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


(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?


(sam lockie-waring) #29

so this is i think a canadian thing because the american market for digital is basically nothing. from your better position… do you think there’s a future in digital/ multi platform narrative content? how can us lowly americans catch up to you guys?


(Bri Castellini) #30

Literally an elevator pitch- holy crap! I’ll take a backseat to questions for the minute, but heads up I’ll be highlighting unanswered ones in yellow so it’s easier for you to sort through!


(Sara Biga) #31

It turned out it wasn’t that selfish after all…


(Steph O) #32

We had just started working with Kaaren Whitney-Vernon, who came from the advertising/marketing world with her contacts. Note: you usually have to pitch 3 times. The brand agency that represents them (Ogilvy), the marketing spend team (Mindshare) and finally the internal team (Kotex.) Phew. Lots of cooks to dance around.

We also pitched a few other brands. Our pitch was: let us make a show with a clear creative vision, and let’s do the “branded videos” in the periphery once it’s gained its audience. Hence the season one in-world, kooky “kotex videos.” Many brands won’t go for this, though, and it’s a constant struggle to ask them to respect their future audience. Seeing a product obviously placed in front of the camera won’t entice anyone.


(Chris Hadley) #33

Thanks, Bri! :smile:


(Anna Bateman) #34

So this is how season 0 started? What was challenging/exciting about that in particular?


(Jane) #35

Welcome to STareable, Steph! Did you approach your process differently between season 1 and 2? How/why?


(Steph O) #36

Not a Canadian thing. You have to go through the ad agencies, though, as they control the spend for most big brands. Think of the Chipotle-funded HULU pilot, all the branded scripted series Awesomeness TV has done, as well as NewForm. Many of these were influencer-led, but there are certainly players who’ve gotten their series funded by brands experimenting in the space.

As for the future - heh. Though question. Certainly feels like we’ve hit the plateau in terms of vlog style literary series. YouTube’s algorithm does not favour scripted whatsoever. Discoverability is much harder these days without a nonsensical ad spend. My 2 cents would be to venture to Instagram TV while it’s still malleable, and stay on top of Hulu/Netflix as they start experimenting with short form.

also - Yarn/Wattpad/TAP/etc.


(Joseph Steven Heath) #37

What was one of the wrong things and what did you learn from it?


(Sunny Larkson) #38

What were the main pillars of your transmedia strategy? There are less shows with transmedia these days- do you think that’s good or bad?


(Steph O) #39

Also! Look into partnering with European creatives, as many euro networks are experimenting with short form scripted and financing entire series.


(Steph O) #40

OOOO boy, season 0. What most people don’t know is that it was a prequel not by choice, but by necessity - it was supposed to be shot before season 2 and explicitly not further the narrative. The notes/feedback process was so overbearing it got pushed right after the s2 shoot.