This post is part reassurance to myself and another part reassurance to everyone else out there trying to figure out how how to take their web series to the next level, without resorting to crowdfunding and self-funding.
My go to motto on days where I need this reminder.
When I finished the 1st season of my web series last year, I resolved that it would be the last time as an independent filmmaker I would go the above routes. I would learn more about the business side of filmmaking. I would learn what investors and broadcasters are looking for in films. I would scope out relevant grants. I would figure out tax credits. I would understand the importance of marketing and of international co-productions. I would try to foster a similar mindset as “business” folks and not just think purely on the creative level.
As a result, this past year I have spent a lot of time asking questions, setting up coffee dates trying to get to know people who are more established in the industry than myself…and asking more questions about why things are done in a certain way, how someone established themselves, and so on. I read industry news articles, pay attention to emerging trends and look at who are the executive producers on projects I like. I have also spent a lot of time looking for avenues to pitch my web series, while being flexible on the format, to see where it could work as a one-off documentary or as a television series.
I have spent about seven months now going back and forth with a broadcaster who asked me to create a one-hour version of this web series. I have heard so many different opinions from production companies and individuals: create shorter episodes (for a web series), expand the web series beyond public servants, stick with public servants, focus on more than two characters if it is a television series, take this international. I have heard, “have you thought about…?”, “have you considered…?”, “while I don’t think X, I believe…” and there have been many, many times where I have heard nothing at all.
I have submitted this as a web series and as a television series for applicable initiatives and been unsuccessful. Right now I am re-submitting to one program, holding my breath, hoping I hear a yes in a few weeks.
This morning I was again re-routed; I had the privilege to pitch this at a production company where I am currently working and received very helpful direction and advice. But this time, the advice I heard was, the stakes need to be higher.
Which way to go? Which advice to listen to? Who knows. All I know is, I never, never, never give up on this journey. Especially in those moments when I am at industry events and I see how often the key players tend to be the same people, of the same gender and of the same racial make-up. I have no choice, I will find a way to make this work - whether it’s for this web series or another film.
Keep on truckin’ team and don’t forget to look back every so often, to remind yourself of how far you’ve come.