5 tips for creating a successful web series with your best friends
Dan Robert and Lisha Brooks, the co-creators of our beloved web series BEARDS, give us tips and tricks on how to create a great web series with your BFF. The duo have been best friends for 10 years, and BEARDS marks the first series they have created and produced together. Here is how they did it:
1. Think of an idea you truly love.
The idea you have should be something you wake up in the morning excited to think about and talk about. It should be something that you feel like you know, but not something you know enough that it doesn’t challenge you every time you sit down to write it. Some of the best ideas are the hardest to break. It helps to do that difficult task with someone else, someone you love and trust.
2. Take action.
There are hundreds of excuses as to why you shouldn’t produce something (“Where will we get the money?”; “What if it sucks?”; “How can we pull this off when we both have day jobs?”) and a lot of times those reasons can be louder than the reasons why you should do it. But you can’t wait for someone to drop an opportunity in your lap. If you’re like us, you need some self-induced pressure. Everything we’ve ever made was the product of a conversation where we pushed past our doubts, pulled out our planners, circled a date that we were both free, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work.
3. Beg, borrow, and steal.
You’re going to have to find someone who will let you rent their limo for $20/hr (you’ll give them the beautiful footage you shoot so they have it for their website), you’re going to have to work up the courage to ask your friend if you can shoot in their little craftsman cottage that’s perfect for the period piece you’re trying to produce on $2K (they’ll be happy to have you, just make sure you lay down ram board so the floors don’t get scratched and send them thank you flowers after you wrap), you’re going to have to buy super specific prop and costume items that you’ll never use again, but save all your receipts. (If they aren’t covered in cake, you’d be shocked at the things you can return the day after the shoot to get cash back.)
4. Lean on your friends, family, and community.
You’ve got to find a group of people to cast and crew up with who are down to get their hands dirty, and who will do it for the love of doing it.You’ve got to find people who want the same things you do — tap a friend’s shoulder who wants to take a break from their office job for a weekend, or an acquaintance who studied film in school and is still building their portfolio. (Pay may be little or next to nothing but at the very least you must feed everyone — you want to make sure no one is losing money from joining your shoot.) If you’re at a loss, there are lots of resources online: try your alumni Facebook groups for crew members, or Actor’s Access [link], which is a free way to find talent.
5. Find the joy in the chaos.
Things will go wrong. The woman you found on Craigslist who is going to bring you chickens to “act” in a scene will be an hour late. It’s okay. It’s hilarious. Make sure you take the time to laugh at it all and have a glass of water and a granola bar while you wait for her. You’re gonna need it.
xoxo Dan & Lisha
Here is a little behind the scenes look at what it is like to be on set with this creative duo: