Continuing our discussion on web series distribution, I was excited to have the opportunity to interview Kevin Sabbe, an Executive Producer for Maker Studios. Maker began as a network on YouTube in 2009 and has evolved into the #1 producer and distributor of online content reaching millennials in the U.S.
For those of us producing and distributing our own content, Kevin has some fantastic advice on how to find success in the digital space.
1) What is Maker Studios and how does it help content creators?
Maker is the global leader in short-form content and the largest influencer network worldwide, with more than 60,000 creator partners globally. Just like the digital space, the resources we provide to our creators are always evolving, and range from basic things like optimizing their YouTube and social channels, to developing and funding premium digital series starring our creators – and more.
2) What is your job at Maker and how do you work with content creators? Are you a content creator yourself?
I’m an Executive Producer in our Studios division and also contribute on our Development team. I’m based out of our full-fledged digital production studio where we shoot content with many of our creators. Every day there’s a different digital star creating content with us: Bart Baker, Lisa Schwartz, Markiplier, Taryn Southern, EvanTube, even PewDiePie! Most of my work revolves around ideating, executing and overseeing projects with our creators as they move from concept through upload. Before joining the company I wrote, produced and directed digital content as well as produced traditional television and film, but currently I'm focused on supporting Maker’s network of creators.
3) What are the requirements for a YouTube channel to partner with Maker?
It’s our goal to work with creators that we can help develop and grow over time, which requires a
broader approach than simple subscriber and monthly view numbers or other analytics. Therefore, Maker takes a more holistic look when analyzing potential network partners, though there’s nothing set in stone. I encourage anyone to apply through our MakerGen portal: makergen.com. And we don’t only focus on YouTube channels, we have creator partners who upload to virtually every digital platform.
4) How has the company changed since merging with Disney? What additional services can Maker provide now?
Becoming a part of the Disney family has opened the door to a whole new level of opportunity for our creators. For example, we recently launched an initiative dubbed MAKER STUDIOS SPARK, where we invited creators throughout the network to collaborate with our Development team, pitch original concepts and work with the professionals in our Studios division to create premium pilots for new digital series or cross-platform franchises. Similarly, our DisneyXD by Maker program is a talent and content incubator where Maker provides seed funding to creators for a proof-of-concept video that may ultimately be turned into a television show (YouTubers can apply here: makerstudios.com/disneyxd). These types of high-level, creator-first initiatives would not have been possible before Maker Studios became part of The Walt Disney Company.
5) What advice would you give to web series creators who want to work with Maker?
First off, apply to the network! Aside from that, and any of the artistic clichés out there, continue to create. On the surface it can seem that digital success comes overnight, but the truth is that all of our top creators uploaded dozens and dozens, if not hundreds, of videos on their way up. And they continue to create on a consistent basis. So, find your voice through repetition and then experiment with it. Eventually, you’ll land on something that is definitively unique and rooted in authenticity - and you won’t have to look for an audience, they’ll find you.
- More articles by Rebecca Norris
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- Writers on the Web: Burning Web Series Questions Answered
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