I can’t say I was really surprised by the results of my informal survey early this week.
I asked the question ‘Do you watch webseries?’
I figured that based on the percentage of views to actual comments that 90% of the people who read the question and didn’t answer WOULD answer in the negative. The remaining 10% who did comment split about 7%/3% yes/no.
So 93% of my readers (or so) do not generally watch any webseries. That’s what I gather.
As I said this was informal, and just because someone didn’t comment doesn’t mean they don’t watch, but I’m gonna assume that, because…well, just because.
That means I have 7% who might care about this post.
The reasons stated for why you don’t watch or what is frustrating are all valid.
The quality isn’t there.
I can’t dispute this. The internet is a firehose. Finding the good among all the bad…the signal to the noise — it’s not easy.
Still let’s face it, the web is democratic. You create a vision, you distribute it, and the people decide to watch or not watch. There are however ways to get improve your chances that someone will watch it.
I don’t know where to find webseries to watch them.
Also valid. Much like the cable TV landscape, there are dozens and dozens of websites that act as distributors for web content, and that doesn’t count those who just put up a website to host their series without any distribution platform (although, to not use Youtube at a bare minimum seems a bit short sighted) There are sites you’ve heard of, and a whole lot you haven’t heard of. There are original web series – documentary, mockumentary, reality, drama, comedy, horror, animation, news…it’s just like any other “older” medium – a wide variety of series for people to enjoy. A few are studio produced and distributed, many webseries are independent productions. There are webseries which are directly tied to other content, whether it is a film or tv series – “The Office” and “Battlestar Galactica” are known for having webseries that run alongside or tie into their main shows. Some have spin-off type content for web. Some web shows have even made the jump from the web to television — “Sanctuary” started out as an episodic series on the web before Sci-Fi (pre-name change) picked it up and made it a television series. “Children’s Hospital” on Adult Swim was a webseries on WB.com first.
Probably the best known independent productions don’t have huge stars, but have quality and devoted fans. “The Guild” has managed to attract a large audience, which got attention from Microsoft. Now that series is exclusively released on Microsoft XBox and MSN platforms before it hits Youtube.
Of course, most writers know about Whedon’s foray into the web during the Writer’s Strike a couple of years ago, and “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog” was born.
A series can be three episodes, or eighty. It can have seasons or cycles, or it can stand alone, as a one shot.
The variety and flavors of webseries are vast, but the issues remain: How do I find the good ones?
Well, how do you find anything “good”? You rely on word of mouth. A video goes “viral” when it is shared and distributed by a swarm of people. You post it or link to it and then some else sees it, does the same and so on… There are a few aggregators out there now, and sites like tubefilter.com try to cover the landscape of web entertainment.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to start highlighting blogs, twitter accounts, facebook pages, and websites which try to highlight the good, find the signals among the noise. They don’t always succeed, but you stand a better chance of finding something you like after you investigate them.
Why do I care? No matter what, I am a storyteller first – if I can tell a story on the web and make it as good and as interesting as any independent film or tv series, I have a better shot at getting it seen eventually by a larger audience. The power is no longer in the hands of gatekeepers – it’s in your hands, you as a creator and you, as an audience.
It’s a wild, uncharted landscape out there. You can stake a claim. What are you waiting for?
Me, I’m not waiting. I’m writing a webseries. So yeah, some of this is self-interest; I want an audience for what I make. I want YOU to see it. I figure I start with talking about webseries and finding some other good ones to share with you. Then maybe together we can start making some magic happen…
Posted under writing
This post was written by Shawna Benson on October 9, 2010