The Rise of Web-Based Content: Why You Should Consider Writing Web Series
November 21, 2023
Drunk History. Portlandia. Insecure. Broad City. What do these hit TV shows have in common? They all initially started on the internet as a web series that eventually caught the attention of execs in Hollywood. which has proven to be a great tool for television creators.
So, what is it about web-based content that is so lucrative? As we know there is no faster way to reach an audience than launching a project online, and if successful, web series can quickly cultivate a loyal fanbase and build a brand faster than you can say "greenlight." It’s no wonder more and more screenwriters are writing web series and publishing their content on the internet than ever before. If you’re wondering whether you should hop online and do the same, here are 6 reasons why you should consider writing a web series.
It Gives Your TV Pilot an Instant Home
Do you have a TV pilot script that’s either been rejected or not noticed by producers or a network but that you’re still dying to make? Or maybe you’re so excited to create a project that you don’t even want to wait for approval from a network suit — you want to make it now!
Creating a web series is a great way to give your TV pilot an instant home by either delivering it in smaller chunks or rolling it out within an entire season. Who knows? If it builds an audience like the aforementioned Broad City or Insecure, you might find it garners attention from the powers-that-be who might want to buy it — or at least set up a meeting with you.
It Keeps Costs Low
The price is right when it comes to launching a web series. Financing is often a huge obstacle when it comes to producing short and independent films, resulting in many years of waiting to get a project off the ground.
However, a web series bears lower costs and it’s easier to keep a low overhead, making it a more cost-efficient undertaking. You can even benefit from crowdfunding, which could help with publicity when it comes to rolling out your show. Your backers will definitely want to spread the word about the show they helped produce.
You Get to Be the Boss
Say "buh-bye" to gatekeepers. Writing your own web series means you get to call the shots (alongside your collaborators, of course). You don’t need to sell or pitch your idea or abide by any rewrites from an exec. The web series is your baby, and you get to create it the way you want it to be shown to the world, including everything from casting to editing.
That means you get to break all the rules or at least follow the ones you want. Creative freedom and expression are yours for the taking! You get to tell your story your way!
It Gets Done Faster
Getting produced in Hollywood is a long game. It can take months if not years... sometimes decades... for a project to see the light of day. Not so many of us are that patient! Many writers want to see their scripts actualized sooner rather than later.
By creating your own web series, you get to show off your chops from conception to creation in a matter of weeks or months. Just think of how satisfying that will feel.
It Helps to Build an Audience and Brand
Launching a web series is a great way to build continuity and consistency with an audience — while also building a brand. Shorter episodes keep people interested and invested, and most importantly, engaged. The more engaged an audience is with your material, the more likely they’ll keep returning to not only your web series but any other new projects that you might create in the future. This is good news!
The more your audience supports your work, the more you will be able to establish your signature brand as a storyteller, which can only bode well with your future endeavors. Maybe you won’t need to be calling Hollywood execs because they’ll be calling to work with you!
You Stay Prolific
It’s hard to stay relevant or feel like you’re making tangible things in the world when you’re always waiting to hear from “the call” that will change your life — like selling your pilot to a network or having your script greenlit.
Making a web series will not only help you stay prolific with your own content but it will also help you feel more like a writer. Because let’s face it, writers only feel like writers when we’re writing and putting our work out in front of an audience. Writing a web series can help you do that — and what a feeling that is!
Written by: Brianne HoganBrianne Hogan is a freelance writer currently based in Prince Edward Island. A film studies graduate from NYU, her byline's been featured in Creative Screenwriting, ScreenCraft, The Huffington Post, among others. "Jurassic Park" is unashamedly her favorite movie (at this moment). You can follow Brianne on Twitter via @briannehogan