How To Make a Web Series (Part One)

Just a few years ago I would have never predicted I would be spending almost all my time creating “lifestyle” content. Back then I was totally focused on making bloody low-budget horror movies. But I was feeling really burned out after my last feature and decided to give myself a year to just explore and experiment with what interested me. I spent a lot of time getting my internet skills up to speed and learning about the world of internet marketing and online video.

Before I knew it, Hilah and I had launched Hilah Cooking. Learning how to make a web series was a lot of fun and I found myself completely obsessed with internet video. I felt like I had found the perfect combination of filmmaking, publishing, marketing and the geeky search engine stuff I had spent so much time studying.

Perhaps the most gratifying part of it, was that there were a LOT of people who actually wanted to watch this stuff we were making.

This aspect of was refreshingly different than making a weird movie and then trying to figure out a way to market it. It’s actually way more fun to make something there is already a demand for, as opposed to making something nobody might want and trying to build an audience from scratch.

There was already a big demand for online cooking content so we just put our own spin on it and kept making more episodes. In two years it’s gone from being a satisfying hobby to a growing business. It’s still small-scale, but Hilah works on it full-time and we are on-track to building it into something much bigger.

And to MY surprise, I found that I really liked making creative, tightly focused, educational content.

Now it’s time to launch a second web series and use everything I’ve learned from the slow-burn growth of Hilah Cooking.

It will be a micro-budget personality driven show that focuses on a viable market.


The market: Yoga.

The host: Adriene Mishler.

The Brand: Yoga With Adriene.

Even though I’ve been referring to it as a web series, Yoga With Adriene will really be a cross-platform brand.

YOGA WITH ADRIENE

Appropriately, Adriene is another actor that was part of the cast of The Spider Babies. I’ve been excited to work with her on something ever since. Back then, I knew she taught yoga classes but I didn’t know the extent of her background, education or passion for yoga.

She is an incredibly talented actor and performer but her current focus is on building her yoga teaching practice. This project is coming together at just the right time for both of us.

Rock Show scene from "The Spider Babies"

Rock Show scene from “The Spider Babies.” Adriene Mishler, Hilah Johnson and Sarah Kihls.

The series will launch on September. The first wave of episodes will be short (5-7 minutes) and focused on the basics of Yoga.

Right now, we are exploring what the style of the show will be and how to creatively present the content.

A few weeks ago we got together for test shoots. We shot two episodes that will never be released. We got together in the space we’ll be using as the primary “set” and basically just played and experimented.

I want this show to have a completely different look than Hilah Cooking. That show lends itself to bright, poppy, over-saturated colors. For Yoga With Adriene, my goal is to primarily use natural light. The feel should be soft, relaxing and warm. We also explored how to break the content down into smaller pieces and to communicate it in a style that embodies Adriene’s personality.


We’re about 85% there and once we are in production on the show we will continue to shape it as we move forward.

I highly recommend taking some no-pressure creative time at the beginning of any project. Since we weren’t worried about the outcome, we were able to more honestly figure out what we both want the show to be (and what the show wants to be).

Sometimes “playing” beats “planning.”

THE GOALS FOR THIS PROJECT (YEAR ONE)

  1. Use the series to build a full-time “real life” yoga teaching business for Adriene. Adriene already teaches a handful of very popular weekly yoga classes. She’s great at it and she loves doing it. The first goal of this project is to grow and promote these classes so that they bring in a full-time income.
  2. Produce and broadcast at least 100 episodes.
  3. Build a 4-figure recurring monthly income directly from the series. I estimate that this will take 6 to 12 months. This could happen a lot faster if I wasn’t focused on the long-term growth and quality of the brand. We won’t be doing anything that isn’t totally above board. We also won’t be spending money on promotion or marketing. Every niche is different and it takes a little time to figure out exactly where the money is and fine tune it. 4 figures may sound like a small goal, but I’m talking specifically about recurring income here. Meaning, the money that comes in isn’t tied directly to work we did during that month. Getting to 4 figures is the hardest part, but by the time we hit that milestone, we’ll have enough data to ramp things up exponentially from there.
  4. Create a line of products and sell them directly. The exact subject matter and format of these products will be determined after we get feedback from our audience but we already have some pretty great ideas. There is still a very healthy market for Yoga DVDs, so don’t be shocked if that’s a key part of the product mix.

Everything we do for the first year will be focused on hitting the three goals listed above. I haven’t decided how detailed I will be as far as the actual numbers I share here, but I will let you know if we make the goals or if we fall short.

Yoga with Adriene launches September 5th.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a great plan, good luck to you and Adriene. I look forward to seeing how it all turns out.

    • Very well said. These Google updates are great for those who have properly optimized their si;#e&s8230twhich will gradually weed out those who don’t know what they’re doing, or try to use questionable tactics.

  2. Awesome. Thanks for your how-to post! Also, am I going crazy…? I can’t seem to find Part Two…please let me know if it’s in the works! Thank you!

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