By Joēl Bassaget
Reposted with permission of Web Series Mag
In each chapter of this series you will find a “check-list” for every step of a web series production. This is absolutely not an ultimate guide; this is merely a collection of advices, views and opinions. So: you’re welcome!
Chapter 1: So you REALLY want to make a web series?
Let’s start at the very beginning, when you are only thinking about making a web series…
- – A web series is a very particular and unique narrative format. It’s short, it’s episodic, it’s uneven, it’s uncensored and it must be audaciously different to have a chance of success. So: if your plan is to recycle a short film script, if your idea is to cut in slices a sitcom pilot that could conveniently be edited to TV format, if you are following any mainstream or agree to restrain your creativity in order to fit some stats, if it’s an alternative to a failed production deal… You are out! You are making a web series because it’s the perfect media for the story you want to tell and you will design it, write it, direct it, edit it and mix it like a web series.
- – You absolutely need to know this format before to start conceiving your web series. You would never start writing a book without having read at least one, you cannot write a play if you’ve never been to a theatre, you should not dive if you can’t swim, etc… Thousands of web series have already been produced around the world and surely hundreds in the specific genre you plan to run your web series. So watch web series! I met already a lot of creators who told me that they were not watching web series (like: at all!) and all of them were the proud authors of bland, mediocre and failed attempt to produce an original digital program. Be curious, discover what has been done before, learn by watching, explore this universe, make it yours, join the community of web creators.
- – You need help. Probably a lot. Nobody ever did a web series entirely on his own and even if you are able to write, film, act, edit and compose your puppet show in your bedroom, you will still need at least a good pizza delivery service. To make a web series, you will have to bring together lots of talents, skills, knowledge and good will. Collaboration is a keyword. If you don’t have a budget it’s your only option and if you have one you still need to gather the best crew and talent is not something money can buy. Start networking now! Exchange, pick brains, build a team.
- – A short form series is a long adventure. A web creator is not only a writer and/or director, he or she is a real entrepreneur. Creating and producing a web series is not only about writing and directing it. From pitching your idea to possible producers to managing the launch of your first season on social networks, there will be a lot of steps to achieve.
- Money will always be an issue. Producing a web series, you will never have the budget or the time of a feature film or a prime time TV drama. Never. Even if you are backed by enthusiastic co producers, each and every of your ideas and decisions will be eventually challenged by the lack of resources, short schedules and low budget. But only if you let it be an issue! Already hundreds of creators have made amazing and spectacular web series with a thousandth of what it cost to produce a TV episode. At every stage of the production you will have to be wise and smart to bypass any difficulty. You can do anything you want if you can figure out how to do it. And most of the time the answer is: Be creative!
Now, if you are still sure you want to make a web series, you may be interested in the following