A while back, I plugged the webseries, Workshop: The Series, focusing on a series of struggling Los Angeles actors. Since then, the show has been picked up for distribution by Hulu. Season 2 launched on Hulu last week, and the creators claim this makes it one of the first independently-produced half-hour comedies on the web.
In this interview, star/creator Nate Golan explains how the deal came about:
"Getting the Hulu deal was months in the making. When we were still in production on Season Two of WORKSHOP in October 2010, a friend of mine, Canyon Prince, contacted me and told me he was running the first ever New Media Day at the Anaheim International Film Festival, and asked if I wanted to include WORKSHOP. We put together a 10-minute first episode of Season Two, and previewed it in Anaheim.
"I met a guy named Keith Knee, who had helped make another web series, Blue Movies, one of the most watched shows on the Internet. Keith told me he really liked the show, and though we could present it to Hulu. Four months later, with Keith's help and advice, and the help of another associate of mine, Garrett Law at Attention Span Media, Season 2 was picked up!"
I mention this because it points to two important things to consider when trying to break in. First, Golon and his team took the bull by the horns and made their own content. They had an entire season to learn the ropes of writing, producing, directing, acting and editing their own content. As easy as it is to get digital cameras and editing equipment these days, there's no reason to not take advantage of it.
Secondly, Golon networked and found a way to get his content into the hands of the right people. In doing so, he brought his content to a much larger audience and if that's a success, Golon might eventually graduate to being able to pay his bill by doing what he loves.
I'd be remiss if I didn't point out two things:
First, Kickstarter.com is a great way to fund your projects. Workshop: The Series raised $10,500 for the budget of their second season through these efforts. Take a look at their page here to get a sense of how the site works.
Secondly, as I'm friends with many casting directors and casting associates, I probably should point out that one of Workshop's core jokes isn't exactly reflective of reality. In the premiere of season two, these actor workshops are presented as a scam and as a way for unscrupulous casting directors to line their pockets from desperate actors. I can state that ALL of the people I know in casting have indeed used these workshops to scout new talent and have indeed called in many of the workshop students for auditions. One such acquaintance was able to rattle off a long list of workshop actors whom they had booked on their shows, let alone the much longer list of actors who were called in, but didn't make it past the audition stage.
Don't let that get in the way of the joke - I just know that casting professionals are really tired of the accusation, so I'd be remiss not to offer the correction here.
Here's episode 1 of season 2: