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Andre Meadows’ YouTube Tips [Video]


One of my favorite YouTubers of all time, Andre Meadows from Black Nerd Comedy, is coming to NMX this year to share his tips LIVE in two sessions: Show Me the Money! Ways to Monetize Your Web Series and In Search Of Super Fans. To give you a little sneak peak of what you can expect to learn from Andrew, check out this video about his biggest YouTube mistakes:

Mistake #1: Naming your channel incorrectly. Is your name catchy? Is it friendly for search engines? Is it easy to remember? If not, it’s not a good name for you.

Mistake #2: Not attacking YouTube harder. This isn’t just a place for cat videos! There’s so much you can do with YouTube, so don’t underestimate this platform. Know why you want to be on YouTube, and have a plan for it. Be totally dedicated to your strategy.

Mistake #3:  Lacking consistency. If you don’t give your channel attention on a regular basis, you’ll lose your momentum. A week or two is like years, so if you stop uploading content, your audience will fade away.

Mistake #4: Thinking YouTube is the only option. There are a lot of video hosting options out there. Your audience may not be on YouTube. Investigate and find what works for you.

Mistake #5: Being a perfectionist. You have to let things go. No video you create will ever be perfect. You have to get your video to a place where you think it’s good and then put it out there. Otherwise, you’ll never see a return on your investment of time.

Mistake #6: Creating multiple channels. Unless your topics are vastly different, resist the urge to make several different YouTube channels. Create one channel and put all of your content together. Especially when you’re starting out, it’s easier to build an audience in one place.

Mistake #7: Freaking out about it. We’re all learning and even the people at the top can learn something new.

What YouTube mistakes would you add to Andre’s list?

Don’t forget to get your ticket to NMX (formerly BlogWorld) to meet Andre in person and attend both of his YouTube sessions (as well as other WebTV sessions). And, find out about all the great blogging, podcasting, and WebTV speakers here.

How to Get More Fans for Your Web Series


No matter what kind of content you create online, it can be hard to find new fans who are interested in checking out what you’re offering. In this short video from Jonathan Robbins, creator of the dramatic web series Clutch, he gives some advice on how to reach a half a million views – without even giving up your creative license.

In this video, Robbins makes a good point: often, it is challenging to make strides growing your audience if you are also sticking true to the story you want to tell. It’s a balancing act between giving the people what they want and doing what you think is best. But as he points out, you don’t have to sacrifice your artistic freedom in order to get more fans. It’s about being smart with your resources.

Do you think you have to sell out to make money with your web series? Sound off in the comments below!

If you want more great advice straight from the experts about creating web series, check out the Web TV & Video track at NMX Las Vegas. See what the pros like Andre Meadows, Tara Platt, Kristen Nedopak, and Casey McKinnon have to say about finding your audience in their panel, In Search of Super Fans, just one of the sessions you can attend this January!

Comigo CEO Dov Moran Talks About the Future of Smart TV


Do you think current smart TV allows easy integration between viewing programs and using the Internet? Comigo CEO Dov Moran (best known for developing the first flash drive, which sold to SanDisk for $1.6 Billion in 2006), thinks the current solutions don’t allow enough of an integrated experience. Check out what he has to say about the future of smart TVs:

Comigo is an interesting company in that they are B2B instead of B2C. Rather than having to purchase a Comigo box as a consumer, the company is approaching television providers with this solution, so you as the consumer would get Comigo the same way you get a cable/satellite box now. Dov went on to demo Comigo, and the features included:

  • Inviting friends to watch a show with you
  • Targeted polls and games based on the show you’re watching
  • The ability to chat with friends while watching a show together
  • Product pages with items for sale that directly relate to what you’re watching
  • The ability to pull up additional information about actors, players, etc. who are on screen
  • Connection with your smartphone or tablet to take your TV with you

It really is a very interesting smart TV solution, especially for those of you uploading web series, as it brings the Internet to the consumer via TV in a fully integrated way.

What do you think? Is Dov right, are current smart TVs not actually “smart” enough for consumer needs? Would you rather a smart TV solution like Comigo that you get from your TV provider, or do you want to be in control as the consumer and choose your own solution from the market?

5 Things I Will Never Do Again When Producing a Web Series


I had a blast making a web series with some of my good friends, and I think it turned out funny and not at all thought provoking, which is exactly what we were going for, so I’m happy about that. It’s called The Next Best Web Series, because it pokes fun at itself and at the process of making a web series.

Speaking of the process of making a web series, if I were to make the NEXT Next Best Web Series (or a second season of it) there are things I would do differently. To put it bluntly, there are at least 5 things I would NEVER do again when producing a web series.

1. Writing the scripts as you go

If you can avoid it, don’t write the scripts for the episodes as you go. In other words, don’t write one episode, organize the shoot, shoot it, edit the episode, and then decide to write another episode…and so on. This is fine if you’re just “shooting from the hip” so to speak, and you’re not sure if this is something you really want to do in your life, but if you made a conscious decision to shoot multiple episodes, or a full season, it’s much better to have all of the scripts ready to go, or at least half of them.

There are two main reason why this is the case:

  • It helps when organizing shooting locations and times in advance, and sometimes you can shoot a few episodes together if they take place at the same location.
  • You WILL discover new jokes, storylines, and big character moments as you write the second, third, and fourth scripts, that you may want to set up in an earlier episode. OR you may set up something in a first episode that you later realize cannot be easily bookended.

Remember, you can always change the script easily, but changing an episode after it’s shot is what the actors and crew  call “something I don’t really want to do.”

2. Long Tarantino-like “clever” word play and tangents

As a writer, and as someone who has many a long conversation with himself in his own head, I like to write long, dare I say witty, dialogue. You know what doesn’t work well in a web series format? Long, dare I say witty dialogue. You need to jam pack so much into a small window, and the most important thing you need to do is tell the story first.

If you’re writing a comedy, the story should be funny, and not just rely on the banter the characters have while going through the story. If the story is funny, then everything will fall into place around it, and this is never truer than with a web series, because everything needs to be staccato dialogue. If you really need a character to blast off, then make sure it’s worth it, and if you don’t have a lot of long winded speeches or long winded pointless dialogue, then these blast off moments will stick out in the way that they should.

3. Complicated, shocking scenes

At the end of our first season of The Next Best Web Series, I wrote three episodes with a very ridiculous premise that involved accidental drug taking, a lemonade stand, a bride-to-be, and a boy band. That might sound funny, and in another world we might have been able to make it work, but it was nowhere near the tone of our other episodes. So just because a scenario is funny, doesn’t mean it’s right for your show. One of the things about making a web series is you feel this freedom to do whatever you want with no restraints on content for the most part. That can really screw you over. Keep in mind, it’s not a sketch comedy show (unless it is) and there’s an ongoing story (unless there isn’t) that you should adhere to. The word “series” in web series suggests some kind of ongoing story line — otherwise it’s just another Youtube video. Oh, and back to the complicated, shocking scenes — your director won’t like it a whole lot, your actors will feel kind of uncomfortable, and you will likely not have the budget or the resources to pull it off. But, you know, details.

4. Many characters in one room all at once in almost every damn scene

Ok, this was not my fault at all. In my web series, I had a COLLECTION of great actors, and the collection grew as the season went on. They all killed their parts and were so ridiculously funny with each other that I found it hard or impossible to leave out anybody or skimp someone on their lines. Never mind when I brought in a couple guest stars who also happened to kill it.

With a web series, because of the nature of the format, you think in real time a lot, and not necessarily in TV time. In other words, you kind of want to get everything done in one room or location over the course of a few minutes, instead of cutting to multiple scenes, with maybe different combinations of characters in each, much like a sitcom would do.

It’s perfectly easy to do this, and it requires the planning ahead and writing the scripts in advance that I just did not do, but it’s also helpful for diving into each character more, which is what I really wish I was able to do. When you get all the characters in one scene, it’s just plain difficult to shoot and not always beneficial to the characters. Much like the stuff about long winded lines, they have their place when executed correctly and not overdone, and the chaos of having so many characters in one spot at one time will be funnier the less you use it.

5. Forcing the hand of the actor through detailed action

This I learned about in a backwards way. My director would often tell me to cut down on the length of the script, and for good reason. Since sometimes I was very in love with everything that I wrote, even though I would find out later that miraculously it wasn’t all golden nuggets, I would cheat and cut down on the action and scene description to reduce pages in the script. It worked brilliantly, except not in the way that I had intended. The scenes when shot were still too long, and the director was very much aware of this. However, with less detailed action for each actor, they somehow came up with their own action…almost as if they were also thinking about their character.

What came from this in my later episodes was a freedom for the actors to react, move, and emote in ways that I never began to think about, and it allowed the director to think freely as well. Obviously if there is something super specific, and it just has to be done, put it down in the script.

I am not an expert by any means, but simply gathered my own thoughts after going through the process. If you want to see what came of it, please check out the episodes for yourself. If you have any thoughts or follow-ups to your experience while producing a web series, please feel free to comment below or reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook.

How to Make a Video Using Video Scribing


Video scribing (or videoscribing or just plain “scribing”) is a pretty cool technique that I’m seeing more and more often online. With this technique, you draw using a screen capturing program or white board and speed it up to match an audio presentation. It requires a little artistic skill, but it’s a great option if you don’t like to be on camera.

It’s also a great option to use as a pattern interrupt. If all of your videos are just you talking to the camera, things can start to get a little boring. Doing a video that’s a little different in terms of format can spice things up.

I always thought that you had to be some kind of video genius to make a video scribing video, but our friend Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income breaks down the process in the video tutorial below. It’s not easy, but it is manageable even for video newbies like me!

It you love Pat’s video tutorials as much as I do, make sure to pick up a ticket for NMX where he’ll be presenting Proven Methods to Use Free in Your Business to Get More Traffic, More Subscribers and More Customers. It’s a must see for all bloggers, podcasters, and video/web TV series producers!

Early bird pricing ends September 28th, so don’t delay! You can buy tickets here.

Turning Your Mission into an Entertaining Web Series


Constantly I get ideas for videos. Crazy ideas. Funny ideas. Ideas that people have labeled “impossible.” Often they become missions for me to make happen.

In January 2008 I successfully persuaded IKEA to allow me to live and sleep in one of their stores for an entire week. The result was the web series “Mark Lives in IKEA.” It received over 1.8 million views and got IKEA more publicity in the U.S. than in the history of the company.

Another web series, “Mark on AirTran,” featured me staying on a commercial airplane non-stop for a month to get over my fear of flying. I wound up setting a Guinness World Record for most scheduled flights in a month. The airline even put my face on one of their planes, which was quite surreal.

Most recently I launched, “The Bill Murray Show starring Mark Malkoff” on My Damn Channel in which I attempt to get Bill Murray to have dinner with me at my apartment in New York City. It’s a weekly web series that doesn’t end until Bill Murray agrees to have dinner with me at my place.

Here are five tips for turning your mission into a successful web series:

1. Be Authentic

Too many times individuals do videos based on what they “think” will get noticed or be popular. This rarely ever works. My strong advice is to only do work you care deeply about. When content creators do videos on a subject they truly love there’s an authenticity and passion in the work that makes it stand out.

I almost always only pick missions that I’m passionate about. I believe the passion shows up in the work. For a full year I was obsessed that the Apple Store was letting customers to do things that no store would ever allow. Nobodyhad ever fully documented it. “Apple Store Challenge” featured me pulling off outrageous stunts in the Apple Store including me bringing a goat into the store. My genuine
excitement and enthusiasm in the video were evident.

2. Play to your strengths

As web creators we all have different strengths. It’s best to identify what your strengths are and use them to your advantage in your work. One of my main strengths (at least what people tell me) is persistence. I enjoy the challenge of pulling off things that on paper seem nearly impossible to
pull off. The ability to pull off these difficult missions in my videos “171 Starbucks,” “Six Pack Abs Challenge,” “Mark Gets Carried Away,” resulted in me doing a style of video that grabbed attention.

3. Build Momentum

Momentum is huge. Sometimes it’s the little things that slowly build up into something powerful. I had done videos for a long time that while funny didn’t attract media attention or get a huge number of views. Then in July 2007 I released a video called, “171 Starbucks.” It got an enormous about of press coverage. I went on The Today Show, CNN, and Fox News. Jay Leno made a monologue joke about my video.

I used this momentum a few months later when I approached IKEA about “Mark Lives in IKEA.” Luckily IKEA had heard about “171 Starbucks” and were aware of all the media attention surrounding the video. While this certainly didn’t get IKEA to sign off immediately on my idea, it was instrumental in getting my foot in the door. Without “171 Starbucks” being a hit I seriously doubt “Mark Lives in IKEA” would have happened.

4. Call to Action

It’s talked about a lot in social media, but a call to action can be very effective. It engages viewers and makes them feel included. For my Bill Murray web series, my call to action was asking viewers to help get Bill Murray invited to my apartment for dinner. I gave out a tip hotline and also asked viewers to Tweet me.

Another useful call to action was my Netflix Challenge video project in which I set out to watch as many movies as possible on Netflix in a month. The result was over 500 film suggestions from people on Twitter and Facebook.

5. Be Supportive

Countless times when I helped someone out without any thought of getting something in return, I was unexpectedly rewarded.

Many wonderful individuals helped to transform my mission ideas into a successful web series. These include:

  • Being given free equipment to borrow saving me thousands of dollars in rentals
  • Crews working and editing for free if there wasn’t a budget.
  • Comedy writers giving me script feedback

In return, I’ve tried to be equally as supportive and encouraging. It doesn’t have to be much. It can be as simple as sending a Tweet, posting someone’s video on a Facebook wall, or an email of encouragement.

How to Keep Fans Interested in Your Web Series


I’d like to start this post by pointing out that I’m not a web series creator. I’m a blogger. That said, I am a huge fan of web series. I’m a huge geek, so some of my favorites include The Guild, My Drunk Kitchen, pretty much any series on That Guy With the Glasses. I also thought BBC’s The Pond Life leading up to the Doctor Who series 7 premier was brilliant.

That’s just scratching the surface of the web series I enjoy. Like most of you out there, however, my time is limited. You have to keep me interested with every episode or I’m probably going to forget about your series, instead moving on to find new series to enjoy. So how can you keep me (and other fans) interested? Here are my best tips:

1. Make some “special” episodes.

I absolutely love when web series producers includes some videos that are beyond the scope of the series itself. Behind-the-scenes footage, funny music videos, bloopers, and interviews with the cast are just a few examples of videos you can make that add a ton of value to your series. It’s like the special features disk when you buy a DVD. Fans who aren’t interested can just watch the series, but I think you’ll be surprised to know just how many viewers really do want extra footage.

2. Know your viewers – and make videos for them.

Without fail, the very best series always seem to be made for me. In other words, there’s a common theme, a thread that connects all of the videos so they’re made with a specific viewer in mind. Before you start filming the first episode or even getting too far along with the writing, think about the demographic you’re trying to target. Not everyone is going to like your web series, but that’s okay. You want to make rabid fans of the people who do like your series, not have a bunch of people who say “meh, it was okay” and never watch past the second or third episode.

3. Take your show on the road.

I never watched The Guild until I met some of the actors at a video game convention. At that point, the series was certainly popular, but it has only grown in popularity since then. Getting your actors out there, visible and promoting the show, is going to not only help you find new fans, but it is also going to feed your current hungry fans, keeping them interested in your series. Even if you can’t get a booth or speak on a panel at the show, just attending and networking with other attendees can help your fan base grow.

4. Don’t allow huge gaps between episodes or between seasons.

Just like bloggers need to be consistent with their posting schedule, it’s important for your web series episode to come out on a consistent basis. For most, this means every week during a season, with possible longer gaps between seasons. Once you have the millions of fans some series have, you can easily come back after six months or even a year of being off the air. If you’re new, though, or not yet super popular, this kind of gap can kill any momentum you have.

5. Get viewers involved.

Lastly, consider getting your viewers involved in some way. Hannah Harto from My Drunk Kitchen, Jenna Marbles, and lots of other web series creators take viewer questions and answer them on air. The Guild was initially funded by viewer donations, and today, you can start a Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign. You can even consider getting a viewer to be part of an upcoming episode, and I’ve seen some series that allow viewers to vote in a poll regarding what should happen to characters. If I’m part of your web series in some way, I’m definitely going to be more interested to see what happens.

Composing Your Video Shot: The Rule of Thirds


The artistic composition of your shots can instantly make a video look professional – or, unfortunately, like you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ve already gone over some composition tips for shooting emotional video in the past, but today, I wanted to highlight a really important design concept that all beginners can use: the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds can be used for any kind of shot, but I personally find it most helpful for interviews and (in photography) portraits. Basically, if there’s a person in the video, this technique is going to help you set up your camera to get the most professional-looking shot.

Here’s a quick video that explains the rule of thirds. It’s super simple, so even if you’re just starting out, don’t be intimidated to try it out!


Want more great video education? Check out the web TV and video track at NMX!

How to Set Up Lighting for a Video Interview


If you’ll be interviewing subjects in your videos, using the proper lighting is important for a professional-looking quality. One of the best set-ups to use is three point lighting, which uses a direct key light, filler light, and a back light. This kind of lighting allows you to see the subject’s face clearly, without any stark shadows, and it also makes the subject stand out from the backdrop.

For more information about three point lighting for video interviews, along with diagrams of your lighting set up, check out this video:

If you’re on a budget, don’t worry; you can still do three point lighting without the fancy equipment. Use the same general concept and principles with whatever lighting equipment you do have.

Want more great video tips? Check out the web TV and video track at New Media Expo in Las Vegas this January.

How to Use Camera Techniques for Emotional Filmmaking


Camera shots in your favorite movies, television shows, and web series aren’t random. With the right shot, you can begin to elicit emotion in your audience before your characters ever say a word. These are techniques you can do with any kind of camera, and they’re completely free; you don’t need fancy equipment to make the shots happen (at least most of the time). So what are your options and how do these kinds of camera techniques psychologically affect that viewer? Here’s a great video from Film Riot that explains the relationship between emotion and the shot you choose:

Remember, although this video is talking about pulling emotions during a work of fiction, you can use these same techniques if you’re creating non-fiction videos as well, such as interviews and tutorials. Playing around with camera placement can make scenes feel extremely different, so try a few options to get that overall video tone you really want.

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