The distribution of content has drastically changed over the past twenty years. Great creators no longer have to rely on traditional film and TV to get their work out to the public. Anyone with a camera, a great eye, and some talent can get their work out. YouTube has been a game-changer for independent filmmakers to tell their stories. If you are strategic, you can create a web series yourself that can reach more than anyone ever imagined.
Follow these three steps to get your work up and streaming.
Steps to Create a Web Series:
Step 1: Create a Story
You have to start with the basics. If you want to create something great, you must first ensure that your story is either already written or very concretely planned out. With this content available it will be easier for you to work with your team and know what the project will be. It doesn’t have to be a story you want to tell, but it must possess some kind of draw for viewers. Stick with the basics, once you have a great idea, get it on paper. Write a great script and keep it simple.
If you don’t have a story already, choose something that has room to grow that could last for many seasons. An episodic series with twenty-to-thirty-minute episodes is perfect because the viewer can come back again in an hour or two and watch another part of the plot. Once you have a great idea for a story, you can start thinking about how to produce it. Great work takes time, don’t rush the process.
Step 2: Storyboard
This is where you create a blueprint for your project. You will need to know how many episodes the series is going to last, how long each episode will be, and when you are going to release it. Don’t worry about fancy storyboarding software or anything like that just yet, pen and paper will do just fine.
Step 3: Write a script for each episode
Now you are ready to actually get started on writing your series. Don’t rush this process either because it is very easy to get yourself lost and not know where you are going if you don’t have everything worked out ahead of time. Be sure that in addition to writing a full script for each episode you also create any necessary inserts, existing footage from other sources or data that will help the story. Since you are creating this on your own it’s important for everything to remain very organized throughout the project.
Step 4: Create a Budget
If you are creating your own content, there has to be some kind of budget involved. You need to have money for equipment and any other necessities for production. Figure out the bare minimum that this project will cost and pursue funding through Kickstarter or a similar site. You shouldn’t have to spend too much because if you are just starting out with no money, chances are your project may not bring in a lot either. Set up rewards to incentivize people to donate and get them excited about the series you are making. Don’t skimp on production value though, the quality of your work can be the difference between people watching or ignoring your content.
Step 5: Assemble a Great Team
Few creators can get their project from idea to screen without a great team around them. Look for people who are excited to be involved and have the skills necessary to bring your project to life. You will want a director, photographer (or videographer), editor, and anybody else necessary depending on how you plan to make your content. If you have never made something like this before it’s important that everyone has experienced it in their respective roles. Don’t forget the actors and even other roles like Prop Designer, Costume, etc.
Step 6: Shoot Your Content
Now that you have the team in place, it’s time to shoot. It may take a few days or even weeks depending on how large your project is. Be sure to plan ahead for every shot and what exactly will be happening before you start filming. Get your shots as planned and find ways to improve each time you shoot. If you know that there are multiple shots for one scene, but you have time to only get one or two of them, shoot the most important ones first. Plan the shoot. The more you plan ahead, the better your chances of really capturing your original idea onto the screen.
Step 7: Edit your Content
Great editing is an art. Make sure that you collaborate on your Web Series with someone who really understands the editing of content for your audience. This may require more than one person to edit the project, but it is worth it in the end. Get a visual representation of what your script will look like on-screen from your director and start putting everything together. Make sure all of your shots are there and that you have everything in order before you actually start editing.
Step 8: Get Legal
Don’t forget the legal. Every step of the way in your project requires the right legal. Whether it’s a collab with another creator, hiring an actor, or a location license, all require a solid agreement. This will save you time and money when you create your web series.
Our Web Series contracts can help you the right legal contracts for your project. Make sure that the right things are included in your Web Series contracts for all of your collaborators, actors, and crew.
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