YouTube superstar FreddieW’s Video Game High School broke records on Kickstarter last year when it raised $273,275. Last week FreddieW shared the full budget breakdown for his blockbuster web series Video Game High School via glorious infographic below. The web series costs breakdown is staggering and provides a lesson on budgeting rules and exceptions.

Video Game High School

The 9 episode series follows a lucky-but-talented gamer, BrianD, through his first semester at a fictional boarding school where gaming is evolved and central to life. Think Harry Potter for gamers with the tone of Disney after school programs.

The series was a massive crowd pleaser and it’s clear FreddieW and team truly understand their audience’s age and interests. Loaded with high-octane action sequences, teen angst and a giddy Saturday-morning tone – the series was entertaining and loaded with engaging characters, set pieces and above all, story.

A Web Series Budget: The Cost of VGHS

Earlier in 2012 the series debuted on (FreddieW’s official site) and YouTube garnering +36 million views. The show was 9 episodes at 120 minutes in length. How much did this cost?


For the content industry this number is exceptionally low. Here is the wonderful breakdown courtesy of RocketJump.

Scroll below for 5 budgeting tips for video creators (or click here) 

VGHS Season 1 budget

5 Tips for Any Creator Budgeting a Web Series

While the infographic above is fascinating, here are a few tips that apply to “the rest of us” content creators. I will be detailing these in the coming weeks here on Web Series School.

  1. For Kickstarter fundraising, remember that it works best when you already have an audience – consider using Kickstarter to fund a pilot or proof-of-concept to reach a private or studio investment to really develop the full series.
  2. For distribution, consider releasing your web series on someone else’s channel with an existing audience – do you want to release a series or launch a channel? These are very different objectives so consider distributing on a channel with an existing audience. This baked in audience can be highly attractive for brand integrations on your series.
  3. For marketing and advertising, plan to spend more than your production costs on marketing to your audience – FreddieW already had millions of YouTube subscribers so you’ll notice he spent $0 on advertising. Most creators forget to budget in marketing and their masterpiece gets buried unto the upload avalanche.
  4. For a return on investment, design your web series to be licensed in multiple distribution windows -aim for 90-120 minutes of content that can be re-packaged into 30-minute and feature-length properties for foreign distribution and television.
  5. For general budgeting, you’ll want fast, good and cheap – but you can’t have all 3. FreddiW’s budget pie chart is pretty accurate. Production crews, food, location fees and visual effects shots are expensive. It’s always good to pull favors but paying people for their time, even a small amount, will yield a better product.

What surprised you most about the VGHS budget? Leave your comments below!