Elize Morgan releases guide for web series creators

Pretty in Geek creator Elize Morgan (pictured) announced Monday the release of her first book, How to Make a Web Series, a guide for those looking to learn how to navigate the ever-growing and dizzying world of web content.

Featuring interviews with web series creators, including Jason Leaver (Out with Dad), Jane Espenson (Husbands), Burnie Burns (Red Vs. Blue) and Geoff Lapaire (Pure Pwnage), the free e-book also offers an inside look at success stories and failures, and tips on how to release, write and find casts and crews for web series.

Morgan’s first tip for creating a web series? Just go for it.

There’s no right way to create a web series. Just go out and do it the way you think works,” she tells Playback.

She cautions, however, that creating a web series is not for the faint of heart.

“You have to go into it with a lot of skills. You need to be willing to market, produce, create and write it, and sit with it for a little longer than you would if you were just writing, producing or editing,” she explains, noting that the extra legwork pays off by allowing web series creators to get out and engage with their target communities.

She adds that engaging with the audience of your web series in an authentic way has proven to be one of the best bets for success so far, and points to Jason Leaver’s Out With Dad, about a teenage lesbian who comes out to her single father, as an example of this.

“He did a special PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) episode and said [to his community] ‘we’re doing a PFLAG episode, I want your stories.’ And he took those stories and included them in the episode,” she explains.

While web series creators mostly have to do it themselves, Morgan says Canadian web series creators are luckier than most, as they have funding channels that other territories lack, including the IPF, the CMF, and smaller provincial tax funds and credits.

Time has also seen the emergence of what appear to be successful business models and marketing strategies.

Pure Pwnage and Red Vs. Blue have seized on existing opportunities by creating gamer-specific merchandise for their audiences to accompany their already successful web series.

Morgan adds that traditional advertising methods, as well as digital advertising through Google and Facebook are also options, but says that the most important thing is knowing how and where to reach your audience quickly and effectively.

She also points to emerging VOD and OTT services as potential primary or secondary markets for indie web series, adding that these services are also reaching out to traditional studios, such as Fox to create web-specific series for Hulu or other channels.

According to Morgan, the future for web series continues to look bright, as the indie pool gets deeper and even big players, such as the Halo video game franchise are breaking into web series production.

While this creates more competition, Morgan says the benefit of the web is its openness, adding that unlike TV shows, web series aren’t competing for primetime domination, but can be watched any time, anywhere.

How to Make a Web Series is available for free download at the Apple iBookstore.