This week in my column for the LA Weekly, I featured the indie web series, Friends In Therapy, which I discovered at the Hollyweb Fest. When I first saw the series, I thought the acting, writing and comedic timing was just brilliant. When I learned the show was completely improvised, I was even more impressed. All eight episodes are under two minutes each so you can watch the whole first season in about fifteen minutes, and I highly recommend it. As you probably guessed, it’s about two friends… in therapy. You can check out my LA Weekly feature on why I like the show so much HERE or in the paper today. In addition, below is my full interview with creator/stars Daryl Johnson and Joe Towne. Enjoy!
I will be totally honest. After season 1 I was totally burned out. If I never heard the word hipster again, it would be too soon. All I wanted to do was move onto my next project, which I envisioned would be – an artsy, dramatic feature film that would only be appreciated by art lovers; the opposite of Hipsterhood. But then all these little twitter and youtube comments kept popping up for me, and it was Hipsterhood fans who really wanted to know what happens to Cereal Guy and Faux Fur Girl. Like, they REALLY wanted to know, and they were upset the story was over. It wasn’t an overwhelming amount of comments, but I started to feel a responsiblity to my fans.
And so, I got over myself, and I wrote season 2. Believe me when I say season 2 is not about money, or fame, or even career-building. Season 2 is happening because the fans made me realize that the story of Hipsterhood is not over.
Brian Rodda has worked with some of the most prominent web series out there, including Jane Espenson & Brad “Cheeks” Bell’s Husbands, Matt Enlow’s Squaresville, and Tai Fauci’s Whole Day Down. In addition to running Brian Rodda Consulting, Brian teaches the course “How To Get Your First 10,000 Views” at web series school CreatorUp!
So what does a Web Series PR man actually do?
I specialize my services for every client. For some, I just do straight PR and social media posts. I send out press releases, get people talking about them on the right blogs, tweet and post for them. For others, I am also the actual online voice of their web series. I am the one who engages and follows up with their audience. That takes the most hours and is the most expensive service.
I also offer advice on web site design, help them strategize and choose platforms to reach their target audience and viewership goals. If a client wants to be part of the YouTube Partner Program, I help them do that. If I’m actually connecting them with agents, then it becomes more of a management position.
For most services, clients hire me on a monthly retainer priced for what they are interested in. I always recommend starting with a 3 month retainer since you have to spend a while planting seeds. By week 6 or 7 things usually start to bloom.
For those who can’t really afford a retainer, I offer private consultations. It’s four hours and I go through the whole buffet. Where are you at in your process? Where do you want to be? Lets figure out your target audience. Here’s the blogs you should be contacting. I wont give away all my tricks, since that’s my living. I might send one email for you, but that private consultation is catching you up on the current happenings, the circles you need to be in, and what you can do yourself to move forward.
“People are finally realizing that scripted content on the web is its own sandbox. They’re not trying to make TV lite.”
Remember Big Country Blues, that award winning dramatic web series I said was really really worth your time back at Thanksgiving? Well at long last, here is my interview with up and coming writer/director Brian A. Ross. Brian has had a lot of success with the series and even has distribution lined up in FRANCE. But he made mistakes too, which he shares candidly here for you so you don’t have to do the same.
If you are at all interested in creating a dramatic web series, or if you just enjoy a good story and great film making, I can’t recommend enough taking the time to watch this five episode series about a Kentucky singer/songwriter who goes to Nashville to audition for in an exploitative country music Reality Show. Ross has crafted each character and scene so well that each moment within this very short narrative speaks volumes. Big Country Blues is an example of how storytelling for the web can actually make us better storytellers, because in this shortened genre, every moment is precious.
When you call a tow truck, things are usually at a low point. If we’re going full
cliche, it’s usually pouring rain, your heel just broke and you’re crazy-late for an
important meeting. But Bill & Sons Towing is a call you’ll happily make. In fact, you’ll stay on the line for the full 10 episodes of this hilarious – and sometimes surprisingly poignant – web series about a floundering tow truck company run by four bickering brothers. I interviewed co-creator Mark DeAngelis about the project, and here’s what he had to say…
Squaresville chronicles the misadventures of two awkward, inquisitive teen girls Ether and Zelda, growing up in suburbia. The creator/writer/director Matt Enlow, a USC grad, already has several web series under his belt including Mountain Men and Engaged. Matt, who also works for Strike TV and Comedy Central is a master of the minisode. In addition to the more traditional (as traditional as something on the web can be) 3-6 minute episodes of his shows, he also makes minisodes to capitalize on the click-happy landscape of the web. These help build the world of his show with additional scripted content, offer interviews with actors and behind the scenes footage and generally get viewers involved in ways that could only happen on the web. I highly recommend minisodes as an addition to any series and Matt sets a great example of how to do it. Matt blogs about web media at www.mrmattenlow.com. Enjoy our chat!
This week I interviewed David S. Samuels, CEO KoldCast.tv, one of the premiere international online networks for web series, short films and documentaries. KoldCast has a very different model and attitude towards content than JTS.tv, whose CEO I interviewed previously. Most shows launch on a combination of networks or premiere on one and move to others. David shares his insights on how to view your show as a business and the future of content consumption on the web.
How does a show end up on your site?
Virtually every show we license has been submitted to us for distribution consideration. At this time KoldCast receives over 125 monthly submissions from filmmakers/producers eager to see their Show on our Network. We curate from this group and select the shows that meet our internal requirements. Out of each group of monthly submissions, we hope to be able to license six to eight shows.
Corey Moss, VP of Digital Entertainment at production/ management mogul Principato-Young talks with me about creating and selling content for the web including their latest series Game Shop.
How did you end up with the bad ass gig of VP of Digital for Principato-Young, and what is that exactly?
I came up through MTV news, so I had background of creating short form low-budget content. After that I worked at Yahoo for about three years, where I developed web shows. The business changed while I was there and brands began defining the content we created. It started that we would create content then a brand would come on to finance and sort of stick their logo on there. But when brands started coming to us with shows they wanted made and driving the creative side, I didn’t see that as being a successful business or a business I wanted to be a part of.
My belief is that to make great digital content, you have to have the talent drive the project. Soon after that, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Peter and Paul the founders of Principato-Young and launched their digital division. I work with all of our clients: actors, writers, sketch groups etc. to create content. We take that content out and find it homes and financing in the digital space, then we produce it.
“To make great digital content, you have to have the talent drive the project.”
Where do you go (physically and on the web) to scout scripted content for your site? Or do you only use your submission option?
We look at everything submitted to us, but the majority of our shows to date have come through contacts we had prior to starting JTS.TV. All three of the co-founders (Matt Arevalo, Louis Blitzman, and myself) have produced in the independent realm. My primary business used to be working with filmmakers on the business and legal side of film, and some of the first shows were from clients of mine. Continue reading
Streamy nominated writer/ director Scott Brown’s web series Blue Movies has gained over 6 million views on JTS.tv and Virgin Airlines. Scott directed the dramatic web series Asylum, which was acquired by BET digital for a 2nd season and was the director/editor of online content for the Spike TV’s Blue Mountain State . He is currently a producer/director on HULU’s Larry King Now and has a new web series Stockholm, a dark comedy about a kidnapped woman who discovers something unexpected in the dark basement of an insane, yet captivating serial killer.
What lead you to create your first web series, Blue Movies, a PG-13 show about the number two porn company fighting to be number one?
I started making sketches with friends and putting them on YouTube. A friend said, ‘Hey, I have a friend with a studio in the Valley. It has a ton of sets like a grocery store, a hospital, an old vaudeville set. ’ Turned out it was a porn studio. The owner had been buying up old Paramount sets to eventually shoot his own feature, but in the meantime he was filming porn. That inspired me to write Blue Movies, which we shot in that studio.