Help me gather the fellowship of the show.
September 12, 2008 9:21 AM   Subscribe

I have an idea for a web based TV show. I have a plot arc for the first twelve episodes some are written. This is all I have. What next?

I can write (most of?) the show and sketch out scene ideas. If we go the animation route I can voice at least one character. I have a friend who is a great voice actor and could voice many characters, male and female.

I'd like to make the some something that generates ad based revenue, so I think I'd need a custom web page too. (Is there a better option?)

Any tips for gathering a group of amateurs would be interested in joining a project with no upfront cash, but some kind of revenue sharing? (Obviously the website may be something I pay upfront for, but I can't come up with the cash to pay everyone involved up front.) Any examples of other web based shows that succeeded or failed? Any other tips, suggestions, or general, "You'll never be able to get this to make money because ..."
posted by TheDukeofLancaster to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Make it and share. You won't make anything off of ideas in your head. It's hard for me to give you any more advice than that without knowing what the show's about. But I would be willing to watch it for you and let you know what I think.

Be consistent with your release schedule. It doesn't help at all if you wait 1 week for episode #2, then 3 weeks for #3, 6 days for #4, etc. Go slower than you think you have to. Gives you some time if you get behind.
posted by theichibun at 9:31 AM on September 12, 2008

I'd like to make the some something that generates ad based revenue, so I think I'd need a custom web page too. (Is there a better option?)

Assuming you can just make the show with little or no money, your first priority shouldn't be making money, it should be establishing an audience. Posting your shows on YouTube and other popular video sharing sites won't make you any money directly, but it will help your content reach a larger audience than just setting up your own site.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:09 AM on September 12, 2008

Don't go into expecting to make money -- do it because you have a concept you love and are willing to work to share. The Guild might be making just enough to pay people, and I'm pretty sure Dr. Horrible hasn't broken even yet, and they're the two most successful shows I can think of. (Though it's not really fair to compare Dr. Horrible to most web-based shows. The Guild is closer, but Felicia Day is still a professional actress living in LA.) Speaking of, check out Felicia Day's blog and read some recent interviews with her -- she's got a lot to say on the topic of producing (and starring in) web shows.

In terms of finding people to work on the show, I would maybe take a look at local theater groups, college and high school theater and fine arts departments, etc. These people probably aren't looking to get paid (as much as professionals would be anyway), and students always need something to add to their portfolios. If your show is about a specific topic, post calls for help (and, later, viewers) on websites catering to that crowd.

Social network the hell out of it -- Youtube, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, blogs, Mefi Projects, etc. Make it easy for viewers to find you, talk about the show, and pass the word on to their friends.

It's got to be good -- there's a lot of really crappy content out there, and you're going to have distinguish yourself from it to make any sort of impact. Polished writing, good talent, decent production values -- that's how you're going to keep the viewers you draw in.
posted by natabat at 10:26 AM on September 12, 2008

You could write the treatment, make a pilot, and pitch it to companies like Next New Networks or For Your Imagination, which product and distribute web TV shows. Don't expect to get paid much, though. To gather a group of people you could go to meetups where people interested in web video go. I don't know what city you're in, but in NY it would be this or this.
posted by lsemel at 4:40 PM on September 12, 2008

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