James Brent Isaacs and Omar Najam- Making That Web Series

(James Brent Isaacs) #61

Thanks Jon,
I loved my time with Geek & Sundry, they spoiled me rotten those first few years. I’ll be honest, I lucked out with them. It was a timing thing. I was getting the ball rolling on competing in the World Thumb Wrestling Championships in England, and Jenni Powell (our producer of Fictional Fares) was producing the new vlogger channel at G&S and asked me to vlog about it. So like they say, a lot of it is luck, timing, and who you know.

Otherwise. Building your audience: Keep track of what people are responding to in your work like crazy: Who’s watching what, for how long. What types of your content is getting more views, comments, reposts. Everything. Carve out your brand from there.

Once you’re feeling good about that, check out the various websites, channels or companies that seem like the best match for your type of material/brand. And collaborate. Film, TV, Youtube, it’s all collaborative after a certain point. Don’t be afraid to work with others in any capacity, it will only help you.

What I learned from working with G & S? Trust your gut. Fight for whats important to you. You are your biggest ally and advocate.

(Anna Bateman) #62

…well now I have to know where you guys settled on putting you!! Have you filmed anything aside from your pitch yet?

(omar najam) #63

You know actually I think I might have an elegant answer to this amazing question! So almost all of all of my online friendships that have turned into collaborations have been around something we have in common. So maybe we both love Buffy, or we all love the bith band in the Cantina in Star Wars and think they’re underrated, if there’s a real life event going on in the world, like a convention or even, in the case of Buffy, a Buffy birthday celebration at Meltdown comics, I usually ask if they’re going to this real life event and if they are then it would be cool to meet. And when we meet, we chat about what we want to create and if there’s any overlap then we brainstorm and gameplan something super easy to execute, like one video, just to make sure we get along. And when everything goes well, we move onto two videos. Or a little series. Or a podcast.

So yeah, meet in person (though not essential), see what we both want to make/do, start small and see where the universe takes us!

(James Brent Isaacs) #64


Hands down the Jane Austen Episode. I can’t wait to ride in a care with Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood and Anne Elliot. LADIES NIIIIIIGHT!!!

(Bri Castellini) #65

I love that process! It’s a slow burn but with actual commitments at every stage! Out of curiosity, what’s both of yours’ current day jobs?

(omar najam) #66

Hello!! waves back Thank you so much for tuning in last night and this morning! I’ll see if I can work in another Carol Burnett reference into today’s AMA haha.

(omar najam) #67

I make James do everything. Just kidding, I’ll let him answer.

(Chris Hadley) #68

Hehe :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

(James Brent Isaacs) #69

It was about a year. We would meet one weekend a month and shoot eight episodes over the course of Saturday and Sunday. A months worth of content in 2 days! I had it easy, I was usually in and out, but Joanna had it the worst. 70 pages of monologues that she would have a week to memorize. Soap Opera actors don’t have it that bad. I was always impressed by her.

(omar najam) #70

THIS IS SUCH A GOOD QUESTION! So we’re still learning but so far, I’ve seen a lot more engagement when cast and crew gets to make a thing. So a short video, a personal post, something they get to do. We have a video coming out on Friday that our cast put a lot into cause it was just a fun thing to do. We’ve also seen a ton more traffic when we post about the charities our show is associated with because that’s not just a project to push, it’s a benefit. It’s something new to throw into the twitter feed. And it’s personal to our cast since the characters they play resonate with what these charities are doing. So anything/everything that makes your cast and crew feel welcome and creatively involved without having the pressure to run the campaign. Anyone can retweet a link, you chose these folks for a special reason and the campaign is a great time to let them shine.

(James Brent Isaacs) #71

Don’t listen to Omar. That was only the first option. We have a video village now. It will be fine.

But yeah, we have these really amazing dashcams that wirelessly transfer the footage and you can look it all over immediately. Its going to allow for a very fast and easier shoot.

(Chris Hadley) #72

@omarnajam @JamesBrentIsaacs What are some good tips on creating successful long-distance collaborations? I’m hoping to improve that, and to get better organized with scheduling, for my web series.

(omar najam) #73

Ideas and pitches definitely wrestled against each other! But we had a rule that nothing was precious and if there’s a personal reason someone wanted something in a script, be upfront about it from the get-go. So if someone was like “this is important to me because when I was a kid I felt this way” we’d always go in that direction cause that’s so interesting and personal and beautiful. We’re really spoiled with this project because everyone really likes each other and really respects each other and we’re all friends so we know the end goal is for everyone to be happy, and that makes cutting jokes and lines of dialogue and rearranging episodes super easy.

(James Brent Isaacs) #74

Dammit Elias…
Mint Chocolate Chip, because everyone would like me, which, as a narcissist, is important to me.

(omar najam) #75

Tune into our livestream on Saturday, I’m positive you’ll have case files of stuff to work with haha.

(Bri Castellini) #76

Mint chocolate chip is nasty. If I wanted toothpaste in my chocolate, I’d just put toothpaste in my chocolate. #unpopularopinionapparently

(Bri Castellini) #77

Alright folks, that’s our hour! @JamesBrentIsaacs and @omarnajam, you are free to stick around to answer the last few questions, but we know you’re deep in the crowdfunding grind so we understand if you have to peace out!

In any case, HUGE BIG THANKS to both of you for being here today, and we hope to see you around the forum in the future! Always nerdy, film-loving folks on here looking to chat or get advice :slight_smile:

Check out the Fictional Fares campaign here:

(Anna Bateman) #78

Thank you! This was super interesting!

(Meg Carroway) #79

Thanks a lot!! Good luck on your campaign!

(omar najam) #80

Oh yeah, it’s a little freaky! But fortunately we have the cameras already because this bay area company Revl was kind enough, and invested enough, to send us some cameras to play with so no matter what happens, we will be making the show. I remember Jenni told us at the beginning of the campaign, crowdfunding is less about the means and more about the community. So no matter what shakes up, our goal is to make a fun and entertaining show that our community gets a lot out of. And with such an amazing community with folks like yourself, fellow creators, that takes off a lot of the pressure. That was a really long answer, sorry, haha.