AMA with Steph Ouaknine (Carmilla/Other Gay Things!)


(Bri Castellini) #9

Woo alright now that we’re all settled in our thread, MY first question is… When did you get into filmmaking, and into web series in particular?


(Steph O) #10

YASS. Thank you Bri! And thanks for organizing.


(Meg Carroway) #11

I’m good too! I can’t believe you’re here right now it’s so friggin cool!!! Do you remember how you originally pitched the series? Like how did you describe it in the early stages?


(Steph O) #12

Thanks for having me!


(Jerome Keith) #13

How does the development team your working for operate? Is creating sizzle reels or other proof of concept works a part of the plan for getting it sold?


(Bri Castellini) #14

Qs from the last thread :slight_smile:


(Chris Hadley) #15

Thanks for reposting these, Bri!


(Anna Bateman) #16

That’s so interesting! I had no idea. How did that come to being? Did you pitch THEM? Did they find you from your earlier work?


(Steph O) #17

When I started at Shaftesbury, I mostly worked on what we call the “convergent” webseries for broadcast TV shows. We use to have access to TV top-up funds if we made an “interactive, substantial companion piece” which was not only a great training ground for everyone involved, but a fun way to experiment with transmedia and dig into characters we didn’t spend that much time on in the broadcast episodes. For instance - Murdoch Mysteries - is a period detective drama. The season 5 companion series sent the main cast to the present day, which we could’ve NEVER done on the telly. So it was terribly fun to dabble in what was essentially little digitial AU series.


(Jaime Lancaster) #18

WOW! That’s amazing. I’m an aspiring producer and I wanted to ask if you had any tips/tricks for honing your budget? So we can prioritize and not break the bank but still make something awesome


(Steph O) #19

Shaftesbury has always been savvy enough to keep an eye on the future, and constantly try new formats for experimentation - hence all the digital originals. We’ve done motion comics for HULU, a google glass series (RIP), 10 episodes downloadable within an ep, etc…


(Bri Castellini) #20

How did you start at Shaftesbury?


(Blair Hunter) #21

Welcome!! Why did you guys decide on a single angle vlog style? What went into that choice?


(Mark Mainolfi) #22

Hi Steph! What are the major differences between pitching to a broadcast network vs. an online platform like Netflix or Hulu?


(Sunny Larkson) #23

OMG CARMILLA!!! omgomgomg


(Steph O) #24

We had a mini bible and very clear idea of the tone, distribution and transmedia strategy before hiring the writer and story editor, as well as the budget parameters. We also wanted to do “our own” version of a literary vlog series a la Lizzie Bennett - and I selfishly wanted to do a slow burn between two female queer leads.


(Sunny Larkson) #25

Did the kind of show you were making (one camera angle) impact your casting process? How did you know Natasha and Elise were The Ones other than the fact that they’re clearly perfect people??


(Meg Carroway) #26

What was the development process for that mini bible/everything else? What did the team look like in the very beginning?


(Steph O) #27

Met the CEO in the elevator at the broadcast network I was interning at. Knew which script she had in her hand and pitched all the digital extensions that would work :slight_smile: my one piece of advice is seek out the producers/writers/creators you truly do admire, and get to meet them through an informational interview. I still do this to this day and find it incredibly enriching. Stareable is also a perfect place for this, and damn - wish I was able to make the fest!


(Chris Hadley) #28

@StephInTeevee As a writer and filmmaker, what lessons from making webisodes and supplemental online content did you take into producing traditional episodic content for TV? Can what you learned be applied equally to both mediums, or does the demands of digital and broadcast require different approaches to production?