If you build it they will come.
The line, altered slightly from the classic baseball film ‘Field Of Dreams,’ has become something of a philosophy for many, yet for most of us in the web series field it’s a philosophy that rings hollow.
It’s one thing to make something, but another to get people to know about it and yet another to make them desire it. Turns out marketing people have known this for a while, but they haven’t let all of us indie filmmakers in on the secret.
Today I watched a show, in it’s second season that has still yet to crack one hundred views on any of it’s episodes. This is not from a lack of quality – which is what I would’ve initially expected if I had seen the view counts beforehand.
‘Time Keeper’ is a scifi series in the vein of ‘Quantum Leap.’ The show follows Mitch, a man stuck in a really messed up time … umm … loop… thing. Essentially, Mitch awakens in a certain time and place unknown to him, with all knowledge of his previous experience wiped clean. All he has is a vision of the future that he mas to make happen in order to move on, and seemingly, to right some potential future wrong.
The show fits right into the mold of classic scifi television, and while ‘Quantum Leap’ is the most obvious comparison in certain moments the show called to mind other classics like Dr. Who, Sliders, Terminator among others. The visuals are excellent, with some really great lighting and a ton of visual effects. I’m not quite ready to say it’s at the level of those aforementioned shows production wise but it clearly holds its own.
Writing wise the show definitely holds your attention, much in the same way as shows like ‘Lost’ – keeping you questioning just about everything. If I had to critique this area though I’d say that the show might rely a bit too much on the audience’s ‘big picture’ questions rather than on the strengths of the plots of each episode. By the end of season two the story is all a little more convoluted than I would like with a plot that is a bit too difficult to describe.
So while ‘Time Keeper’ is a well executed, scifi, suspense, action, thriller it’s not one that has yet found an audience. In the chat, after the sow was over there was a lot of talk about marketing practices and how to approach a web series from a marketing perspective. I intend to post more on these subjects on here in the future, and there are a few posts on here already that are definitely worth reading. But here are a few of the talking points from the #WebSeriesWednesday chat.
- The web series community is not a large source for views, nor would I describe it as an audience. It’s great to market your show to the community but the best thing you will get out of it, as a creator, are the connections with like minded people. You’ll get a few eyeballs at a festival, sure, but more importantly you never know what doors the people there will open for you down the road.
- There is currently no infrastructure in place that makes web series a cost effective medium. There are models that optimistically can work but those success stories are the exceptions.
- Marketing is really hard, but it’s also pretty straight forward. It’s time + money + effort. Define your audience very specifically, make a list of exactly where you can find them, then advertise to them directly. Communicate with as many people as personally as you can, and for the rest, make sure they are seeing your ads, hearing your commercials, scrolling past your banners, anything to sneak into their subconscious.
You can find ‘Time Keeper’ online at http://timekeepershow.com