The Future of Follow Networks

It’s time to talk about the future of Follow Networks.

I started Follow Networks as a place to collect all the collaboration that was happening around the idea of “creating” that was started when Matt and I launched MadChat, and continued as we expanded the Podcast Network side of Follow Networks.  At a certain point we started searching for something that we could do to give this power to our friends, and to be able to create the scale of project we wanted to create.  When we launched the Kickstarter project for Horrible Prequels, we heard from a lot of people who wanted to contribute ideas and be a part of the process.

Today, we are taking the next step towards launching a community around that idea on a much bigger scale.

As long as we’ve been podcasting at Follow Networks, we’ve also been gathering ideas, writing, and developing plans for a number of projects.  This has included web-series, shorts, mini-series, comic-books, and even a feature length movie.  We have put endless amounts of time and effort into working together and developing these ideas.  Now, we are bringing you into the process as well.

Welcome to Follow Networks.  A collaborative entertainment community.

What does that mean,” you say?  It works like this.  Our goal is to provide high-quality entertainment at the same level as what you already watch and view and read, all on the web.  We’ll be producing all kinds of video content as well as some print and art content, and we’ll be releasing it to the world.  And you’ll be helping.

Here is how it will work.  The Follow Networks team is loaded with creatives and writers and thinkers and makers.  We will be developing concepts, themes, stories, scripts, whatever each project happens to call for, and we’ll be releasing details to you on a regular basis.  Each week we’ll put out a call for your ideas and submissions.  It will look something like this:

“This Week’s Theme is Zombies.  Tell us everything you like about zombies.”
“This Week’s Theme is Zombies.  Tell us everything you don’t like about zombie shows.”

With each post, which will appear on our website and on our Facebook page, we’ll be looking for you to give your thoughts and opinions.  The examples above are for early stage ideas.  When you see something like that, you can assume we are working on something zombie related.

Here is where things get really interesting for you.  The next stage will be the actual development of a project.  You will see a post like this on our webpage.

“Let’s Make a Zombie Series.  We’re looking for an interesting male and female character.  Pitch your ideas.”

This is where your contributions will start influencing the finished product we are creating.  We want your ideas to be a part of the story.  We want you to own a piece of the projects.  We want you to care about the success and failure of what we are making.

Also, we want to pay you for being involved.

With each project, we will be paying contributors for their involvement.  We will be very transparent with you about the cost to produce each project.  We’ll also be publishing very clear information about who has contributed to what project.  Our team will make determinations about the level of your involvement while we piece together the finished project and we’ll make it very clear how and why you are credited in the project.  Then, you’ll get a share of the profits based on your involvement.  It’ll look something like this:

Original Video – We’ll split the profits with you 50/50.
Design (T-Shirts, Merch, Extras) – We’ll pay a flat fee based on the project, and if we can share profits we will.
Music – Depending on the project, we’ll pay a flat fee for your music from the projects profit.
Other – We’ll address other needs as they become available and used.

Obviously, we are still working out the kinks and the details, so those numbers will be subject to change based on the situation but, in most cases, we are going to work our asses off to make sure that those numbers are held true.

This is a super exciting concept, and our goal is to build a large and thriving community around it.  But I can hear your questions already.

“How do we submit shit?”

Wonderful question.  We’re working on a fancy-schmancy system that will allow for it, but in the meantime, we’ll be using comments on the website, comments on YouTube, comments on Facebook, as well as our info@followthe.tv email address as the main sources.  We’ll be creating some other spots as well as we work towards launching the Follow Networks platform.  When it comes time to submit finished music and production pieces we’ll be using email, Dropbox, and whatever it takes to include your content.

“That sounds awesome, but how are we going to make profits?  How are these projects going to make money?”

Through a lot of hard work.  First, we’ll be offering all projects for sale and making sure that they are affordable for everyone.  We’ll also be creating exclusives and extras and creating deluxe and limited editions for each project.  We want to create the best experience and reaction possible surrounding our projects.

It is also important to us that you feel like you are contributing to something big.  So we’ll be touring around the country showing off projects.  We’ll hold premieres and showings at the major events where you are already attending.  We’re talking about comic-cons, film festivals, and other appropriate venues.  We’ll also be doing a tour each year to celebrate what you’ve done.  Again, we’ll include these events in the profits for each project on a case by case basis, as determined by our team.

We’ll be making payments at the end of each quarter for projects, and we’ll make sure that we are giving you everything you need.

How do we succeed?  Well, on our end, we need to make the highest quality finished products and work with the best people available on all projects.  We also need to be 100% transparent about what we are doing and what it takes to do it.  We’ll be doing both of those things.

On your end, you need to be our street team.  You need to get all of your friends and peers involved, and let them know you are a part of this community.  We’ll still be putting out podcasts and YouTube videos, because those are a big part of who we are, and we want you to know that we are having fun and doing everything we can to get more eyes, be inspired, and make sure the projects that you are working on and contributing to are getting seen.

We can’t wait to start this next path.  We’ve got a number of projects lined up to kick this thing off, including Sideshow Zero, where we’ll be needing help from you with providing images, designing costumes, and working on bonus material for the project, and B0VINE, where we’ll be looking for story and character ideas, and creating some amazing bonus materials.  On video projects, we’ll be inviting people to be a part of the shoot and be in the project.  We’ll be introducing more projects and more conversations and more chances to be involved regularly until we hit our goal of releasing at least 8 projects a month, and at least 4 major projects a year.

It’s going to be a lot of fun.  We’re going to be releasing a ton of fun stuff, traveling, showing off your awesome ideas, and doing everything we can to get your work seen.  We’re ready.  Are you?

Be sure you are following and subscribed to all the appropriate places to get the most from the process:

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