Leesa Dean: The Secret of Success


Adventures of a Web Series Newbie – Chapter 21
by Leesa Dean

So, I took a long weekend, chilled out and came back swinging. Did a shoot on Monday for the TOP SECRET PROJECT. And Dante Nero was in the scene we shot. I’ve worked with Dante a number of times. He did a pilot for a project I wrote/produced and stars as Marv on Chilltown. He’s REALLY funny and a great guy. He worked on Chappelle’s Show and co-hosted The Black Phillip Show with the late, great comedian Patrice O’Neal that was featured on the Opie and Anthony Show. He’s got a really successful podcast out now called The Beige Phillip Show that’s hilarious. I wrote the part with him in mind and, as usual, he did not disappoint. Afterwards, we all kicked back and Dante regaled us with insider tales of Patrice. It was incredible. I’ve been buzzed all week because everything went so well.

Then on Tuesday, went to a Big Screen Little Screen Meetup. BSLS is the premier screening meetup for web content. Chilltown screened there. Most of the big series (and even smaller ones) are seen there. It’s held every month in NYC and LA. I can’t stress enough: if you’re planning on doing a web series or just a fan, BSLS is the place to be.

That said, I haven’t been for a few months cause I’ve been so busy. It’s now held atMagnet Media, a big content marketing company. Paul Kontonis, who runs BSLS, is the chairman of the powerful IAWTV and General Manager Of Magnet. He’s also a really cool guy and an incredible supporter of web series in general. In fact, a number of years ago, he had his own company, For Your Imagination and (bringing it all together) produced a web series starring Patrice O’Neal and Dante.

Well, I was SERIOUSLY impressed with the Magnet space. They have a bar! When I walked in, it felt like a really cool VIP party. Music was blaring, the bar area was packed with people networking and drinking free (!!!) beer. They even had one of my favorite brews: Brooklyn Lager. And the first person I saw was Jorge Rivera.

Jorge is a screenwriter and has been involved in some very big, high profile web series including Lenox Avenue and East Willy B. We’ve seen each other around but never had a chance to chat before. He’s a really nice guy, a very talented writer and I was itching to hear his take on the whole web series scene. He’s been around for a while.

We mainly talked about what steps were necessary to succeed in this game. I’ll cut to the chase: The most important one is consistency. You have to continually put out content. The market is so glutted right now, the only way to build a fan base is to have new stuff over and over and over again. It’s really exhausting, in part because at this stage, you can’t really expect to make any money out of it (that being said, how nice was it receive an email from Paypal today saying a deposit from Blip was made to my account. Chilltown has generated over 40,000 views on Blip so I finally got paid! My first check from them!! P.S. that money went straight back out to pay for Monday’s shoot.)

And I was actually surprised to hear that Jorge and I have had some similar struggles. I guess I thought being involved with big projects over such a long time and being that successful would make you immune from some things I’ve been going through. Evidently, not so. It’s the world’s biggest cliche, but you just have to keep at it. No matter successful you are.  It’s the only way to win. And in light of all the relaunch plans I have (i.e., how I’ll be spending my summer) it was great to hear that I’m on the right track.

Next week: more on the BSLS event.

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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