Making a Web Series as an Introvert


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #1

This column is written by Sally Hassan, the creator of Ghetto Nerd Girl. I talk about how to get through the vital steps of making a web series as smoothly and painlessly as possible.


One of my favorite shoot days during Season 2 because I finally got to sit!

If you’ve been following my microcolumn on Stareable, you’ll notice a recurring theme within my posts. Every step of the way I’m battling my natural introverted state to get my web series off the ground. It is quite exhausting, but the longer I do this the more I realize I’m not the only one going through this internal struggle. I use pre-production and post-production phase as my time to recharge as crazy as that sounds. If you agree more than disagree with the following, chances are you might be an introvert too.

1.) I rather listen than talk.
2.) I don’t like it when someone calls me on the phone because I prefer text.
3.) I’m content with being alone.
4.) I rather spend time with a few close friends over a large group of acquaintances.
5.) I hate being the center of attention.
6.) I need to go ‘off the grid’ so to speak in order to recharge myself.

Some of you might be thinking, “How the heck do I do this if I don’t like attention?” I still want to make my mark in this world artistically, but at a comfortable distance. There are more of us in this industry than you think! Check out this list of famous introverts here. Also, this doesn’t necessarily mean I hate being around people. I just need to do it in small doses so my energy isn’t zapped immediately. If you’re an introvert who’s struggling with the web series life here are some of my tips for you.


I can tell my energy is about to hit zero in this pic. Need alone time stat to recharge!

1.) Be Prepared - During production it’s nothing but interacting with people. Everyone is going to ask you everything and that can get overwhelming. Have some key people to be the point of contact to delegate some of the responsibilities away from you. This will be especially important when you are directing.

2.) Ice Breakers - As a web series creator, you’re going to bring a lot of people together who might not know each other. Make it a little easier by giving them something to talk about. For example, when we got together for our table read I had everyone take turns telling the group how long it took them to get to our meeting place. It’s corny but effective.

3.) Ask Questions - Networking events used to be the bane of my existence. Luckily I found my way to survive them. Use the fact that most people love to talk about themselves to your advantage. It will take the heat off of you and people will be drawn to you for genuinely wanting to know about them.

4.) Team Building - I’m very uncomfortable around strangers and don’t do well in big groups. I like to schedule social events with my cast & crew so we can know each other on a more personal level. It helps me to be more open and communicative come filming time.

5.) Practice Your Authority - I do small exercises before set days to project my voice and exuberate confidence. “Red leather, yellow leather,” is not just for actors. I look in the mirror to make sure I stand tall and keep my posture in check. It sounds silly, but body language is a lot of what you communicate and can help you run your set effectively.


Directing with authority!

The web series medium is perfect for introverts because you can work with the same people over and over again. It is a tight-knit community that looks out for each other because we are all the “little guy.” I can honestly say that 9 times out of 10 the people I met within this community had a genuine interest in me. As a result, a mutually beneficial relationship formed. That rarely ever happened when I was in the independent film scene. It seemed like everyone had ulterior motives. The web series world, on the other hand, is the place to be if you’re an introvert. Welcoming people make it much easier for me to travel outside of my comfort zone.

Are you an introvert too? How do you get out of your hermit-like tendencies? How do you stay energized during social engagements? I’d love to hear about it. The Internet is the place for introverts to unite!


(William E. Spear) #2

Sally - The entire article is insightful; please accept compliments. But the biggest connection is surviving and succeeding as an introvert. Best wishes for continued success.


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #3

Thanks so much! You as well! :slight_smile:


(Amen J.) #4

Here, here! Fellow introvert here and completely agree on how exhausting it is. I am stealing #5, Practice Your Authority, because this is something I have a hard time with. I believe this is connected with being a woman as well, especially when the crew are mostly guys. I walk on eggshells constantly about my communication, because I think I am capable of sounding terribly bitchy over email, or too girly-friendly (too many exclamation points). And I like being collaborative vs. “I’m the boss, nothing else goes” - until there is a line that has been crossed, lol…

Also hear you on the web series community being much more friendly and supportive vs. stock film community.


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #5

Yes, Amen! I’ll try to find quiet spots to just breathe on set at times!

I’m happy #5 will be helpful to you. I felt silly writing it, but it really is very necessary. Yup, being a woman is definitely part of it. I too battle that fine line. I’m very lenient and flexible BUT if I get ‘bitchy’ it’s for a reason. Sorry not sorry.

WEB SERIES FTW!


(Melanie Chiro) #6

I was so happy to see this post. I’m autistic, which is a bit different from being introverted but I certainly related to a lot of stuff mentioned here. I think when you’re introverted it becomes a lot more essential to have a good team. Filmmaking is a very social kind of environment and I think it’s quite important to communicate with your team and let them know that you’re not the most social person so if you ever have to retreat to a quiet spot people will understand. My assistant director was such a huge help because they were able to answer the technical questions so that I could focus more on the creative questions.

Honestly though, when you’re passionate about making web series or films you almost train your brain to be a bit more social simply because you want to be able to do your job more effectively. And making a web series really helped me to get out of my shell. As you work you figure out coping strategies though to some degree the introversion will always be there.


(Bri Castellini) #7

BIG MOOD


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #8

SO MUCH TRUTH!


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #9

LOL. It’s the little things!


(Jonathan Hardesty) #10

I’m immediately reminded of the very first “movie” I made just out of high school. I use quotes because it’s…kind of this amorphous, messy thing, but I digress. One of the actors loved the whole process and desperately wanted to watch the takes at the end of the day to get himself psyched and jazzed for the next day. He wasn’t very self conscious so seeing the different takes was how he stayed invested. Thing is, my social meter expired at the end of every shoot so it was tough at first for me to acclimate to the prolonged social situation.

And then I found animation post college and it was like a haven for an introvert such as myself. All the social encounters are managed and regimented and it’s quite glorious.

I love this advice, though, and will be taking it to heart whenever I decide to jump over to live action.


(Marina Tait) #11

Thank you for this! As an introvert I can relate.
Most of the time I work as an editor, which is a great job for introverts. But when I produced my web series, especially during production, I really had to become almost another person… just like me, but capable of talking to lots of people and telling them where to go and what to do.
Strange, but I did feel I was able to kind of morph my personality for a limited amount of time, and then I had to rest and turn back into my usual self afterward. We shot a total of nine days, but broke it into 3-day chunks separated by a week or two, which helps with recuperation.
It ended up being a fun change of pace. I wouldn’t be able to do it all the time, but I felt it helped me grow as a person.
For introverts, it helps to have a project to focus on, a task to perform, when working with lots of other people. In that way, you are right - web series are perfect for introverts.


(William E. Spear) #12

The recuperation - withdrawal? - is what guts me. Finding a balance, though, that meets all production needs versus physical and intellectual needs is largely ad hoc. Better now than about five years ago but not particularly graceful. One thing that has helped is working parttime sales for a big box retail department store. I’ve learned pacing and keeping adrenaline under control.


(Daniel Hart) #13

Sally,

I really enjoyed this article. Thanks for sharing. I’m also hopelessly introverted, which I think is especially challenging for filmmakers (words like “collaboration” make me shake in my boots). I love your point about preproduction and postproduction being “recharge” time. I completely relate to that. It’s always strange to me when I hear people complaining about how much they hate editing. For me, that’s aways been the most relaxing part of the job.

I’m kind of an enabler to my own introversion, as I don’t tend to work with a lot of actors or crew. The show I’m making currently, The Hart Siblings, is produced entirely by just me and my sister. Still even a few hours of shooting with her is enough to drain me.

What I’ve found (and tell me if you agree) is that one of the biggest challenges is getting your work seen. Unlike our extroverted counterparts, we don’t have hundreds of our closest friends to instantly become fans of our show.

I suppose it’s a bit of a paradox. I love creating shows, and I want my work to be seen, but I don’t want to talk about it or receive any attention from it. Being an introverted filmmaker is an absurd and frustrating undertaking. Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one. Keep it up!

-Daniel


(Bri Castellini) #14

Literally the most sibling sentence I’ve ever read. Also, welcome to the forum, Daniel!


(Bri Castellini) #15

Also, promoting is the pits. I wrote a column series called ‘I Hate Marketing’ #Film-School:i-hate-marketing that you might find useful in light of that! :slight_smile:


(Daniel Hart) #16

Definitely! And thank you.


(Daniel Hart) #17

By the way, you can find my show The Hart Siblings on Stareable at stareable.com/series/view/the-hart-siblings


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #18

Hi Daniel!!!

I’m so happy you relate to my article! Haha I totally get your need to have a small cast and crew. My first short films had no actors and were either doc style or stop motion animation. I did that to avoid social interaction!

YES! I totally struggle with promotion because I hate talking about myself. I have friends who know about it, but my circle is small. Needless to say I will never write an article about promoting. I will leave that to the extroverts.

It’s nice to meet a fellow intorverted filmmaker. I’ll have to check out your series. Thanks for shedding light on the topic! :smiley:


(Ghetto Nerd Girl) #19

I’m an editor too! I like being boxed in with just footage and no one to bother me. Yes, I totally understand the need to adapt to the “set life” for the time being then revert to the hermit life we tend to be drawn to. Yay for web series!


(Kayla) #20

It’s nice to know I’m not alone in this journey as an introverted filmmaker! Awesome post great tips, I plan to use :slight_smile: