I fell ass-backwards into it. I’ve been a writer for a long time, but I didn’t have a background in film. I had an idea for a story, and it occurred to me that the concept lent itself to a series. I didn’t know how to bring such a thing to life, so I shelved it for a couple of years. Then I realized that a few work colleagues who became my friends had the technical skill set (and equipment) to bring the idea to life. The rest is web series history. Or something.
Same, I’d already made a few things on my own, but I liked that with a web series I could own and learn the whole process top to bottom and have complete creative control. Making a web series has definitely opened a lot of doors for networking, earning gigs and getting into filmmaker programs. Also a side benefit was meeting some of you out there and being part of this community
the community of creators is definitely a huge part of my experience of making a web series, too, but i’ve also noticed it’s wildly different than the community of people who watch our work
The money! All that money money money! I don’t gotta dance, I make my money move.
Seriously, I went into web series because (a) I wanted to stretch as a storyteller beyond feature filmmaking; (b) indie feature distribution is a clusterfuck where you wait forever for the distributor to give you no money and they dump it on a couple of VOD sites, claim they’re in the red, and whatever…
If you’re not going to get any money anyway, you’re better off being in control of distribution, and getting your work out there to as many people as possible as quickly after making it as possible.
I also found since entering this space that people are nicer, more cooperative, and less irritating as a group (exceptions apply) than indie filmmakers.
I wanted I think to make something small to start with that didn’t involved 20 people chating about the tea cup in the corner of the frame, then ten meetings about the tone of my trousers. Just having the two of us makes the whole process quite a refreshing change.
Two years ago, we found out that my wife needed reconstructive surgery on her neck. Essentially, we had found the main reason she was physically unable to work a full-time job in IT, her chosen profession. For the last few years, she had been a vendor, going to stores to stock shelves - good honest work, but not what she wanted to do.
Even though it didn’t pay much, we did need her income to stay afloat. But the surgery was going to keep her from working at least two months, plus it was going to be a few months after that before she would be allowed to lift anything, so there really wasn’t any way she could even go back to being a vendor. (The good news here is that the surgery went well, and now she’s back in her field and happy - wrapping up that portion of the story before moving on.)
So even though I was already working a 40-hour/week job, I decided to take up a second job delivering pizzas so that we could keep ahead of the bills. I added about 25 hours/week to my work life - giving up all my acting and writing projects for about four months while she recovered.
However, I’m still a writer. I would come home at 2am, put my tip money in the till for bank deposit, and surf for a little bit to wind down. I would also share some of the more interesting encounters I had in Facebook posts for friends to enjoy. Some of them were hilarious, some of them were touching. Friends were asking for more stories - some would recount their own days delivering with similar stories.
One night, an acting friend said, “You should turn this into a web series!”. At first I was against it, as I was more considering a book instead, and most of my experience is in stage acting, writing and directing. But the idea stuck with me. In talking with a co-worker at my main job about the idea, he offered do the filming and editing, and so I dove in and started studying the craft.
So now we’re a couple months away from the premiere. I made a lot of mistakes, which is how I love to learn. I’ve made a lot of new friends, which is rare for an introvert like me. It’s already led to me building a website to bring all types of creative people together and promote them, which is now leading to an online radio show. And of course discussion of Season 2 already!
A fun ride!
I started in Theatre doing plays which meant I did Off Broadway Theatre. When I started making films I made low budget indy films which was the Off Broadway of Filmmaking. Then more recently this whole wonderful wave of amazing episodic television happened and I wanted to try that. You see where this is going Making my web series was the Off Broadway of episodic television for me. I feel at home on the fringe.
I’ve done numerous short films, two of them got into film festivals. Since then, I’ve thought of a way to keep the creative juices flowing. Unfortunately, the lack of equipment and availability had me going on a different track, 100 percent remotely produced web series.
In chosing this path, this gives me a chance to write and produce our own content. And see what works and what doesn’t.
I would love to say my desire to be as bad ass as Felicia Day? But while that is a driving force for life, it actually wasn’t how I fell into web series creating. lol. I was teaching a teen filmmaking class and we actually shot a short film- a modern, horror re-imaging of Little Red Riding Hood. When it was all said and done it was put online for their parents, etc and someone emailed me that had seen it and said they loved the idea we had for our “web series” and that there wasn’t enough online web series content for tweens. This led me to look into it more and had us re-evaluate an idea we had been thinking about (a paranormal Peter Pan). After about 2 seconds of consideration we knew that we wanted to take what we had (unknowingly) started and turn it into an anthology web series.
Best choice we ever made, honestly! We love the medium and more than that LOVE the community. It’s so welcoming and encouraging and loving- basically unlike all other film/tv mediums I’ve worked in (not that I don’t love them all). lol. We’ve been lucky to meet so many insanely amazing and talented people through the web series world and are honored to be a part of it!