[Editor’s Note: Welcome to Diary of a Web Series, the column that offers you an entertaining look into the machinations of a zero-budget web series made possible by an idea, fortitude, and democratized tools of production. For all the background on why we started publishing Diary of a Web Series – and why we think it’s great – check out the first installment right here. You can watch the web series the diary is about, too. It’s called STRAY and it’s good. Click here to watch it. And you can catch all the installments of Diary of a Web Series right here.]
Sitting in one of the conference rooms at the Made in NY Media Center in Dumbo, I counted my chickens before they hatched. I was at a panel about promoting your web series at Brooklyn Web Fest, and the creators and filmmakers in the room seemed to know precious little about PR. Talented creators like Monica West, who just won Best Actress for Best Thing You’ll Ever Do at the Independent Series Awards, asked questions to which I already knew the answers, questions about structuring a press release and email etiquette when reaching out to reporters. I might’ve been a web series debutante, but I was a veteran publicist.
“I’m rich,” said my ego. Thanks to my PR background, my web series would soon be heralded the next Broad City or High Maintenance.
But I wasn’t rich. I was dumb.
I was young and naive those six months ago, not yet privy to the central tenet of promoting a digital series: No one cares about your web series, bro.
Not your BFF or your mom. Not your coworkers. Not your high school friends or your college friends or any friends, really. Not your long-lost cousin with whom you’ve just reunited. Not your Board of Trustees. Not the nice Romanian man working the register at the deli you frequent during lunch. Not Jesus. Not Buddha. Not Allah. Not Yahweh. Not Earth, Wind & Fire (actually, I think that’s a band, not pagan gods, but they don’t care either). Not the guy, girl or gender nonconforming person you’re dating. Not your children. Not your dealer. Not your tax attorney. Not your mistress or your manstress. Not your maharishi. And most certainly not any blogger, editor, podcaster or producer you contact.
NO. ONE. CARES.
No amount of flackery could influence that stolid truth. My perceived advantage withered at the face of an army of unanswered emails. To date, I have sent hundreds, if not thousands, of emails to bloggers, reporters, friends and other creators, resulting in what can charitably be described as a modest following.
When other web series creators discover that PR is my day job, they invariably ask me for advice, but my expertise is in another field entirely. It’s like asking an NFL reporter to cover forex trading platforms. You need a financial reporter for that.
I expressed my frustration to one of my digital pen pals – Monica West, who else? – who gave me invaluable advice: “It doesn’t matter how many people see it. It matters that the right people see it.”
As if on cue, a niche streaming platform and a production company contacted me shortly thereafter. I’m not exactly sure what will come of those connections, but they served to uphold Monica’s thesis.
Maybe I was wrong. Maybe someone does care about my web series. It just feels like no one when you’re shooting for everyone.
Pablo Andreu is not a creator or a scriptwriter. He’s certainly not a filmmaker. He’s just a guy who decided to make a web series called STRAY. It’s a bromantic comedy in which a brash gay dude and a nerdy straight guy talk sex and relationships while reconnecting in New York City years after college. He hopes it’s funny. By some inscrutable alchemy, his scribblings have wormed their way into The New York Times, McSweeney’s and some others. Usually, you can find him babbling here: https://medium.com/@pdandreu
Bio photo by Alison Bourdon.