Why start a series?
The importance: Representation is important, and the best way to get LGBT women on the screen is to put them there ourselves – we are the only ones who can tell our stories.
The friends: Starting a web series requires a lot of collaboration, from writers to editors to actors, so you’ll meet a lot of amazing people. Even if you never achieve fame, you’ll start countless friendships.
The fun: Plus, if you’re an artist, making LGBT art with other people is just plain fun. You’ll get to dream up crazy storylines. You’ll get to map out crazy promotions. You can direct or act in order to create an imaginary world. And your stories may touch people in ways you never anticipated.
What story should you tell?
You have 1,001 stories to choose from. You could tell the story of a lesbian space detective. You could narrate a polyamorous love story. You could design a cartoon about polysexual space aliens. The options are endless.
But what show do you wish you could watch, right now? That’s the show that you need to make. Don’t write what you think will be popular, write what you want to watch, because if you want to watch it, others will too.
How should you tell your story?
Every story needs to be told differently. For example, we all know some books that should not have been turned into movies, and we know some TV shows that fell flat when they became films. (Maybe people should stop turning things into movies…) Grab a piece of paper and brainstorm the best way to tell your story.
Gone are the days when YouTube videos were your only option. Now you can make tiny vines, minute-long Instagram videos, thirty minute Vimeo epics, or avant-garde Snapchat videos. You can shoot on your iPhone or on an expensive professional camera.
Utilize your network. If a friend of a friend is an experienced director, then you have more options. If all of your friends take improv classes, then you’ll be able to tell dynamic stories. Don’t be afraid to tell your story in a creative, unorthodox way.
Who’s your writing team?
Sure, you could write by yourself. But that didn’t work for Season Two of True Detective, and it might not work for you. Besides, a writing partner can challenge you, come at the story from a fresh angle, and spin jokes and subplots.
You may be awake tweaking lines until 3 a.m. the night before a shoot. It will be more fun to have a writing buddy struggling with you.
How will you fund it?
Unless you’re shooting Vines with an iPhone, filming a web series will be expensive, so do whatever it takes to find the funds. Enter contests, start a GoFundMe, max out your credit card, secure a private investor, or get a sugar mama. Just remember that your show probably won’t get picked up by a major network and you almost definitely won’t make your money back. The chances of being Issa Rae (Awkward Black Girl) or Ilana Glazer (Broad City) are slim.
Who’s your crew?
Your crew could be you with a camera on selfie mode, or it could be ten people and craft service. If you want your series to be shot professionally, you’ll need actors, make-up artists, a lighting crew, a sound crew, a camera crew, a director, an editor… Start making phone calls.
Practice makes perfect!
Don’t be discouraged if your series doesn’t turn out the way you want it right away, or if the view count is low. Just keep writing, filming, acting and promoting, and your audience will come! There’s nothing more rewarding than telling your stories to people who need to hear them.