Creative Filmmaking: Web Series Production

Creative Filmmaking: Web Series Production


Short films and web videos are more than just a stepping-stone to bigger projects, they’re an art form themselves. And because our attention span is shrinking, the commercial exploitation for web videos is expanding.

Over 4 billion times a day, people see videos on YouTube, Hulu, Crackle, etc. The list of companies using webisodes to connect with audiences far surpasses the number of studios and TV networks. Web series success stories include now popular shows such as: HIGH MAINTENANCE ( HBO), BROAD CITY (Comedy Central), and WORKAHOLICS (Comedy Central). Austin School of Film is pleased to announce our 10-week web series class with award-winning Director & Filmmaker, Mike Akel.

This is a hands-on production course designed to teach students how to create an original web series. Throughout the 10-week class, students will write, shoot and edit 3 episodes for season 1. Class will consist of production assignments including hands-on time with gear. Students will have access to Austin School of Film studios, gear, and creative space to work on their project's productions outside of class. 

By the end of the course students will have:

  • Screened their series to the class with feedback

  • Uploaded the series to Vimeo or Youtube

  • Submitted their series to at least 1 web festival

Mike used his real-life experiences as an award-winning filmmaker to design the course curriculum. He wrote and directed award-winning film CHALK, a comedy about new teachers shot in the style of THE OFFICE. The film won numerous awards, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and released theatrically in over 50 markets. CHALK also aired nationally on The Sundance Channel and Starz Network. Since the success of CHALK, Mike completed his second feature film, AN ORDINARY FAMILY which premiered at The Los Angeles Film Festival and directed/story produced 8 episodes for the documentary series MY 600 LB LIFE, which is in its fourth season on TLC. Currently Mike is on the festival circuit with his new feature comedy, THE TINY LIFE OF BUTCHER DUKE and also developing his 3rd original series, CHURCHVILLE which is a comedy show that parodies the inside world of Christianity. Mike's first web series, MR. GINGER screened in multiple web series festivals including Vancouver, L.A. and Austin.

He is also the co-founder of the company, NEW SKY KIDS with over 1.9 million YouTube subscribers to date. To say this is his bread & butter would be an understatement.

FUN FACT: This web series course is currently a popular choice at UT Austin's Radio Television and Film Department, where Mike is currently the lead professor for it. Austin School of Film is all about accessible education opportunities and wanted to bring this exciting course to the Austin film community at large! 

All final episodes will have the chance to screen at multiple Austin School of Film showcases, including but not limited to our SXSW Official Film Showcase.

Sold Out
Add To Cart

INSTRUCTOR: Mike Akel’s film career began to take off in 2001 when he landed a job teaching TV/Film at Travis High School and helped develop youth film programs including the Austin Student Digital Film Festival. Mike’s comic sensibilities were on inspiration overload throughout his time as a teacher and while his appreciation for educators and their unique challenges grew, so did his understanding of some of the absurdity inherent in the teaching profession. The result was Mike’s first feature film: CHALK, a comedy about new teachers shot in the style of THE OFFICE.  The film won numerous awards, was released theatrically in over 50 markets and aired nationally on The Sundance Channel and Starz Network. In 2012 Mike released his second film, AN ORDINARY FAMILY which is currently available on more than 20 digital platforms. Next for Mike was a move to television where he directed/story produced 8 episodes for the documentary series MY 600 LB LIFE, which is currently airing on TLC. Currently Mike is developing and producing original comedy series’ for his company New Sky Pictures. The first project, MR. GINGER has screened in multiple web series festivals and will soon be airing digitally on regional TV networks across the country.


WHO SHOULD ATTEND: People who want to learn the art of documentary filmmaking, and those working towards their ASoF Digital Video Certificate.

CERTIFICATE: ASoF  Digital Video Certificate Program creative core

PREREQUISITES:  You must have film production knowledge and be comfortable with filmmaking terminology. It is suggested to have completed or have equivalent skill set to the following: Digital Filmmaking (for adults) or equivalent filmmaking experience. Students must be at least 18 years old to take this class.

This course and all ASoF courses are certified with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to provide Continue Professional Educational (CPE) credits.

You Might Also Like

Digital Filmmaking digital_filmmaking-icons.png

Digital Filmmaking

Film Directing film_directing-icons.png

Film Directing

Production Management production_management-icons.png

Production Management

Intro to Lighting for Film & Video lighting_for_film-icons.png

Intro to Lighting for Film & Video

Avant-Garde & Experimental Filmmaking avant_garde_and_experimental_filmmaking-icons.png

Avant-Garde & Experimental Filmmaking