Today on #WebSeriesWednesday I learned that a wooden otter could be the most expensive line item in your budget and you can still make a good web series!

I know a lot of you watch television, it’s a pretty good research tool for content creators, even for those who are only interested in creating for the web. That is a half joke actually, television can be entertaining as well as educational! While we are all waiting on the discovery of the secret formula for telling stories on the web many have tried adapting techniques and styles found in television and film and seeing if they work.

School And Board is the next in a line of shows that remind me a TON of ‘The Office’ and despite being on the web they all work. It’s virtually the same format, cold open, transitioning into a single location docu-comedy. The only real difference is that web versions of this format are about 1/3rd the length, and yet it seems to work just as well.

Why does this format work? I think it is because the style promotes simplicity. You have one physical location, and you film a lot of hilarious cut aways, which must make for a lot of fun in the editing room. All four episodes were able to be filmed over the course of five days.

The result is something that looks like it belongs on tv. Pair that with a high concept premise, behind the scenes of a dysfunctional school board, and you have a recipe for a successful series.

Look at that beautiful otter.

Of course success in web series can be defined in many ways, and for now the bar is rather low. What I did see accomplished here was a solidly produced show that the creators can go around and pitch to a television network. If that was the goal, then School and Board is a success. As a web series, using up your budget and eight months of preparation on four episodes will not cut it. In the end School and Board will not be defined by its view or subscriber count on YouTube but on its ability to open doors for those involved, and to aid Multiview Media in securing a larger budget for their next series.

Now about the otter. The moment I saw it I must’ve had one of those puzzled looks on my face. Where do you get a three foot tall wooden otter for the climactic scene of your series?

  1. Go to the Warner Bros prop house with the goal of finding the best statue available
  2. Find it, and make its rental the most expensive line in your budget
  3. Go back into the script and rewrite the school mascot over as an otter

Some might decry a move like this, recommending putting the money into more practical areas. These are the type of moments that make a series though, so don’t be afraid to break the bank on a wooden otter if it makes your series unique, and ultimately better.

School & Board can be found at their website