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It's funny that in an arena as wide-open as web video, we creators are trying to conform to rules. Keep the episodes to xx minutes. Make sure you xx. Don't ever click "monetize" on your YouTube. Wait, always click "monetize."
I have to admit - and I'll be able to report back to you about my show's success or lack thereof - I am not trying too hard to follow rules. I'm just going to make something I like that I believe is beautiful and hope the audience meets me there.
For example - opening titles. Every show that I love - except one: LOST (which had iconic music) - had an iconic opening titles sequence. So, if I'm going to make a show, I wanted to make an opening credits sequence that made fans light up, like I did when I was a kid with "Happy Days" or "Friday Night Lights,", more recently.
Did anyone else struggle with opening titles - whether they should be in or not?
I'm on the jury of the 2nd Annual Marseille Web Series Festival happening this weekend in Marseille, France. Part of my job is to help select the winners of the festival in various categories.
With that I've had to sit and watch 22 competing web series in a week and nothing killed me more than having to sit through the opening credits. Some of these credits are 80 seconds long... before the episode even begins, before you see a single frame. Drove me crazy!
As a filmmaker you work for the audience, not yourself. If you must include opening credits, juxtapose over images as story unfolds, slightly faded, below the screen, and off to the side somewhere or wait until the end.
Rich, not like I'm defensive, because as admitted above, I know very little about the format, but wouldn't your rule above be, "If your web series is going to be viewed with 22 others, please don't make me sit through the opening titles?" I'm not sure audiences watch 22 episodes of anything in a row...ok, one chilly weekend I watched two seasons of the Sopranos, but I'm not sure that counts.
No worries, Greg. There's a zillion series out there and if you're fortunate to get a viewer, I wouldn't waste their time with a fancy/lengthy credit sequence, which serves no purpose really. When I press play I expect to start watching the story right away. Just me though.
I will report back, though...find out what people are telling me. I am using the opening title sequence as a marketing tool - raising awareness and establishing the production value by sharing it. I will dutifully report back.
I did this when I launched Venus Spa and am doing this again when launching Chad's Angels and that's posting the main intro sequence as it's own video. Then having mini intros of 8 seconds or less in the main episodes. This way you can have a permanent credit roll for your cast, have as flashy an intro as you want without overpowering the episodes themselves.
I can relate to this 100%. With Shadazzle, we always envisioned a beautiful opening sequence. And I'm well aware that opening titles longer than 5 seconds in a webseries are frowned upon and seriously considered cutting them out. But I knew that, in a few years time, as small an aspect of the show as credits might be, I wouldn't be able to look back on a show that felt like a complete piece of art/storytelling, if that makes sense.
We originally planned for the credits to be 30 seconds long, but ended up with a beautiful 40-second sequence. I've found the previously a handy tool, though. Although it pushes back the start of the show another 30 seconds, it provides a quick, concise glimpse at the series, so you can easily tell whether it's your type of show before the credits roll.
The credits also act as a representation of the series. We have a very clear-cut plan in mind to bring the show to it's conclusion, and it's a show that evolves both thematically and visually, and our credits help us show that.
Season one, for example, is upbeat and warm and the credits are happy, piano-led montage with a warm pink glow. The credits for our upcoming second season, however, are cold and start, with a grainy feel and a blue-y look and a reworked dark electronic version of our theme song.
Wow, long rant.
if you want to see our first season credits, they're right at the start of episode 1: http://daffadilli.es/v2s101
Did you ever think about putting "starring" so and so in the intro?
Originally, that's what we were planning to do. And there's no good reason we decided against it, really. It was just sort of our personal preference.
Every second you spend not drawing the viewer into your story is another second the viewer has to click away from your content...........and there is plenty of alternatives. This includes pre-rolls, credits etc etc etc.........
Unless you concentrate 100 percent on engaging the viewer you are likely to loose them. This is especially true in the early phase of building an audience.
But by all means break the rules. Do it your way. But just remember that if you ignore reality you may end up just learning what viewers have been trying to explain to creators for years.
To me, not enough people actually try to break the rules. But breaking rules is not apeing what has been done for years on TV ......it is going where no one has gone before.
That's just it, even the biggest shows don't go too far in terms of an in-episode intro sequence. There is a science to stuff like this as you have so many distractions online, (even on Youtube you have pics and thumbnails and ads all over the video page tempting you to click elsewhere.)
I have a mixed opinion on this topic. My two cents is to use an opening sequence to assist branding efforts, while following the principle of "less is more."
I have to agree with Rich on this as I struggled myself, loving those regular intros that TV shows had, but this is the web. So we have to hurry up with that part of the show in order to get more of the story in. But it also doesn't make sense for The Guild and other really, really short "episodes" to have intros anyway.
Of course, Day Zero is based on the half hour format (with commercials, though not necessarily in the usual spots), and we could've easily made a long-ass intro and I thought about it but it would require a song, right? A catchy, memorable one, and that costs money... my thoughts were, if I couldn't get A-Ha's "Scoundrel Days", then forget it. lol. So we're not short short but we're about the length of LOST, Falling Skies and 24.