Recently we re-released Chad Vader Season 1 onto Youtube. Created 10 years ago!! Scary.
A question I get a lot, even more after I posted this video, is “When will you make another season of Chad Vader?” I absolutely love that people are still so passionate about the series some 4 years after we stopped making it. So here, for all of you that asked, is the somewhat involved and intricate answer to that question.
First let me tell you what goes into the making of an episode of Chad Vader. Because sometimes, if you know what you’re doing–which I like to believe we do–you end up making things look a hell of a lot easier to make than they actually were.
WHAT GOES INTO MAKING AN EPISODE OF CHAD VADER? I added this up when we were preparing to do our Kickstarter for Season 4. I estimated that it took a minimum of 14 people 231 hours to create a very basic no-frills episode. The season premiere and the 2 end-of-season finale episodes usually took at least twice that. Say, 25 people and about 400 hours. That’s the amount of time, plus or minus. There are also the productions costs for props, craft service, location fees, and lots of other miscellaneous things that add up. We would often house actors who came in from out of town, so there were hidden costs there. And don’t forget the rather large ongoing overhead cost of computers, equipment, programs, office expense, etc. This was a large-scale production, folks. This was not “a guy sits in front of his webcam talking” videos. And even those kinds of videos (good ones anyway) take more work than you think.
Imagine an 8-12 minute episode of Chad Vader as 1/10 of a feature film. If we make a full 10 episode season of Chad Vader that’s about the length of a feature film. An average feature film costs about $40 million. So we would need $40 Mill–HAHAHA! JK. But seriously, over the course of 10 episodes of Chad Vader we would work with hundreds of people. Actors, musicians, crew, location staff, fx editors, prop makers, and extras. We did this for 4.5 Seasons of Chad Vader. How? Almost everyone worked for free. Or we could never have done it. Why? A variety of reasons. These people were nice, or liked the project, or helped us because then we would probably hire them for other jobs that actually paid when those came along, or they enjoyed the exposure Chad Vader would give them for their own projects. And it was a great thing to have on your resume. A lot of people got jobs or work based on the fact that they had worked with Blame Society Films.
So eventually we stopped making the series because we couldn’t afford it. You can’t ask people to work for free forever. We had had small sponsorships and donations occasionally throughout the life of the series. This is why it ended up being as good as it was, production-wise. But we could never go huge with a commercial sponsorship because there was always the threat that we would get shut down by Lucasfilm. A lot of potential sponsors went away after they thought about that possibility.
Youtube monetization, which sadly did not start until the end of Season 1, was and never will be enough to fund a budgeted series–even if we were getting millions of views. For Season 4 we ran a modest Kickstarter. While not enough to pay people what they were worth we were at least able to make another season. Matt and I were not able to pay ourselves very much for that season and it was frustrating to spend so much time and effort on something that basically sent us further into debt. So we stopped.
And that’s why we don’t make it anymore and why you probably won’t see another season of Chad Vader anytime soon. Would it be possible to make another season? Yes. How? We would need a big pile of money. Not $40 million, and not even the minimum $1 million per episode of a TV Show. We would need at least $10,000 an episode. An even that would be on the outer edge of low budget. And the only reason we could do it for that little is because we aren’t in Hollywood. So as you can imagine, raising that kind of money is probably not in the cards. Which is too bad, because it would be really fun to make more episodes of Chad Vader.
But hey, we did it for 4 and a half seasons and there is a lot to be proud of in there. I hope you enjoy watching and rewatching, and keep an eye out for stuff down the road. You never know what will happen.