A new web series titled “The New 30” is looking to open up online entertainment to new kinds of stories. Centering on a friend group approaching and exploring the experiences of being 40 and older, co-creators Walt Bost and John Sobrack set out to make a web series that would engage with gay life in a fresh way. After putting together a pilot, the team took to Kickstarter for additional funds that would take them through the end of their first season. In the midst of their fundraising efforts, they took home the Project of the Month title, as selected by Indiewire readers.
Now, their real work begins. As their production schedules narrow down and the prospect of filming is just a few months away, Bost, Sobrack and their central cast and crew are gearing up for shooting five episodes in a heavily compressed timeframe. Their hope is that, at the end of the process, they’ll have the makings of a series that highlights an underrepresented range of life experiences.
We spoke with Bost via email about the daunting task of a Kickstarter campaign and what may come after summer ends.
What’s next for the project?
Right now, we are in pre-production: finding locations, assembling the crew, formulating episode budgets, casting additional roles, doing script breakdowns, etc… in order to shoot the other five episodes in July. We’re also revising the scripts a bit based upon certain Kickstarter rewards that affected them, like cameos and social media shoutouts.
What are the biggest challenges for the project?
Scheduling is a huge feat to pull off. Trying to get all eight main actors available at the same time as well as our two DP’s/camera ops — when everyone is working on other projects, has certain time restrictions and has other responsibilities — is especially difficult. We’d also like to have the same talented crew from the pilot, if possible, because it went so smoothly and was so much fun. However, “The New 30” is a small independent project. And even though we are paying everyone, it’s not a huge amount. Plus we are shooting all the episodes back to back in one big block, so it’s a tough task to make it all work. And there’s the added difficulty of shooting five episodes in eight to 10 days, and having numerous locations! I’d say the other huge task is the ever-fun challenge of budgeting, and making the amount we raised on Kickstarter work the best way we can. We’re trying to stretch every cent, and make the show looks as professional as possible, but not kill everyone in the process.
What are your goals?
Right now, our goal is to just get the rest of the series shot this summer! Then, we’ll move into post-production in the fall and winter and premiere in early spring next year. We hope that we can establish a following online and grab the attention of someone who will support us and fund Season 2. While we would definitely do it if necessary, the thought of launching another Kickstarter is daunting. It was unbelievably hard. We have so much respect for anyone who has successfully crowdfunded!
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
I wish someone had told me that no matter how much I prepared, I would never feel fully ready for the live campaign! I think you could prep for a year, and when launch time approached, still not feel ready. I did tons of research on the subject matter, compared similar campaigns, read articles, watched instructional videos, talked to others who had done campaigns and even consulted with a Kickstarter expert. I had about four months of social media prep. So I felt pretty prepared. But I do wish I had really understood and put more of an effort into building more of a team to run the Kickstarter campaign. I think that would have made a huge difference. Kickstarter was one of the most difficult challenges I have ever had. I cannot stress enough about how time-consuming and exhausting it is. But it’s extremely exciting and rewarding when you work so hard and achieve your goal!