6 Things You Can Learn From Our Web Series Winner, Coded

Written by TELUS on Friday April 24, 2015

What a ride! Competition for the Web Series Edition of STORYHIVE, which ran from October 14, 2014 was fierce. Needless to say, the teams had quite the experience along the way.

After a popular vote and much deliberation from the jury, we were excited to spread the love and name four series winners: Coded (Vancouver), Night Owl High (Vancouver), Hug-O-Gram (Calgary) and Straight to Video: The B-movie Odyssey (Edmonton).

We recently sat down with each of the winning teams to find a bit more about each of them and give you the inside scoop on some of their tips and tricks.

This is the first in a four-part series with our Web Series winners, starting with Coded!

Q. How did you get started in film?

Coded (Steve Neufeld): When I was 24, a group of five friends and I jumped in with a very audacious project: a micro-budget docu-drama about happiness and poverty that spanned four continents and 99 days of shooting. We did it with no grants and our only investors were family and friends. The project didn’t do big business (or any business, really), but we were selected for a few small festivals, and making it was the adventure of a lifetime.

Q. What was the inspiration behind your web series?

Coded: The idea for Coded came to me while I was still teaching high school in Alberta four years ago. A friend and I were swapping our most horrific stories, the kind that simultaneously make you laugh and drag you into a greasy puddle of despair. We’d been told to f*** off in multiple ways, faced physical attacks, and dealt with drug use and all the other scary things our kids got up to outside class. At some point during the night I thought, this should be a TV show.

Q. What did you learn through STORYHIVE?

Coded: I learned is how important it is to put your work out there. Take advantage of whatever platforms are available, because you never know what will work out. I also learned is how vital it is to assemble a good team as early as possible. If you can find a way to set things up so that you’re mostly doing what you’re good at, the whole experience will be a lot more fun and yield a much stronger product.

Q. What was the most memorable moment working on this project?

Coded: For me, settling into my place behind the monitors and watching the legendary Gary Harvey direct the classroom scenes was magical. For years I’d had this classroom, this teacher, and these students in my head, and suddenly they were alive. And of course, lighting a bunch of fires in a garbage can was awesome.

Q. What’s the one thing you think people applying to STORYHIVE should know?

Coded: I would stress that assembling a killer team is just as important as developing an amazing idea (neither will get you far without the other). But, on the other hand, I lucked out by taking a leap of faith, putting my idea out there, and then scrambling to put together a team.

Q. What’s your top tip for someone looking to get into the web series world?

Coded: It’s such a new world, and the rules of the game are not all that well established. This can be a bit disorienting at first, but there are freedoms in the web series world that do not exist elsewhere. So I would say watch what’s out there, and see if anything inspires you in terms of structure, content, tone, etc. Then make something awesome. It’s never been easier to produce and distribute content.

Q. What’s next for you?

Coded: After STORYHIVE, we’ll see just how far we can take Coded, either as a web-series or as a TV show. I also have several other feature films to get off the ground, and am developing other ideas for television.

STORYHIVE is a Kickstarter-inspired online platform where local content creators can pitch their video project ideas for a chance at grant funding from TELUS.

The Music Video Edition, open to residents of B.C. and Alberta, is now accepting submissions for music videos until April 26. Check out the trailer here to see what it’s all about, and enter your pitch now. You could win up to $40,000 to produce two music videos and a documentary short, training and mentorship from industry professionals, and get distribution through TELUS Optik TV on demand!

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6 Things You Can Learn From Our Web Series Winner, Hug-O-Gram 6 Things You Can Learn From Our Web Series Winner, Straight to Video: The B-movie Odyssey