Jump to content

How long should my episodic youtube series be?


kaylee

Recommended Posts

Hi guys!!!

I need some input here...

My new project is im making an episodic youtube series to get my name out there as a director and bc my parents just moved to this beautiful mountain town, and i HAVE to use my 5d3 raw to film something there!!! it would be crazy not to. and im inspired

so, basically what im thinking is something with a paranormal, surreal vibe, think the shining/kubrick + the x files ÷ twin peaks lol. i think im gonna do something with black eyed kids (its a thing) because... how easy is that? its not a transparent water monster that looks like pyramid head haha

SO, my question is: how long should i make these short, NO BUDGET episodes? and how many episodes should there be for a short 'season'?

I'm thinking:

(a) with the absolute freedom i have, they can/should be whatever length i want, AND, luckily

(b) i want them to be short... like 6-10 min per 'episode'? and i feel like thats good cuz

(c) PEOPLE LIKE SHORT VIDEOS. so if i can get in a bit of storytelling, a scare, and a cliffhanger, great. wanna watch more? its coming up next in your queue! autoplay baby!!! so, if i do something like that...

(d) how many episodes should there be? cuz of course im gonna write this all at once. it needs to have continuity, and it basically has one storyline, as opposed to a bunch of separate short films. im thinking 6-9 episodes aesthetically, plus that way the whole thingll be +/- 60-90 min like traditional shows

THATS IT!!!! what do you guys think? lotta nuances at play here

my "friend" justin said that i should make it all way shorter, like a 30 min total time, for reasons im not clear on, but i think hes missing the point that this is ZERO BUDGET. let me reiterate that. therefore, my actors cost the same whether theyre on set for 3 hours or 9 hours – and of course i want to take ADVANTAGE of that freedom in my writing, and the PAGE is the time to do so

clever writing is my only chance at this being a success!!!

what do you think???

is justin right that i should boil this down to like three ten min episodes?? 

i feel like i should release, say six, one by one, with a period of time between episodes as i work on post, as i try to build a following for it, and leave the end of the sixth episode on a major cliffhanger, then come back after a few months and wrap it up

IDK!!!

so help me out guys please and thank uuuu ❤️ ?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 80
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

UPDATE: okay ive got it!! (that was a long bath) im basically gonna make a pilot, like 14 min long, divided into 3 parts, so theyre 4:56ish (under 5 min episodes) thereby acknowledging all t

Frequency and viewer retention. Correct. To really "work" YouTube she should plan to do regular VLOG, BTS or some other relevant, regularly-scheduled uploads to the channel. Over time it will "

I get that, but are web series that popular anymore? I don’t really know. I remember them being popular 2-3 years ago but I haven’t heard much about them lately. When I said short film, I meant a

  • Super Members

Start with a few but leave it open to sequals.

If you write three episodes so that they stand on their own it won't be to overwhelming. Its always good to have short term goals.

But leave a window that sets the story up for more.

If you commit to 10 episodes and get bored after 5 it might be a pain.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Following Mattias I'd suggest three - if it's good then your audience will let you know that they want more. 

Making it too short and having an enthusiastic audience is much better than making it too long and risk everyone getting bored.

Once you've introduced one idea or joke or theme don't assume the credits last - you'll need to keep them coming (your "black eyes" will result in an initial one-off "wow" but you won't get the same reaction in episode 9!) This comment based on experience of live productions rather than film.

"I wish I'd done more" is inspirational and a motivation to keep going... 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say make your episodes 3-5 minutes long and then base the number of episodes on the structure of the season/series arc.

The soulless children is a great reveal for an episode... is it the first... or the last?

From reading your previous posts, you seem to understand story structure, so let the structure of your story dictate the number of episodes... write the entire piece as a long short film or short feature and then it will be pretty obvious where the episodic breaks should be. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Are you talking about ideas for making it an easier sell?  If so, to sell a season of shorter form content I have been told (by several agents) that 8-10 episodes is generally the idea, episode length doesn't matter as much.  For some reason the 8-10 episode number has always been a point of contention in all discussions we have had.  If you don't go 8-10, make it a trilogy of short films.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know.. I honestly thought 1-5 minutes was more of a youtube standard. And I don't see any problem with infinity episodes (or as many as you need). Even if the end is just perfect, I didn't think people were really bothered by "waiting to see what happens next!!" and "wondering how it's all gonna end!!!" for a loooong time. If the end never came, it might be better than if it was only two episodes.

But I'M obviously more interested in you making the story right, not caring about the rules. Not that that's the most valuable principle in a webseries.. just maybe keep it in mind, if you start to feel like you're making too many sacrifices

Link to post
Share on other sites

If selling it is something you're after, giving thought to the format and "packaging" is very much worth the time.  It will open up more potential buyers and therefore give you a better chance of making a return and being able to continue doing it for a living. Sometimes not worrying about that opens you up creatively and you work with more freedom.  

That said...let's be real, it doesn't take that much time to come up with a skeleton outline that has breaks where the episodes would end, doesn't even have to be cliffhangers.  Shooting it as a series is much different than shooting it as a no breaks short.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kaylee, this is a great idea and something that I have been toying with too. As far as selling you or your idea, I don't know that I can offer much help. I am personally at the point where I no longer care who watches or buys. Doing is enough for me. 

With that said, I support whatever you make and whatever length it ends up. Please keep us all up to date. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

@Neumann Films sure, of course. But...

3 hours ago, Neumann Films said:

let's be real, it doesn't take that much time to come up with a skeleton outline that has breaks where the episodes would end, doesn't even have to be cliffhangers.

^this sounds a little bit like saying, "It's not that difficult to be a great writer." Which I would think most writers disagree with.

And if we aren't all amazing writers, we might want to realize it could be a better story without the part where we realize there should be another scare near the end of this 6 minute film and do our best to force an unwarranted one in the 30 seconds we have left, for instance.

I was just thinking like, make it twelve minutes instead of ten if that's less jumbled. Have 13 episodes, sure. Convenience and standards are nice, but better is better.

Link to post
Share on other sites

THIS IS ALL GREAT FEEDBACK I LOVE U GUYS ❤️❤️❤️

so i came across this short, and i wanted to get some opinions. in a word i think that the production is clearly pretty good, it doesnt come across as amateurish, but the writing just isnt there. i dont love the characters, etc...with all due respect to this director!

its 12 min long if u can handle that lol

what im trying to make, taking advantage of my complete and total lack of crew/etc, is something with pacing along the lines of The Shining or 2001 A Space Odyssey... slower than the usual stuff, MUCH slower. very visual. not a lot of dialogue. graphic shots, plenty of those with no camera movement...

anyway, what do you think of this short? any additional thoughts/feedback/ideas about what im doing are MUCH appreciated~! i have a whole bunch of notes, and im thinking about formatting...

U GUYS ARE THE BEST!!!!! what would i do without you idek

Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t watched the short yet, but I’ve been at my BS job all day and wanted to reply to a few things that were written. 

I think Luke’s original post about thinking how you want to market the web series is the only way to go. I cannot even begin to imagine how one would go about making a narrative piece at our level without some forethought and planning.

So with that said, I believe you are one hundred percent correct in thinking about episode length. I also think you are correct in wanting to keep them as short as posssible. Back in the day when Warner Bros. made all of their famous cartoons we all grew up on, they surmised that the perfect length for their animated shorts were between 7 and 8 minutes... so a 7-8 page script. It fit well in their programming and they learned that it was the perfect length for keeping people’s attentions. 

Today, with people’s even shorter attention spans, a YouTube web series episode should be even shorter. I would try to not go over 5 minutes per episode, especially for the first few. Now that isn’t to say every episode has to be five minutes on the dot. Perhaps your first is three and your second is five and your third is seven and your fourth... your story beats should guide you. 

If you write a well written piece that respects the genre, everything should fall into place. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We get more views/interaction on IG than YouTube. Perhaps start with <= 1 minute to build a following on IG, then do longer work for YouTube and bring your fans over? You could also do 1 min versions for IG and longer edits for YT (we do that too).

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mercer said:

I think Luke’s original post about thinking how you want to market the web series is the only way to go. I cannot even begin to imagine how one would go about making a narrative piece at our level without some forethought and planning.

agree

10 hours ago, Neumann Films said:

Are you talking about ideas for making it an easier sell?  If so, to sell a season of shorter form content I have been told (by several agents) that 8-10 episodes is generally the idea, episode length doesn't matter as much.  For some reason the 8-10 episode number has always been a point of contention in all discussions we have had.  If you don't go 8-10, make it a trilogy of short films.

this makes 100% sense to me based on my knowledge of things, but wtf do i kno

8 hours ago, Neumann Films said:

If selling it is something you're after, giving thought to the format and "packaging" is very much worth the time.  It will open up more potential buyers and therefore give you a better chance of making a return and being able to continue doing it for a living. Sometimes not worrying about that opens you up creatively and you work with more freedom.  

@Neumann Films really appreciate your advice man, ive been following your work for a long time and ive learned a ton. thank you

and thanks to everyone whos posted in this thread, im taking all of your input under advisement.

and just to be clear: i am not trying to create a property to sell per se, im trying to sell myself into just *starting* a career writing, directing,  whatever. i have plenty of ideas lol. get some meetings get my foot in some doors. on the other hand, it would be GREAT if i could make something where they wanna buy "it", or more likely pay me to make more of it – super, thatd be amazing. in any event itd be waaay better than working at a p p l, which drove me insane

2 hours ago, mercer said:

been at my BS job all day

i feel you. i swear my creative mind is functioning again, after being paralyzed by stress for a variety of reasons for years, after being away from my job for just a few months – its scary how much better im feeling lol*

*this is not unique to me even ppl with excellent mental health go crazy after working there for 3 years or so

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, kaylee said:

a p p l, which drove me insane

i feel you. i swear my creative mind is functioning again, after being paralyzed by stress for a variety of reasons for years, after being away from my job for just a few months – its scary how much better im feeling lol*

*this is not unique to me even ppl with excellent mental health go crazy after working there for 3 years or so

Which Apple Store did you work at? I worked at the one in Otay Ranch down in SD for about a year and a half.

Also, which mountain town are your folks in, if that's not too straightforward?

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, kaylee said:

HAAAAA thats too funny i worked at UTC ???

its called Idyllwild~! prolly just gonna make that the name of the series, it looks pretty in a serifed font and it sounds cool. and theres a Y in it

its awesome up there!

360º views

Are you going to include the tram in your film? Trapped in the tram with a monster could be scary short.

Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, jcs said:

Are you going to include the tram in your film? Trapped in the tram with a monster could be scary short.

thatd be dope but it sounds hard... i dont think the tram ppl would go for that lol

itd be sicc tho, im already scared of heights

cap260.jpg

cap259.jpg

one of the great things about "black eyed kids"/"black eyed children" is that its just some vague creeypasta bs... are they ghosts? demons? aliens? who knows! i can write whatever i want! lol

Link to post
Share on other sites

You could start the story with the black-eyed children first being noticed on the tram. Then the horror happens on top of the mountain. Even shoot the tram part with a phone, etc. if there are tram people on the tram (haven't ridden in a while, don't recall if it's just riders).

You could use this music, perhaps for a horror music video:

Using 'opposite' music can be pretty powerful. Also the band name of course ;)  (you'd want to test the song upload to YT first, just to make sure they'll just stick an ad on it vs. block the video).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...