It’s hard not to notice the sudden surge in homegrown web series. The beauty of launching a series out on the interwebs is that you have direct access to your audience. The internet is an open for all buffet, and it makes us sing at how Indian creatives are starting to make good use of it. Now, if you’ve wanted to join the club, but don’t have any big name associations we’ve brought you some help. Yogi Chopra and Ravi Iyer, the creators of Hankaar- India’s first thriller web series take us behind the scenes of all that goes into making a low budget independent web series.
Lately, we’re seeing a growing trend in web series in India. What do you think is inspiring this sudden spurt?
Yogi: The rise of channels like TVF and AIB has given rise to subscribers in the online space. Also with the rise in short films being made, there’s an increase in demand for visual content that can be enjoyed in under 15 minutes. The beauty of a web series is that it’s shorter, therefore can be easily watched while commuting or while taking a break at work. Although, we should not discount the efforts of TVF who launched 'Permanent Roommates' followed by 'Pitchers'. There’s a steady rise in demand now more than ever because young India doesn't even switch on the TV anymore even for their regular favorite shows. So, the internet is the obvious choice for producers, channels and content creators! Web is the future indeed.
What's the process of making a web-series: from the moment you have an idea to finally marketing and distributing it? (Who are the key players in this entire chain?)
Yogi: Making a web series especially in a Thriller/Drama genre is no different than making a series for television; especially from writing and producing perspective. However, we need to keep few checks in mind on how we can create opportunities for our future fan base and keep the conversation going by engaging them. So, online marketing and social media does play an important role till we reach a point where 'word of mouth publicity' kicks in. So, yes we plan to spend on social media as well. From a distribution perspective we need to have a distribution channel that can promote and push the content. With the sudden spurt in the rise of many channels and major studios getting into this mad race of online based content- we will see innovative use of offline marketing to promote online content.
How much money does one need to make an independent web series? Which is the most expensive aspect of the whole process?
Yogi: Money is the most complex part of the whole process. We are seeing cheap web series that are probably made in 50-70k per episode. Then we have the larger players who are probably spending Rupees 10-15 lakhs per episode also. The most money eating part of the whole project is the production, of course, especially if you don’t have famous actors. The next most expensive thing is post production. It’s hard to say much about marketing, because this is an evolving medium and it varies from creator to creator.
How long does it take to make one season of a web-series?
Yogi: The only way an independently made series can be kept viable is when you keep not more than two schedules or ideally finish your shoot in one schedule. The rest of the time goes in post production work. For Hankaar, we plan to finish the production in 30-35 days. The shorter and more realistic the schedule, the better the cost is kept in check.