"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Internet is Not Television

So don't treat it that way.

Producers, directors, actors of web series, take note:

The Huffington Post reports that Netflix is going to release the entire new season of Arrested Development All. At. Once.

I've been stressing to a few people working on web series that the last thing you want to do is have an entire season of 13 episodes and release them only once a week.




You know why? Because the other channels, like Facebook, Cracked, and Twitter, etc are way more interesting on the internet. If I watch one episode of your webseries, I MIGHT come back a week later to watch another, but only if you're my friend. I won't bookmark it. I won't remember to come back. You are going to have to annoy everyone on your facebook feed that your webseries' new episode is up and link to it so I'd watch. Maybe. But you won't get repeat viewings from people you don't know.

Because the truth is, most web series are not that good. The production value is low. There's sound issues. The visual quality isn't that great, and sometimes the actors are crap.

But if you have a good episode, and I can click on the next episode? Guess what. I'm going to click on it. I want to be instantly gratified. Because I'm at my computer and that's how I watch tv on it. I will go on Netflix streaming or Hulu Plus and watch an entire season of a show I like in a few sittings. I'll watch 3 episodes of a comedy at once. I'll sit through 2 hours of a drama in the same night. If I like something, I want to watch it. Even on my DVR, if I have three episodes of my favorite tv show waiting for me at home I want to watch them back to back to back. It's fun!

Television is changing. In ten years, (and most likely, way less than that) we'll get most of our series in one fell swoop, and we'll watch television shows series by series. We'll have big tv viewing parties, and they'll become entertainment events - where there's behind the scenes, the making of, and minor characters who spin off onto their own online webseries, that's right, ALL ONLINE. And the website they have with all their extras is also loaded with advertising, so the studios are making even more advertising money.

So if you have an indie webseries, and you know it's good, you know the production value is great, you know the acting is phenomenal -

Release the whole series at once.

Because people will watch an episode, and if they like it, they'll watch another. And another. And another.

And if it's bad - if I can watch another episode, I WILL. Schadenfreude.


  1. I totally see your point here. If I don't DVR a TV show then it doesn't get watched because I can't remember when things are on. I would never remember when an internet series was on to watch it. I have also discovered that in terms of continuity, I prefer to watch shows on DVD as a general rule. The gap, particularly over the holidays is so long, that I often lose the thread of what was going on in the series and the details are lost on me. Sometimes what really gives a show excellent texture is in the details. In other words, if I really liked a show just watching it while it was on chances are EXCELLENT that I will love it in a couple of years when I go back and watch it again on DVD. In a week or so I can devour the entire season by watching the entire thing back to back. It is then that I truly appreciate the flow and rhythm of the show.

    It will be interesting when the internet and television decide to start working in tandem instead of at cross purposes. You are right... bound to happen eventually. (It already is somewhat, but I think they still see each other as competition...)

    Anyway, insightful post.

  2. I can see your point, but I disagree. If something is good, I hit "subscribe" on YouTube or iTunes or wherever I am. It's just like series record on a DVR. I've gotten in the habit of checking my YouTube and iTunes feed to see if there's anything new.

    For example, The Daly Show is hilarious and I'm content to get another 10 minute video whenever they have one out (every 2-3 weeks or so). Zach Galifianakis's Between Two Ferns is hilarious and I didn't need them to all come out at once.

    1. I see your point as well, Nathania. I'll admit I don't subscribe to YouTube channels.

      As for the Daily Show and Between Two Ferns; you have an established comedian hosting an established cable show and Zach Galifianakis is a household name.

      I'm talking more about other Struggling Filmmakers out there and how they need to build an audience besides their friends.

      Thanks for your comment!

    2. I know this is way off piste but I just watched you act in The Haunting of Winchester House. The film was pretty mediocre but you were captivating. Good luck in securing more work. I want to see you in more film roles.

  3. Lira,
    I totally agree. If you don't have a huge following already or have a nice marketing budget, which they most likely don't, then you need to give them more than just an episode to peak interest.


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