Jonathan Robbins (Clutch, Asset, Out With Dad)


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #43

Hi Jonathan! So good to have you! I must admit you are someone I look up to in the web series community. You are awesome!

My question for you is how do you know when to stop making more episodes for a web series and move on to the next project?


(Bri Castellini) #44

I would add to this- how do you level up a second (or third) season for your team as well as your audience? What, in your mind, needs to change or improve for a low budget project as it continutes?


(Chris Hadley) #45

From your experience, are there any strategies you’d suggest for how to improve writing scripts for a web series?


(Jonathan Robbins) #46

I love hacks :smiley:
Depth in shots. Don’t shoot yourself into a corner, but always try to find the depth by cheating the position of the actors when you go in for a closeup, for example. Unless of course the confinement is a choice. But too often I see people in front of plain walls and it kills the scene.
And then schools - if you can get a student as a coproducer, you may get access to some free equipment…


(sam lockie-waring) #47

what about distribution in general? should i be uploading the everywhere and hoping it goes well? what about other sites i could submit to- any opinions/stand outs?


(Jonathan Robbins) #48

Awww thank you! You are awesome yourself.
And very good question. I would say if you aren’t making money on it, and you’re no longer enjoying making it, then it’s time. Statistically, if you have lost your audience engagement, then maybe that’s a cue.


(Jaime Lancaster) #49

Thanks! Love those suggestions!! Onto a more producing-specific one- any tips for managing the boring stuff? Paperwork, scheduling, etc?


(Jonathan Robbins) #50

I don’t think it’s necessary to increase production value. If your audience is still watching, they like the story. So just keep giving them good story. Realistically, Out With Dad actually dropped production value for seasons 4 and 5 in that we shrunk the crew and reduced the number of locations to make filming more affordable. The overall audience may have shrunk over the years but the loyal audience got stronger.


(Meg Carroway) #51

What are some of the biggest resources new filmmakers might not know about, and should be using? Free websites/software, equipment “hacks,” or anything like that?


(Marc L) #52

I would like to know more about your process for that. I am also an actor and am very curious how you walked this line, of making the role your own while staying true to the characterization the previous actor created.


(Jonathan Robbins) #53

My strategy with Clutch was everywhere and everywhere. And it did work in that I had some paid deals from people who discovered it in that everywhere-land. But it doesn’t work for everyone. So think about your ultimate goal - is it tv development of the project? If so, then yes, everywhere you can be discovered and build an audience. Is it perhaps a packaged sale via ComicCons and the like? Then I’d say stick with festivals and subscription models on Vimeo.


(Chris Hadley) #54

I’m considering expanding the length of episodes for the next web series project I do, though the idea for it is still in development. Are there any specific video platforms you’d recommend (aside from Youtube) that might be more ideal to viewers who have time for longer form content?


(Blair Hunter) #55

You didn’t list this but you probably have at least SOME experience with all your shows/festival involvements… do you have any marketing tricks? Especially if we’re already spread thin as indie creators? I just want to invest my time well and efficiently but also effectively


(Jonathan Robbins) #56

First I watched everything that had happened before. Then… I forgot about it and just let the scripts dictate what I needed to do.


(Bri Castellini) #57

Signal boost! (FYI @TheJRobbins - I’m highlighting questions in yellow that haven’t been answered, to help you scroll through!)


(Bri Castellini) #58

Signal boost as well!


(Jonathan Robbins) #59

No Film School is a great site with stuff like that. I read their blogs all the time. Also, follow Tom Antos on YouTube - he has some reviews and tutorials on the technical side which I like (disclosure - he DPd a film I was in).


(Marc L) #60

Thank you for your quick response. Do you have any advice for an actor looking to build his reel?


(Chris Hadley) #61

Have you had to come up with creative ways to compensate cast/crew on a no-budget production? I seriously want to pay my team, but my show literally has no budget to speak of. I know that the “we can’t pay you but you’ll get exposure” credo is somewhat cliched at this point, but I definitely want to repay my cast/crew for the great work they do.


(Jonathan Robbins) #62

Sorry, trying to keep up! Okay, so yes, I think often it is a necessary evil. HOWEVER, composition can go a long way. Look at the creative, counter to the rules type of shots in Mr. Robot and The Handmaid’s Tale. That is a way you can make the normal more interesting, as long as it fits in the tone. Next, I’d think about the blocking - do they have to be sitting at a table? Can they be doing the dishes? Or can they be strolling in a park? Look at more interesting ways to play out the conversations themselves, and then more interesting shots will naturally arise from that.