Friday 22 March 2013

In search of a bigger (online) audience

This year I've been pondering the subject of finding an audience. I've been watching my friend Carlo Petraccaro search for an online audience for Total Football: The Movie, just as I've watched another friend, Anne Flournoy, search for an audience for her web series, The Louise Log (TLL).

Yesterday I was startled to discover that Dutch Gordon had published his assessment of the problems confronting Anne and TLL on his blog, Comedy TV is Dead. His post is called How a Web-Series Like The Louise Log Can Return To A Bigger Audience.

There are many web-series creators out there looking at the results of their first (or second) season and wondering why they didn’t do better—by that I mean get more views. Anne Flournoy, creator of the excellent but flawed The Louise Log, has made her position clear on the matter; cream doesn’t always rise to the top on the Internet. Quite simply, most of her potential audience has no idea The Louise Log even exists, so she’s decided it’s time for her to more actively promote her show, and if need be, reel in one viewer at a time.
Louise is not alone in searching for an audience.
Anne had posted this—How Can I Get My Stuff To Go Viral?—on her blog. As part of the wider conversation that was taking place at the time, I had asked Anne in an e-mail: Do you want to be a filmmaker, or someone trapped in a cycle of trying to get people to like an old webseries? I suggested she move on to something new. And Anne, to her credit, completely ignored my advice. (But nicely. Anne does everything nicely.)

In Australia we have a saying about "flogging a dead horse." Anne subscribes more to the idea of "flogging the willing horse." More Hard Work has always been her mantra. Or, as Nathan Buckley put it after last year's season-ending defeat: "Harder. Smarter. Longer." And, no, that's not a sexual reference. He was talking about preparing for the new football season.

Meanwhile, Dutch Gordon got to the point—you need to discover those really basic factors that determine success or failure.

There are currently a lot of unsolved problems out there, but more often than not creators are overlooking the really basic factors that are determining success or failure. Too much emphasis has been put on virality, especially as to how it applies to web-series. This post is about the basic things all independent web-series creators should think about before they actively promote their show but most do not.
"But most do not." That's an observation I've made over the last year or so, as well. If you're looking for a larger audience online, read this post by Dutch Gordon in full. It contains a lot of sensible advice.


Anonymous said...

I love this.

Artistic creation is about process, not result. At least that is what we learn early on, and the creation of an independent web series is just that - a process.

Unfortunately, when commerce via clicks and advertising come into the mix, then our attentions are diverted and we focus on result, aka virality.

I'll continue to be process oriented, I hope. Going viral would be lovely, but if I wanted to do that, I'd post videos of my kittehs engaged in antics. I'm a storyteller, not a content creator. I cheer my shared name creator on!

Ed Love said...

As usual, fascinating. I can relate to your point, PS, as I'd much prefer to just write. Alas ...

Anne Flournoy said...

Heh heh heh, Henry. I actually considered your suggestion very seriously. You've been a huge supporter of the series and talk with so many people working in both film and on the web everyday- while I'm here in virtual (and literal) isolation most of the time just trying to make something- I'd be a fool not to! I have appreciated your having my back more than you might know.

Princess Scribe, I thank you for cheering me on and am very much looking forward to watching Interglobal Trading Fund. There are so many people who don't know how to spell our name, it's great to meet someone who does.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, Henry, I have been doing exactly what the article tells me not to:

Working hard and focusing on my own website
Attempting to rank number one in Google for my novel name
Trying to build hits on my own domain

This article makes perfect sense. Although Kevin Costner from Field of Dreams might not agree.