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  • Writer's pictureJames Barber

4 things I learned from making a web series

Are you thinking of making a web series but have no idea how to go about it? Creating a web series that stands out in today's digital marketplace is never as easy as it looks but with the right guidance, carefully planning, and having a clear strategy you can win on the web.

Sharing personal insights I have gained as a result of making my own web series, Flatshare, I will reveal the top 4 things I learned from making a web series from conception, production, marketing, and distribution.

Develop a TV show idea that is unique and that will cater to a niche audience.

When I first developed Flatshare I used my own experiences of being a black gay man as I rarely see representations of myself in mainstream media. I spotted a gap in the market and thought about how I, as a writer could draw on my own experiences to create a story that felt fresh and original.

One thing I've learned is that when it comes to developing a programme idea for the web, think of an idea that is niche and will appeal to a specific demographic as it will be much easier for you to build an audience online when you hit the marketing and distribution stage. Niche audiences are hungry for content that specifically caters to them so don't be afraid to target these audiences.

Seek mentors and do your research

If you were anything like me and had never written a script before, I highly recommend you to look online for pilot scripts of your favourite shows, many of which you can view for free!

Reading scripts of other shows will give you an understanding of how to lay it out and what a professional script looks like.

I was very fortunate in that I found mentors to give me feedback on scripts, however, there are also other programmes and resources like BBC Writers Room where you can get feedback on scripts. Seek them out, and don't be afraid of the critical feedback you might get on your script as it only help you to become a better writer in the long-run.

Find the right production team to bring your script to live

One thing I learned during the filming of my web series is that when you are on set, you have created a family. When you are filming you will spend more time with them than your loved ones so make sure you find the right people who are team players.

Having financed most of the show with my own money, resources were tight. Some people worked on just expenses only and others worked on a reduced salary.

Through building a network of creatives around me, most of whom I met through social media I was able to create a strong production team who were emotionally invested and committed to making a great show.

Finding the right distribution and marketing channels

Once you have created your show, finding the right platform to reach your target audience is key. I've lost count how many great web series I've seen get lost in the ether because they weren't distributed on the right distribution channel. YouTube is not your only option. Think about who your audience is and where you can find them.

With my own web series, I decided to distribute the show on YouTube as it's a platform which is more fitting to the feel and tone of the show.

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