I know I've been Guy Incognito, or worse, Chad Merritt, Jr. :p, in terms of eW lately, but I'm not dead and I'm not disinterested. Anyway, a post over at PTC inspired this first post in an occasional series about building a good fed. The post in question, Global's fedhead basically vented about why his fed isn't well-respected around PTC. This post and series isn't going to be a direct response to that, but I figured, why not postulate on what I think is the best way to go in building a great fed.
So how does one go about building the ideal fed? People have ideas for feds all the time. Don't believe me? Just check the advertisement forums at any major eW hub. Usually, those adverts really aren't that effective, or I should say it seems they aren't that effective. No one I know bites on them unless it's a poster that is part of the community. For all I know, they could get bites from lurkers looking for a fed, but judging by how many times the same poster comes back with several adverts for new feds over periods of months, not a whole lot of these advertisements seem successful. It's reasonable to see why though. These guys are going out and stabbing in the dark, looking for guys to stock the fed that they may not have had contact with before.
Really, the best way to start a fed is networking, not shot-in-the-dark advertisement. I mean, when you just post on forums, you're reaching out to people for the most part that you don't know. The people whom you want to populate your fed probably won't read that post. You're basing the beginning of your fed on people that you may not be able to trust, and that's a risky proposition. That's not to say this method of advertisement shouldn't be used. If you know me, you know I post about TEAM events everywhere to get some more guys involved. However, I always have a core group of guys that I go to get involved before I post a single advertisement.
This is what anyone should do before he even puts the call out for roster members. You need to go out and privately contact those whom you want involved in your operation. You need to get handlers you can trust both to promote a healthy backstage environment and to produce quality writing to build your first couple of shows. Which handlers should you target though? Should you go for names? Should you go for friends?
Well, the kinds of handlers you go for depend on what your vision for the fed is going forward. If you're going into things blind, just starting a fed for the sake of starting a fed, your first shows are going to be lackluster. You need to have some kind of ground floor to build upon. Does this mean having an overarching fed-wide angle to start things off? Not necessarily. Your direction can be just an idea for the fed, or a philosophy. So then, once you have that vision in place, you go after guys that fit that vision. If your vision is to create the perfect competitive environment, you go for guys who go all-in when RPing. If you're doing an angle fed, you're going to look for outstanding segment writers. If you want to create a post-apocalyptic world where monkeys, llamas and pelicans are fighting in a turf-war involving the production of crystal meth, then contact Jon Katz for advice.
After you have that foundation in place, then you post the advertisement threads, and if you get a response, that's gravy. Still, when you get that response, you have to be ready to be a little selective, but that's fodder for another entry at another time...