As the largest community of web series creators, the acclaimed web series audience-building platform Stareable has proven to be an essential destination for filmmakers who want to learn how to develop and produce their ideas without having to overcome the creative roadblocks that the traditional entertainment industry puts in front of them.

Along with informative articles that illustrate the many tools of the web series trade, its popular community forums connect filmmakers of all backgrounds and skill levels, while weekly AMA (ask me anything) chats give participants the chance to get valuable advice on web series production from experienced show creators and stars.

Stareable’s growth isn’t just limited to the information superhighway, though. Later this July, the first-ever Stareable Fest will mix in-person interactions, pitch sessions and talks with top digital media professionals from July 20th-22nd in Tribeca, New York City. While Stareable’s existing features are impressive, its new iTunes podcast Forget The Box takes the site’s rich volume of knowledge and personifies it through interviews with experts on multiple elements of web series production.

podcast_episode-01_socialHosted by Stareable community director Bri Castellini, new episodes of Forget The Box premiere every Tuesday.

Having launched on June 12th, its first three guests have included Bernie Su (creator of the Emmy-winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved), Katie Tibaldi (creator of the award-winning – and soon to debut – comedy Seeking Sublet), and filmmaker Christina Raia, Director of Crowdfunding for Seed&Spark.

In the next few weeks, future podcasts will feature insightful interviews with writer/actor Ashley Clements (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries), who lends her knowledge of the casting process to Forget The Box. Afterward, Emmy-nominated producer Allison Vanore (Producing Juliet, Vanity, After Forever) explains the best methods for working with a behind-the-scenes crew.

Then, actor/writer/producer Kate Hackett (Classic Alice) will explain the importance of maintaining a professional attitude on the set, and of carefully constructing fair contractual agreements with talent. That’s followed by a conversation with producer/director Alex LeMay about how filmmakers can successfully pitch their web series ideas to production companies.

Finally, the classic novel-spoofing comedy troupe Shipwrecked Comedy (consisting of actors Sinead and Sean Persaud, Sarah Grace Hart and Mary Kate Wiles – all of Edgar Allan Poe’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party) teaches Forget The Box listeners what to prepare for as they take their first steps into the unpredictable yet (hopefully) rewarding world of web series production.

podcast-giveaway-socialAlong with the chance to learn invaluable information on how to make a web series, there’s another enticing incentive for new listeners to check out Forget The Box.

Castellini explains: “Through July 10th, if listeners leave a 5 star review on iTunes and email a screenshot of that review to [email protected], they’ll be entered to win a free ticket to Stareable Fest, a $250 Amazon gift card, or a brand-new Forget The Box t-shirt!”

Before every podcast airs, Stareable community forum users can submit their questions about the episode’s featured topic(s) to each guest. If you want to ask a question of the show’s guests, write it on the forum’s dedicated topic thread, start your own thread under the heading “Podcast Question!” or send your query directly to Castellini at [email protected]. You might hear it answered on Forget The Box, so listen closely!

Before you do, though, read how Castellini and the Stareable team decided to take the site’s indispensable array of knowledge and user interactivity into a more personalized phase through Forget The Box.

Chris Hadley: What (and/or who) inspired you to come up with Forget The Box?

Bri Castellini (community director, Stareable): For the past year we’ve been writing how-to articles and doing text-based AMA’s (“ask me anything” chats) with web series experts on our filmmaker forum, and we wanted a new way of communicating knowledge to our community. Podcasting was the natural next step!

It’s easy to produce for us, easy to listen to during a commute or while you do chores, and (it’s) the natural next step in our quest to educate and empower talented creators. It’s just layering on a new format to learn and engage, and giving us the ability to reach new potential community members who might have otherwise not heard of us.

CH: How did you come up with the show’s title? What does it represent?

BC: The podcast title took us a while to come up with, actually! We wanted it to be evocative of our company’s ethos (irreverent, enthusiastic, open-minded) but also catchy and easy for me to say during each episode’s intro. Our website tagline for the longest time has been “watch outside the box” and during a brainstorming session with that in mind, I threw out, half-joking, “outside the box? Nah. Forget the box!” and it just kind of stuck.

To us, it represents the fact that web series are entirely their own form – not just mini-TV, (and) not just a stepping stone for creators, but a truly unique and valuable storytelling format, accessible to creators of all shapes, sizes, and to all budget levels. If you want to tell a great story, forget the box and tell that story!

podcast_ep02_katieCH: What sets the podcast apart from those services, feature-wise?

BC: I would say we get to go in-depth on topics that we’ve only been able to graze the surface of in articles. A 30-45 minute podcast transcript would far outstrip a standard article in word count.

You also get to hear about different creators’ perspectives in their own words, from their own mouths! It’s also a little bit more fun than a lot of our other resources. You get to hear a genuine conversation between me and our guest, you get to hear them crack jokes, tell personal stories and give genuine advice.

CH: How will Forget The Box, its guests and its interactive elements help aspiring and current web series creators to grow and improve their skills?

BC: Each episode focuses on a different facet of filmmaking, so no matter where you are in the process, there will be an episode for you. We focus not on platitudes but on actionable advice. We dig into how guests have succeeded in the past, what strategies they employed when the going got tough, and how other creators can follow in their footsteps.

For our first season, we’ll essentially take you through all the steps of making a series from idea to distribution/film festivals, but as you might imagine we’ve got tons more planned even after that first season arc. There’s so much to talk about and (to) learn in filmmaking, and we don’t think we’ll run out of ideas or amazing guests anytime soon.

CH: What are your overall hopes for the success of Forget The Box?

BC: We just hope people learn what they need in order to make their web series the best that they can possibly be, no matter who they are. There are so many talented people out there with voices not commonly (or ever) represented in mainstream TV, and we want to empower them to tell their stories and (to) amplify them to audiences waiting for a project just like theirs.

To listen to Forget The Box on iTunes, visit: (link redirects to the show’s iTunes page).