Making a Web Series is Like Being on Survivor

Word to All the Content Creators

A couple weeks ago, a few of us surrounding the FiLMLaB project this past year at the Willamette Writers Conference got together to talk shop about the ups and downs of FiLMLaB 2014. After a couple beers, we might have summoned up enough group juju to determine what came first, the chicken or the egg ; but instead our conversation evolved into the ever-growing nature of writing and what us youngins call “content creation”.  It seems that all things creativity, writing, and even film and video is now falling into this ever elusive and yet intriguing category. As we edged around what exactly constituted “content creation” – I suddenly burst out as if it were some massive revelation, “Guys, we are talking about me!”. We all admitted that we were. I make my living by juggling this odd, not always balanced puzzle of content creationary (someday I will coin that term) tasks: blog writing, film production, acting, social media, and more. Am I writer? Yes. Am I an artist? Yes. Am I an entrepreneur? Yes. It will all be my greatest asset or my biggest downfall. #TBD I’ve been a part of many things over my career from riverfront art installations to social media campaigns for dog kennels. I live a mostly random existence. My latest endeavor has been one for the record – a web series.

The Latest Content Creationary Project – Mad House (a web series)

This project might as well have been the training for Survivor. It has been roughly 2 years in the making for this little 9 episode affair – and wow, what a doozy. We had a great team of people spanning both coasts to create Mad House and we needed every one of them.

Mad House Lan party

We filmed a LAN party scene in the dead heat of summer, in a tiny townhouse, with no air conditioning and people packed like sardines. Don’t ask about the smell. We survived.

We sat in trash. Not prop trash – real trash. Smelly survival.

Mad House Sitting in Garbage

And there was this.

Mad House Cosplay

Once we macheted our way out of the production jungle, were left with one big question. What exactly do content creators do with a full season of a web series?

A Survivor’s Alliance is Born

Interestingly, the Willamette Writers Conference and FiLMLaB helped out with that. During FiLMLaB production this summer, I got the chance to work with other local content creators. It was like winning the fishing gear on Survivor. Our reward? Our web series is now teaming up with another massive Portland content creator Sunshine Girl.

UG Crazy BellyWhile I’ve worked with Sunshine (AKA Paige McKenzie) on other small projects here and there; working together on FiLMLaB’s, Unwelcome Guests,  really offered us the chance to all get to know each other. Time and time again – tying that darned pregnant belly and laughing about how ridiculous the design was…until we realized we had it upside down for over half of the filming. That is what I call a bonding experience.

Brought to you by Stork: Mad House comes to YouTube November 28th

Our “tiny Survivorish Mad House baby” is having it’s public birthing on November 28th (Yep, eat turkey then veg out watching our web series on YouTube) with episodes 1-3. Then, come back every Friday after for a new episode. What’s fun is that our comedy web series is a unique addition to Sunshine’s channel, which usually hosts ghost-astic adventures and such.

Big and many thanks to FiLMLaB who’ve helped me spread my wings in the content creation world. My only advice to others facing the overrun jungle of content creation? If you want to write – get out and write. If you want to create – get out there and create. FiLMLaB and the Willamette Writers Conference are a radtastic chance to network, so don’t miss your chance to become the creator of a short film next year. FiLMLaB is one of the best learning opportunities I have seen for writers wanting experience in what happens after the script is complete. No joke. So worth it.

Hook up with me, or my team, on one of my MANY social media channels (Pinterest, InstagramLinkedIn, and IMDB  – the more obvious ones are in the bio below) and be sure to catch Mad House November 28th on The Haunting of Sunshine Girl Network on YouTube.

You can follow the show at our Mad House website,on Twitter: @madhouseseries, or Facebook.