Digital Series, Mental Health, Crowdfunding and Going Viral


(Yuri Baranovsky) #41

I’ll take this one too. It’s both hilarious and sad. I mean, to equate an interracial couple to a plot by the Jews for white genocide is… well, hilarious, on one hand, terrifying that people think of it on the other.

We’ve all been reading the comments and laughing in horror. It’s the internet though, you know? Fact is, these people are sad, alone, and likely desperate for something, love, acceptance, I don’t know. They’re mad at the world and their targets are women, and anything that doesn’t look like them. Hopefully they get help, but, in the meantime, the best we can do is ignore and laugh at them.

Also, I definitely want to make a series with Amir (the male actor) and Angela called White Genocide.


(Jaime Lancaster) #42

How do you find and target niche audiences without seeming insincere? I’m also working on a show about mental health and I’m kind of worried about seeming like I’m, I don’t know, preying on people for whom that content would be a good fit? Like… “HEY YOU, DEPRESSED PERSON, WATCH MY SHOW ABOUT DEPRESSION.” Or shows with prominent LGBT+ characters?


(Joseph Steven Heath) #43

Yes, thank you! (Also, if you ever want to see the show you inspired, it’s called Monsters Anonymous and I only finished two episodes but I hope to one day do something more with it. So thanks for inspiring me to do a thing. It very much changed the direction of my life.)


(Angela Gulner) #44

What’s hard about passion projects is that you still need to pay your bills… and I realized I’ve come right back to money! Man, money! Money IS the hardest part! Because having full creative control… that’s the dream. So much about the indie world is fabulous.

I guess what’s most difficult is getting the views. Without a distribution platform (and sometimes, even with one), it can be hard to drive views to a project. There is so much content competing for attention, and it’s hard to rise to the top of the barrel. A network has a build in audience at your disposal… doing it on your own, that’s a big challenge.


(Bri Castellini) #45

Since bizarrely no one has asked this yet… what have you gleaned from your first (and crazy successful!) crowdfunding campaign that you can pass along?


(Yuri Baranovsky) #46

Start with people close to you. I know Dashiell since high school. I know Justin since college. Daniela since college. My brother is my older brother he can’t say no to me or our parents will yell at him… these are people I could ask without risk of being rejected.

The other thing is, look at it from a different perspective. If you’ve got an interesting story to tell, you’re not looking for help, you’re looking for collaborators. They’re not going to be your assistants, they’re going ot be your partners. We’re all artists, we all want to make great things – so if you’ve got something great, think of it as you’re offering people an opportunity to create art, not do you an explicit favor.

And then, when you have them, make sure your set is a fun, happy place. Even in stressful times. If you manage that, people will always come back and want to work with you.


(Yuri Baranovsky) #47

You have no idea how happy that makes me. It’s an opened tab on my browser, I’ll watch it later today!

If you ever need advice, if you have questions, whatever, don’t hesitate to email me: yuri@hlgstudios.com

Please keep going! Good luck!!


(Jaime Lancaster) #48

If it’s ok… are you guys both fully supported by doing your art? Or do you have “day jobs” or side gigs with nothing to do with film/tv/digital?


(Anna Bateman) #49

Do you have any advice about working with brands? How to make yourself/ your company appealing to them, how to reach them, etc?


(Yuri Baranovsky) #50

yesyesyesyesyesyes

Like a thousand times, yes. We do okay, but we’re four artists who started a company. That’s tough sometimes, and a weakness for us. I’d love a business person to come in and help us but – hey, for now, it’s just us and we’re doing okay.

BUT YES


(Angela Gulner) #51

This is a great question. I guess, we kind of let it happen a bit organically… and then once we saw that the response was positive, we leaned into it a bit more. If you can authentically speak from an experience, people will genuinely respond. I think it would have been different if Yuri had created the show alone, and then hosted an interview series talking to ppl with eating disorders, without ever going through it. I added the legitimacy to it, because it’s in my history. I think also making sure you have resources available for those in need – helplines, group connections, grants – ways to help people who might really be in pain. We definitely practice a lot of consideration in who we approach, especially because BINGE is very triggering. We let the community find it, and then we engaged with them authentically, because they genuinely moved us… and because I am a member of that community. Does that make sense? I don’t think there are rules to this, it’s definitely complex… but go with your gut.


(Sunny Larkson) #52

Did you always mean to crowd fund for the rest of the season? Why did you wait a year between the pilot and this campaign?? (mostly a selfish question cuz I want more!!)


(Angela Gulner) #53

oh god, my kingdom for a business person!! :wink:


(Jaime Lancaster) #54

So how did that happen? Also… did you work with any nonprofits or organizations to help promote? How did you approach them, if so?


(Angela Gulner) #55

Crowdfunding was the last thing we wanted to do. We spent the year pitching the show around, and even developed with a company for about 6 months – we really wanted “real” money, and didn’t want to ask our incredible community to give anything. We think the material is good enough to be on television, and deserves that kind of budget. But things move SO SLOW in this town, and after a year, we just said fuck it! We’ll make it on our own, and Netflix or HBO or whoever can hop on board when they’re ready – we are ready now!


(Meg Carroway) #56

Any advice on that front?? I’ve heard from a few people that at least making an LLC will be super useful (especially with this new tax plan) but I know NOTHING about running a business


(Angela Gulner) #57

I honestly don’t know. 1/10 people suffer from eating disorders… so as the views ticked up, so did the number of people who could relate to the show. I think YouTube’s algorithm had something to do with it, but I can’t pretend to know how that stuff works. This is going to sound cheesy, but I think the material just excited people and struck a truthful chord.

Yuri, thoughts on this?


(Yuri Baranovsky) #58

Sure!

First thing is to remember you’re making THEM something. It’s their money, and they’re the reason you’re there. So, don’t fight them on everything, give them an equal creative voice (even if that voice is dumb) and make sure you don’t get too protective or precious about what you make for them.

Secondly, you’re going to get a lot of really dumb brand notes. Your job as a business person is to know which ones to push back on and which ones to relent to. Your job as an artist is to take the ones they’re passionate about, no matter how dumb, and try and make the note work in whatever way you can. Artists work best under limitations – so, in these scenarios, the limitation is a bad note… how do you artistically fix it and make everyone happy? Sometimes you can’t, sometimes you have to give in, but the goal is to try.

Thirdly, know the brand. Know their image. KNow their style. Learn to mimic and be able to speak to their audience.

Fourth…ly, getting to brands is the hardest part. We did it by creating our own content and our own track record. Eventually, people started reaching out to us. The other way we did it was to reach out to brand intermediaries, at the time it was Blip.tv, we also work a lot with CollegeHumor, etc. – people like that have access to brands but might not have access to a production company. So, email them, call them, try and get meetings and sell yourself and your company with a nice reel, body of work, etc.

There are some other ways to contact brands – contact their agencies (VERY HARD), contact their PR companies (also hard, but they’re sometimes more interested in telling a story than an ad agency)… but, I won’t lie to you, it’s really hard to get in business with them because EVERYONE wants to be in business with them, they’re the only ones in the space who have money. So, you gotta make work that shines so you can rise above the rest of the pack.


(sam lockie-waring) #59

no one has asked about branding yet, so… when you make lots of different things, that aren’t exactly alike, how can you use branding to share audiences between the different projects? also how do you think about your branding?


(Amen J.) #60

Curious to know, which city are you in? Are you in Canada (things tend to move slower here…)