Indie Video: Robin Nystrom has Polished his Art to a High Sheen in New Series, ‘Tracy Buckles’

In a world where spells and potions are commonplace, a young woman named Tracy Buckles is struck by a despicable curse that prevents other people from hearing her voice.

She joins forces with a nameless drifter and a bumbling wizard in order to break free from the evil sorcery. With a dynamic female lead, plenty of irreverent humor and a sprinkle of magic, TRACY BUCKLES tells an epic story across six fast-paced episodes.

Robin Nystrom, the multitalented writer/director/producer of one of our favorite web series, NicoLife, has a new show for us all to see – and it’s even better than what came before.

Taking advantage of Robin’s varied skills, we asked him to tell us all about Tracy Buckles. Specifically, we were interested in what he, as the creator, wants the show to accomplish, artistically, personally, and professionally. Here’s what he had to say:


by Robin Nystrom

When I wrote and directed Tracy Buckles, I set out to accomplish three things.

First, I wanted to craft a comedy web series with fantastical storytelling elements.

At the age of seven, I discovered a paperback copy of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring in my elementary school library. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked on the fantasy genre. I was dying to create a world of my own where spells, potions and curses can be as commonplace as toasters and televisions are in our own reality.

Second, I wanted to devise a story with a dynamic, kick-ass female lead.

The qualities I hope our audience will recognize in Tracy is that she is brave and headstrong and impulsive. Those are some of the characteristics that I’ve often found in the women I look up to in my life.

Third, I wanted to tell a complete narrative with strong thematic resonance over six fast-paced episodes.

In Chapter 2, our protagonist Tracy meets a nameless drifter called No One who is plagued by a curse of invisibility. Tracy and No One form an immediate friendship, because they both understand the pain of not being seen or heard.

I think we’ve all felt that struggle in one way or another — the pain of not being listened to or of being misunderstood. I know I have. I hope that people find that theme to be strong enough to carry our web series through to the end.

I intend to use this web series as a springboard for my future endeavors as a filmmaker. I hope we can spread the show far and wide and that we can connect with viewers who like the kind of stories that I love to tell.

In late 2018, we brought Tracy Buckles to ten film festivals all over the world, and I’ve already had the chance to meet other filmmakers and hear their feedback on the project. I hope that dialogue will continue as our audience grows.

Looking ahead, beyond this particular project, I am also hard at work with a feature length screenplay. My dream future would be that I could go full-time with writing and directing my own screenplays.


Watch Tracy Buckles:

On Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/album/5807934

On the official Tracy Buckles website: https://www.tracybuckles.com

See the 30-second trailer: http://vimeo.com/tracybuckles/trailer

Awards:

TRACY BUCKLES has been screened in 10 film festivals, including LA Film Festival, iTVFest, NYC WebFest and Dances with Films.

During its festival run, the show won three awards:

Best Produced Series,

Best Young Adult Series, and

Best Actress in a Web Series.

The show was nominated for ten awards, including:

Best Series Director,

Best Sci-Fi Fantasy,

Best Representation of Women,

Best Comedic Performance, and

Best Overall Web Series.

Oh, and you can read about Robin’s earlier series, NicoLife, here: https://tvwriter.com/?p=31326

And here: https://tvwriter.com/inside-nicolife-the-web-series-lb-luvs/

Not bad, yeah?

Indie Video: The Return of ‘Sam and Pat’ – – @brisownworld

 by TVWriter™ Press Service

TVWriter™’s favorite web series creator, Bri Castellini and her partner, Chris Cherry are at it again!

Sam and Pat Are Depressed, the award-winning comedy mental health web series, is back for its second season, with the first episode premiering March 25th, 2019, on Stareable and SeekaTV.

As part of the marketing push for the much-anticipated new episodes, the stars and executive producers Bri Castellini and Chris Cherry have also launched a companion podcast called Bri and Chris Are Depressed, as well as added new Stareable Enrich tiers for fans of the series to get early access to both the web series and the podcast as well as exclusive bonus updates and content.

The web series Sam and Pat Are Depressed follows depressed roommates Sam (Castellini, also the series’ creator) and Pat (Cherry) who help each other navigate the inherent awkwardness of therapy through profanity, humor, and take out.

The second season will cover the complicated emotions that are part of such activities as going on medication, mansplaining to your therapist, and more. Watch on Stareable or SeekaTV.

The Bri and Chris Are Depressed podcast, hosted by Castellini and Cherry, recaps Sam and Pat episodes one by one while also delving into the hosts’ own connection to the various therapy and mental health topics and answering viewer and listener questions.

The podcast is available on iTunes, Spotify, YouTube, Radio Public, or your preferred podcasting app.

A Few Words About the Stareable Enrich tiers

Stareable Enrich empowers creators to offer freemium versions of their content so fans can support the shows they love. Sam and Pat have 2 monthly tiers available for fans, for $5 and $10 a month, each with
accompanying bonus content and early access. More information available at the link above.

How to Write a Web Series and Get Your TV Writing Career Going

Ya gotta start somewhere, right? Here’s a post from Script Reader Pro pointing you in a direction that differs from most starting gigs – because in and of itself, writing a web series can be more creatively and financially rewarding than many of us imagine:

Yes, it’s true. This is a very bad visual pun. Our apologies.

How to Write a Web Series and Get Your TV Writing Career Off the Ground
by Rebecca Norris

Are you an aspiring writer still wondering how to write for TV years after starting down the road? We’re going to show you how writing a web series could be your best move ever if your main aim is to become a TV writer.

This isn’t a post on how to write a web series but here are three reasons why creating your own web series is the best thing you can do to learn how to become a writer for TV.

Wondering How to Become a TV Writer? Write For TV.  

What better way to show you can write for TV than actually writing for TV? If you want to know how to become a  TV writer and produce TV shows, why don’t you live that dream today?

Maybe you can follow in the footsteps of Issa Rae, whose popular web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl led her being repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment, and writing for TV — i.e. ABC and HBO.

Create your own TV series on the web, and you can enter it into festivals and contests to win awards and recognition, and gain credibility. If you earn a steady following on sites like YouTube, it can help you pitch your series to networks, and build a fan base for your work.

At the very least, you’ll be seeing your writing come to life, and isn’t that the goal of most aspiring TV writers?

Aspiring TV Writers Should Utilize the Power of the Link!…

Read it all at SCRIPTREADERPRO.COM

 

Bri Castellini: How To Send Great Emails That Actually Get A Response – @stareable

 by Bri Castellini

As many of you know firsthand, I send and receive a lot of emails. Over the past year and a half at Stareable, I’ve learned a lot about everything from how to phrase and structure unsolicited requests for advice or promotion as well as the appropriate boundaries to set when planning a call or video chat with a relative stranger. I’ve also learned that as a community we could all do with a set of common rules to follow.

First, though, some things to keep in mind when you’re sending emails to people you don’t know (at all or very well), especially if you want something from them. Stareable Founder/CEO Ajay Kishore, fellow All-Emailed-Out person, also contributed to this section.

  • Keep in mind that everyone else is just as busy as you probably are, if not more. Don’t take it personally if you don’t get a response right away, or if their schedule is seemingly always shifting. In my experience, if a person wants to blow you off they will, but if they keep trying to schedule with you they’re making an effort, so don’t take it personally.
  • Be specific about what you want, whether it’s a 30-minute call for advice about a topic or help scheduling extras for next weekend’s shoot. Don’t be vague- be direct. This allows busy people to easily determine if they’re able to say yes without having to go through five follow-up emails.
  • Don’t go for video-chat as a first request. Especially in a professional sense, it’s both far-too-intimate and almost certainly unnecessary. It also requires the invited party to consider background, webcam angle, and tethers them to their laptop on a day they might need to stay mobile.
  • The “why” is important. Why are you asking for this thing or reaching out? And why are you reaching out to this person in particular? I’m not saying you have to flatter everyone before you can ask a quick question, but especially if your message is unsolicited, the subject needs to feel like you’ve done some research and there’s a reason they’re the one getting the request.
  • Following up is completely acceptable, but use common sense. If your email isn’t on a timeline, following up the next day (or even the same day) isn’t a good look. But if it’s been a week and you haven’t heard anything, a quick reminder message is totally acceptable! Definitely don’t try following up via social media, especially the same day, unless it’s a literal emergency. Spoiler alert: it’s probably not.
  • Please copy edit before sending, especially if you want to impress the person on the other end (to write about your series, to collaborate you, to offer you advice as a colleague). Typos are sloppy and so easily fixable, so fix them.

Let’s break the rest of this down by type of email….

Read it all at STAREABLE.COM

Part 2 of this article is HERE

Bob Tinsley: Amazon’s New Indie Film Distribution Platform – “Yay! or Nay!”?

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Yesterday, we ran an article by Noam Kroll about Prime Video Direct, the latest addition to Amazon’s boxfull of marketing madness platforms. Here are frequent TVWriter™ contributor Bob Tinsley’s thoughts on the subject. What are yours?)

by Bob Tinsley

Go with me here: say, “Amazon Studios.” Leaves a sour taste in your mouth, doesn’t it? But maybe, just maybe, Amazon might be about to redeem themselves.

I’m sure you remember the kerfuffle back when Amazon Studios started looking for original content. They, in effect, said, “Come one, come all! Pitch us your original ideas for film and episodic content. We’ll choose the best, handle production and distribution, and we’ll all make scads of money.”

Unfortunately it wasn’t long before they said, in effect, “Oh, by the way, when we said the best, we meant, has a Hollywood Name attached.”

That soured the attitudes toward Amazon of a lot of people in the indie sector. Personally I believe, in hindsight mind you, that the apparent reversal was inevitable. At the time Amazon had no experience in either film production or distribution, but, hey, they were the largest book distributor in the world. What could go wrong, right?

It didn’t take them long to discover that there are a lot of huge up-front costs to film. You’ve got rights acquisition, production (wages for directors, writers, cast members, carpenters, grips, sound techs, plumbers, production designers, set designers, editors, drivers, security personnel, craft services, and probably a lot more that I’m forgetting about or don’t know exist). Then you have the sunk costs (buying or renting a studio, cameras, lights, microphones, dollies, cranes, props, air conditioners, heaters, office furniture, bathrooms, and the myriad other things required by a physical location).

I can imagine the scene in the Amazon boardroom. “Umm, you know, this is an awful lot of money to risk on an unknown property by an untried creator. Maybe we need to rethink this ‘come one, come all’ thing. Ya think?”

By now I hope you’ve read Noam Kroll’s article about his adventures in the world of self-distribution of his indie films. He’s excited about Amazon’s new program, Prime Video Direct. And I think he should be.

What’s the difference between Prime Video Direct (PVD) and Amazon Studios? I’m glad you asked. The huge difference between Amazon Studios and Prime Video Direct is that PVD’s costs are small and fixed as opposed to Amazon Studios’ large and variable costs. Also Amazon Studios was built on the model of, wait for it, Hollywood studios. When you think about it, something built on the model of an existing organization will result in near identical operations and outcomes.

On the other hand, it appears to me that PVD is built on the wildly successful models of Amazon’s Kindle/Audible businesses. I can’t speak to PVD, but I can speak to Kindle and Audible. They are simple, easy to use, and, mostly, hassle and cost free.

The creator uploads his final product (note that phrase, “final product,” e.g., polished film) to PVD which puts it in their “catalog” of similar products. People find it. If they like it, they give PVD (Amazon) money, and PVD then gives the creator his cut.

The creator can choose “to earn royalties based on hours streamed by Prime members, a revenue share for rentals, purchases, monthly channels, or ad impressions–or any combination of those options.”

PVD makes your content available in the US “and other locations” on virtually any device you can think of (including video game consoles) anywhere you can get a wired, cell or wifi signal.

As an account holder you have access to an enormous amount of data telling you how your property is doing and what it’s projected to do. You can customize the data in ways that will have your accountant (you do have one, don’t you), swooning in relief.

Oh, did I forget to mention that all this wonderfullness costs you NOTHING but a little time?

All that being said, you won’t make money unless you promote. You are the only marketing department you have. PVD won’t do it. You have to pay for ads. Occasionally, if you start getting a lot of views the algorithms might promote you to a “viewers who watched X also watched” category.

The part of the Kroll article that most tripped my bullshit meter was the claim that without “promoting it with paid ads” he had “an incredibly high volume of streams” in a very short time.

I don’t know. Maybe he did, but that’s not been my experience. If I want my stuff to get seen I have to buy ads, twist arms, or dissolve into tears amongst a lot of people. Caveat emptor.

I think this certainly is worth looking into. Amazon tripped up once and made a lot of people angry and suspicious.  Maybe this time they got it right?

(ANOTHER NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: The URL where Amazon gets this whole thing going is HERE It’s definitely worth a long look.)


Bob Tinsley is an artist, writer, boataholic and a new pro in the field of Audio Drama. In other words, he’s an expert in finding new marketplaces, as he’s showing us here.