So you have a great idea, you wrote your script, you found a few friends to help you out and you went out and made a web series. Now you are wondering, how do I find an audience? Here I look at the upcoming web series ‘One Warm Night’ to find out how they have built up an audience prior to the shows release.
About the series, Steven G. Lowe & why you are expecting a magic bullet answer
Writer, producer, director Steven G. Lowe has a big budget movie in production, he’s written a book on acting – ‘The Actors Room 50 Original Monologues & Tips for Success’ – and he is the glue that holds the upcoming web series ‘One Warm Night’ together. For many it would be of little surprise to learn that the show is generating a lot of good buzz around it – finishing up a successful kickstarter campaign recently and becoming an editors’ pick on webserieschannel.com, even having an upcoming red carpet premiere event. Obviously he knows the magic bullet for success, he has all those Hollywood connections and a bank rolled P&A budget right? What may come as a surprise is that ‘One Warm Night’ was formed as a way for a group of young, generally unknown, actors from his renowned acting class known as ‘The Actors Room’ to learn how to work behind the scenes and market a production on their own. Now while these actors are not A-listers many of them have a lot of experience under their belts. Most notably being Justin Lee, known for his role on ‘Arrested Development.’ The series also includes Sean Michael Afable (‘Akeelah and the Bee,’ & ‘The Scorpion King’) – who some of you may know through a role he had on BlackBoxTV – and Jared Hernandez, from ‘Disney365’ as a co-host with Selena Gomez, an international Coca-Cola commercial and more recently a national ESPN commercial. There is a lot of young experience but no one with enough pull to get this project up and running completely on their own. There was no magic bullet, the actors’ own efforts and teamwork has them to this point, even helping themselves get that red carpet premiere.
Be dedicated, engaged & have a dedicated, engaged team
For many web series a few dedicated friends is all it takes to get your show made, but a web series is your baby and you know how they say ‘it takes a village’ to raise a child. Thus is the case with ‘One Warm Night,’ which has about thirty or so people working on the team. For these hard workers the show is not merely a job but an end unto itself, with all of them putting in their blood sweat and tears – pulling all the favors they can, and most importantly working towards a common goal. These people are all engaged in the project, and every one of them has a stake in its ultimate success. It is one thing to hire someone to do a job, but if you can get others as excited to work on your project as you are creating it then your team can become unstoppable. Moving beyond a handful of friends and becoming a real, full sized team is vital to your success. No one is talented enough to make something worth watching completely on their own. If your idea is interesting, you should have no problem finding a team of people who want to make your vision a reality.
Be fearless. Get in the trenches & find everyone who might be interested in your series.
Get over your fears and trepidations – do not question whether something is worth your effort, if it is a good idea find a way to do it. When a new product is released one of the core aspects of marketing is making sure that the people you think are going to be interested in your product know about it. For a summer blockbuster, this means spamming the hell out of television stations with commercials, putting up billboards every few blocks and getting your actors on The Tonight Show. As a web production ‘One Warm Night’ does not have the budget for that, but that does not mean they did not look for most cost efficient methods for getting the word out. The show has a facebook page, a teaser on Youtube, a twitter account, an upcoming website hub and a tumblr – where I discovered the series. They have even gone so far as to cold call people about their show – something that has helped them to grab sponsors for the series. Whether you are looking for viewers or sponsors one of the best things you can do is simply tell everyone about it. You need to get in the trenches, get out of your comfort zone and find literally everyone who may be interested in your show.
Follow through – team meetings each week
Having a plan and sticking to it is also important. Each week the ‘OWN’ team meets to discuss the plan going forward and to make sure things are going smoothly. They have discussed the plan to death, wrote it down page after page and constantly evaluated and grew it. There is no secret to success here, rather it is simply asking questions, coming up with solutions and following through – aka hard work. Simply sitting back, uploading your video and hoping people find it will not work. Over the life of a video on YouTube the average number of viewers will be around 500 – anything more than that is due to hard work, and getting the word out.
A little luck
It also does not hurt to have a few lucky breaks here and there. For example, the team made a deal with blip.tv recently. The deal came after Kent from “Ask A Ninja”, who is the Content Partnership Manager for Blip, saw the ninja on the logo for ‘One Warm Night.’ While some may see that as a stroke of luck, it never would have happened had the team not gone the extra mile to create such a cool logo and taken the time to spread the word.
The key take away I hope you all get from the tale of ‘One Warm Night’ is that there is no magic bullet, or a secret to success. The answer is simple, be an evangelist, make other people evangelists, and go and bust your ass to get the word out to everyone. Many of you are new at this and you have your own fears but you need to get over them. For all of those working on ‘One Warm Night’ the journey the marketing process has taken them on has been one of the most rewarding of their lives.
Be sure to check out ‘One Warm Night’ on their official facebook page, and for those of you with a tumblr, follow them here. You can find them on Twitter @onewarmnight and you can view the teaser trailer below. Fans can also look forward to the launch of their hub site, which should tie everything together. Be sure to watch it for some good laughs.