10 Reasons To Release Your Feature As A Web Series

This is such a great article. We hope that all of you read it, pay attention, and – we mean this – do it!

web series

by Kelly Hughes

You can now shoot a movie on a phone.

You can edit like a pro on a laptop.

You can share your work with a few billion people with just a few YouTube clicks.

The revolution is here.

So why are we stuck on old business models? Why do we still think the best way to further our indie careers is to make a low budget feature, do the film festival circuit and be discovered and signed like it’s 1999?

I’m over 50. (Yikes!) and it’s time to let go of decades-old indie filmmaking ideals. It’s time to take inspiration from the younger crowd. The teenagers and 20-somethings who embrace up-to-the-minute technology and modern viewing habits. I can feel them nipping at my heels. It’s time to nip back.

So my latest movie is in the can, but instead of editing it into a 90 minute marvel, I’m changing the rules and refashioning it into a web series.

This is a horrible idea because:

1.  It’s more prestigious for my actors to tell family and friends they were in a movie.

2.  I can’t use it to be next year’s darling at Sundance.

3.  My pacing will be shot to hell.

But I think it’s also a good idea and here’s why:

1.  A Kinder, Gentler Editing Process

I can edit it in little chunks. Causing less strain on my computer’s RAM, if not my brain.

2.  Instant Viewer Gratification

If I upload it to YouTube, people can watch it sooner and not have to wait for the festival/Netflix/DVD release cycle.

3.  Instant Feedback

Fans, reviewers, trolls…they can all have a go at it.

4.  Cast Gratification

Maybe it’s not the thrill of Cannes, but for actors who have had to wait a year or more to see their work edited and released, this could be a pleasant development and they could even use it to supplement their reels.

Peggy Bechko’s World of Conflict!

calvin-hobbes-conflict-620x350

by Peggy Bechko

Writers know how important conflict is to a story; without conflict there simply is no story to tell. And, as we’ve all learned Conflict breaks down as Protagonist’s goal plus some kind of obstacle equals that coveted conflict. Yep, there it is. A character wants something…really really bad. He wants it in the overarching story and he (or she) wants it in every scene. Doesn’t matter if it’s script of manuscript – or for that matter advertising copy.

The thing that comes next is that obstacle or obstacles. Obstacles that are provided by the antagonist as a character or as a force of nature or whatever. It provides the stumbling block that keeps the ‘hero’/’heroine’ from achieving the goal that dangles out there like the proverbial carrot on a stick.

That’s it. That’s the beginning. That’s your story, but wait, is it?

Want to kick it up a notch? Want to make it really pop? Then next time you’re writing think about adding layers. Make it complicated. Amplify the conflict. Create chaos.

Think about it. A buddy story. A city copy is on the trail of a serial killer in a national park and is teamed up with a park ranger. The city cop is out of his element away from the concrete and the ranger has never dealt with law enforcement. The guys got a lead and they’re after him. He might double back and try to kill them both. That’s a story, right?

Well, what if there’s a big ol grizzly out there as well. One that the Park Ranger had to shoot some time back because it was attacking a campsite full of campers and had two toes blown off before it escaped and disappeared? It’s coming after the Ranger and anything that gets in its way is toast.

Now there’s a pot that really stirring. The pursuers are also the pursued.

Think about the Lord of The Rings movies. That exact tactic is used frequently.

Ponder the Odd Thomas books by Dean Koontz. The main character, Odd Thomas, is always seeing things he shouldn’t, trying to fix things and always endangered by something after him. Throw in a bunch of dark humor. Life is complicated.

And the more complicated it gets the more the main character is forced to improvise to work out new ways of getting to that goal…and those new ways can (and usually do) cause even more complications.

It’s plain that the hero’s actions will cause the main conflict of the story to inflate even further. The bubble grows larger and thinner and the reader or audience hold their breath awaiting the big bang. It can be emotional. It can be physical. Whichever or both, it must be breathtaking.

If the writer makes it a habit of never letting the hero or heroine off easy – if the character is hit from one side, then another while fighting to overcome those obstacles to reach the goal -then you’ve got a story that’ll grab the reader or watcher by the eyeballs and not let them go until the story skids to a complete stop with the culmination of pursue and pursuit in a big bang finish that’ll leave everyone, including you as the writer, breathless.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page

Diana Vacc Sees “Outlander” Episode 6 “Best Laid Schemes”

by Diana Vaccarelli

Outlander Season 2 2016
Outlander Season 2 2016

The “Best Laid Schemes”episode of “Outlander” finds Jamie and Claire trying to stop Bonnie Prince Charlie from getting the funds necessary to start the Jacobite rebellion. If you haven’t viewed this episode yet be warned this review does contain some spoilers.

THE GOOD:

  • The writing of this episode was the most dramatic and emotional to date. Matthew B. Roberts writes an episode that made me both laugh and cry. The drama was so powerful that I don’t think I could have made it through the show without the funny moments Roberts gave the character Murtagh.
  • The hard-hitting dialogue gives the actors so much to play, and they went all the way with it. Caitriona Balfe’s Claire goes through a major betrayal in a performance that made me feel her pain as though it was my own. Sam Heughan’s Jamie is nothing short of fantastic. The scene where he makes Claire promise to go through the stones if anything happens to him would bring tears to, well, a stone.
  • I’m so glad that Black Jack is back! I keep saying there is no one better to play this well written villain then Tobias Menzies, and he proved it again this time out. During the crucial duel scene between Jamie and Black Jack, Menzies taunts Jamie with words far stronger than their swords. To me, that scene was perfect.

THE BAD:

  • Once again, there was one scene I could have done without. That was a scene with Claire and her friends gossiping. It was unnecessary and brought nothing to the episode.

OVERALL:

I’ve said it before and I must say it again. If you haven’t watched “Outlander” you truly need to start. It has everything.

Happy TV watching!


Diana Vaccarelli is the TVWriter™ Critic-at-Large. Learn more about her HERE

The Week at TVWriter™ – May 23, 2016

In case you’ve missed what’s happening at TVWriter™, the most popular blog posts during the week ending yesterday were:

Looking for TV Pilot Scripts?

Diana Vacc Sees OUTLANDER Episode 5 “Untimely Resurrection”

Supernatural Season 1 Finale – Recap and Review

Frank Spotnitz on Creating Complex TV Series

LB: TV Series I’ve Given Up On This Year

And our most visited permanent resource pages were:

Writing the Dreaded Outline

THE PEOPLE’S PILOT

The Teleplay

The Logline

THE BASICS OF TV WRITING: Overview

Major thanks to everyone for making this such a great week. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed. re-read what you loved, and, most importantly, come back for more soon!

Herbie Pilato Invites You To…

There’s still time to make plans:

Sunday May 22