Let me start by saying that anyone with an interest in making a web series should approach it with a ‘long haul’ mindset. I offer this caution because much as it is a great way to see your writing produced and generate an audience around your work, it is also a ”hungry child” that will require constant feeding. In the same way that an audience built around a popular blog will instantly wane if the blogger takes a break or doesn’t post for weeks on end, so too the interest generated for a web series will falter and people fall away if episodes fail to materialise.
Okay, onto the…
- More chance to see your writing produced
- Opportunity to show off your drama/comedy skills
- Great way to bypass the television gatekeepers and get your work out there
- Possibility that your Internet series may become huge if it picks up the zeitgesit and generates interest across the web
- If viewing figures are very large, it is likely to attract interest from producers and broadcasters seeking a show with a ready-made audience.
- Gives you experience of writing copy to meet production deadline
- Helps you to gain experience of the industry albeit in a miniature form
- Potential that if the series proves to be a winner, you might seek online adverts that could pay some of the expense of production.
- Huge commitment – embarking on a web series isn’t for everyone as producing is a lot of hard work.
- No guarantee that your show will be picked up
- Constant process of writing and editing a number of episodes in readiness for filming
- Financial and time constraints through the cost of production – editing, expenses, sound, making trailers, promotion, advertising, etc
- Hard work organising a specific day when production crew and actors are all available to meet to film the next set of episodes
- Calling in favours from friends means that schedule for filming may often be out of your hands and cause delays to series deadlines.
- Continuity problems with casting where regular actors are no longer available because they are obligated to a (paid) production elsewhere.
- Not always possible to get all the tech crew together, especially if they are also self-financing and dependent on work
- Finding a location where a set can be built or a house can be utilised
Unlike other projects that have a set end date, online viewers expect the webseries they’re watching to contine ad infinitum. Which is okay if it has a huge following but less so if it’s just a handful. Top of the list before embarking on a webseries is to go online and see what is already out there – don’t just watch those that are great. Watch those that are bad! Make notes of the audience figures they achieve and pinpoint how it relates to idea/ theme/ storyline. Having watched them, a few more questions you might ask of the best ones are:
‘What makes this web series brilliant/popular?’
‘Is my idea and writing as good or better than the best that I’ve watched?’
‘Can I match the production quality and values of the best few?’
‘Are my actors/crew good enough to sustain production over weeks, months, years?
Lastly, be brave. Web-series production is not everyone’s cup of tea but for some it will be and eventually become their raison d’être.