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I would imagine if starting building your audience from scratch or thin air having the local community support your production is ideal. My question spawns from getting funding to actually follow through with the series. Do you think it is a good idea to get funding from local businesses and in return promote there service or product on the series? How do you leverage your series before it has viewers to convince them that it is a wise investment of there money? Any thoughts suggestions on sponsorship?
Its all about your distribution network. Your platforms. If you have a platform that will get you the attention from a relevant audience then you are good to go.
You don't necessarily need to build an audience from scratch or local support. You just need to know WHERE to place your series so that your intended audience can view it. If you can prove how you will get the views you'll get the sponsors. It would be no different if you were an inventor and had an invention. You put together a business plan showing potential investors how you will get your product into the customers hands.
So how will you get your series in front of customers faces? Figure out a way, pitch it to sponsors and sell them your series as a path to potential customers.
Tip: If you don't have any analytics, get on it now! As you progress it will become your best friend in courting relationships with both local and industry size businesses.
And remember that these things take time. So make sure that you give yourself the time to support your project. Nothing happens overnight. And even perceived "overnight success" still has a foundation when you dig deeper.