I don’t want to pick on your show specifically, because clearly people worked very hard on it, and I have no idea what their experience level is, what limitations they were facing, or any of that. I’m not interested in picking apart a genuine effort with useless negativity. But I do want to offer thoughts if they can be helpful so here’s some general low budget basics that I have picked up working on tons of student films and low / no budget shorts and webshows along with a couple specific notes about yours…
Audio quality is more important than picture quality. Your eyes can adjust to low quality visual, but you can’t hear what’s too soft, and it’s really hard to unhear clicking, buzzing, varying volumes, etc.
The picture still matters. Most important–in focus and well lit. Next, framing, etc. Me personally, this matters a fair amount, but I know some people aren’t as bothered. I don’t expect it to look like multi-million dollar per episode stuff, but the basics should be there.
*I noticed some eye-line issues once or twice early on as well as jumping the line within a scene of dialogue, which threw me a little. It begins here…
and then continues when two of the characters basically counter cross. There’s never a wide establishing, so it’s tough to get a sense of the geography of the space, but I think when you cut back to the guy in brown (next to Han Solo) is when you jump the line.
*I also noticed in your show there seemed to be some kind of wobble… but it didn’t look hand-held, it looked digital–a result of something happening in the editing process maybe? During rendering or compression, I have no idea–that’s not my area of expertise. This was a little distracting–I didn’t really see it consistently in other places though. Mostly the top of episode 1.
I don’t care at all about your credits, your theme song, or any of that. And if any of that is bad, I’ll probably stop watching before it even starts. It’s better to have none of that at all or something extremely basic rather than something that looks cheap and poorly done.
I do care about sound editing. This is maybe a continuation of #1, but if you can appropriately use music, foley SFX, etc, please very DO. If not, again, nothing (or nothing special) is better than anything bad. *In general, I think I noticed that your added SFX were good and fit the style of the show.
Art / set design, costume department, hair and makeup. You can do a lot with this stuff on a very low budget. Do not underestimate how doing these things with even minimal proficiency can take your project from looking amateur and fake to looking pro.
Writing and editing–probably seems obvious, but writing and editing are the bookends of the process. At least one needs to be very strong. Ideally, both are good, but solid editing can fix a lot. It can be hard to see something objectively if you have been inside it all the way through the process, writing, directing / acting, and editing. It can help a lot to have extra eyes that you empower to make decisions.
*… I bring this up because, generally my advice for web comedy is to keep it under 5 minutes per episode. I personally think shorter is better. Even if you’re going for an episodic style with an overarching narrative, I think it works best to treat each episode like a sketch. The best sketches don’t overstay their welcome. They establish the baseline, find the joke, hit it hard a few times, subvert the pattern, get in a good call back or two, and move on. It’s not easy–and it can be subjective. Some of my favorite SNL sketches overstay their welcome by a long shot… and a show like Portlandia is almost universally understood to be breaking most basic sketch rules in all of their segments by people in the comedy world, yet it’s successful. (In both cases, I think it’s because of the talent of the actors, the directors, and the writing is usually incredibly strong despite breaking these rules).
So more specifically, I think my main advice here would be to shorten your episodes and move on from jokes a little faster. You have some funny gags in there, but some of them linger a bit. Specific example: Episode 4, beginning at 1:41… the “Grinning Man.” This is basically the opening of a sketch and it’s great. We know what’s up immediately. Two pals need directions. A creepy weirdo offers help. One is WAY too trusting, the other is the voice of reason. You nailed your first beat by having the voice of reason point out that it seems like “The Grinning Man” who he says killed a bunch of people. We know the stakes. Then you hit the joke with arguing whether the guy was grinning vs. smiling. IMO, it should move on there. But when it looks like they’re about to move on to the next beat, (at about 2:36), the voice of reason stops the WAY too trusting friend to argue again, first repeating the joke we just heard to explain the guy is creepy and in what ways he might be dangerous. Maybe that’s not a ton of fat to trim off, but I wanted to pick a very clear example from your longest episode.
That’s all I’ve got for now! I seriously hope it helps!