Spellfury – Shotgun Fishing as Marketing

Brandon Moviemaking, Webseries Theories


Today, I’m discussing the hardcore-fantasy and effects-heavy webseries, Spellfury. Spellfury is an interesting case in that the creators are able to boast, “2 Million views so far! Koldcast, Itunes and Youtube views combined”. Without any “mainstream” talent working for the show, that I know of, I’d consider this a pretty solid performance. So my interest in the series lies primarily in what has lead to their level of success.

Spellfury appears to be an attempt at the quirky fun type of fantasy show that Sam Raimi would produce. In fact, Tubefilter.tv even hopes it “turns out to be the Xena: Warrior Princess of the Internet”. And I think that is a fair comparison, as writer/director, Travis Gordon, and the rather large cast and crew behind Spellfury aren’t very concerned with the weighty theme-based narrative and character building of something like Lord of the Rings, but are much more interested in world-building through complicated effects, set-design (which, in this case, could still be considered effects), costumes, puppetry, and–let’s face it–heavy-handed cheese in league with something you might find in a Bruce Campbell Straight-to-DVD.

But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as this kind of show’s appeal boils down to simply a matter of taste. I’m not one for dualistic thinking, but in this very narrow genre, you either like the way it tastes or you don’t. If you do, then the shoddy acting, the cheap-and-dated effects and costumes simply add to the fun of it all. Don’t get me wrong, the effects and costumes at play in this series are phenomenal, especially when considering the creators are more than likely operating on a budget lower than many other webseries with smaller aspirations. Spellfury is fun, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. I’d even say, the audience is small.

Which leads me to today’s webseries theory.

WEBSERIES THEORY: Expose yourself.

Well, that’s a little provocative . . . but it’s true. Hop on over to www.spellfury.com. There, you will find an easily navigable, yet relatively robust website filled with simply designed content, completely in vein with the series it surrounds: Message Boards (that are active!), an intuitive Press page, and on and on. As I mentioned earlier, Spellfury has made itself available in at least three different venues/markets: Koldcast, Itunes and Youtube. Also, they’re merchandising. All this may seem standard fare, but I assure it’s not. Few webseries are taking advantage of all the tools the web has to offer.

Spellfury‘s actions fall in line with a socially-connected media: WEBSERIES! They are putting the show and–I hate to say it–their “brand” out there. They’re searching for that niche audience that can appreciate exactly what it is they’re doing. And they’re finding them. What I’m pointing at, isn’t really a new observation; the queen of webseries–who I can’t seem to stop mentioning–Felicia Day, more eloquently discusses much the same thing in a blog post, entitled Four Things to Ask Yourself Before Making a Web Series. She says:

When I wanted to get the word out about The Guild, I thought like an audience member. “If I were someone who would like this show, where would I be on the web? What would I need in a web site? What would encourage me to link it to my friends?” I wanted to make it easy for a fan to enjoy my show and remember to come back for more. At their convenience. What do you hate as a fan and an audience member? Do the opposite. I bet it will work.

It’s as though marketing your webseries is much like fishing. You take the time to understand what your audience–the fish–wants–bait–and you provide it where they want it, so that you can hook them. Well, Spellfury, with its vast amount of exposure, is taking the shotgun fishing approach, and it’s doing them well; they’re catching a lot of fish. Learn from their example creators and grab your marketing shotgun, because your audience is waiting.

Thanks for reading!