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…!
Is It Possible to be a Time Traveler and Not Know It?
I find what people say and how they say it both generally fascinating and discouraging.
And I wonder why, as I get older, things make less and less sense when they should really be making more and more sense. I suspect when I finally expire, I will be totally clueless.
I call my health care provider (name made up for, well, you know) and this is the recording I get:
“Welcome to Bayside Healthcare Associates. Bayside is here twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to provide the best health care services available. Our doctors represent some of the finest medical professionals available and our staff is ready and willing to provide you with timely and excellent services. Please listen carefully to the following options, as our menu has recently been updated. If this is a medical emergency, please hang up and dial 911. Bayside Healthcare Associates does not offer emergency room services…”
Like thirty seconds into the message and NOW you tell me to dial 911?
Why aren’t those the first words out of the mouth of the professionally-recorded voice answering thingy?
The film permit office in the town where I’ve done some filming is essentially a one-person city department. They do have a complete permitting process and forms to fill out. Which I do. Then I hand them in.
One time, I called to check on the permit’s status. I was told, “There has been a problem with the permit.” So now my mind is racing. I have only a few days to find a new city or change the story completely and I have rented equipment which is now in the air from the other side of the country and it’s landing here tomorrow and…
So I ask, “Do we get the permit?”
And the response is, “The problem involves the use of the alley behind Nathan’s at three in the morning…”
So I ask again, “But will we get the permit by next Friday?”
“I’m trying to tell you. The alley behind Nathan’s…
This exchange continues for about a dozen more rounds. And it gets heated with me saying things like, “Can’t you just tell me if we got the permit or not?”
And the person on the other end of the call saying things like, “If you’ll stop interrupting and just let me finish…”
Bottom line: We got the permit. WE’D ALWAYS HAD the permit. It’s just that the permit person for some reason couldn’t say, “You’ve got your permit but let me tell you what we had to go through to get it.”
THEN I would be listening.
The person HAD to lay out the history in chronological order, not even considering what having or not having the permit would mean to the person who was requesting it.
Which would you rather hear if this happened to you (it’s made up–didn’t happen to me):
The phone rings. You answer.
“Hello, is this Mr. Jones?”
“Mr. Jones, this is Officer Melbourne from the Dayton police. Your daughter has been in a accident…,” etc.
“Mr. Jones, this is Officer Melbourne from the Dayton police. Your daughter is fine. Completely fine. She was in an accident, but…,” etc.
My point is that when a speaker buries the lead, it’s great for filmed stories but pretty bad for real life. Can generate unnecessary concern. Even panic. And for no reason.
Twice now in my lifetime–oddly only within the past ten years or so–I’ve come up against this sort of recorded phone answering message:
“Hi! You’ve reached Mary Smith. I can’t take your call right now but if you leave your name and number and a brief message, I’ll get back to you at my earliest convenience.”
What about my convenience? Anybody see the problem here?
It’s becoming a world where everyone seems to know the right words, just not where or when to use them.
Who do we thank for this? Parents? Schools? The Internet?
And I don’t care — I’m gonna keep using a double space after periods. I’m reading a book now where I keep overrunning the ends of sentences ’cause the first word of the next sentence is way too close to its predecessor.
Anyone know what day it is?
Hank Isaac is an award-winning indie film writer/producer/director who collects awards as easily as dogs collect fleas. TVWriter™ is always happy to see his unique contributions.
Yes, it’s true. Another indie web series has moved upward and onward to the Big Time, this time via BET. Lena Waithe’s series the truth, the whole truth, and – almost (because our memories are fallible and great stories need more drama than we’d like to welcome into our actual lives) – nothing but the truth.
The future belongs to those of us who make the right choices for ourselves. Here’s some info to help content creators decide the best way to express themselves and get their work before an appreciative – and maybe even paying – audience:
by Lindsay Harris Friel
If you want to gain authority in your field, sell products, or influence others, then producing engaging, helpful content is a great way to drive traffic to your website. What’s the best way to present that content? Blogs and podcasts are the two biggest methods. Which one is going to be best for you? Let’s take a closer look at blogging vs. podcasting. We’ll figure out out what best uses your abilities, and engages your target market.
Why Choose Blogging?
The most popular choice for creating and putting out content is to start a blog. It’s not hard to see why.
All you need is internet access, and some writing skill. Web site editors are as easy to use as tweeting or posting on Facebook. The bar for entry is pretty low.
However, it can be difficult to keep people’s attention, once you’ve gotten it. Short, frequent social media posts seem to have conquered users. A Kennesaw State University study showed that frequent social media users have shorter attention spans. If you’re marketing your products, services and skills to people who spend a lot of time online, be aware that short posts have the most impact.
Podcasting Barriers to Entry
Like blogging, you don’t have to get permission to share your thoughts via a podcast. But, you have to make a bit more effort than simply typing thoughts into sentences. You need to record your audio, edit it so it makes sense, upload it to a media host, and then publish it online.
At its most basic level, podcasting can be nearly as simple as making a phone call. Most people have smartphones with decent voice recorders included. It’s very easy to record an episode and upload it to a free account on somewhere like Soundcloud. This is limited, but realistic. Even so, there are more steps between the initial idea and the published content….