How You Can Make the Most of #WebSeriesChat on Twitter

Why #WebSeriesChat?

Over a year ago Patrick from Slebisodes and Stephanie from MingleMediaTV decided to host a weekly chat to help bring together independent filmmakers, writers, actors, fans, producers of web series to share ideas and build community.

Initially, we were pulling in guests which was really fun to meet people outside of the LA web series world and then we would have topics from funding to marketing to budgets. But sometimes it gets old. We have always been open to suggestions from our community and have supported community events from festivals to Celebrate the Web.

With that said – there are some rules of the road that we all should follow. Here’s the business side of my brain along with feedback we’ve seen from others in the community who have tried to join the chat but have found it somewhat disjointed at times.

We are not “Cat Herders” 

  • We announce via Twitter and Facebook the topic of the day before #WebSeriesChat starts, we also tweet it during the chat – so @MingleTVNetwork @Slebisodes or searching on #WebSeriesChat in Twitter will provide you with what we are talking about for that week.
  • If we have an invited guest, we encourage you to join in the conversation and ask questions about their series or expertise.
  • We ask that you keep OFF TOPIC conversations off #WebSeriesChat during the hour – you are free to chat with anyone on Twitter – but keep the #WebSeriesChat hashtag off if it is not related to the current topic
  • We ask that you keep your promo tabled until the end of chat as the last 5 minutes are dedicated to self-promo.

Respect your fellow creator.

Twitter is not like a BlogTalkRadio or Stickam show where the hosts can hold the conversation / topic without being interrupted by the chat room. In a Twitter chat – your off-topic tweets are in the stream. These tweets to other participants are a distraction and are disrespectful to the guests who have agreed to join the chat and share their expertise for that brief time period.

  • If you don’t like the conversation topic – then don’t use the #WebSeriesChat hashtag and hold your own conversations separately.
  • If you don’t like the conversation topic – and have a topic you’d like covered – tweet to @Slebisodes or @MingleMediaTV and suggest it for coverage for a future #WebSeriesChat session – that way your topic will get the attention it deserves
  • The weekly #WebSeriesChat is hosted by @Slebisodes @MingleMediaTV and we’re the hosts and the leaders of the “show” – so respect us, the guests and or the topic selected for the week – we’re trying to support the community and it is not all about YOU when it’s time for the weekly #WebSeriesChat on Twitter – it’s about the topic/guest.

With that said – we are huge supporters of the Web Series community – we provide services to many web series by promoting their series through listings and hosting on our respective sites. We are panelists at festivals and industry events and have made the weekly chat something we didn’t give up on like so many others before or during us – it’s not easy to promote and hold chat every week – and we do it. We also are trying to bring NEW people into chat so you are exposed to other ways to launch your series successfully.

You may agree that sometimes the topic has been beaten to death over and over  in chat and nothing new is shared – hence the need to come up with new and fresh topics that are planned by @Slebisodes & @MingleMediaTV for that next #WebSeriesChat.

There are other weekly chats from other industries on Twitter and they are very focused and the audience is very in-tune with what is going on for that week. We want #WebSeriesChat to be fun and engaging – but if you aren’t happy with the topic, you don’t have to stay and disrupt it – we won’t hold it against you.

We want to make this chat something that helps all involved with web series meet new people, learn new things and we always welcome your suggestions AHEAD of TIME to making it even better.

Thanks for participating and supporting the weekly chat.

Funny thing happened along the way to the NMFF Web Series Audience Choice Awards…

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…

On My Soapbox

Yes, I'm on my Soap Box...

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??

Business of Web Series Boot Camp

Business of Web Series Boot Camp

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.

Don’t forget  - today is the last day to vote for the 21 finalists in the 1st Annual Audience Choice Awards in the New Media Film Festival Sponsored by Mingle Media TV Network… vote 1 time per series… support your community. Winners announced at the festival red carpet on the 20th LIVE streaming on Mingle Media TV.

New Media – The Disruptors: Creators of Web TV LIVE and Produced Web Series

This past week, I had the absolute best time attending two industry events, Digital Hollywood and the Beverly Hills Film TV and New Media Festival. Not only did I meet some very intelligent people, listened to what is next in the industry and hopefully contributed to the mix as a panelist at these events. In between these two events, I was also doing a class with the Web Series Network on a hot topic for all New Media / Webseries creators: monetization of their content.

My background as a marketer / sales executive has taught me one big lesson – WIIFM. What’s in it for me? This has been at the base of every product launch I have been involved with on a strategic level. WIIFM. Web series creators don’t have the years of expertise that I do in marketing and sales so for them – marketing their product is not what they want to do, they want to create. However, with budgets being as they are on original content projects, you don’t have the luxury to wait until your project is in post to have marketing pick up the next step and get the buzz going.

You have to build the buzz before and during the production process.

But this is just one of the challenges that a “new” industry is facing. If you attended either Digital Hollywood or the New Media panel on Sunday that I was on you would have heard more about this disruption and change in the industry. There are so many people out there who are trying to figure this out from brands and agencies to creators and producers. The answer is there is no cookie cutter way to do business – you have to make it work for what your audience is as you are creating for an audience online – and if you aren’t making content that is bringing an audience, then you will have a hard time monetizing it.

Beverly Hills Film TV and New Media Festival

New Media Panel - Patrick Bardwell, Slebisodes, Stephanie Piche, Mingle Media TV, Danny Ramm, Quick Bites, Joe Mantegna, Actor

At our panel at Digital Hollywood, Thursday October 21 st 2010 TrackAdvUp-27

Social Media, Brands and Target Markets: We talked about how to use Social Media and build out a fan base and following, integrate products into the media you are creating and how knowing your demographics and power of your audience with a brand is crucial.
On Sunday the 24th of October at the Beverly Hills Film TV and New Media festival’s New Media panel, we talked more about this same subject but as it relates to monetization of the media you are creating. So many people in the audience were creators with no “fans” or audience yet and had a finished product…
On Saturday, I met with a group of webseries creators who wanted to learn more about how to pitch sponsors on their project. Rich from the Web Series Network, put together the event as a first step in helping bring more education to creators/producers/writers of New Media/Webseries projects. We covered the basic techniques to some tips that I use to get meetings (and Monday – got an email from an attendee saying he tried one of the techniques I shared and he got the meeting so he was excited). More and more, web series creators and producers are going to have to equip themselves with business knowledge from a trusted source, someone who has the credentials and can guide and support them as they go to the next level.

Some of the resources available for web series creators are communities online where they can network and get support of others who are out there. The largest online community is the Web Series Network, run by Rich Mbariket. You can share your project, post up questions or give your opinions on numerous topics. The best part is you can speak your mind and network with others. There’s also a growing list out there that I am happy to share with you for other resource sites – so be sure to ping me on Twitter or post on this blog post for more info.