Leesa Dean: Adventures of a Web Series Newbie


Chapter 18: The Whole Branding Thing (sigh)
by Leesa Dean

This week I was invited to a special YouTube screening. The invite said I was selected to attend, which was pretty cool (I literally couldn’t believe I was invited!) But, unfortunately, I couldn’t make it. I had planned to, even registered to attend, but was so involved working on this TOP SECRET PROJECT, I just didn’t have time. In fact, the night of the screening, I was up till 3am rendering/animating. The screening had top YouTubers discuss best practices for taking with advertisers regarding branding with a panel.

The truth: no advertiser is going to be interested in branding my show. Yet. You really need to have a substantial amount of subscribers/viewer retention for that. I’m doing well but not SMOSH well. I’ve got under 800 subscribers. I think I’d have to have at least 20,000-30,0000 (at least) before those kinds of conversations start to happen. It would have been interesting to hear what they had to say, though…

All of this has got me thinking that I’ve got to start being a bit more strategic. And what, exactly, does that involve? Before I launched, my game plan, roughly, was to releaseChilltown, then release the second show (which became Lele’s Ratchet Advice) and then the third full series (that is dramatically different from the first two.) But that plan’s been tossed.

Since I’ve built up a small but loyal Chilltown following, I’ve realized that before I even think about a second season or release the third show, I want to build up the Chilltownbrand and a bit more of my own brand (as a writer) first. Before I even think about doing a season two.

So I’m planning a relaunch. I’ve mentioned it a little before, but now I’m really putting it into focus. And it’s going to be quite a bit different than the original. So on top of everything else I’m doing, I’m spending a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to accomplish that. Animation is tricky because it takes forever to do, vs just picking up a camera and shooting. So I’m going to have to be really inventive if I meet my self-imposed deadline of, uh, sometime this fall!

I actually was pretty down in the dumps for a few days this week. Everything kind of caught up with me. This has not been an easy road. It’s way way tougher than anything I experienced when I was just shopping tv scripts (mainly cause you’re not only writing, you’re producing, you’re promoting, you’re promoting, you’re promoting.) One of the things that made me snap out of it was this article by Lee Jessup. It really put things in perspective. The takeaway for me was in also reading this in the about section: “Managers don’t sign a script. They sign a BRAND. A studio doesn’t call in an A-list writer for rewrites because of one script he or she wrote; rather, they bring them in due to the trusted brand they’ve established.”

I’ve only been doing this for 6 months. I’ve got a looooot ahead of me before I’m truly a brand.

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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