Did you know the two hottest TV series “Beauty and the Baller” and “Insecure” were once web series?  Yes, these shows were originally produced for web-based distribution; you know YouTube or Vimeo.  How did these two web series transition to network TV? It definitely didn’t happened overnight, however the mission to bring creative, thought provoking, and non-traditional subject matter on film was pure dedication by both series creator.

Over the years, networks have been behind the scenes observing the success of web series and their large niche viewership. With the successful of Reality TV, networks are now taking a risk to seek these developed shows with pilots and episodes already produced on YouTube and other online media. That’s a major plus for web creators. The chances are greater now to land a TV series than in the past years. 

Based on the web comedy series “Who”,Beauty and the Baller” is the success story of veteran TV writer, producer, and director Michael Ajakwe Jr., founder of Los Angeles Web Series (LAWEBFEST). The series “Beauty and the Baller” is a comedy about the off the court drama of a pro-athlete and his beauty wife.  Michael was finally awarded a sweet deal by Viacom’s Black Entertainment Television (B.E.T.) to license his independently produced series which is currently aired on Centric network.  “Beauty and the Baller” has the highest rating on the network for most watched show.

“Insecure”, the HBO original comedy-drama created by writer, producer, director and actress Issa Rae’s, has made an impact on TV series. The series based partially on Issa Rae’s widely successful web series “Awkward Black Girl”, received critical acclaim since its’ release in 2016 on HBO GO and HBO Now.  Now on its second season, “Insecure” continues to explore social and racial issues that relates to the contemporary black experience; making storylines you typically don’t see on traditional TV. 

The good news is networks will continue to seek out web series that are out of the box, thought provoking and most of all entertaining such as “Beauty and the Baller” and “Insecure”. The transformation from web series to primetime TV will continue to grow over the coming years giving the opportunity for Webfest such as #Soflowebfest to discover the next big series for primetime. There is no better time than now to jump in the web series industry. Submit to a festival and then get out there to be seen.

FYI: Tickets for #SOFLOWEBFEST goes on sale October 23rd.

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Written by: Sudi Elliott, Soflowebfest Ambassador & lover of Web series and all things indie