13 July 2011

"Check out my web series!" is the new "Read my screenplay!"

If you have a killer screenplay, you better be brilliant in the first page or two. One of the screenwriting books I read a while back said that you have to nail it in the first 10 pages or just go home. I think the latest edition of that book today might say it's down to the first 1-2 pages. Nobody has time for anything or anybody. I wouldn't be shocked if casting directors suddenly went back to black and white headshots because it takes too long to process all that color information.

This blog will soon take on a new focus as I have blown all my savings on production equipment with the intention of creating nothing less than the greatest web series ever produced. There are a handful of tactics that will get you some attention in this crazy town. But it's really very simple: kick ass. Be excellent. Whatever it is you do, just do it well and the glory follows. That's the plan.

For the past few months, my roommate and I have hosted a handful of actor friends every Sunday for on-camera workshops. All you need is a decent video camera and tripod, and a decent TV on which to watch your work. We've all benefited from the practice, and in a few cases, gone farther on specific auditions because of the benefits of self-evaluation. Now, we're moving into a phase of putting the rest of the pieces together: the writing, the performance, and the editing.

This weekend, despite one cast member having another shoot the same day, we were able to finish off about 95% of a 7-page web series pilot. It was a bit more than I expected to be able to accomplish, and that has me excited about the future episodes. I recently re-watched Bowfinger and we took many notes about production techniques on a low budget.

So, for those of you who happened upon this page because you're searching for info on producing webisodes, I really hope it will become a well of knowledge for you, because knowing is half the battle.

I had hoped to be operational a little earlier in the year, but tweaking the script and waiting on technology brought us to July, when Apple released the abomination known as Final Cut Pro X. Now, I have not actually used FCPX, but I have read enough reviews and complaints about what it does not include that I am looking elsewhere for editing help. Final Cut Express is useless with modern HD video files, and I'm using a camera that saves .mxf clips of each shot. Which I LOVE.

I've tried my hand at web page design going back to the days when I actually had to type out html code for everything. (Remember tripod.com?) I even remember trying to upload video files before YouTube existed. To me, it was finally a step up from local cable access! Today, I'm looking at mypod.com which will give your domain the look, feel, and revenue of a channel.

Well, I ain't shooting Wayne's World any more. Blue-collar web series seem to be all the rage these days, but I think we shall overcome that. And after shooting the first episode, I'm psyched. I'm even more optimistic than I was when the vision was only in my head. Everyone...was excellent. Now, to the editing booth. And...whatever software awaits.