Hello lovely Stareable world! If you read my (very lengthy) previous post It Better Make Your Heart Sing- you got a pretty good introduction to who I am. For those that prefer a much briefer introduction here we go…
I’m the creator of the web series, “Or So the Story Goes,”- an anthology series that takes classic children’s literature and adapts it with a modern, horror twist. The series began as a project to teach teens about filmmaking and as such still uses teens in our cast and crew. In fact, our assistant director, Rainni Moran just turned 16 and her brain holds many of our greatest ideas…
My bi-monthly column ''Or So the Web Series Go(es)" will discuss all the things that we “work” with throughout the web series world and my experience/advice in each. Obviously take it with a grain of salt but… I’m happy to offer some insight! First up-
Working With What You Have
The great thing about living in today’s world is there’s very little excuse NOT to get out a create something. There’s a plethora of opportunities- as long as you have the time, patience and flexibility.
When we first started out, we had less than a shoestring budget. In fact, we had ZERO budget and therefore had to get creative (microphone rigged to a painter’s pole with nuts and bolts from Home Depot creative). Luckily, we have grown a bit since then and have been able to find the finances to purchase an actual boom pole, lighting equipment, etc but there’s a lot to be said for the fact that even without it, we were able to create.
When beginning pre-production the #1 most important thing to do is stop. Take a moment to write down a list of what you already have. The end result may surprise you. This goes for props, crew, cast, wardrobe- the whole shebang. It also applies to locations.
I always find it best to have locations in mind already when writing the script. However, sometimes the story doesn’t allow it and you have to think outside the box. Use one house for multiple locations, call that friend that is going away for a week long vacay, ask about your local bar that is closed until 4pm if you can shoot there in the morning. Most importantly, once they say ‘yes’ remember to leave everything as you found it (if not even cleaner), thank them profusely and offer anything you can in return- promotion on your website, credit in the series, etc.
Be willing to learn new things & do them the hard way.
When it comes to web series, most producers have to wear many hats. Luckily the internet exists to help with those things at which you don’t initially excel. As well as producing, writing and acting I have found myself with MANY other titles- social media manager, promotions, EDITOR (this was a big one and one that I’ve surprised myself the most by) and more. Often I learn I have done something the hard way- that editing technique that should have taken about 15 minutes, maybe took me hours- but by god with a lot patience, it’s possible.
Ask for help.
This is probably where I struggle the most. Asking for help isn’t easy. However, you will find there are things you simply cannot do, no matter how much patience and determination you have. Find someone that is willing to help you.
Often people within your circle are already masters as some of the things you will need done- things you didn’t even think about. Email marketing? Poster creation? Logo Design? Merchandise design? Craft services? SO many things I didn’t consider and have since realized are exceptionally important! Thankfully, there are people that are fantastic at it all around you and love the series enough to help. You can find those people within your circle, too- but you have to ask.
In the end, doing a lot with a limited budget comes down to working with what you have- at least as a starting point. There will be places you have to spend money, should spend money. But there are also many places where you can save and no excuse not to get out there and make something.
Here are some of the resources I found helpful along the way…
Premiere Pro Tutorials-
Fiverr for inexpensive solutions to outsourcing-
*Stareable (This is one of the best resources! Talk to eachother, learn from eachother. )
Melissa Malone is the creator/producer/writer/cast member of the web series “Or So the Story Goes.”