tasks. Big friends.
would say that’s my secret in a nutshell.
That’s how the rather large and daunting project of creating Off Off, a
webseries for people who never give
up on their dreams was accomplished.
wish the digital and Internet technology available now had been around 20 years
ago … when all my friends were younger and little less jaded by life and the
business, but then it wouldn’t be the same show!
you want to have the big dream, visualize the pie in the sky idea of what it
can be, but “become rich and famous” is hard to check off on your to do list,
and let’s face it, your series going viral would be a little like getting
struck by lightening.
tasks bring you incrementally closer to the big dream.
first little task, the most important one is to write. I’m a playwright/screenwriter, so that was
something I was going to do myself, obviously.
a firm believer that it all starts with the story. (Not just “idea” but “story.”) That’s your foundation, so write the first
season and have at least a good idea of where it’s going for three or four
seasons. Plan out way ahead, so you
don’t write yourself into a corner.
people say you should write only for what resources you have. I think you certainly need to be very mindful
of that, but allow yourself a few extra things that will take some work to find
(locations or sets or costumes) as long as it’s adding to the story. You want this to be special and look like
some work was put into it! Don’t just
shoot your apartment.
webseries first came out they were mostly 3-5 minutes of crude college humor,
meant for a quick laugh, but now I see a lot of different lengths and genres. The show SubmissionsOnly with the adorable and highly watchable Kate Wetherhead is about 22
minutes, the exact length, smartly enough, of a half-hour sitcom (without
task: find a location. We thought we had
a location, and it fell through. But
don’t give up. Set your sites on one
location. Follow through. If it doesn’t work out, on to the next
location. The next task. Someone will say
cast the series. You’ll be tempted to
use your friends, and I think this is a good thing because you absolutely need
your talented friends to pull this
off for little to no money, but add some new blood in as well. Cast SAG actors. The New Media agreements with SAG pre-merger
are doable and friendly to self-productions, and I assume the same will be true
of the post-merger agreements.
Task: director of photography. What an important position! I had an old friend from my Project
Greenlight Contest days message me on Facebook (while I was talking the project
up) and ask what he could do to help.
Turned out he had a Canon 7D (great camera – wonderful in low light), a
DAT recorder, microphone, a few lights, and the know-how. He could do a lot to help! The digital cameras are so sophisticated
these days that the lighting becomes less of a daunting task. Get someone who really knows the camera to
the digital technology such that it is today, you can even affordably edit
yourself if you absolutely must with Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. I edited the first episode. I’m hoping to hand that task off at some
marketing campaign has its own series of mini-tasks – planning publicity shots
or art (look beforehand at the sizes of images needed on various websites, so
you can plan out dimensions ahead of time), building a great looking website (I
happen to do this for a living), making cards to hand out, joining all the
social networks, creating a youtube or vimeo channel.
line is that you can do this for little or no money depending upon how many
willing, talented friends you
have. Set your sites on little tasks and
check them off one by one as you inch closer to your goal.