Ten years ago if you wanted to make a living in media, you had to hope that you could get a job at a network or studio. The jobs were few and hard to come by. Now you don’t have to hope to work with a studio or network. Now, thanks to the Internet, all of that has changed.
Note: Education-wise, not a lot has changed. It’s still important to get a proper education (preferably from one of the top performing arts colleges) and learn how to project your voice, enhance stories through sound and gesture and hone your performance skills. The difference now is that the opportunities to use what you learn in school (or independently) are endless.
The most recent series making a splash is House of Cards, the Kevin Spacey helmed vehicle that is produced by and “airs” on Netflix. The series has been extremely well received and is laying the ground work for more shows being produced through the service.
Hulu has been getting in on the independent series action for years—scroll through the series listed on the service. You’ll see almost as many “original Hulu series” as you do traditional. Even better, Hulu made waves a couple of years ago by picking up and offering to produce and continue airing the NBC show “Community” when the network was threatening to cancel the show and pull its funding.
You can also simply produce entertainment (and even news if you really want to) and air it on your own website. If you can afford the server space you can do anything. Six years ago, for example, during the Writer’s Guild strike in Hollywood Joss Whedon wrote and produced “Dr. Horrible’s Sing A-Long Blog” and put it up online. Felicia Day has been independently producing and starring in her own series, The Guild for five “seasons” online.
Speaking of Day, she has taken the network format to YouTube with her channel Geek and Sundry. Geek and Sundry offers a new episode of a serial show every day of the week. Learning Town, for example, airs every Tuesday. The channel’s most popular show, TableTop has become a global phenomenon.
Another good example of people using YouTube as a media outlet is the VlogBrothers who have created two independent learning channels: Crash Course (that talks about world history) and SciShow (which tackles science topics). VlogBrother Hank Green is also the brain behind the invention and production of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a YouTube serial that takes Pride and Prejudice and places it in contemporary college dorm culture.
These are just some examples of what you can do online. The only thing holding you back now is your own fear. Get over it and start creating! Who knows, you may become the creator of the next big series…