You've done it. You've made a web series. Before we go any further, from the bottom of my soul, congratulations. Writing is hard enough, but you have gone above and beyond. No matter what happens, this is something to be proud of. And now, it's time to show it to off.
I'm writing this from the assumption that you're uploading your series one episode at a time to a site like YouTube of Vimeo. I prefer YouTube, because of its playlist functionality and its prominence as the go-to video site online, but whatever floats your boat. There are distributors you could also reach out to, who host your content and potentially get you a higher return on investment with advertising, but for your first time, self-distributing is probably your best bet.
So what should your individual web series episode look like? I have a couple suggestions, all centered around the concept that people should know your videos are a part of a narrative series, not just a random vlog or one-off.
There are a bunch of ways to indicate that your show is, in fact, a show, using only the title. For example, Brains S1E1: Alison 101. We have the title of the show, the season number, the episode number, and then the episode title. This information being available immediately to a potential viewer puts them in the mindset of watching a narrative show, not a compilation of cake decorating videos. It's also more professional.
People should also be able to tell from your thumbnail that this isn't any ordinary video. There should be a consistency to the way in which you visually brand the series so that your playlists look organized and uniform. Below are some of my favorites:
Once again, consistency is key, so no matter what you decide to put in your video description boxes, make sure it's the same every time. In general, I recommend the following structure:
Always have a playlist, even when you only have one episode online. People are easily confused and having an easy way to organize the episodes in sequence will only ever help you out. A few notes, though:
Make sure to have a consistent uploading schedule, and stick to it. If you upload your first episode at 10 am on Monday, every subsequent episode should go live within an hour or that time. Also, when you post about new episodes on social media, don't just post when the episodes go live, because different people get online at different times. You should post about new episodes at least three times on the days they're released, and then remind people a few times more throughout the rest of the week. Views don't just happen, especially when you're starting out.
I only have one more column planned for you guys, about submitting to film festivals and the anxiety-inducing adventure that is networking. However, if you have questions about any of the columns I've written before, or if you think I've glossed over something, please let me know, and I'd be happy to keep writing for you all! Leave a comment on this post, or tweet @stareable and @TVWriter with suggestions or questions.
This article was originally published on TVWriter.Net, Larry Brody's guide to writing for the medium everyone loves to hate.
Bri Castellini is an award-winning filmmaker and the Community Liaison at Stareable, a hub for web series. Looking for your next favorite show? Head to Stareable.com to browse and read reviews of thousands of web series, all in one place.
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June 27, 2017