Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie


Chapter 52: Miley Cyrus Stomped My Face
by Leesa Dean

So first, Kai and I postponed, or rather I did. We were supposed to meet to discuss the networking project but I’ve just been too swamped in post.
And when I say “post” I mean, not only the usual (editing, keying, color correcting, etc) but also animating. Part of the TOP SECRET PROJECT involves not only animation but a little live action footage, integrated in an unusual way and it’s been kicking my BEHIND. Definitely the most challenging thing I’ve ever done.

I’m hoping I’ll be finished with this phase of it by early next week. Kai and I will be meeting then, in any case.

Meanwhile, there’s been a bunch of stuff going on in the web community. For starters, and you probably heard this, Disney purchased Maker for $500 million clams. Which is…while not unexpected, a little disturbing. And not for the usual reasons. (Animators call Disney “Mouse-chwitz” where they’re known to say, “If you don’t come into work Saturday, don’t even THINK about coming into work Sunday.”)

But here’s why. It just amplifies the whole tween mentality that’s behind most of the biggest youtube hits. There are a ton of people out there (and creators) who don’t relate to material that targets tweens. And yes, I’m one of them. Where does that leave us? Even more marginalized.

If you’re an indie, as I am, it also makes it harder to get people to pay attention to what you’re doing. It feels like Miley Cyrus stomped on my face.

Hopefully all of that will change, though. I mean, there is a limit to how many videos about mascara you can watch, right? Right??! The network Kai is working to put together targets older people (millennials mostly) who like more sophisticated humor.

Meanwhile, today there was another notable piece of news: Maker also announced they’ll be distributing videos via the on demand platform Music Choice. Yes, music is a HUGE component of video views (just look at VEVO) but again, the same issue arises: Who is the target demo for this? You guessed it. Mainly tweens. Sigh. I guess it is a small world after all (pun intended).

Also, I wonder where that leaves a lot of the smaller channels on Maker (and on Blip which Maker owns). Part of their contract (for smaller channels) states that Maker (and I guess, now Disney) has the right to distribute content on ALL MEDIUMS in perpetuity. Which is fine if you’re doing a vlog.

But what if your brand has music videos or is a web series. Bigger names can negotiate their contracts with Maker. Smaller ones can’t.

A lot of food for thought.

Finally, I decided not to renew my membership in the IAWTV. Way way way back when I entered this arena–ok, last year–I joined. IAWTV was touted as the internet’s version of The Emmys. I was happy to be a part of the community and really thought it would help boost my brand.

Not so much. My $90 membership fee, essentially, let me join their Facebook group. A closed community. And what was posted there? Mostly people promoting their web series. A few links to web festivals (which are mostly a total waste of time and money) and helpful youtube news. All of which can be found in other arenas on FB and otherwise. Plus, nowadays, it’s kinda like a ghost town there. Not a huge amount of posts.

In all, certainly not worth it. But a lesson learned.

Yes. Things are definitely shifting in the online video world. I’m wondering where, though…

Author: ChilltownTV

I'm primarily a writer. Sold a few series to tv networks and production companies but never had anything get on the air. So I taught myself how to animate and completed 3 digital series, launching two. The first, Chilltown has been named one of "Five Web Series That Should Be on Your Radar" by ABCNews/Univision and a "Show to Watch" by Tubefilter. The second, Lele's Ratchet Advice Show, garnered a fanatic cult following. As a result, I now do Lele's 60 Second Wrap Up, a weekly comedic entertainment report (which I write & perform) that airs on urban radio stations Rhythm 105.9fm and the Just Wake Up Morning Show on WWRNfm.

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