YOU BEAT ME TO IT, MEG!
The co-production was aimed at giving us some exclusive content. Right now, we don’t have co-production budget, but I expect to at some point next year.
We approach co-production as a simple exchange of dollars for limited exclusivity. We don’t take ownership over a show, and we don’t have any creative control other than you produce what you said you were going to produce. We do have budget control at some level, but you give us the budget.
Adding to this: thoughts on what kinds of supplemental content are most worth it?
You want to show off your best episode that can be seen on its own without confusing the audience.
The challenge almost every filmmaker has is that their pilot is generally their worst episode. Unless you are the type of filmmaker who gets worse over time
Keep in mind you are generally submitting for a specific season. So, hopefully, your best episode is one that can be watched without any context. If that’s the case, great. If not, you need to make a quality/accessibility trade-off decision.
I’ve finished an Apple TV app and we’ll soon be going through the approval process. Amazon Fire TV is in the works. Almost certainly Chromecast and mobile native as well in the future.
Length of show plays almost no role in our decision-making. What I look for is picking the right length to tell the story. Being short and skimping on story for budget reasons bothers me, but so does being long just to hit 22 minutes.
Take the time needed to tell the story. No more, no less.
I always say that television and digital aren’t really cinematographer’s playgrounds. Having said that, the number one way your going to create a cinematic feel is having a good DP on board.
Good cinematography is about careful planning of shots both in terms of composition of the shot at hand, but also in terms of anticipating how it will be juxtaposed with other shots you are composing. This is what makes stuff feel “cinematic”. Yeah, an expensive camera, expansive locations, cinematic aspect ratios, cool SFX and VFX help. But in the end it’s about the planning that a DP typically does.
That takes up A LOT of time in episodic content. Time = budget.
So, having a DP with great instincts is probably the best way to do it on a budget.
Also, sound design. Great sound design will actually give something mundane a bit of a cinematic feel.
Alright folks, that about does it for us!
Huge big thanks to @georgereese for being here today and giving us some INCREDIBLE answers! I’ve highlighted all the straggler questions in yellow in case George has a little bit of extra time, but he’s a busy guy so we understand if he has to skedaddle
In the meantime, make sure to check out all the exciting shows on:
I don’t know of any off hand. But in my experience, there are always producers and directors out there looking for stories to tell. Though lots of people write/direct their own stuff, being good at one doesn’t mean you’re good at the other. Good writers are very few and far between.
thanks for being here, george. you were really really helpful. my existential dread is partially lifted!
Yes. Even with co-production.
Thanks that’s a great answer thanks for your time
Thank you George (and Stareable for hosting!)!!
Yeah, ad agencies. My fault. I used to work for an ad agency, so I’m using inside baseball terms when I shouldn’t.
Also, coming soon to Seeka TV is “Transylvania Television”.
Ultra-short shows like “20 Seconds to Live” and “#Currently” where you get in, get to the punchline, and get out.
First of all, there’s no magic answer on the supplemental content question. This is an area in which everyone is still innovating, big and small.
Supplemental content has three objectives:
- To drive people to the core content by exposing them to it through different channels
- To help make your universe “deeper” (I can’t think of a better word) than it can be just in on-screen episodes
- To create extra value for fans that they are willing to pay for
Any given piece of supplemental content can serve one, two, or all three objectives. But if it doesn’t directly serve #3, keep in mind that it is adding cost to your production. That may be OK. 1. is fine if it’s all about getting maximum viewers, money be damned. 2. is OK if it’s about the creative process or art for you. And of course 1 is cool if it ultimately drives monetization indirectly and 2 is cool if its upping the quality of content and thus getting more eyeballs and thus indirectly driving money.
Whatever the rationale behind the supplemental content though, it should be supplemental content that makes sense in relation to the core content. That means, at some level, it should always be about #2 if nothing else, even if you’re trying to make money! In your example, where you have a world that takes place in a video game, an online browser-based game is an inexpensive way to accomplish that. Of course, a mobile or desktop or console-based game is even cooler.
(sorry to keep you if you’re trying to get outta here, but I have a follow up if you have a second! And thank you!!)
What kinds of supplemental content is good for non-genre shows, like say more traditional comedies and dramas? Cast and crew interviews? I always found those strange for people without much of an audience, since not as many people will care, but I could be wrong!
Cast and crew interviews are good tools for creating a relationship with your audience. They are probably pointless in a digital series unless you have a future intent to crowdfunding in some way. Either through traditional mechanisms or tools like the Seeka TV tipping feature.
Pointless is too strong a term. If you get them in the books and something newsworthy happens later, they can be used to tie a face to an event. For example, one of your cast ends up for an Emmy for a different show. It’s great if you have some supplemental content with them at that point, because they aren’t going to have time to do any kind of interview for you now.