Hi! I’m Kyla, teenage filmmaker & creator of the teen drama webseries To The Max. This column will serve both as a production diary and an ever-growing list of how I’ve found my way around every issue I’ve come across and every mistake I’ve made.
We are wrapped (aside from a few voiceovers but shhh let me live)! It has been a process, it has been a time, and if there were not so many webseries about making webseries I would make a webseries about making THIS webseries because DAMN. The drama. Constant cancelling. Constant rescheduling. Recasting. Losing our DP after many arguments. Reshoots. Reshoots because of recasting. Reshoots because our mic wasn’t working because someone forgot to turn it on. Using one person as an extra in different jackets who was already both our camera operator and an actress in the first part of the scene. Actors showing up with no knowledge of the script whatsoever. Being banned from a primary location. Our camera operator dropping to the ground mid-scene. Rewriting scenes in ten minutes because someone didn’t show up. Rewriting an entire primary plotline because sometimes you have to save yourself rather than your artistic integrity. Other things I cannot mention as more people I know IRL devotedly read these articles but it got messy. This entire webseries was cursed but WE MADE IT.
Anyways, that’s not at all what I was going to talk about! Tune in next week, where I will probably expand on all of those and tell a bunch of horror stories.
What I was going to talk about is this: you’re wrapped. What now?
There have been plenty of wonderful articles on here about post-production, so to do the writers of those a favour, I’m writing this for juxtaposition so theirs look even better. I’m just going to run you through what I’m starting with post-production wise and how I’m doing it.
Each time we shot a scene I would review the footage as soon as it uploaded, but now I’m going back and going through everything more thoroughly. It’s taken hours so far but I’m doing this to ensure that the lines in each take are mostly the same, everything looks visually coherent (ha), we don’t see modern technology in any of the shots (HA), and everything looks smooth and editable. I’m also making notes of what scenes may need ADR and what scenes have tricky cuts (for example there’s a kiss scene that doesn’t have a proper end to the kiss because one actor ended up covered in lipstick and the other started laughing). Basically, triple-checking that everything is fine and reshoots are not needed because I am prepared to move to New York and become a mole person and never talk to anyone ever again if we need reshoots.
Duh. As I believe I’ve mentioned in these yonder forums before, I cannot edit. I’ve had to for two short films for English class and just… nope. I suck. There’s a really great article on here as to why you should do your own editing and man do I wish I could. The problem also lies in that editing should be happening in July and I’m not in the country, so whoops guess I can’t do that. Our editor was also our DP, who, as I mentioned, became divorced from the project about a month or two into production. After I edited and released the first teaser trailer, which is some hilariously bad editing, a cast member volunteered to help edit by very politely telling me I sucked. That path has been followed up on but said cast member ended up with some scheduling issues and was less invested than the majority of people working on To The Max, so we’ll see how that goes. Currently, an old friend of mind is test-editing the first couple scenes as she asked if she could help edit and I adore her. There’s also an offer from one of our extras that I need to follow up on. Basically, if you’re incompetent like me, there are people you know who are wonderful and talented!
Our series is based around a radio station, but rather than being murdered for copyright issues, I’ve elected to both write songs and enlist my friends to help write songs as well. I have a list of people to reach out to before I leave who have expressed interest in helping. And of course, I will lean on my very best friend for help, the Youtube Audio Library. It will make your dreams come true.
I believe I have unlocked the secret to great marketing; however, I have yet to test this secret and ensure it works. When I do, there will be some kind of article on either my incredible success or my pathetic failure. There is no inbetween. Besides that, I’m preparing for Instagram ads, as well as making my list of any and all contacts in the industry or in journalism. As a former magazine writer, I do have contacts that I’m hoping will be opening to writing something up on To The Max or even reviewing the first few episodes pre-premiere. Of course, I will also be dutifully following “I Hate Marketing” because I, too, hate marketing… unless my plan works out.
This is going in a separate column from marketing because it! is! different! We’re currently active on Instagram and Twitter. Now that we’re in post and have more time to focus, we’re bringing back our social media calendar, upping our Twitter game with promotional strategies such as aggressively talking to everyone ever about teen drama TV shows. It should work probably. We’re also establishing a Tumblr to create a teen drama/80s nostalgia/LGBTQ+ themed blog, which is weird but everything about this is weird, so then we a) have an outlet for cool gifsets once the series premieres and b) can tap a potential fanbase who will hopefully be into the diversity of the series. Essentially, we are stepping our game the hell up!
As you may have inferred from the everything about me, I am ambitious but mildly untalented. The one place where both the ambition and the talent suffer is in terms of art. I cannot draw. I do not know what complementary colours are. Every costume I have designed for the webseries looks like I tied a blindfold around my eyes and went rummaging through an early 2000s middle school lost and found. That aside, I am working on logos and key art for To The Max because I’ve called in every favour ever on everything else. If you aren’t artistic like me, get a friend to do it or just hire someone if you have the cash. Otherwise, get an art app-- I’ve been using Procreate since the sixth grade (and yet my art skills haven’t improved)–, trace some cool symbols related to your webseries and stick the name in a neat font on there. (Times New Roman is objectively the best font but not for logos. I have strong font opinions. Talk to me about fonts.)
Gina Montani, who dealt with the worst of my clothing choices. Why does anyone let me do anything?
So these are some post-production things you 100% should be thinking about if you aren’t already and this is how I’m going about it all! Please let me know if you have any ideas for future articles because boy do I need them.