Geek Speak: Paula Hoffmann, director of development for Vancouver Web Fest
Starting up an international web series festival is hard work. Paula Hoffmann can tell you all about it.
Hoffmann is the director of development for the Vancouver Web Fest. The inaugural event runs today to Sunday (May 2 to 4) at the Imperial theatre (319 Main Street). Tickets are available at the door and via Eventbrite.
You can hear Hoffmann’s voice work in the third season of Legends of Chima, a Cartoon Network show. She co-produced Bad Seeds, a three-episode action-comedy web series.
The Georgia Straight reached Hoffmann by phone in Vancouver.
What does your job as the director of development for the Vancouver Web Fest entail?
Given that this is our first year, it pretty much entails everything that needs to be done. I’m helping out with sponsorship, organization, finding other team members. Pretty anything and everything that needs to be done, [festival founder] Suzette [Laqua] and I are just tag-teaming.
Like I said, it’s our first year, so we don’t have a lot of money and we don’t have a ton of staff. A lot of our time has been spent cultivating our team. We have a really great team in place this year. The whole thing has been quite a learning process for us, so we’re just figuring out things as we go and just doing the best we can to make this a really exciting celebration of digital media.
What was the biggest challenge in getting the festival to opening day?
We had lots of challenges along the way. Setting a date was really challenging, because there are so many events going on and other web festivals as well. We wanted to time it right, so just getting a date was a huge challenge. Finding a venue at that time was a bit of a challenge.
One thing that we did not have problems with was getting submissions. We’re really pleased with that. We had a lot of submissions. The hard part was whittling them down to a reasonable number to show.
Why should people come out to the fest?
I keep reading and seeing on the news that cable is dead and people are cutting the cord and going to the Internet for their entertainment and content. It is definitely a growing genre—the web series—with people having less time, less attention span. Their shorter clips, shorter episodes fit into people’s lifestyles better.
But the hard part is finding them. We’re just trying to educate people as to their existence and how to find them, because it’s such a growing genre and people are spending more time on the Internet. It’s not just independent either. There are commercial web series as well. So we just want to let people know they are out there and there are options.
Is there any particular part of the fest that you’re looking forward to?
Gosh, just all of it. We’re going to have a couple of really great parties. I’m looking forward to sitting down and watching a bunch of web series on the big screen myself.
What’s your favourite web series?