Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie


Chapter 66 – Is Crowdfunding Worth It?
by Leesa Dean

This week’s entry is gonna be short. I’m actually taking a mini-vac and leaving early today, but wanted to write a bit more about crowdfunding. And just how important is it right now if you’re doing a web series.

I’m part of the camp that believes that the primary way videos should be paid for on the web, as annoying as it sometimes is post release, via advertising. If you’re lucky. Very lucky. In other words, to me, at this moment in 2014, if you’re an indie web producer, crowdsourcing is a losing exercise.

Why? Cause nearly everyone I know who’s done it recently hasn’t met their goal. And I’m pretty plugged into the web community. I know one person who did and it’s only because they had a bunch of relatives and some close friends with money contribute so it created the illusion that fans actually were contributing. In fact, after that series was released (post crowdfunding), it barely got any views. I mean barely.

In fact, a fairly big web series creator just tried crowdfunding for a new series and has only raised about $1700 so far. A fraction of their goal. Three or four years ago they raised about $60,000.

So what’s changed? Two things, from what I can tell:

First, everybody and their uncle has jumped on that ride. Is it really realistic to think someone’s gonna care about donating to your mini indie project when Spike Lee is on kickstarter? I think not. So you’re left with your straggling group of friends and ragtag fans who already have crowdsourcing burnout from the hundreds of projects that come across their timelines every day.

And two, this is the internet. People have very short attention spans and not huge loyalty. There’s ALWAYS something new to knock you out the box. Most people realize that most live action web series can be done for free. I mean, this is the age of inexpensive digital cameras, free editing software and craigslist aka, ground zero for struggling (and usually really good) actors who are willing to work for free for the exposure (or to build up their reel). Most people know this. And it’s hard to justify a bigger budget because of it.

What’s the solution? Do it for free. Production quality really doesn’t matter that much. Content does. If you can’t get people to work for free for you, learn how to do stuff yourself and just do it. Look at Vine and the successful careers that have taken off just with people using smartphone cameras. It can work.

Ok. I’m outta here!

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.

3 thoughts on “Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie”

  1. Crowd-sourcing and crowd-funding are not the same thing. Crowd-sourcing is getting *ideas* from the crowd, crowd-funding, obviously, is raising money from the crowd.

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