It seems like a long time in the making… but when you’re working with a live film festival that has two events a year (Los Angeles and San Francisco) you want to get as much exposure for the content creators as you can… you learn a lot about the community at large and what you can do to make the next round even better.
Our goal originally was to help web series creators showcase their series in an online Festival that was an IMDb qualifier to help them get credits while participating in the festival. We created a specially branded webpage for each series with keywords, branding, contact info and links back to their website, Facebook and Twitter pages right on it and a player that had all their episodes in order. This model is a win-win for the series creators – they get new people to discover their content during the course of the online voting time period, Mingle Media TV promotes them on a regular basis for votes on Twitter, Facebook and their website, the content creators get their fans to support them, they get IMDb credits, exposure in a film festival dedicated to new media, a chance to be screened at the festival, and they get the views on their YouTube channel.
This year we had 57 entries from five countries – not bad for our first year. But we also saw that many entrants just put their series in and really never promoted it for voting. If it is just to get the Laurels for entering – that’s disappointing. We also saw that many creators who are not very Internet savvy, missing out on the benefits of participating in the retweeting and reposting of our promotion. In fact, we even saw some of their fans complaining that we were promoting the series they LIKED on Facebook…
One of the many benefits of creating indie content online is that you can do what you want…. no restrictions by ratings organizations. Same with film festivals – you meet their criteria, you get exposure and who knows what else. Mingle Media TV is an online, interactive TV Network – yes, I said TV. As a society we are programmed with the terms “Movies & TV” for entertainment. As a marketing expert, you learn that you brand and message to the lowest common denominator – so making up new ways to describe what you’re doing doesn’t work unless people adopt it globally. Think Xerox versus copier, Kleenex versus tissues, Bandaid versus adhesive strip – great examples of how a brand became the thing – and is used as a global term. The world is changing and the convergence of mainstream TV shows streaming through the Internet is happening now.
Indie web series creators have been here for a long time – especially considering the Internet is so new. Creators have had the home field advantage and only a few of them have grasped the reality of the need for audience, marketing, branding and building community. Creating for art or yourself and not caring if you are adopted by the masses or found is totally fine. However, most creators want to have that audience reach and have sponsors and compete with mainstream TV shows. But they lack in the basics of the medium they have chosen to publish to.
In the past several months, I have been working with Rich from Web Series Network to try to help creators with these issues, education. Much to my dismay, many of the complaints on why more creators and producers are not joining in is no time or money. Then why complain about not having an audience – this is not the Field of Dreams, if you build it they will come…. I have also been slammed for not doing it for free? Really? Everything you need to know about SEO, promoting and marketing your content is available with a GOOGLE SEARCH, so why should I give away my time and knowledge if there’s nothing in it for me? On top of all we do at Mingle Media TV for our community members, asking for more free for those who are not members of our community is pretty insulting. We partner with Slebisodes.com to hold a weekly #WebSeriesChat and share ideas and interview hot web series creators to help open up dialog and community, I am a regular participant at the Web Series Network, I am a regular speaker at industry events, sharing my knowledge and we promote webseries at premieres, festivals and yet… there are a few voices who feel that I should not be charging for what I know. (funny cause there are several others out there who do and you don’t seem to be saying anything to them…. wonder why?)
We are on Internet time people, and while you are sitting back and spouting off more excuses why you cannot promote, market or build audience rather than just digging in and setting goals and making it happen… the rest of the world including traditional TV are moving into your HOOD and they are taking YOUR audience. Wonder why no one finds you… you are not doing anything. Personally speaking, when someone tells me I can’t do it or won’t be successful at it… I set my mind to showing them how wrong they are…. what does hearing that do to you??
Mingle Media TV Network will be offering several boot camps starting the first of June through their newest division: The Business of Web Series. These bootcamps will be offered to the series who are hosted on Mingle Media TV as well as the series who enter the next round of competition for the New Media Film Festival. We also offer our services for a fee – and guess what, we get paid fees by TV shows and other new media producers to create winning programs for them…. That’s how we survive without trying to make pennies on banner ads (ever wonder why we don’t have “ads on our site”??? – cause we monetize smartly).
With that said – we want to make this next year of competition that much better for new media producers – web series creators and we are going to start with our Business of Web Series Boot Camp program. We are all about positive change and helping the community, but we are also about doing it on our terms and with those who want to participate in a program that will help them secure their place on the Internet.