The way we upload an episode of the The Platoon of Power Squadron is as such…
An average episode is between 25 to 30 minutes long. So I break them into six pieces that run approximately 5 minutes a piece. Then I upload each piece one day after the other for 6 days. Different web series seem to do uploads in different ways.
A pretty standard model has their webisodes clocking in at around 5-7 minutes long and then uploading a webisode per week until the entire “season” is done. That model bugs the hell out of me. It’s not television. TV shows have 20 to 40 minutes to tell us a complete story that will satisfy us and will interest us enough that we’ll want to check it out a week later. That’s enough time to tell a story. Plus, it’s a totally different stage. TV is like an event. The event will proceed whether we’re in our chair watching or not. It’s scheduled to start at 8 c.s.t. and if you want to see it you have to make time for it and prioritize it. I realize that TIVO and ONDemand are deprioritizing it a little bit, but it’s still an event.
Web series’ are there when you click on them and you can do that at your leisure. They don’t have that same kind of urgency. If you watch a 5-7 minute webisode, you’re already forgetting about it 10 minutes later when you’ve flown through 15 other websites. You’re not going to prioritize watching the next part when it drops 7 friggin’ days later. 7 days is like a half a century in internet years. For me, the only way to make it a measurable event is to have them come out at the same time each day for six days in a row. That makes it a limited time event. People schedule it to one degree or another and the conversation stays fresh and interesting for practically a whole week. Then people can chill out for the six months it takes us to get another episode ready. That’s the only way it seems to make sense to me.
During an upload week, everything gets a little strange for me. The first part of episode 4 went up last Sunday and the great comments started immediately. I spend a lot of my time checking back in to look at the comments and conversations that are happening on the boards. This is when the other people from the show get fired up too. It’s great that this thing we all work really hard on gets tens of thousands of views, and it’s nice to see so many people leaving comments like, “This should be on TV!”, but then my cast and crew start wondering how we can make money off of it and the truth is simple…I have no idea. I’ve never been a marketing or a money guy, I’m just a guy who likes to tell stories. It’s my good fortune that lately people have been really into the stories that I’m telling, but if my cast and crew start to weigh this thing in terms of making a profit, we’re sunk. We don’t make any money, and if I’m the guy that has to figure out how to start making money off of it, we never will. I’ve never been good at making money, I’m only good at making magic.