Web Series: ‘The Vamps Next Door’

NOTE FROM LB: Want to see what a web series episode with a million and a half views looks like? Click “play” on the video below.

by Larry Brody

There I was, on the back deck of the Brody home that isn’t Cloud Creek Ranch, having a fine old end of summer convo with my wife, Gwen the Beautiful, and two old friends, and suddenly the Missus of the friends, Laura Conway, casually mentions, “I’ve been making a couple of web series. They’re a lot of fun.”

And without missing a beat, the Mistah of the couple, Gerry Conway (yes, this Gerry Conway), equally casually says, “Laura’s shows have over three million views.”

“Three million views?” was all I could say.

“Yep,” Gerry said.

“And you never told me before?”

“I haven’t told very many people at all about the shows,” Laura said.

“Why not?” I said.

“She’s shy,” Gerry said.

Laura nodded. “I am. I’m shy.”

So, because I’m not so shy, let me repeat the most cogent fact here, because, well, because how can I not?

Three million views.

Fucking three fucking million fucking views!

And not only had I never known that Laura was doing this, I’d neither heard about nor seen any of her shows anywhere before.

Those of you who know me know where this is going. I have now watched Laura Conway’s absolutely mind-blowingly professional top scoring in every aspect series, The Vamps Next Door, and I’m absolutely blown away.

The episode above, “Hurt So Good,” is the most popular in the series, but the others are all just as good. Scripts, direction, acting, production values, we’re talking stuff that puts the original Dark Shadows to shame. Oh, and in case you haven’t watched the embed yet, I gotta tell you: The Vamps Next Door is funny.

To me, one of the most interesting thing about The Vamps Next Door is that Laura was a total noob when she started it, seven years ago. If you watch the earlier episodes, they’re rough, unpolished, fraught with the errors all new filmmakers make.  But she learned, and is still learning, the way a true creator does.

You can find out more about the show HERE, and you definitely should.

Thank you, Laura, for finally coming out of the closet!

Oh hell, here’s an episode of Laura’s other show, Ageless. It left me speechless when I first saw it, but I’m sure we’ll talk more about this later:

Web Series: Ruth’s Alternative Caring

Not a real web series but a mighty fine facsimile thereof, Ruth’s Alternative Caring is the show within a show – specifically a series of 10 commercials for various strains of the green – on Munchman’s favorite TV series of all time, Disjointed.

Somehow, yesterday, when he reviewed the series, which has the distinction of being the absolutely worst reviewed show of the summer, and maybe of TVWriter™’s lifetime, the munchmeister forgot to mention that the stoned out commercials have been ported to YouTube for whatever nefarious reasons a major producer like Chuck Lorre, co-creator of the TV series with, might have.

Enjoy.

Or not.

But remember, if you don’t enjoy Ruth’s Alternative Caring the day will come, amigos and amigas, when you’re going to have to answer to munchadildo…and all this TVWriter™ minion can say is, “Watch your step.”

Web Series: ‘The Show About The Show’

This video is from BRIC TV— the first 24/7 television channel created by, for, and about Brooklyn. It is the borough’s source for local news, Brooklyn culture, civic affairs, music, arts, sports, and technology. BRIC TV features programming produced and curated by BRIC, an arts and media nonprofit located in Downtown Brooklyn, NYC

BK Live: http://BRIC.me/u/youtube/bklive Straight Up: http://BRIC.me/u/youtube/straightup #BHeard: http://BRIC.me/u/youtube/bheard B-Side: http://BRIC.me/u/youtube/bside Check out more from BRIC: https://www.youtube.com/c/BRICartsmedia Connect with us: https://www.facebook.com/BRICTV/ http://Twitter.com/BRICTV http://Instagram.com/BRICTV http://BRICartsmedia.org/BRICTV

We’re going to go with LB here:

“I love Caveh Zehadi. I love this show he does and how meta it gets. If you sons of bitches guys don’t feature it on the site you’re all fired!

So here’s the most beloved web series of the moment here at TVWriter™. And, truth to tell, even if The Show About The Show wasn’t our Beloved Leader’s fave, we’d love it too. This thing is real.

Oh look, another episode. Wow!

And HERE is where you can watch them all. Which is our way of saying you really should. In fact, if you don’t, we – well, this particular TVWriter™ minion for sure – will totally stop respecting or even liking you.

So there ya go.

Web Series: ‘Jackson & Lewis’

How’s this logline sound to you?

Jackson & Lewis, 2 contract killers, bring their newly hired camera man on a mission that doesn’t go over too well.

Why do two hitmen have a camera man? Because what they really want to do is…that’s right, you got it – make it in showbiz.

TVWriter™ loves this series. Even munchman, our resident young curmudgeon admits has said, “It’s more than a well done web series. It’s a vehicle for some of the best acting I’ve ever seen. Anywhere.”

We definitely recommend that you sit back and give yourself to Jackson & Lewis. That way, when the team behind it takes over the entertainment world, as it deserves to, you’ll be able to smile smugly and say, “I knew them when….”

Credits:

Created by Pierre M. Coleman (@pierremcoleman) Written by Brian A. Beckwith (@b_skillz) Starring: Omar Scroggins, Dee Martin, Safiya Grimsley Subscribe Like: www.facebook.com/JacksonandLewis Follow: @JacksonandLewis Website: http://www.jacksonandlewistv.com

Oh, and guess what? We found this series via Stareable.Com

 

Web Series: ‘The Stand’

The perfect web series for Trump’s America?

Or the hipster’s best friend?

Where would you place The Stand in the lifestyle spectrum?

Learn more about The Stand HERE

We’re thinking that this is well made – especially well-acted – and perfectly in keeping with today’s ironic niche humor. But to level with y’all, we’re also a tad tired of shows with asshole heroes. Does this make us bad people?

Feeling kinda disappointed…in ourselves.

What about you?

Found via Stareable

New YouTube Series Gives Us Untold Tales of Star Wars

Whoa, an authorized Star Wars Forces of Destiny is a YouTube web series…ands it’s canon!

Mother of mercy, is this the end of TV?

Yeah, the question was rhetorical, but the practical, all too real answer most probably is, “You betcha.”

Spend some time – not all that much because the episodes are roughly two and a half minutes each, binging on all 8 episodes HERE

Give thanks to Our Overlords at Disney in the comments. This TVWriter™ minion things the series is barely competent, artwise, and completely childish when it comes to the writing, but WTH? I think all the same of all the SW films and TV shows. Well, except for Star Wars Rebels. It’s awesome.

More about SWR is HERE

How To Turn Your Web Series Into A Full Time Job – @Stareable

Last week we brought you the exciting news that web series Stupid Idiots has a new TV deal, and today, in the same vein of productivity and achievement, we’re continuing in that vein with Stareable.Com’s Bri Castellini and her interview with Alex LeMay, who is making a name for himself via…well, hold on there. Y’all don’t need our set-up, you need the punchline.

So here it is:

Interview with Alex LeMay
by Bri Castellini

It’s a running joke in the web series community that none of us have money to make our shows, none of us make money off our shows, and none of us ever will. But what if I told you it didn’t have to be that way?

Alex LeMay @Alex_LeMay studied theater at DePaul University in Chicago and the University of Windsor in Canada, but he’s always been a fan of using cameras to tell stories. In 2006 he discovered a video streaming site called iFilm, which was a precursor to YouTube, and realized that online video was the future of media. In his words, “I put all my eggs in that basket.”

Today, Alex is a showrunner, producer, and director for two of the major studios, a bunch of digital studios, and branded entertainment divisions of various advertising agencies. He also runs AlexLeMay.com4, where he helps “ambitious filmmakers and video creators build [and] sell their web series.” How did he get there, and what can we all learn from his tremendous success? Read on.

Editor’s note: this interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Stareable: What shows have you created or worked on that we might have heard of?

Alex LeMay: I just finished a travel food show with celebrity chef Fabio Viviani called DINNER IS SERVED for Endemol Beyond. I was a lead producer on a digital feature for YouTube Red called KEYS OF CHRISTMAS starring DJ Khaled, Mariah Carey, Ciara, Bebe Rexha, and YouTube star Rudy Mancuso. I was a producer on Nigel Lythgoe’s EVERY SINGLE STEP which was like the choreographer version of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE. I was the showrunner/director on WORD OF MOUTH with YouTube star Josh Leyva for Shaun White’s Air+Style/Go90, I was the creator/show runner/director for ADVENTURE LAB for MSN. I was the show runner and co-creator of the online digital experience called BZRK which we ended up selling to Sony Pictures for Sam Raimi. I’ve been fortunate to create online content for companies like Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, and Wilson Athletics as well. Right now I’m directing and producing the pilot episode of a web series by Jim Uhls, [who] wrote the movie FIGHT CLUB.

How did you end up producing and creating digital content?

In 2006 there was a video platform called iFilm which was the precursor to YouTube. When I saw that streaming video online was possible (which until then it would take you two days to download a two-minute video) I realized this is where media was going so I put all my eggs in that basket… Eventually, because I was one of the first producers creating digital video, I developed a reputation as someone who knew how to create for that space.

You’ve worked with some big digital production companies- how did you get in the room, let alone build long-lasting relationships, and what advice would you give to filmmakers, producers, and writers looking to follow in your footsteps?

I proved I could create content that builds an audience. I built an online series with a gaming component that Sony Pictures saw and they ended up buying it to turn into a movie. That allowed me to use that as a springboard into other work.

The reality is that it is a business like any other so as a creator and producer I had to show studios that I not only could deliver their series on time and on budget. I also had to show them I understood their business concerns, meaning that I understood how to deliver content that resonated with their particular audience… The advice I would give is that now it’s about creating social reach, so creators need to be proactive in building their own audience outside and separate from the traditional media system. That gets the industry’s attention more than anything else. Don’t think you need a distributor to make a living.

What is the most challenging part of working with larger production companies, and aside from funding, how does it compare to working on indie projects?

There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. As a producer, director, and writer you have to fight, kindly, but fight nonetheless, to maintain your voice in a project. I never forget that it is my name on that piece of work so making sure I can be proud of it is essential. Also, most people in studios aren’t filmmakers in the traditional sense. They are executives whose aim is to make sure that the project is profitable. At the studio level, we as creators have to understand that helping studios profit is part of our job, but finding the balance between art and commerce can be challenging sometimes. The best way to avoid that conflict is to have a clear understanding of what the expectations are before making it. Sounds simple, but you’d be surprised.

Working on indie projects is a blast- there is a huge opportunity to break some rules, experiment, and try new things. Not having a budget means I get to play the game of “how can I solve this problem with no money?” That stretches my abilities and strengthens my creativity, which becomes hugely useful on bigger projects. I use all those little hacks I discovered on indie projects constantly on the bigger projects. Simply, indie projects are just freer.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you see smaller indie web productions make, and how can they course-correct?

There are a few common mistakes, but the biggest and most classic mistake is: “Build it and they will come.” This is the one where producers shoot 6 episodes of their series by racking up credit card debt. They then launch it by putting it out to their Facebook friends and in total they’re out $10k, 20k, 30k and only have 1500 views across all the episodes. I see this all the time. It’s sad, because so many of these projects are amazing.

Don’t make the series, make the proof of concept. When you make the entire series (or a major chunk of it) you don’t leave the distributor/buyer anywhere to go. Distributors only buy things that fit into the narrow parameter of what their audience wants based on their extensive audience data. Remember, this is the internet, not TV, so distributors have data on every view and click on their content and unless your series ticks all those boxes, chances are they won’t buy. Instead, bring them an idea that is 75% developed and let them fill in the other 25% with their knowledge of their audience.

What is something many indie creators overlook when making an indie project that you think they should remember that might make their project more appealing to wider audiences or larger production and distribution companies?

Many creators make their projects first and then find out who their audience is after. I think best practices show that successful series producers know exactly who their audience is before they make anything. In fact, before production begins, many creators have been building an audience by communicating with fans of their genre (the one they are creating in) long before that audience knows anything about their project. Once they have engaged the audience and built trust, they move ahead with production. This way, the project lands on an audience that already has a relationship with the creator….

Read it all at Stareable