After the launch of Steamworks & Shadows: The Web Series online, we’ve had a few local news publications create articles all about us!
While Steamworks and Shadows: the Web Series is in its release schedule, you may have noticed that we upload to a non-youtube site first, but then we release onto youtube anyway. I am going to give my opinion on what some different sites are best suited for, why I chose to release the way I am with our web series, and give you some steps to making the most out of your uploads.
Even if you read articles written about the subject (including mine), spend some time on different video websites to see what’s already on a particular site. Try to find a mission statement or an About page for the website to see what they are really all about. Though it may seem obvious what a video upload site is all about, it may not be everything.
At first glance, Youtube may seem like the ocean that everyone dumps their crap (and a little gold) into. Vimeo looks like the hipster-snob of video uploads, where many videos look like they came straight out of hollywood. Blip.tv is a niche little corner of the internet where you can discover a web series, if you know blip exists.
Now that we’re past first impressions, let’s look at what they really are. Youtube is a search engine, Vimeo is an ad-less and mostly troll-less environment, and Blip.tv is exposure to the niche market of web series audiences. The truth of it is that all of them (and ones not mentioned) are worth uploading to, no matter your content (exception would be Blip, you have to be making a web series to get on there).
So why do I upload to Blip.tv first, and then others later? Blip.tv has the best monetization program when putting ads on your video. If you are looking to get a little bit of you investment back after creating your film, it’s a good option. You’re not going to make much if you don’t get a lot of views, so your marketing strategy has to be top-game. Unfortunately, marketing your film/video is another article for another time.
Youtube and Vimeo are great places to just get exposure, but you need to make sure your video is formatted properly if you want to get noticed in the ocean of videos out there.
When it comes to video and social media, Youtube dominates the competition for being the most shared. So, if you want exposure, you go to the one with the largest audience. With Youtube, you have to think search engine. Make sure you have a keyword in your title, in your description, and in your tags. Hopefully the keywords you choose are things people are looking for. You can even go to http://www.google.com/trends/explore and enter your keywords to see if it’s a popular search term.
Vimeo might have a smaller audience than youtube, but it’s a different audience. If you don’t want to pay Vimeo to host your video, you’ll need to make sure your film is under 500 MB, or split it up into parts that are under 500 MB. It may be a bit of a hassle, but it could be worth getting noticed in the Vimeo community.
Although blip.tv is a great site for web series and the audience there is supportive of the web series format, we’ve decided to also upload our episodes to Youtube.
Head over to Steamworks and Shadows Youtube to check out the main episodes, plus our weekly minisodes (shorts).
AND HERE’S THE PITCH
First things first: I am by no means the absolute best, end-all-be-all type of guy to be asking about this sort of thing. There are people out on the internet who are so, so, SOOO much better at this than me and can do so in ways that are a heck of a lot more entertaining than me. For example, Chuck Wendig. Be ready for some booze-soaked, profanity-laden advice from an expert when you go to his site. I wouldn’t be half the writer I am now if I hadn’t read his stuff. (I’d also probably have a much cleaner vocabulary.)
Still with me? Good. Gooooood. Gather ’round, my freaky darlings. We’re going to be tackling the subject everyone wants to ask about – the story. Not just the story, but THE story. The story in which you and your characters go off and do grand things, be they good, evil, or vaguely slime-covered. The story. Your novel, your season one, your comic.
“But holy crap, Doc!” you might squeal. “That’s a lot! Like, a whole heck of a lot! How can you do this in one blog post?”
…weeell, maybe I sorta-kinda-halfway lied. We’re not going to be jumping straight in and writing your story from beginning to end right here and right now. Rather, we’re going to be tickling the very tip of that iceberg. Today, we discuss pitching your story.
Last time we discussed having your characters put together and fleshed out. We talked about all the potential stories they already have deep within the folds of their character bibles and the things that you can draw from their individual stories with which to create a story arc. Let us assume you’ve already done that. If not, no big deal. Starting with characters is a personal preference of mine, not carved in stone doctrine. (If you do accept everything I say as the gospel truth…well, DANCE MONKEY, DANCE. BRING YOUR MASTER A COOKIE.)
The very, very, very first thing that you should sit down and do is ask yourself “What the crap is this going to be about?” Sounds dumb, right? But seriously, you’re not going to get very far without asking yourself this. In writer-business terms, this is your pitch. Your query letter, your treatment or synopsis. For a good example of what I’m talking about and what I personally use, look at the back of a DVD case, VHS box, a book, or a game. Since it’s on hand already, I’m going to use the back of ALAN WAKE.
When the wife of best-selling writer Alan Wake disappears on their vacation, his search turns up pages from a thriller he doesn’t even remember writing. A dark presence stalks the small town of Bright Falls, pushing Wake to the brink of sanity in his fight to unravel the mystery and save the woman he loves.
Two sentences. In two sentences, we’re told who the protagonist is, what the catalyst for the story is, given a hint as to what we’re up against, and shown the main character’s goal. In the time and space it takes to read that, a good synopsis should already snare your audience and leave them wanting more.
When we were writing the Season One of Steamworks & Shadows, the synopsis looked something like this.
In the alternate-history world of 1886, a group of super-powered terrorists threatens to send the world into a global catastrophe, forcing legendary soldier Jacob “Gunny” McManus and his team of mercenaries to try and put an end to the uprising. However, when the job begins to take a toll on the team’s already-strained comraderie, the crew must put aside their differences or risk the destruction of the world as they know it.
Even for me, that’s a little wordy, but when you’re starting out, it doesn’t need to be perfect. You just need to have something. Somewhere to start. Kinda like you’ve got right now.
Anything I’m missing? Anything you’d do differently? How would you start your project? Tell me in the comments and let’s have a grand ol’ time.