So…you want to make a web series.

That’s great! You have a terrific idea and now you need to get some money. There are many different ways to raise money for your project. In Canada (and only in Canada) one of those ways is through the Independent Production Fund. We are a private fund based out of Toronto and Montreal and we fund scripted web series. Before supporting web series we funded dramatic TV series. Recognizing a change in the content trends, the mandate of the fund changed to focus on web series in 2009. At the moment, the web series program has been extended to 2014. In 2014 our board of directors will decide if they want to extend the program longer.

Things to keep in mind

Official blurb out of the way, let’s get down to the simple facts so you know if you can apply. Here are the most important things to know:

  • It must be a Canadian series produced by a Canadian producer
  • The series must scripted with a narrative arc
  • It can’t be a second season (unless we funded the first season)
  • There must be at least one lumberjack, moose or maple syrup reference….we might be flexible on this!

You can see all the detailed guidelines on our website.

Tell me more about the money

The funding comes in the form of an equity investment which means that we expect to share in any future earnings from the series and its characters. We generally provide financing from $50,000 to $150,000 but there is no official cap on what you can ask for. Ask for what you need and we may offer you less, it is not all or nothing. Although our contribution may end up as a larger percentage of the budget, we will never take more than 50% of the equity.

How do I apply?

We accept applications once per year and it is a two phase process. The first phase deadline is March 1st, 2013. Then a jury helps select a short-list of series and they are asked to submit more comprehensive Phase 2 applications. The Phase 2 deadline is May 10th, 2013.

I need more details!

We are always trying to evolve the program to fit the needs of the online content space and to give web producers the best opportunity to accurately represent their project. This year we have made changes to the Phase 1 application by introducing the requirement for a Proof of Concept video. Previously, applicants only submitted written proposals. This year we’d like to see the idea as well as read about it. Show us your hero’s room jammed with toys, the badly delivered jokes of the lame sidekick, the awkwardness of the budding romance or the hate in your villain’s eyes. Pictures are worth a thousand words so video must be at least double that.

The Proof of Concept video can almost be anything. Just show us what’s great about your idea. The videos need to be posted online for a minimum of March 1st, 2013 until March 31st, 2013. Producers must submit an application form by March 1st, 2013. Then – during the month of March – evaluators will watch the videos and read the proposals. Evaluators will assess the creative material and will also be considering the views, comments/feedback and shares on the videos. However, this is not a contest. The video with the most views will not necessary move forward. It is just one factor being considered.  We hope that people will promote their videos so they can get valuable feedback from the audience. If you have more questions about the Proof of Concept video please take a look at our FAQ.

What happens if my series gets short listed?

By April 8th, 2013 we will announce the short-list of series and those producers will be invited to submit a Phase 2 application. It is more in-depth than the Phase 1 application. In this second round we will look closely at other sources of funding, the budget, marketing plans and other nitty gritty details that deal with the production of the series. We have a more comprehensive list of what’s being considered for this round in the Guidelines.

But wait, I need even MORE info

Those are the basic details, if you are interested in applying take a look at our Guidelines and FAQ. If you have more follow-up questions please feel free to contact us either on Twitter @wip_webseries or by email at info@ipf.ca.

How can I watch all these excellent Canadian web series?

The IPF also runs the Wip portal which showcases the great web series Canadians have created. Take a look at wipwebseries.ca to watch all these awesome series. If you’re a Canadian who has already created a series, you can apply to have it included on our website – just take a look at our submission requirements.

Thanks for reading; we look forward to seeing all the series that come our way this year.