Journey Into The World Wide Web

For those who have known me a while know I’ve gone down the web portal several times with a couple different projects. My first foray into the webseries realm was with a little series called Porntourage (NSFW). It doesn’t take much to guess what it was about as the title gives it all away. The series followed an up-and-coming actor, but not in Hollywood, but instead on the other side of the hill. I helped a couple people with on set production and even acted in the pilot episode as a one-off. The episodes were long, right under ten minutes, in a medium that seemed to favor those that were under the four minute mark.

It was a complete learning experience. Since the series had a niche market, we really hammered on the blogs and websites that catered to adult entertainment. Several months later (with too long between each episode) and three episodes in the can, there was a chance to take the series to the next level. There was a website offering the makers of the series some decent bucks to move forward, but it didn’t match with the future of those creators. So sadly the series died a slow death. We were notified of several industry fans, made the front page of AVN (Adult Video News for those who don’t know) and were able to take away a lot of knowledge to throw ourselves into the next project. Hopefully one my parents wouldn’t be ashamed to admit their son had any part of.

So around the time the WGA Writers Strike rolled around I helped with the series Mr. Hollywood. This series was simple to produce as we had only one location and it followed the vlog style that many YouTubers were becoming accustomed to. From his fictitious Mr. Hollywood Productions, Mr. H would rant or dole out advice on a wide range of subjects. At times it was rude, crude and downright offensive. But it was fun. We’d shoot 4 to 5 episodes in an afternoon, leaving me to cut the five plus minute cuts to shorter segments under four minutes.

As a Preditor (Producer/Editor) I was able to suggest rewrites, cuts, changes, etc. I helped create the flow and the pacing of each show along with James Waugh. Once we launched we were featured on the front page of Funny or Die and had modest success across other viewing platforms, but they were always our biggest fans. I can’t remember how many episodes we shot, but there are a couple that remained unreleased as the passion for the project seemed to die out of nowhere.

The best episode to put together was our Oscar Episode. Since I was the one who had seen most of the films at the time I was tasked with writing most of the episode. Since there can always be an upset at the Oscars, we shot a line for each and every nominee in all of the main categories. It was long, tedious, but a fun task. I placed a timeline together of the episode and as each winner was announced I cut out all the loser lines, never to be seen by anyone. It was a bummer as some of the could-be award winners had the better lines. Our last episode we dubbed the Bizzaro Oscars Episode and put together a list of alternate winners.

From there James was brought on to create some web content for a pilot that HBO had picked up created by Daniel Knauf. The series Honey Vicarro never made it to air, but the webseries with the obsession of actors was a fun and quick shoot and can still be seen on YouTube. Mara Marini was awesome and pulled off the whole series with out much support from any other actors. As this was around the time LonelyGirl15 was in the news for being fake, our series was quickly dismissed as being another fake webcam vlog and viewership plummeted. But it was another fun project while it lasted.

And that was all I did for the web for a while. I learned a lot and came away wary of the outlet as a way of furthering one’s career. Hell, there really isn’t money to be made in it, so if you’re going to put all this time and effort into it, why not at least get something out of it. I never jumped back in because each idea and concept was nothing new. It wasn’t anything that people would say “holy shit, look at what they’re doing!” The web has become a place where you throw several projects against the wall and hope something sticks. That isn’t a good business model at all. So I was waiting until something found me.

Later in 2011 Eric Goodwin came to Adam Morris and I with an idea for a webseries chronicling a group of individuals as they prepared for the end of the world. We fleshed out the characters and the storylines and it became something we decided to tackle. But this wouldn’t be just another webseries. This would be an ambitious effort for any and all that signed on. We set out a number of episodes to make and release within a year that showed a passion and dedicated bunch. The arbitrary number we came up with was forty broken up into two seasons. Even at four minutes an episode that would be almost THREE HOURS worth of content released within a year. Almost two feature films worth. And the other thing, we would do it for as little money as possible. We raised a little over $5k on IndieGoGo (which came out a little under that number once fees were taken) and we jumped in feet first.

We made sure we knew who are characters were and what they want out of life. We tackled the series like a regular TV series, outlining the first twenty episode season so we know where we want to end up with this cast of characters. Tonally it kind of hits all over the place, but following great shows like Curb and Eastbound they never sit within the same tone from episode to episode. Plus, with each set of our characters being unique, it allows us to play with tone and style. Eric has been great transferring that to screen, giving the three different story arcs a different look and feel.

The only problem we have is how to actually market this and who to target. Porntourage and Mr. Hollywood were easy. They had a clear cut audience and places that we could drop fliers and stickers. Wave Goodbye is a whole different model. This is more like TV and has a broad audience appeal. Those who love journeys like Lost are the ideal audience. There’s some mystery involved, but ultimately it is the characters hopefully you’ll care about.

The numbers are a little lower than I hoped for the premiere episode, but it has only been out 36 hours with only pushing it on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ (does anybody even use it anymore?). As each episode is released, hopefully our numbers grow, as with weak and anemic numbers it will be tough to pull through all forty. At least at this moment we have ten in the can, eleven written and the first twenty outlined. We’re currently ahead of our production schedule, but I want to keep the passion high. Not necessarily for me, but for the actors (as they should all hopefully land some great roles after this showcase) and for our director Eric. They’ve all given so much time and energy towards this and I want to see their careers flourish off of this project.

So hopefully you’ll take the journey with Autumn, Sargent Mitch Preston, Leonard and our fourth character who makes a quick cameo at the end of episode two. I can’t give away his name yet, but eventually you’ll learn more about him.

In the end, what is this long-winded post about. If you want to make it in this crazy business, sometimes you just have to do things yourself. You may not get the results off the first project, but hopefully you’ll take something away from it and be able to grow into your next project. Find what you are passionate about as it will help make the project a million times better. And while money isn’t the greatest on the web at the moment, don’t do it for the cash, do it to make a name for yourself and those who are in your project. Once you create a project of quality that garners some heat, Hollywood may just come knocking on your door, even if you live in the sticks…

Also, if you have a webseries or short online, feel free to post it in the comments section. This is all about promoting projects so it doesn’t just become something you threw against the wall, hoping it would stick.