Podcasting for Fun and Profit

There’s a whole new world of opportunity out there, gang. Agents, managers, studios, and networks are looking for new talent in places they never would have considered before.

No longer do you have to scrimp and save and borrow and – ulp – steal to shoot your own indie film and hope for the best. You don’t even have to scrimp, save, borrow and steal slightly less and make your own web series.

Instead – it’s time to start podcasting. With minimal equipment and moolah, you can record your own audio dramas (which we’ll be talking about a lot more on TVWriter™ in weeks to come). And with even less than that you can go straight into the podcasting business and earn some income while you wait for lightning to strike.

Or so Forbes tells us. And those rich bidness-type folks over there wouldn’t lie, would they? Gotta be honest to work as closely as they do with, you know, bankers, right? Anyway:

Dammit, munchman, we said podcasting, not pod!!!

How Aaron Mahnke Makes A Living Podcasting (And How You Can, Too)
by Sarah Rhea Werner

Confession time: I don’t know how to feel about the whole “podcast monetization” conversation.

On the one hand, I think creators should be paid fairly for their work. And if you’re a podcaster, you know: podcasting is a ton of hard work.

On the other hand, there’s supply and demand. I didn’t create any of my podcasts because people were clamoring for them. I created them because I wanted to share a positive message and learn about audio production. I’m not sure it’s reasonable to enter a market with a product no one has asked for (and which is being given away for free en masse) and feel entitled to payment for it.

So I’m torn. I’m well aware that this is Forbes (a business and finance magazine), but I also know that money doesn’t always make things better. In fact, it can easily distract, consume, and corrupt us, and get us into a clickbait-y, content-factory mindset—where the need for revenue-driving clicks outweighs the need to say something important.

 Getting into podcasting “for the money” is like getting into animal rescue or becoming a nun for the big bucks. If all you want is money, there are a thousand better ways to go about getting it.

That being said, many podcasters dream of leaving their day job(s) and podcasting full-time. So I chatted with Lore‘s Aaron Mahnkeabout how he managed to do it. Turns out it takes (brace yourself) a lot of careful planning and a ton of hard work….

Read it all at Forbes

The Drunk Guy’s Guide to Every Hollywood Movie Ever Made

Found on Twitter:

Ed Solomon has had a hell of a career. We think you should follow him on Twitter – @ed_solomon – just like we do.

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

Rachel Summers

With TV making so many high quality shows these days, reviewing them can seem like an impossible task. How do you write a review that tells the reader what they need to know, but keep them entertained by reading the review itself? There are tips that will help you do this. Here’s some of the best methods, used by professional writers, that you can put to use yourself.

What Makes A Good Review

Before you write anything, you need to know what makes a good review. What are readers looking for when they read your review? Mostly, they want to know if the TV show you’re reviewing is worth their time. Do they want to invest hours into a show that they may not enjoy after all? Your review has got to tell them what it’s all about, and whether it’s worth their time.

As well of that, of course, it’s got to be entertaining. You can certainly add in your own personality, to ensure that the review doesn’t become dry or dull. “A TV review is just one part of a site, and you want readers to stick around to see what you write next” says professional content writer Annette Saunders from Revieweal. “Be yourself in your review, and talk directly to the reader.”

Summarize The Plot

First of all, in any review you’re going to need to summarize the plot of the show. This is an art, as you want to tell the reader what happens, without spoiling any major plot points for them. This is especially true if you’ve been given a whole season, or at least a few episodes, to watch.

The best way to do this is to give readers the set up to the show. For example, if you’re reviewing Game Of Thrones, you may quickly sketch out the main premise of the show (several characters competing to take the throne of Westeros) and show some of the main characters. This gives readers an idea of what the show’s about, without ruining anything for them.

Evaluate The Script

A big part of what makes a TV show good is how the script works on screen. How is the writing? Are the characters believable? Does the dialogue flow well, or does it feel clunky? When you really pay attention to how the show is written, you’ll see a lot of evidence to whether it’s worth the reader’s time.

Look At The Producer’s Past Work

When it comes to major TV shows, you’ll find that there are usually big names behind them. Take a look at who’s behind the show you’re reviewing. Readers will find it interesting to see who helped create it, as it will give them an idea for the feel and quality of the show. You can bring this up by examining how a show fits into a producer’s current body of work. You can also point it out if they have a cult status amongst a certain demographic. For example, Firefly was hugely popular with sci-fi fans, as it was written by Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Examine The Acting

Of course, the actors in a TV show will carry a lot of meaning for you as a reviewer. Look at them, and what they’re providing to the show. Do they really embody the characters they’re playing? How do they interact with each other? Good actor can really elevate a TV show, so point out your feelings on this score.

Technicalities Of Writing

Of course, a good review isn’t all about what you write about, it’s how you write it too. You need to write professionally, so readers will keep coming back to get your opinion.
A good review will be fair, well structured, and give a definite opinion. Many reviewers choose to state their opinion in the headline, so readers will come in to see why they feel a certain way.

Once you’ve written it, ensure that you’re proofreading and editing it before the post goes live. Even the smallest error can cause a lot of issues later on down the line, and you want to avoid that. Give yourself enough time to edit your post thoroughly.

With these tips, you’ll be able to write engaging TV reviews that will entertain and inform your audience every time. Use them when you’re writing and you’ll be able to keep your readers coming back for your opinions on the latest TV shows and other forms of entertainment out there.


Rachel Summers is a writer and educator living and working in the UK. She specialises in working with students to help them get the most out of their education, both in and out of the classroom. Read Rachel’s blog for more tips and links to helpful writing services.

Everything You Need To Know About Crowdfunding In 2018 Part 2

by John Hawthorne

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of two parts. You can read Part 1 HERE

The Major Players

When it comes to crowdfunding, Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the Google and Amazon of the industry. They have been crowdfunding mainstays the past decade producing the most consistent results. Together they have raised a combined $3 billion for their entrepreneurs.

1) Kickstarter

  • Summary: It wasn’t the first – that distinction goes to ArtistShare – but Kickstarter has been the most successful, raising over $2 billion since coming on-line in 2009.
  • Best For: Creatives. Art. Film. Games. Music. Publishing. Kickstarter gears itself to those wanting to share what they create with the masses.
  • Funding and Fees: If a campaign is unsuccessful, no money changes hands. Kickstarter keeps 5% if a campaign meets its funding goal with a processing fee up to 5%.

2) Indiegogo

  • Summary: Launched in 2007, Indiegogo has facilitated over $1 billion in funds across 150,000+ campaigns.
  • Best For: Pretty much everyone, from general creative projects to charity and humanitarian geared groups.
  • Funding and Fees: Indiegogo offers the option to keep your funding even if a goal is not met. Their fee is 5% of all funding. Processing fees are 3% plus $0.30 per transaction.

A Few More to Consider

Smaller, but no less dynamic, these sites offer a more tailored approach versus Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

3) GoFundMe

  • Summary: If you ever needed loose change to complete a gas station purchase, the person in line you asked was named GoFundMe.
  • Best For: This is the small stakes side of crowdfunding. Born of people needing to cover personal costs, GoFundMe has evolved into a hub for locals seeking funds through a grassroots network of donations.
  • Funding and Fees: Like Kickstarter, 5% of fully funded campaigns. Zero dollars if a goal isn’t met. Handling fees are up to 3%.

4) RocketHub

  • Summary: Around since 2010, in the past few years RocketHub has redirected its focus as more venture capital than crowdfunding, although that component does remain.
  • Best For: Startups. RocketHub is a bit more limited than Kickstarter and Indiegogo with only four main categories. A partnership with A&E affords the right pitch the potential for wider exposure.
  • Funding and Fees: RocketHub takes 4% commission if a goal is reached. 8% if it’s not. They also charge a 4% credit card handling fee. You can keep funds regardless of campaign success.

5) Razoo

  • Summary: Smaller and not as well-known as some other sites, Razoo is no less powerful. Since 2006, Razoo has seen $500 million raised for a multitude of causes.
  • Best For: Worthy Causes. Razoo helps connect donators with the causes they care most about. Anything from water programs in third world countries to uniforms for a local youth soccer team.
  • Funding and Fees: 4% to 5% depending on fundraising type. 2.9% processing fee.

These are just a few. Research as many platforms as necessary to find one that best supports you, your idea and your funding campaign.

Know Your Audience

You’ve developed your idea and narrowed down the best place to present it. It’s time to get funded.

Crowdfunding is a social exercise. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum and to effectively score that much needed capital you must reach people willing to support you.

The best starting point is a small circle of trusted friends and acquaintances to help spread the word and tap social networks that you may be unable to access. Remember, the most effective crowdfunding is viral. But to get your idea spreading quickly, it needs a starting place. Usually your friends are that starting point. If you can get them on board with your idea, they can be your greatest evangelists.

From there, you’ll have to move beyond friends and convince strangers to give you money. To maximize that generosity, target those that will boost your project to its funding goal and beyond. This goes back to knowing your project and who should hear your story.

People who love sports are drawn to sports. People who love movies are drawn to movies. People who love cooking are drawn to avocados. You get the idea. Appeal to their interests and reward them for it. Don’t offer random rewards unrelated to your project. Offer rewards that your audience will love.

Don’t be afraid to tap into the emotions of those you are seeking to reach. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of selling your idea, but there is a finished project on the horizon you will want people to touch, see, taste or hear. You’ll want to as many people as possible there at the end to experience it with you.

Know Yourself

Who are you?

No seriously, who are you? And why do you want my money? Why should I give to you?

You are not only selling your idea, you are selling yourself. It is shown over and over that people who contribute to a project are not only buying into the project or idea, they are buying into the person or persons behind it.

They are buying into you.

As important as the right idea and the right platform and the right audience are, none of those matter unless you sell yourself as the one to pull the whole thing off.

Make your pitch clear and concise. Whenever possible do a video. Offer cool rewards or milestone shares. Keep your campaign tight. Thirty to sixty days is the most effective time period for the vast majority of funding campaigns.

Whatever the message and regardless of how you deliver it, always be mindful that people funding your project or idea are really funding you.

Conclusion

As you can see, crowdfunding is no small feat. There is plenty to consider when ramping up your foray into crowdfunding. Not to mention living in a time of very short attention spans, makes rising above the crowd even more daunting.

Be prepared. Don’t be afraid to stand out. Understand who you are trying to reach and let them understand you. Put yourself on the platform that suits you and your ideas and goals the best.

Like anything in this world – building a house, making a movie, creating a website – if the blueprints, script or code is well conceived, on point and thoughtfully developed, the foundation laid will be incredibly strong.

Crowdfunding is no different. Build the right foundation, and your venture will easily stand tall amongst the crowd.


John Hawthorne is a health nut from Canada with a passion for travel and taking part in humanitarian efforts. This article was originally published at Floship.Com. Reprinted with the author’s permission.

Everything You Need To Know About Crowdfunding In 2018 Part 1

by John Hawthorne

Imagine you have an idea and need some funding. You go to a bank. Right? You might have a conversation like this:

“Hey, Bank Loan Officer, I’ve got a fantastic idea, but need cash to get it off the ground.”

“No.”

“But…”

“Fine. I’ll need your date of birth, date of birth of your dog, blood samples from you, your mom, your dad, your neighbor and your neighbor’s neighbor. Then also the name of your future grandchild, the make and model of your first car and the birthplace of your grade school teacher.”

“What???”

“In triplicate.”

“But…”

“Yeah, just kidding. Still no.”

Sound familiar?

Of course it doesn’t. The reliance on bank loans to help get a small, fledgling idea off the ground is a thing of the past.

So what does an entrepreneur do these days instead of begging on bending knee at the glass and marble relics of the past? You turn to a very public, very social, very now way of raising capital.

Crowdfunding.

Socially Raising Money in a Very Social World

What is crowdfunding?

Simply put, it is requesting and receiving money online from strangers in the hopes of funding a particular project, charity or business.

Easy enough, right? Well…

Crowdfunding has been around for a while, as early as 2003 on the internet. During much of its infancy, musicians or filmmakers were the main forces behind the phenomena. Producing content for fans, paid for by fans.

Recent years though have shown it to be a truly viable source for funding creative and business projects alike.

Past campaigns have raised millions of dollars for everything from a smartwatch to video and board games to a cooler to a Veronica Mars movie. That’s an eclectic list.

There are hundreds of thousands of people looking to be part of a new or updated idea. Whether just wanting a perk from the creative process to actually owning a piece of the pie, no idea is too big or too small for a willing online community with a want to be part of something fresh and exciting.

And that’s where you and your fantastic idea come in. Before we get to that most satisfying of places in the creative process – the finish line – there are a few basic tenets to understand to ensure a successful crowdfunded campaign.

Know Your Project

Sounds simple enough? Maybe even a bit trite?

Perhaps, but it is key to crowdfunding success.

Knowing what you want and what you want to achieve in this process drives everything forward. Yes, there may be components along the way more directly tied to the success of a funding campaign, but your idea sets it all in motion.

So you really need to know it, inside and out. Specifically, knowing your goals and what your endgame may be. To get from there to here a series of questions to ask and answer yourself will help coalesce your approach heading into a crowdfunding project.

First, is my funding goal realistic? How long do I need to reach it? Do I need the entire funding goal or just a portion of funds? It’s essential to think through every aspect of funding here. You probably need more than what it costs to produce your project. You also need to be able to market it, distribute it, and deal with setbacks. Think through every single detail of funding.

Next, figure out what makes your project enticing and what will push it over the funding finish line. What rewards can you offer those contributing to get the project off the ground. If you really want people to get on board, you need to offer really good rewards. Most people aren’t going to fund your campaign out of the goodness of their hearts. Your close friends and family will, but the rest want to get something valuable. So what will you offer and why will people want it?

Finally, understand who will benefit from your idea? Who will it reach? Who should it reach? When it comes to marketing your idea, you need to know exactly who you’re targeting. Without this knowledge, you won’t reach your target audience.

You are certainly not expected to have all the answers at this stage. Ideas evolve and outlooks change. But knowing your project and the direction you are aiming puts you well above others vying for crowdfunding dollars.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a creative with a song to sing or an entrepreneur with a widget to sell. Every story has a story, and knowing yours moves the needle much high on your funding success.

Know Your Platform

You’ve crafted and understand your idea, your story, more fully. Now you need a place to tell it.

Needless to say, the crowdfunding world is…crowded. And varied.

There are a multitude of outlets to facilitate your project funding, but which one to use? Different sites provide different services.

Do you want rewards based crowdfunding (contributions unlock rewards) or an equity based service (funding party becomes a shareholder)?

Do you need to keep a potion of the funds even if a campaign does not meet its intended goal?

To help cut through the crowd, here’s a quick overview of five primary crowdfunding platforms:

The Major Players

Continued in Part 2, which just happens to be HERE


John Hawthorne is a health nut from Canada with a passion for travel and taking part in humanitarian efforts. This article was originally published at Floship.Com. Reprinted with the author’s permission.

How to Get a Job in the Film Industry Courtesy of ‘Little White Lies’

We’re always excited when we find another helpful website for TV writing and other showbiz noobs. This week we’ve been exploring lwlies.com, AKA Little White Lies, and it’s awesome.

The site has Reviews, Features, Podcasts, you-name-it. For example:

A WOMAN’S LIFE by Manuela Lazic

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI by David Jenkins

WHY KING CREOLE IS ELVIS PRESLEY’S BEST MOVIE by Justine Smith

30 TV SHOWS TO LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2018

And our current fave, which doesn’t really seem to be a lie at all, little, white, or otherwise:

How to get a job in the film industry
by Courney Tan

Getting a job in the film industry is hard. Like a lot of creative industries, it can seem impenetrable if you don’t happen to know the “right” people. Many positions are advertised through word of mouth, which is part of the reason why women make up only 26 per cent of the UK film industry, and people from BAME backgrounds just 5.3 per cent of production crews, according to new research by Film and Data Education.

But there is hope for all those who have so far been left frustrated by a lack of opportunities, or simply don’t know where to start. Aware of the obstacles facing young people trying to get a job in film today, the British Film Institute have introduced a £20 million plan to recruit 10,000 new employees, with the promise of filling 30,000 jobs. This recruitment process, the exact details of which remain undisclosed, will be need to be rigorous in order to “reach out to the broadest pool of talent across the UK,” seeking to create a more equal and diverse UK film industry.

Read it all at http://lwlies.com/articles/how-to-get-a-job-in-the-film-industry/

 

Peggy Bechko: Writers, Let’s Get to the Subtext!

 by Peggy Bechko

If you’re a writer of any stripe at all, then you’ve heard about and/or considered subtext. For the rest of you the beginners, those in need of review, let’s talk.

For starters remember, characters you create are always doing something. They’re not just sets of talking heads. They do things. They do a log of things and they go through all sorts of drama common to the human condition. And, as live people, they don’t actually SAY most of what they mean, they express it in some way, thus the subtext.

That being said, plainly it’s your job, as writer to get that across, in novels and especially in screen scripts.

One great trick to doing that is to substitute gibberish for your character’s dialog and see what’s left between the lines. In between the lines of dialog (what your character’s actually say) lies what those characters really mean to say. “Between the lines” so to speak.

Using this trick it’s easy to see what’s actually going on. On the other hand if you’ve made the dialog unintelligible and reading the bits left leaves you unable to know what’s going on then the scene is no doubt in need of more subtext.

In addition to giving yourself, as the writer, a way to double check thigs with the gibberish trick, The writer needs to supply the characters with something that drives them, a goal. A boy wants to get a date with a girl, or get a job, or solve a crime, or whatever. That goal will automatically add subtext to everything that character might say.

With a goal in mind a character needs some action to go with it. A detective might be walking a crime scene, a shy boy might be shuffling around a bit outside a gym, a job-seeker might be all dressed up, stiff and nervous.

All of this adds up to body language. In a novel you can describe at length (hopefully not too much at length). In a script a lot of it is dependent upon actors, but the writer can certainly give hints, especially when it’s an important bit of action that fills out the story or tells the viewer about the character. A girl blows a raspberry at the boy asking for a date. A job-seeker keeps adjusting the knot of his tie at his throat.

In a novel a detective can both walk a scene and have some thoughts going on about it on the page.

Giving your character a secret is a good idea as well. Remember the first Jurassic Park with the character about to steal dino embryos? That scattered subtext all over the place whenever he interacted with another character or when he took any type of action.

Then, for more complications there’s one character knowing the secret of another character. That can really set things off; open lots of doors to subtext in every scene.

So what do you think? Can you keep firmly in mind that your characters are alive? That they have lots of ‘stuff’ going on and when they talk to each other it’s just like you talking to a member of your family with opposite political beliefs? There’s lots of subtext!

Think about it. Watch people interact. You do this and the way people move and talk will never be viewed from the same perspective again. And you’re going to get plenty of subtext into your scripts and novels.


Peggy Bechko is a TVWriter™ Contributing Editor. Learn more about her sensational career HERE. Peggy’s new comic series, Planet of the Eggs, written and illustrated with Charlene Brash-Sorensen is available on Kindle. And, while you’re at it, visit the Planet of the Eggs Facebook page and her terrific blog.