Like most actors, I am not a series regular on a huge hit series on a major TV network.
I don’t have the luxury of knowing I have a steady job with a steady income. I don’t have the joy of taking a wild ride with a character as she unfolds for the audience of millions across the world, pausing only for commercial breaks between acts. I don’t get to leave for work looking like I just rolled out of bed and have my face and mop of hair be someone else’s problem (in fact, one day I did roll out of bed, showered and met some friends for a pre-production meeting for a short film, only to have them all bust out laughing when I got there because I looked like a homeless person who got hit by lightning).
However, like an increasing number of actors, I AM a series regular on a webseries. While everyone’s experience with this varies by nature, mine is drastically different than most because ours is a fan series, which means we can’t ever make money off of it. There is to be no fame, fortune or glory for us. We can never be known as a webseries that got picked up by a network to recreate or even a network to release the episodes as they were filmed. The most we can do is hope to entertain our fans, amuse ourselves and stay under the radar of Paramount who owns the Star Trek name. After all, they’re fine with us doing it as long as we don’t make money and don’t have such high production values that it rivals the actual franchise.
So if we can’t make money, why do we bother? Well each of us has our own reasons for doing the show. Some are not actors or crew at all, they’re just friends who were fans and were recruited into the series by the Executive Producer. Some of us auditioned for it and were cast, only to take on crew roles as well. For example, I started off as a main cast member and am now also an associate producer who is in charge of the PR for the series. It means more work, still no pay and little benefit, but to me it’s worth it in terms of gaining experience and also helping gain exposure for the series. Because of the webseries, I’ve been interviewed on the radio, talked to newspapers, led a panel at Comic Con, gained enough experience to start my own film production company and even been recognized at the checkout line at the grocery store.
If this sounds like something that interests you, there is no reason you couldn’t or shouldn’t do it.
I hear it now: But a webseries is haaaard. I don’t know what I’m doooing! FEAR NOT! It’s actually a lot easier than you may think. Just get together some friends and a camcorder. Seriously, it’s that easy! You don’t need to worry about anything else right now, just get an idea and a video camera and run around in the backyard filming it. You can teach yourself to edit and see how it turns out. Watch the footage you have, then watch the footage of something similar to what you’re doing. See how it varies. See how it looks the same sometimes. Learn from it. It’s how everyone started at some point. Once you get more experience with it, you can look into better equipment and better scripts, but there’s no reason you can’t go out and do it right this very moment. Unless it’s raining. If it’s raining, stay inside and drink coffee and watch reruns of Doctor Who.
If you’re still unsure, look up some info! Google filmmaking and stuff and research everything. It’s how I learn everything. I research and read everything I can get my hands on and go from there.
So go do it! After all, a year from today, do you want to still be sitting there wishing you could do it or do you want to have DONE it?