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Old January 17th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #1
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Web series - must be very short?

I'm thinking about doing a web series, and so I've been watching as many as I can find. One thing I've noticed is they are 10 minutes or less.

My ideas tend to run towards 20-30 minute per episode. I was thinking of trying to find a site that allowed longer videos.

But do any of the popular video sites allow that long? It seems the center of the online video universe is still YouTube, so if you can't get it on YouTube, well forget it.

I could cut the 20 minute video into 10 minute chunks, but if it wasn't written and shot for that, then I worry people will be turned off by part 1 and not watch part 2.

So... it seems the current state of affairs on the web means a web series has to be in the under 10 minutes.

Is that everyone else's thinking?
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Old January 17th, 2010, 10:33 PM   #2
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try Vimeo.
No time limit, just upload size unless you upgrade to the premium version.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 11:22 PM   #3
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thoughts
when watching stuff on youtube the 2nd part is easy to click on, if i wanted to see, and am interested in the video you can guarentee i will find the second part. if i was not interested in the first part , then i wont watch the Whole of the first part even.
"Number of views" sometimes would be more usefull if it was "number of views who watched the whole thing" or even buffered out the whole thing.
Right now on Youtube, the numbers are number of people who "started to view" :-)

IF you can cut it down to 10 minutes , then do, arggg watched a few movies this last week, where i just wanted to HACK out 50% of thier stuff they thought was cool, i thought took way to long. Anticipation and forestalling is one thing, dragging it out till its painfull is another :-)
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Old January 18th, 2010, 08:32 AM   #4
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Something has to be awfully, awfully good for me to watch online for longer than a couple of minutes. It has to be compellingly interesting to me. With the TV, if it's boring I might snooze instead to changing channels, but online, after 30 seconds or so I'm usually moving on to something else. I don't think most people are too different than this when browsing videos online.

Lately, I've been working on one minute and even just thirty second spots in my uploads.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 11:27 AM   #5
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We have a web series (biker travel show) online (22 minutes run time) in 3 video segments.
YouTube - Americade & Laconia Motorcycle Rallies (Part 1 of 3) - Two Wheels 2 Anywhere (Episode2)

We are averaging about 50% of people that watch the first part that actually make it down to viewing the third segment. I think its just the nature of youtube. Anything longer than a few minutes looses peoples attention. TV is a very different medium in this regards.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 12:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty Welk View Post
thoughts
when watching stuff on youtube the 2nd part is easy to click on, if i wanted to see, and am interested in the video you can guarentee i will find the second part. if i was not interested in the first part , then i wont watch the Whole of the first part even.
"Number of views" sometimes would be more usefull if it was "number of views who watched the whole thing" or even buffered out the whole thing.
Right now on Youtube, the numbers are number of people who "started to view" :-)
I don't have a YouTube account anymore but when I did they had just started a feature where you could check how long people were viewing your video, hot spots, where the viewership was coming from, etc. Good marketing info right there for you to tweak things.

I agree with the above poster - if it's interesting, I'll click on part two. If not, I won't watch to the end just because it's all together. Funny, because I tend to commit quite easily to TV shows and watch to the end. No so with web video.

I think I once heard there's some sort of three minutes or under interest level on most YouTube videos. I can well believe that.
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Old January 18th, 2010, 01:53 PM   #7
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I really don't think the web is the right format for a 20 to 30 minute medium. I agree, 2 to 10 minutes max... I don't know if this is just a psychological thing, but I can see a 20 to 30 minute show working out much better in separate bite-sized segments.

The important thing with the web is, keep the turning points moving... don't dwell on one topic or event too long because you'll quickly lose the viewers interest.
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Old January 29th, 2010, 03:07 PM   #8
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I majored in Communication Studies in college.

Based on the research we studied and that had been done up until about 2003/4, the average adult attention span is approx. 7 - 7 1/2 mins. before our minds start wandering and our interest fades. (Yes, there are people who actually study those things). That includes "live" settings, e.g. meetings, conferences, etc where there is the "unconscious/subconscious" sense that we might insult/offend someone who thinks we're paying attention. (Whoever decided to do all-day business meetings obviously had no idea of this tidbit of info).
Everything I've heard or read suggests that you have between 30 and 90 secs. to really "grab" someone's interest on the web...no one is "watching your reaction" (though many are counting the seconds), and you are free to move-on/click-away without any "penalty" .
Maybe this helps a little.
Good luck.
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Old January 31st, 2010, 06:45 AM   #9
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My honest opinion is 20 minutes is too long. (That's just a general opinion I don't know your individual circumstances). There's no point in the middle where you can split it and make a Part I/Part II sort of format?

I personally don't watch many 10 minutes long videos, the main reason being that my internet is slow. I honestly wouldn't wait for a high quality clip to download. If I wanted to watch a 20 minute episode I'd be sitting in front of the TV as I know I won't have to wait for it to load and there will be at least some kind of guarantee of decent programming. A TV show might be competing with 100's of channels... but on the internet you're competing with millions of other videos, so you have to make sure you find your target audience and keep their attention. On the plus side, the internet offers a potentially unlimited audience to tap into although it really all depend on how worthy your content is.

In my opinion 20 minutes is far too long for the internet... but feel free to prove me wrong.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 08:26 AM   #10
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Yeah, I think you have to grab them within seconds. Even if it's a long piece, you've really got seconds to get them on your side.

I've been watching as many web series as I can, and I noticed that not only are they short, but they keep the jokes coming. Every other line is a joke and the characters are sort of exaggerated and big. I think that works better to keep 'em laughing and engaged.

Of course, shows like 'Easy to Assemble' and 'The Guild' have really good writing and acting so it works as with the big, exaggerated characters.

The consensus certainly seems to be on the short end. I've been re-writing to make it 10 minutes long. I think it's helping in some ways, so every line has push it forward.

Of course, some story elements would just be cut from episode 1 and put in episode 2. That means the first 10 minutes (now episode 1) have to be written to work as a self-contained mini-story.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 03:32 PM   #11
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Long of the short

Why not make a long version and a very short version? That way a person can choose which to watch. If the material and content is good, then someone who watched the short version would be interested in watching the longer version also.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 08:26 PM   #12
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David brings up a good point. I you could also give your viewers (the ones that want more) some sort of special features or behind the scenes, which worked well for Zerks Log. You could also shoot other scenes or storylines that aren't completely relevant to the main story although they add meaning to the characters and situation.

Writing my own webseries I found the first episode the hardest to write. In the first episode I had to establish the location and 3 characters and their lifestyle while trying to be humorous at the same time. I had to fit that into a 3 minute video as that's the format we decided on and the length of the following videos. I actually did the same as you, splitting the episode in half making self-contained storylines for episode 1 and 2 even though episode 2 happens immediately after 1.

Short videos and long videos both have their advantages and disadvantages although in the end it all comes down to the content. (I should have said that in my original comment).

Good Luck!
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Old September 6th, 2010, 07:24 AM   #13
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Just spotted this thread and thought I'd reawaken it a little.

I'm currently putting together a web series made up of half hour episodes and we've been trying to guage the potential audience since we started on this over a year ago! As Roger and many others have mentioned, web videos tend to be short and a number of surfers just aren't into longer videos. But our research has also indicated that some people- particularly a younger demographic- are watching less TV and turning to the internet for their entertainment. Would they watch longer videos if the content was compelling for them?

Possibly. My concern for our project is that of audience's attention span and their expectations. I'm aproaching thirty and my generation have an average attention span of 20mins due, in the main, to being raised on TV (where programmes were short and ad breaks are every 15-20min- in the UK at least). This new generation aren't watching TV much anymore- they're turning to the internet. Where web videos are less than ten minutes long and they often don't watch more than 60 seconds before moving on to other "suggested videos."

Is this the future of our industry? Feature films seem to be getting longer- perhaps because a cinema audience is captive and for the money you pay you expect an experience worthy of an evening out- TV shows have more frequent breaks and web videos are little more than a way of wasting time while you're doing something else.

Answers/thoughts on a postcard please...

(I realise this post probably contradicts itself- just thought I'd write it as I thought it!)
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Old September 7th, 2010, 08:33 PM   #14
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Would they watch longer videos if the content was compelling for them?

This is the $64,000 question. What defines compelling for this generation? I recently made the switch to Netflix after buying my 5,000th DVD. Now, I don't even watch TV. I think the attraction for me is that I am *supposed* to watch Netflix for an extended period of time. I surf just as much, but it's because I am looking for a long haul program, not just 6 minutes of diversion.

On, the other hand, for my tastes, Youtube is 9 minutes, max. The only thing I have ever watched longer than that on youtube is Assassin's Creed: Lineage.

I am developing a number of web-series now, and am taking the Anime/British approach to storytelling- I'm just truncating the length. The story lines will have arcs that can dip at about 7 to 10 minutes and pick up again. There will be 2 series that complete the story in our signature style, and when the story is over, it's over... on to the next one. This allows me to travel inside the story, develop characters, start some stuff, but keep it tight enough to release as a 180-240 minute continuous story on DVD. If people respond, we can always dream up more for the characters; if not, the story is complete.
We feel that this is the best way for us to both satisfy our need for the narrative, but also, and this is key, fit the attention constraints of our key demographic. We get in quick, we hit them hard, and we exit with the thunder... not like the TV I grew up on (I'm 31).

The future of this industry is what ever we make it because we are not losing any money to the internet, or fighting to keep our multi-billion dollar networks afloat, but we are creating new workflows and a new language of content creation and distribution. It is what we say it is.
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Old September 7th, 2010, 08:41 PM   #15
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Would they watch longer videos if the content was compelling for them?

This is the $64,000 question. What defines compelling for this generation? I recently made the switch to Netflix after buying my 5,000th DVD. Now, I don't even watch TV. I think the attraction for me is that I am *supposed* to watch Netflix for an extended period of time. I surf just as much, but it's because I am looking for a long haul program, not just 6 minutes of diversion.

On, the other hand, for my tastes, Youtube is 9 minutes, max. The only thing I have ever watched longer than that on youtube is Assassin's Creed: Lineage.

I am developing a number of web-series now, and am taking the Anime/British approach to storytelling- I'm just truncating the length. The story lines will have arcs that can dip at about 7 to 10 minutes and pick up again. There will be 2 series that complete the story in our signature style, and when the story is over, it's over... on to the next one. This allows me to travel inside the story, develop characters, start some stuff, but keep it tight enough to release as a 180-240 minute continuous story on DVD. If people respond, we can always dream up more for the characters; if not, the story is complete.
We feel that this is the best way for us to both satisfy our need for the narrative, but also, and this is key, fit the attention constraints of our key demographic. We get in quick, we hit them hard, and we exit with the thunder... not like the TV I grew up on (I'm 31).

The future of this industry is what ever we make it because we are not losing any money to the internet, or fighting to keep our multi-billion dollar networks afloat, but we are creating new workflows and a new language of content creation and distribution. It is what we say it is.
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