Hi All - My name is Alex LeMay and I’m a web series creator, show runner, and digital studio executive. I am hired by studios like Maker, Go90 and YouTube red. I’ve created unscripted series like Adventure Lab for Microsoft (MSN). I produced the digital feature film The Keys of Christmas starring DJ Khaled, Mariah Carey, Ciara and Rudy Mancuso. I was the show runner for the Go90 series Obsessed and many more. Currently I’m show running and directing the pilot for a soon to be released thriller series written and created by the writer of the movie FIGHT CLUB, Jim Uhls. My job basically is to make sure the process of production runs smoothly and that the final product fits the goals of the studio. in addition, I help studios come up with ideas and then I execute them for them. Feel free to ask me anything about pitching ideas to studios, breaking into the business, production, writing and project development, the sales process or what my favorite fruit is.
Hi Alex! Thanks so much for being here! Let’s start at breaking into the business, especially for narrative-driven content (rather than gaming or nonfiction). How would you suggest going about that, for a newb?
Hi Alex. How do you find an audience BEFORE making a project? I saw your interview earlier this week where you mentioned something like that.
It’s really about making things no matter what stage of your career you’re at. It’s about putting your work out and engaging people. Now that we have the internet, it’s much easier to build your own audience. If you’re into sci-fi, start talking about the genre online,CONSTANTLY. Let people know you’re an expert and build your audience. After that start putting your work in front of them. It doesn’t have to be an entire series. Make a cool proof of concept. I can’t tell you how many filmmakers I hire because they made a 2 minute sizzle and knew what they were talking about.
do you ever feel like you’re selling out by making branded content? how do you separate career from art, or do you think it’s silly to do that? (none of this is a slam, by the way. it’s hella cool what you’re doing, and congrats)
Hi Alex, how do you go about pitching the worth of a web series to a studio, without having it get translated into a tv show? Is it all about the views that the series can garner at the end of the day, or are there other sellable points, such as perhaps social media followers? Basically, what does an ideal pitch package look like?
Put yourself out as an expert. Sounds harder than it is. Start online conversations, provide value to fans of your particular genre by giving them insight. Pick a side, don’t to be general. Make a website about your genre , anything to start people engaging with you. People watch series content created by people they trust, not by someone who spent a ton of money on creating a series but never bothered engaging with fans of that genre.
What if it’s not really genre-related? Like, it’s a just comedy, or a “dramedy”, about college students?
Speaking of sizzle reels- If someone wanted to make a “proof of concept” for their web series, what would you recommend they make? A sizzle reel? A pilot? The first three episodes?
No worries. Great question. It’s about making the content you want to be known for. I don’t mind or dislike the business side of creating. As a creator and producer, I have to respectfully fight for my ideas to get through. However, it is a collaboration so i have to let other voices in. Just because a brand pays for it, doesn’t mean they don’t want something cool or they just want it to be a commercial. I did a project sponsored by Toyoya and we never showed the logo until the the credits.
That’s genre. That’s an awesome subject that millions of people care about. Talk about the main pillars of your story and how they relate to people’s real lives. Be the authority about the ups and downs of college life.
So if I want to get my series seen, I should become a vlogger? Even if I’m bad on camera? (there’s a reason I just write and direct- lol)
nice. follow up to that would be- is there a good way to approach brands without being attached to a larger digital production company? how do you pitch yourself and a project for sponsorship like that toyota one without having go90 behind you?
Ooo yeah seconding this question.
Thanks so much for joining us, Alex. Can you give us some insight into the differences of pitching a traditional network and an online network? Any tips on how to break into either?
Hi Alex! I’m Bob, writer/co-creator of the horror-comedy anthology “20 Seconds To Live”. We’ve had a good run so far: 9 eps produced, played nearly 20 festivals, won some awards, 10k twitter followers, 5k Facebook likes, just crowdfunded some $ to make a second season. My partners and I are a bit torn about the best use of our time moving forward: keep investing in the show and figure out how to get it to pay for itself OR use our time to pitch other shows and get paid for the next one. Any insight?
Adding to that- Is there a way to pitch directly to the digital networks you’ve worked with, like Go90 or YouTube Red, or do you have to already know someone?
An ideal pitch package consists of a sizzle reel (proof of concept) or what we call “tape”, a one pager and 5-7 page, leave behind power point deck if the want it. Basically, 1 paragraph synopsis, Setting description, episode arc, series arc and why audience will love it. Don’t create a 50 page bible of info. execs won’t read it. In essence, make a document that a 3rd grader could understand. not because execs are stupid, but because they need to easily understand it and be able to explain to others why it’s important.
How far into developing an idea should one go? I’ve heard not to actually write a script until something has been approved because whoever you are pitching it to will inevitably want to change some of it. So what’s the perfect balance?
And hey, what’s your favorite fruit?
This is so helpful. Thank you, Alex.