Making An Affordable Web Series

When my brother Gorio and I, King Jeff, were deciding what our series would be about (genre, length, style, etc.) we decided for economic reasons there would be minimal locations used and the same location used each episode. Think ‘Barney Miller’, ‘Sanford And Son’, ‘All In The Family’ and to some degree 'MAS*H). We wanted something with little or no special effects and no huge crowd scenes or non affordable crane or helicopter shots. We knew that we would be wearing many hats (writers, producers, actors, editors, music, cinematography, actors, but to pull that off you have to know those various duties and we both do. This is huge in keeping the budget down. After all we’re not paying ourselves. Less people to pay. We made ourselves the main characters out of 5 main characters. The other characters would be actors we had worked with before and family and friends, but only family and friends who could believably act. We decided on a detective web series called Tales From The Murder Room, which are different stories taking place in a police interrogation room. We decided, for budget reasons, to only shoot 4 episodes per season, with episodes running approximately 15 minutes each. We decided that we would pay the other actors involved $300 per episode. Making sure that we film an entire episode in only 8 hours, which means storyboard, storyboard and storyboard. Don’t try to figure out your shots on the set. The reason we pay the actors is because you want them dedicated to the project. Do NOT start on a project until you have the full budget and are ready to go with it. Too often I’ve seen people start a project where they weren’t paying people or didn’t have a full enough budget at the time and the project was never completed, because people lost interest or got other gigs that were paying. In my next discussion I will be pointing out the importance of making your project look as professional as possible without a huge budget. Until then check out our hot series Tales From The Murder Room: Season 1, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video. -King Jeff