In 2011 YouTube announced that 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute. Last year they announced that that number had grown to 72 hours. One short year later and that number has ballooned to more than 100 hours of video every single minute, that’s more than 4 days worth of video every sixty seconds according to the official YouTube blog.
What does that mean for your marketing videos? It means that shiny new video you worked so hard on doesn’t have a chance unless you put in the extra effort to make your videos discoverable and by investing heavily in promotion.
No one plans to make bad marketing videos. Yet, the majority of them ARE bad. And most of the time, it’s because the clients or the video producers fell into one or more of these deadly mistakes.
A few months back, I talked about deadly video content and the “advertising vs. programming” mindset that can turn branded content into wasted opportunity. Here I take it a step further and look at two common mistakes made by brands in their video content creation, along with practical solutions for making the content sing.
Mistake #1: Starting video production with “We want to tell people about X.”
Nobody tools around the Internet seeking a good sales spiel. Cat videos, yes. Sales spiels, no.
Now, you may think that people should find your company’s sales pitch way more interesting than a cat video. But you don’t get to control what your audience finds interesting.
So instead of saying “we want to tell them about X,” you need to start with “we think our audience will find Y interesting.” It’s possible, of course, for X and Y to overlap. But in this event, X will usually end up implied or only tangentially addressed, while Y will be the direct and explicit focus of the videos.
A few years ago we produced a pilot episode for a car company showcasing a new owner’s reaction as he took a test drive in one of the company’s new vehicles.
The choice of content was dictated by the desired audience, which happened to be customers who had pre-ordered a vehicle and were still awaiting its delivery. Our audience members wouldn’t have been interested in a traditional promotional piece, but they were interested in seeing new owner reactions because they too were awaiting a ride in their new-technology cars. It was a subject matter that had inherent relevance to their situation and interests.
The “Y” in this case was: “Here’s what it’ll feel like when you get your new car.”
The “X” was: “You made the right decision in buying a X-Brand vehicle, and we’re delivering new cars daily while working very hard to get you your new car delivered ASAP.”
Without Y, no one wants to hear X.
Not surprisingly, the video was widely shared by these car owners, primarily online through their owner’s club. In fact, of the 1,000 or so people who had pre-purchased a car, nearly half of that entire target audience watched the pilot episode.
The ESPN30 For 30 Films are widely celebrated and watched. “You Don’t Know Bo“, about the rise and strange disappearance of two-sport star Bo Jackson, is the highest-rated of all the ESPN documentaries. It is now available on Netflix, too. Whether you’re into sports or not, it’s a great watch and delves into what makes a legendary figure, a superhero type, in this case in the world of American athletics.
The film’s director, Michael Bonfiglio, was kind enough to talk to me about the film, its origins, and the filmmaking process.
Read this, then watch that. Or watch that, then read this. Your call!
John: How did you get this project going? Did ESPN pitch you? Or were you pitching ESPN?
Mike: It actually was sort of a weird thing. I work with @Radical Media and one of the executive producers here, a guy named Dave O’Connor, he came to @Radical from ESPN. For years when he worked at ESPN, he and a bunch of his colleagues over there had been talking about doing a Bo Jackson film. Everyone at ESPN was a really big fan and about one year ago, they decided they wanted to do it. ESPN had two criteria for the film. They wanted to focus primarily on Bo’s professional career and they wanted to make sure that the Nike campaign was a part of the film, since it was such an iconic campaign and part of Bo’s story. Those were really the only two directives that I was given.
@Radical has long-standing relationships with a lot of advertisers including Nike and Wieden and Kennedy, who was the ad agency for Nike. So, it was sort of a natural fit to bring it to @Radical. So, they came to Dave, who’s now an EP here at @Radical, and they talked to a bunch of directors here. For whatever reason, Dave decided that he would trust me to be the guy to do it. And, ESPN went along and agreed. We were off and running from there.
I’m not a sports guy. I’m… I’ve never been much of a sports fan. I don’t know much about sports at all. I really kind of just knew Bo from just being alive at that time, you know. I was a young teenager when he was at his height. And, so I knew the Bo Knows campaign. I knew he was that guy who plays baseball and football. But that was pretty much it. So I just started diving into research. I watched tons of highlights online. I read his autobiography. I read a couple of other books about him, one really great one called “Bigger Than the Game” by Michael Weinreb, who’s in the film.
I came up with this sort of take on it which was, based on everything that I’d read about Bo, the thing that just kept coming up again and again and again, in the way that people talk about him, was that he was just like this superhero, and I thought that was kind of cool. Because, I think, I don’t really like sports, but I like sports movies, and I like superhero movies, so let me make that. So I pitched that back to ESPN and they were totally into it and so we kind of just took it from there.
Director Michael Bonfiglio
The thing that was initially really challenging about it was that, you know, “30 for 30″ has been such a good series and the bar was set really high. I’d seen a few of the films before the project came to me, I’d seen them and I thought they were great. I started watching more of them when I got this project and was basically like, “Oh, fuck, (laughs) this, you know, there is a really high bar to these things, you know?”
As for funding the flick – we nearly Kickstarted the budget back in November (talked about at great length here: http://smodcast.com/episodes/giant-sized-annual-1-clerks-iii-audience-0/ ). But now I’m feeling like that’s not fair to real indie filmmakers who need the help. Unlike back when I made CLERKS in ’91, I’ve GOT access to money now – so I should use that money and not suck any loot out of the crowd-funding marketplace that might otherwise go to some first-timer who can really use it. So if I can get away with it, I’m gonna try to pay for CLERKS III myself. As much as I love the crowd-funding model (and almost did it myself in early 2009 with RedStateGreen.com), that’s an advancement in indie film that belongs to the next generation of artists. I started on my own dime, and if I’m allowed, I should finish on my own dime.
In a more pointed argument (but remarkably similar sentiment), Emmy winner Ken Levine had this to say on his blog about Zach Braff and Veronica Mars raising money on Kickstarter:
Check out the newly released YouTube Trends Map - a new interactive map that allows you to see and compare trending videos by age, location, and gender by both views and shares. It’s a great way to watch in real time as videos shift from region to region.
Robert Rodriguez wrote and directed a short film and invited fans to be a part of it by leaving a few bits unfinished.
People could record themselves acting in a scene and potentially be plugged into the film via green screen. There are also a bunch of needed still photos of “missing” people to plug in. And a few other odds and ends such as designing a weapon to be used in the action scenes.
It’s a fun use of green screen technology and a fun way to involve fans.
The double feature is being billed as A Night Of Independent Filmmaking, with Kingdom Come being a behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of independent narrative film Broken Kingdom.
“Community” creator and all-around comedy hero Dan Harmon said this about the documentary – “Funny and honest, devastating and uplifting. A rare kind of cautionary tale that leaves you with less caution. I’d recommend this movie to anyone that has ever felt driven by anything.”
And after seeing the doc, Jennie Garth came up to me and told me she was a fan of me. Of me! Jennie Garth. I nearly passed out.
Anyway, that’s my way of saying, “Don’t take my word for it – the movies are worth watching.”
The Vice team travels all over the world, to extremely dangerous places, and shines light on issues and situations that most of us don’t think about – and we should, because they are big, scary problems.
The always-on-the-brink border between Pakistan and India.
Taliban using children as young as six for suicide bombings.
The dangerous struggle to escape North Korea (which goes through China, and Laos before making it to South Korea and refuge status).
It’s very compelling documentary/journalism. And, man, does the Vice team have balls to go where they go and do what they do.
The online audience for online video advertising is hungry for content. A new Inforgraphic from Adweek highlights the growing trend. It’s true that advertising dollars are shifting from television to online video but there is still a large gap. It’s easier to reach your target audience, less expensive and more effective. Even harder to reach and niche demographics are becoming more receptive to consuming content online.
Vimeo Video School brings independent content creators from all over the world to teach users the best practices for their videos. Investing in production and equipment is the first step but what really drives your content is the storytelling.
They have released two videos going over what they call the 4 P’s of Storytelling.
I was about to sign a typical financing deal in order to get the money to make “Wish I Was Here,” my follow up to “Garden State.” It would have involved making a lot of sacrifices I think would have ultimately hurt the film. I’ve been a backer for several projects on Kickstarter and thought the concept was fascinating and revolutionary for artists and innovators of all kinds. But I didn’t imagine it could work on larger-scale projects. I was wrong.
Financing an independent film the traditional way often means having to give away your right to “the final cut,” casting choices, location choices and cutting down your script to make it shoot-able on the cheapest budget possible.
Having produced a half dozen indie films, I can attest to the truth of that statement.
That said, what isn’t mentioned here is that when you utilize traditional financing methods, like private equity or small/major studio backers, they get their money back before the filmmakers participate in revenues. In this model, Braff is not only retaining creative control, but he or whomever he appoints will be pulling in revenues without having to pay the Kickstarter contributors their money back – so essentially with no negative costs for production to pay back.
What does that mean?
It means that if you can get a traditional source to pay for your movie, that’s great. But if you can get Kickstarter contributors to do it, they’re handing you the potential to make a bunch of money off of their contributions, which is way better than a traditional financing deal.
There are some rumblings online about how it’s icky for a guy who was a network star for nearly a decade and presumably has a healthy bank account taking money from regular people to make his film and then keeping anu money that comes in from sales. Everyone can make up their own minds on that front. But what is certain is, if you are a filmmaker and you can raise your money via donations, it’s a great deal for you compared to traditional financing. And I’d say do it sooner than later, because there are a million ways that someone who isn’t you could spoil the mood of the online community and this whole generous thing could be good and over at any moment.
Here’s how it worked: The first few minutes were put online, with a website for amateur screenwriters to sign up as users and submit their own content. Scenes were uploaded as individual episodes, and users contributed their own scripts for the next segment of the story. Verhoeven and his collaborators chose which submissions they wanted to film, occasionally modifying the scripts to fit their overall vision.
A quarter of the average online branded video’s shares occur in the first three days of its launch. That’s according to new research by video technology company Unruly Media into the lifecycle of a viral video.
They are sharing what they call the Social Diffusion Curve based on the 200 most shared branded videos of 2012.
“The Social Diffusion Curve, which measures the average number of shares a video attracts across the social web throughout its lifetime, also found that the ‘viral peak’ of a brand’s video campaign occurs on the second day, when the average online ad will attract one in 10 of its total shares across the social web.”
This makes it critical to be absolutely prepared when you launch your video by making your video search friendly as well as investing in promotion right out of the gate.
A unique one-two punch, the films are companion pieces, one a narrative and one a documentary chronicling the making of that narrative film (and featuring other indie film icons and their own stories).
Check out the trailers.
Showtime will be airing them back to back, starting with the documentary, on May 15th. Set your DVRs!
NAB, or National Association of Broadcasters convention. Is a physical digital candy store for Filmmakers and Gear Heads alike. Each year vendors from around the global show up to tantalize us with the latest and greatest. More blog post to follow about those gadgets and gizmos.
A resounding theme at this years NAB, as well as NAB’s from the past, has been 4K. But what does that mean? And more importantly, how do we capture it?
The following blog from Filmmaker Magazine goes into comprehensive detail on how we get there.
Well, if you haven’t heard, the campaign ended and instead of hitting the $2m goal, it more than doubled that with $5.7m.
So, will this huge success change the way films – even studio films – are funded?
Will crowd-funding be co-opted by the studios and used as marketing platforms where they can get some free money, as well?
Here’s what Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars and the show’s Kickstarter campaign, had to say on the subject. More over at Wired.
Wired: Do you think the success of your Kickstarter could be the start of a new business model for film? How do you see it working for other people who aspire to make movies?
Rob Thomas: I think it will be an important pioneer for a certain type of film. I’m not convinced that this will revolutionize how most movies get made, but I think there’s an opportunity now for projects that are similar to ours – that have some bit of public support behind it before they launch on Kickstarter… For something like Veronica Mars, where there’s a bit of a cult following and people are really emotionally invested in it, I do think this is a new avenue. There is no other way that this movie was going to get made.
This is how the Cave’s website explains the concept:
Welcome to MLBFanCave.com, where new videos, photos and blogs featuring baseball’s biggest stars along with celebrities, musical acts and other guests are posted every day, allowing fans to interact with the game in an entirely new way. The MLB Fan Cave, located at 4th Street and Broadway in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village is a first-of-its-kind space mixing baseball with music, popular culture, media, interactive technology and art.
Entering its third season, the redesigned MLB Fan Cave hosts fan events, concerts, MLB player and celebrity appearances, as well as the Cave Dwellers who will attempt to watch every game of the MLB season while chronicling their experiences online through videos, blogs and social media. One eventual winner will be crowned before the end of the World Series. Fans can follow all of the activity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@MLBFanCave). Click here to receive email updates.
So that’s interesting, right? A bricks and mortar base camp combined with a constant stream of social media and video, all seemingly working in harmony to promote the game.
But then I heard the story of how a group of five families, 38 men, women and children slid through a narrow, muddy hole, 100 feet down into the ground, into an unknown pitch-black world, and I was hooked. It was simply the best adventure survival story I had heard anywhere. Forget 127 hours, this was 511 days.
If you’re in New York, you can see the film in theaters now.
We already talked about building your own xlr audio cables from scratch. This post will describe how to build your own SDI (Serial Digital Interface) or video cables from scratch. It’s extremely important to know that you have reliable cables, and that your signal quality going to your monitors is exceptional. This is again, why, for the most part I build my SDI cables from scratch.
***Disclaimer: Although building cables is fairly simple, it does take lots of practice and a bit of expert advice.***