Writing Wonderful Web Series That Really Entertain Your Audience

Despite its apparent state of chaos and dubious commerciality, web series provides a veritable creative outlet for film makers to display their work.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Be bold with your concept. There sheer number of web series out there demands that you show some attention-grabbing uniqueness. You don’t have the grapple with the economic realities of film and TV. Avoid bland and derivative subject matter. You can truly be original and unique.
  • Make your concept believable, so it connects with your audience.
  • Have a killer title. Ideally it should encapsulate the mood and story of the series.
  • Ensure your concept has legs; that’s industry speak for longevity. The flexibility of the internet means that you don’t necessarily require 100 episodes which is the typical milestone in TV. If your series warrants 10 episodes, so be it.
  • Restrict episode length to under 6 minutes. 3 minutes is a typical episode length for many series.
  • Have a well defined central character with a problem in a particular situation. Limit your supporting cast, otherwise you dilute attention from the main character.
  • Don’t make the characters or situation too complex for the audience to follow.
  • Control your character landscape so your supporting casts do just that. They create conflict by aggravating, challenging or otherwise creating an emotional response in your main character.
  • Your pilot episode shouldn’t just be a setup episode to present your concept, but rather a typical episode to set up the circumstance of the series. Your pilot could be episode 10, 13, 6 and stand alone.
  • Consider your genre. Comedy seems to do best. Big actions films are lost in the title screen.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. jurgen wolff says:

    Just wondering, in this context, what’s the purpose of a pilot episode? Are you assuming that the series would be looking for sponsorship from the start? I suspect in most cases sponsors would come on board only once a series has picked up a large following.

    1. JG Sarantinos says:

      The purpose of a pilot episode is two fold; to set up the series to see if can sustain 100 episodes and to give producers a feel for what a typical episode looks like. In the old days, a pilot was simply the first episode to introduce the show. Sponsorship is picked up in the planning, development, production and distribution phases. Obviously the longevity of a show is based on viewers and subsequently advertisers. Some broadcasters give a series a season to build up a following, they juggle time slots etc, but this is becoming increasingly rare. Some shows get canceled after 2 or 3 episodes. Note also that the entire series may not always be shot before going to air. The factors are all economic in television.

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