood advice for me! thank you!!
Great advice and very thourough. Thanks!
I would like to say that for advertising I've found Felicia Day's advice to be sage: the usual method in advertising is to ask yourself 'how do I force people to do X?' but what may prove more effective is asking yourself 'where would I go to find something like X?' and promote your web series in the forum of a web series like it, or a book series like it, or a website for people your web series is about. Tweeting with relevant hashtags, posting publicity photos in places where people will click to find out what that interesting shot is from... all of that can be done easily, and in very little time. On youtube, if you tag and label your web series in ways that other popular videos will link to it, you will get the word out. Asking everyone involved to just do a little intelligent talking in the right places can help a lot.
I interviewed a producer that has a web series deal with Hulu. Hulu and similar sites aren't looking to pick up existing web series and that's just the honest truth. Instead they are producing their own content with full 100% ownership and hiring creators to help make the shows.
Also, instead of always promoting a web series, creators should start promoting their skill-set. Put it out there in the web series community that you're a writer, producer, director, editor, dp, etc and that you're available for hire to work on other people's project. Sell yourself, not your series.
For all those that are intersted in making money and/or working in the film industry this is really good advice. Out of curiousity is this interview you did on video or written in an article anywhere? For big companies like Hulu it really makes sense to me that they would hire the folks to create instead of search far and wide to find a series to pick up for their network.
Sidenote: Great website you have here Rich! A BIG Thanks for creating such a great community.
Had the 1 hour audio interview but took it down as I'm trying to consolidate my personal branding. I was all over the place doing various live, video, audio and editorial interviews. Some are still online, some I've taken down and will re-publish at some point under a more controlled branding. As mentioned, top brands aren't picking up third party web series when they can create their own from scratch and cut through the red tape. Some creators are just hard to deal with. Believe it or not I've consulted with clients who want to be "picked up" and still keep creative control and own their IP because they see Felicia Day doing it, but Felicia is one in a zillion, which they don't understand. To license your series and keep full ownership you would have to be super successful on your own first as in they're beating down your door. If you're on the up and come and want to license your series you're not keeping creative control period.