The people over at Stage32.Com are so smart they sometimes scare us. Here, as Rod Serling might have said way back when, is a “case in point.”
How to Create a Web Series with Literally Zero Budget
by William Joseph Hill
The funny thing about coming up with a web series is that sometimes it’s better to not try and create a web series. What do we mean by that? Well, if you’re looking for a big picture to start from, chances are you won’t be satisfied with anything less than a big idea.
The saying goes “Write what you know.” That’s true — we had a lot of ideas that weren’t related, so we started making short films in our apartment, using just us as the cast and crew. A few of our early films consisted of taking a nursery rhyme and turning them into sketches. The Muffin Man was our first short we did together, and we followed up with Itsy Bitsy Spider which had some visual effects thrown in for good measure.
Our third short film together was based on a song that Pamela had come up with years before…That Darn Girlfriend. The song was based on a rant Pamela had about relationships, but the song morphed into something that sounded more like a 1960s sitcom. So we shot it as if it was a sitcom, with an old TV 4:3 aspect ratio and Technicolor-style color grading. Vic, the boyfriend, came home from a business trip to tell his girlfriend Valerie that she got his plane ticket for the wrong destination. With an added laugh track, and cartoony end credits that reminded us of the old “Bewitched” title sequence, we had our classic TV parody.
Audiences who watched the episode on our YouTube channel loved it and kept asking us when the next episode was coming out. At that point, we realized that we actually had a web series! The short film became the pilot. The great thing about this project is that because it is completely episodic, where each episode stands alone and isn’t really serialized, we didn’t need to plan out the entire season before going into production. Sometimes the big picture starts with a sketch…!