How To Network With Web Series Buyers


(Alex Le May) #1

This is a weekly column behind the scenes of Alex LeMay’s latest project, DARK JOEY. DARK JOEY is a collaboration between LeMay and writer Jim Uhls, who wrote the major motion picture, FIGHT CLUB, as well as his writing partner Ric Krause. Follow along here: #Film-School:lemay-makes-a-series

A lot of you ask me how you get in the room with buyers, so I’ve created a sort of checklist for you to follow. These are things I do every day and it has become a matter-of-course whenever I want to to get my work in front of a busy studio exec or acquisition & development person (the person in a studio who looks for and buys content).

networking-with-web-series-buyers

So why reach out to these people? Yes, you want them to screen and buy your work, but it can’t just be that. People in Hollywood (short for the world of commercial media) who only form transactional relationships quickly get named 'mooch" and before you know it, the phone goes silent and your inbox will only have spam emails for Russian nutritional supplements. Be sure you are bringing value to them and their studio. In many cases, it’s about developing relationships that make you better as a person by surrounding yourself with people who are great at what they do. These kinds of two-way relationships usually culminate in doing business together, but the best and most profitable relationships I have are about exchanging ideas. Money is a byproduct.

A couple things to note before you start your outreach. You are attempting to contact SUPER busy people who have email inboxes that are full of other people asking them for things. In addition, reaching out and immediately asking them to do something for you, especially asking them to look at your work, in the first email is a big no-no. Unless it is coupled with an offer to do something for them with no expectation of them reciprocating.

So, here we go. This is how I have met the head of Spotify, the Executive Producer on THE OFFICE, a bunch of execs at YouTube Red and Maker and so on. This requires that you do research and send out a ton of emails. Remember, it’s a numbers game.

  1. Everyone’s email is on the internet somewhere:: You’ll need to dig, but they’re out there, there is also a digital tool that will create every version of that person’s email in the most commonly used email address conventions, but you’re on your own there. I prefer the old fashion way. Also- look to your contacts. Can anyone you know make an intro?

  2. Know what distinguishes you from other creators: Successful people don’t have time to meet everyone so they tend to interact with interesting people. Know what you’re good at, know what you have to offer. What obstacles have you overcome that would be interesting to that person?

  3. Look to see if they have a blog or have written articles: Have they commented on blogs? This will let you know what they are interested in. Also, one of my favorite hacks to find out how they think is to check if they have a metafilter or newsvine account. These are social bookmarking sites that are popular with media people. They allow the user to bookmark news stories or links they find interesting (a gentler Reddit). This is a powerful tool to get inside their head. Mentioning these things in your intro email is a huge way to get in with them.

  4. Start a blog and ask to interview them: Now, don’t just start a blog to meet people. Try to add value to the world with what you write, but, this is such a non-threatening way to meet busy buyers. Do a Skype call, an email interview, or see if you can meet for coffee.

  5. Follow-up if you haven’t heard from them: These are busy people (did I mention that?), so don’t expect them to get back to you right away. Give it a couple weeks and then shoot them another email.

Here are a couple email scripts that should get you going. Notice how short they are. In all transparency, these are email scripts given to me by a friend and I’ve used them for years. You’ll need to customize for who you are contacting, but this is a great starting point.

Dear _________,

I know you’re busy so I’ll make this quick: My name is _________, and I noticed that you are involved in ___________. I have a great deal of experience in __________, and I’d like to offer my services, free of charge. Here is a portfolio of what I’ve already done. How can I help you?

Thanks
Your Name
Your Website

Dear _______.

Hello! I’m a blogger over at whatever.com and I noticed you are doing some cool and relevant stuff ( be specific about things they are doing). Would you be free anytime in the next couple weeks for a coffee/Skype interview? If not, I could send over a list of questions by email.

Here are some times I’m available: _______________.

Thanks so much!
Name
Website address

In the end, it’s about giving, not taking. You want to develop long-term relationships that will be with you throughout your career, that are based on mutual respect and interest. A TIP: Make this outreach a habit, not something you try twice and then bail. These are not people who will reach out to find you. You have to go to them and show why a relationship with you brings value to them and their studio.

Now you have that tool. That, paired up with this training guide I just made, 5 LAWS FOR SELLING YOUR WEB SERIES will give you a one-two punch for contacting and selling to web series buyers. Please let me know when you get a win. I’d love to hear about it.


What to include in an email asking for sponsorship/promotion?
(Bri Castellini) #2

This is fantastic, Alex! Thank you so much!

Sincerely,
Blogger at Whatever.com :wink:


4 Things You Need to Know About Web Series Funding
(Alex Le May) #3

My Pleasure, Bri!


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #4

Wow! I see how this is the beginning to demystifying the buyers’ world. Thank you!


(Alex Le May) #5

Glad it helped. Yes, it’s not as murky as it sometimes appears. Take those steps i mentioned in my article and you’ll be quite surprised. Keep creating!


(Evie Marie Warner) #6

Maybe @Alex_LeMay or someone else can help me figure out…does this seam like a legit company? They are suppose to help with pitching, distribution, etc. but I don’t think they have ever actually sold anything. Anybody on here know anything about. Yes. I have tried googling but I’m not finding much that tells me really anything.
http://auspolmedia.com/services.html


(Kyla) #7

I mean, I just spent two minutes checking them out, and they seemed real sketchy until I searched the individual names involved with it. they’re all on IMDb as producers and various other roles.

Guy Perrine, J.D. Cohen, Tara Jay, Anthony Darvall.

they’re actual people with producing experience, so there’s that.


(Alex Le May) #8

So I checked them out. I think their intentions are good but it doesn’t seem like they have much traction. In my opinion, they may not have the juice to get your project out there. Just my 2 cents. Obviously do what you think is right for you.


(Evie Marie Warner) #9

Thank you @Alex_LeMay and @kmd I also see that their credits accepts for Anthony are all years old. My concern is that they are possibly making claims via our e-mail conversations that they can’t back-up. Saying “As you are in the USA, Dayton, Ohio, United State, We are happy to tell you that we have other American clients and producer Partners, as we an an International agency” Just cut and pasted from my e-mail but do they really? Is the million dollar question.


(Alex Le May) #10

Yes, I would bail. One rule to follow, if it seems to good…well you get it. I wonder when they would have asked you for a credit card #.


(Evie Marie Warner) #11

Yeah. I don’t have any idea for sure when I’m expected to pay for any services rendered. I wish they only got paid if the series sold. But I’m assuming that there isn’t any companies out there that work that way.


(Evie Marie Warner) #12

I did get in touch with JD and he sent me a fairly well thought out statement. I might keep go ahead and keep the appointment to talk with one of their people on Tuesday. I’ll at least hear what they have to say. pitchingcomment


(Alex Le May) #13

Evie, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER pay to have someone sell your series for you. Any company worth working with does what’s called a co-production. They use your content and you use their contacts. Companies work with you because they like your work. If they’re taking money to sell, it’s super sketchy. I’ll focus in co-productions for next weeks ‘How To’ article.


(Evie Marie Warner) #14

oh okay…well that might be what they are wanting to do…I haven’t talk to them enough.


(Evie Marie Warner) #15

Is it differrent if they are helping you write a pitch or does that only ring true if you don’t yet have pitch written?


(Alex Le May) #16

If it’s a co-production, they should do the pitch deck for you with a lot of your input.

If you are hiring them to write a pitch and they have no ownership than yes, paying them for the design and copy work would be customary.


(Alex Le May) #17

But I also think there are better people to hire to do this if that’s your plan.


(Evie Marie Warner) #18

You might be right I am talking some more with that guy on vimeo and he is giving me better facts and understanding of the company than their webiste did. lol I migh talk to them just to get some questions answered. I just don’t know where to go to get a pitch written and no idea what the cost normally is. Though, I’m assuming it is much more than I make at my minimum wage job. lol


(David Huxiley) #19

This is so helpful!!!

Creatives all over the world are so busy trying to evolve on their craft and compile their very hearts and souls into meaningful pieces of art that they often forget about the business aspect and bare knuckle human contact needed to put their creations out there. I mean, why should they? The mastery of creation is the ultimate goal of any filmmaker and the dream of all the artists.

The thing is… if you’re on your own, shit’s way more complicated than just create… You have to make things that are not really your ‘business’ in order to make a living and pursue your passions on the spare time.

Things like this simple e-mail model are the exact example of the opposite: A way to pursue your passions, making a living through what you love - by selling people your truth.

This is amazing man! It seems like you’re always watching over me, somehow… :smiley: Thank you so much!


(Alex Le May) #20

Evie, You know the saying, “Give a person a fish they eat for a day. Teach a person to fish and they eat for a lifetime” Same goes here. If you rely on people like the ones you’re speaking with to write your pitches, you will always need someone like them to write your pitches. Plus, no one knows your project better than you. If you’re interested, rather than pay these guys to write for you, I’ll get your pitch where it needs to be in an hour. I have some openings this week for strategy calls. I do about 5 free ones a week. Use the call scheduler on my site and we’ll get you dialed in. No charge. www.alexlemay.com/book-session