Marketing a Web Series: The Still Photos

Web series, by their nature, have to find their own audiences online, and create community to stimulate conversations. For our Fall 2017 release of the SPIRAL web series, a scripted drama set in the world of first year university students, we knew we were competing for the attention of our audience who was also going to school and grappling with their own real-life dramas. Knowing this, we set to build a substantial library of still photos to support our weekly release of the web series.

We were fortunate to work with a series of photographers to support our goals: from a seasoned filmmaker/photographer who was very comfortable on set and could shoot cast action and meaningful behind the scenes images. He also helped us shoot the gallery stills that featured the cast in their stunning period costumes. Another day of shooting involved an experienced portrait photographer who was incredibly fast and efficient, gathering singles, doubles and shots of the whole cast in their contemporary wardrobe in a series of beautiful portraits.

Finally, we had our enthusiastic and tireless photographer intern, who joined us on most shoot days, dutifully capturing all the “clue photos”, stills that were needed to support the story, images to support blog posts, media releases and fan cultivation.

All of these stills were mapped on a assets spreadsheet that lined up the daily production schedule with the time allotted between scene tear-downs and resets, forcing the intern and I to stick to the cast as well as the production designer and set decorator, capturing images of props and signs before they got efficiently packed into boxes and bins for the next day.

During production, we also gathered a treasure trove of stock photography - which supported supplemental content that explored the past lives themes storyline. Sure, there are other ways to access stock photography, but we needed images of spooky gravestones and old stone statues and gathering those on the grounds of the St. Ann’s Academy in Victoria added so much local authenticity to our stories. If you are lucky enough to secure a location with loads of character, grab all that character on your camera, tag it and file it away. You’ll be glad you did.


Lisa Purdy