Just wrote & directed a movie (SCRAPS). Before that, co-created Jonathanville TV, We Have To Move & Weird Copcept Album. Before that, sold sex toys while still a virgin.
Thank you! Any and all NoFilmSchoolers in the LA area with $0 to spare are welcome to come!
This was a really enjoyable interview! Please let me know if you ever want to do sort of a follow-up or spin-off episode about how to shoot a feature for even less money in only slightly more time. That's how I made my feature debut as a writer/director - which is having a free premiere in LA this Wednesday 8/8 if anyone is interested. Here's the Eventbrite link to get more info and RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scraps-los-angeles-premiere-88-at-8-pm-tick...)
There are some great tips in here, and that Dan Braun quote is haunting but fair. Without representation, my friends and I managed to get some meetings with a network off the merit of our indie pilot presentation, but we're still looking for the right opportunity to make the full series, so we went ahead and built an immersive website set in the world of the show, and used that to present a lot of the details we wrote for our bible. It's all up for free at www.jonathanville.tv for anyone who might be curious!
Fully agree with all of this! I've had a lot of the same thoughts and experiences throughout the experience of making my first feature, which I've blogged about at http://danielshar.tumblr.com/firstfeaturefilm if anyone's hungry for additional insight. We're still in post and figuring out our own release, but in the meantime, I look forward to seeing Gold Star and other No Film School users' first features.
These are all great tips, and I love Ana Fabrega's work, so I'm excited to check out this series! I do have two more tips for producing a web series.
1) There's no way to control the order in which people watch your episodes, especially if you've got various actors making cameos throughout the series and then promoting that they're in it, as the friends of each actor are likely to just start with the episode that features the person they know. SO, if at all possible, even if you have an arc for the series, try to make it so anyone can start with any episode and fully understand the context/setup of your series. Hopefully, whatever episode they start with will hook them enough to make them want to watch the rest, and I think your chances of this will go way up if viewers are immediately able to follow what's happening. Realizing the importance of this was a crucial turning point in the writing process for our series, We Have To Move, which features 14 cameos in 6 episodes (including some faces you'll recognize from the HBO episodes of High Maintenance, ironically enough; check it out at www.danielshar.com/we-have-to-move.html).
2) In my experience, the Netflix model of making every episode available at once seems to fare better for web series than the traditional TV model of releasing a new episode every week. When we put out We Have To Move, we posted once a week for 6 weeks to remind people that all 6 episodes were available, but each week, we featured a different episode. This seemed to be a much more effective release strategy with far less diminishing returns than the one-new-episode-a-week approach we took with my other web series, Weird Copcept Album (which actually features one of SNL's new cast members and is available for you to enjoy at www.danielshar.com/weird-copcept-album.html).
This was an interesting read, and I had a few similar experiences with the indie pilot presentation my friends and I made. Without any of us having representation, we managed to get a couple meetings, then ultimately ended up releasing it ourselves through an immersive website we built for the project. It's at www.jonathanville.tv if anyone is curious to see what that looks like.