We're happy to bring back our regular interview series with those making the digital creation space a better place. Check back here each week for new interviews.
This week our own Dan Speerin gave Michelle Rose Micor of netTVnow six questions about how she's changing the entertainment beat . (http://www.nettvnow.com/)
If you've ever created a digital project, you know how hard it is to find press willing to talk about it. There's been a long learning curve for the mainstream press in understanding digital creation. Even when legacy media has given web series the occasional shoutout, the pieces don't feel authentic and many times they're lacking an understanding of the space we love to create in. That's why we wanted to speak with Michelle Rose Micor of netTVnow, who has dedicated a site just to the art of web series creation. In fact, just the mere mention of the site on twitter got some community members shouting their vouching.
It's been almost two years since T.O. WebFest got media across Canada to proclaim TV's reign officially over, yet there is still no arts beat devoted to talking up Canadian digital projects.
Sadly, much like our artistic ancestors had to do before us, we looked south to America. And that's where we found one woman who is changing the arts beat, one interview at a time.
IWCC: On behalf of the Canadian community, the cheque... err check is in the mail. Now, tell us about "netTVnow" and why you decided to create it.
MRM: I should preface this by saying that I work full-time in public relations, so the publicist in me saw a problem and wanted to fix it but netTVnow came about in a few ways. It’s the brainchild of hearing my friends within the web series community having trouble finding press or web series specific media that they could turn to, and I wanted to help.
At the time, I was also writing for a few online publications and found that the majority of my focus was on web series, so with the support and constant ego boosts from the likes of my girlfriend, who actually did a bunch of mockups of my logo to show me this could become a reality, RJ Lackie (All For One) and Ellen Simpson (Carmilla), I finally decided to bite the bullet.
I turned to my friends within the community and reached out to those involved in some of my favorite series and overwhelmed them with questions on what they wanted to see, what were they seeing too much of, what kind of resource would you want this to be. It’s feedback like that, that really shaped the site to be what you see today. It’s nowhere near perfect, but I’m always trying and looking for ways to improve it and make it the resources that the community and web series fans want it to be.
IWCC: What were the web projects that originally got you so excited about online entertainment? (follow up) What excites you now about online entertainment.
MRM: I stumbled upon this gif set on Tumblr of a girl eating cookies in her dorm room that then cut to another girl drinking what looked like blood from a mug! As you’ve probably guessed, it was Carmilla and from what I’ve seen and heard from others, Carmilla has been the “gateway web series” that’s turned a lot of heads and I am so grateful for it and the team behind it. It really opened my eyes to other types of entertainment that wasn’t mainstream. After Carmilla, I fell into the rabbit hole of web series and stumbled across The Lizzie Bennett Diaries and the rest is history.
I think online entertainment has changed so much and what I love specifically about web series are the lengths that creative teams will go to tell a story. Transmedia is amazing and I don’t think some people understand how intricate it is and how detail-oriented the people behind it have to be. Another thing I’d highlight is the recognition that web series have been getting, where organizations like The Emmy’s and The Canadian Screen Awards have begun including web content in their nominations.
But the biggest thing that I’ve enjoyed is the accessibility that online content gives creators. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve interviewed creators and heard their story of just having that creative itch. Not everyone is going to have a budget for filming or investors, but that doesn’t mean they can’t tell an amazing story. After researching series to feature, you won’t believe how many of them have close to zero levels of funding and yet are still being recognized within the industry.
IWCC: Your website's schedule reminds me a bit of how YouTubers calendar their own week. Talk to us about the specific days you've set aside for promoting creators from crowdfunding through to series.
MRM: When I freelanced, I started doing a ‘Web Series Wednesday’ column and it just stuck with me. In regards to the other weekly columns, I talked to a few friends in the industry and some of the things they were looking for were trailer features, funding highlights and episodic recaps just to name a few. How I landed on these specific columns, I honestly couldn’t really tell you, but a little alliteration goes a long way.
IWCC: Noted, netTVnow, noted. You must see A LOT of web series running the site, can you give creators a few things overall you think they could improve on when it comes to marketing and publicizing their series?
MRM: A lot is probably an understatement, haha but seeing those emails flood my inbox is honestly so rewarding. I’m a bit of a one-woman show at the moment, with a few guest posts from some amazing writers here and there, but there are days that feel like I’m not doing enough, so seeing those emails and inquiries really keep me going.
In terms of marketing and publicizing web series, know your audience. I can’t stress that enough. Hashtags are keys but there are right and wrong ways to do it. One of the biggest things I see that turn people off from wanting to check out your series is when you see blasted tweets like, “Hey @mrose220, check out our series, link to series, etc.” It’s a very generic way to reach out and it doesn’t help your case if when I look at your account you’ve sent the same exact thing to about 50 other people.
IWCC: What are your future goals with netTVnow?
MRM: When I launched netTVnow last May, I made a list of a few goals I was looking to hit and I’m so proud to say that at being a few months shy of a year, I’ve met a few of them! One of the things I wanted to do was create partnerships with key web fests and within the first six months of launching, I partnered with NYC Web Fest and Vancouver Web Fest. Establishing credibility and growing the social media presence within the web series community is and will continue to be something I strive to do, making netTVnow your number one resource for everything web series.
A few things I’d still like to do? I’d love to create a Midwest Web Fest, I’d love to see netTVnow moderating web series panels at events or partnering with web series. There’s honestly so much opportunity out there and I’m hoping to hit those milestones, slowly but surely! However, something I’m in the midst of doing, is working on webinars with key web series influencers which will be free and open to anyone, with an option to donate a few dollars which will then be donated to a web serie currently going through funding.
At the end of the day, I’m very much focused on giving back to the community as much as it has given back to me. I’ve met people that are now very close friends and I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting people who are helping one of my dreams come true in working on a web series, by bringing me onto their projects. It’s been a very rewarding experience thus far and I’m so thankful for this community that only continues to grow and support one another.
IWCC: And we're all very happy you do what you do. So, let's ask what everybody has been thinking. How can they pitch you a story? (And if ya could give them one more tip on what works best when pitching media)
MRM: If you’re looking to pitch me a story or a general inquiry to take a look at your web series, I’ve created a pretty basic online form making it easier for people to send over their work. Otherwise, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Something I’ll call out when submitting your work is to give a bit of a synopsis of your series. What’s it about? Is there something that stands out that I should know about? Help me get a better picture of what your series is. Another thing I also see are the follow up emails and trust me, I get it. I work in PR sometimes you need results like yesterday, but sending multiple emails that go from professional to, “Well guess you’re not interested…” or even insulting me, isn’t going to help your case. I think people often forget that media is a huge factor when it comes to credibility, so I’d urge everyone looking to get covered to be as professional as possible. Imagine you’re pitching your series to a producer or a director and maintain that same demeanor in working with press. It goes a long way.
Find @NetTvNow online:
Facebook - netTVnow
Instagram - @netTVnow
Tumblr - netTVnow
Twitter - @netTVnow
Website - www.netTVnow.com