FilmFellas: Cast Three

Zacuto USA brings us a series of table side chats with filmmakers: Steve Weiss, Mike Michaud, Anish Savjani, Edward Seaton.

“10. Social Experiment”

Webisode 10 brings you a brand new cast of FilmFellas. Each fella has a different approach to online media, but they do agree on one thing, media is changing and it’s changing fast. Steve opens with the classic and sometimes risky exercise of “say what you think of first”. Each cast member is hit with a variety of terms from web video to social networking and the responses may shock you. Conversation quickly turns to the idea of how physical media is shifting to online media.

Edward Seaton explains, “It depends on how quickly technology can catch up with the idea of online distribution and watching things in a different format.”

Taking that a step further, the cast discusses how advances in home entertainment have also affected the idea of physical media. Technology, again, needs to find a flawless way however, to connect this online content with the home theater equipment. The immediacy of online content creates a roadblock that other lines of media have yet to overcome. Check out the conversation and see what it sparks for you.

“11. The Wild West”

In Webisode 11 the fellas continue to flesh out their collective ideas for monetizing video content on the web. Each fella has a different view of where this content is appropriate and how it should be used.

“You have to get people to finally accept online video as a true medium for people to take is seriously,” argues Mike Michaud.

The idea that the web is still considered “The Wild West”, where anyone can essentially upload any content, forces some of the fellas to believe that major brand websites will seek Hollywood credentials. Most of the fellas agree, however, that creating content that can compete with television is the next big step in web video. Discussion gravitates back to the monetization factor and the debate continues.

12 “The Gold Standard”

Is the traditional Hollywood film structure starting to lose its hold on standard distribution because of the rapid growth of online films? The fellas argue that the experience of going to a movie theater is still the “Gold Standard” for the entire industry; however, there are other types of entertainment and ways you can distribution it on the web that can bring you a much bigger audience and are more profitable.

Old school mentalities that films must be seen on the big screen are changing and in turn the “Gold Standard” is being challenged. The fellas debate what is a film and whether on-screen or on-web is the right way to go for indies.

“What filmmakers need to realize that it is no sin in making something that not the gold standard, we are entertainment makers and we want make content that moves people and something we can make a living doing” explains Steve Weiss, Director.

Community building is a hot topic in all industries and the same goes for independent film. These new channels of distribution can both help and hinder filmmakers that jump on the band wagon. Find out what paths the fellas think can work best.

13 “Survival of the Cleverest”

Monetization is the ubiquitous buzz word for online video content. The fellas bring this age old debate to the foreground while discussing what works for online advertising and the overall structure of very different business plans. Everyone agrees that current advertising agencies need to start taking full advantage of the online space whether that is through sponsorship or creating social environments.

“In order to survive when the TV giants decide to go “all out” online, you are going to have to have a set of partnerships, alliances and new content that constantly come into play,” says Mike Michuad.

There are sites available that split advertising sales and host videos for free for content developers. But these sites may not allow you to have control over what ads are involved with the site. The network models or the strategy of going directly to B2B companies both have their own advantages, but the fellas disagree on who is doing it right.

“Social networking and community building are the future of advertising for local business,” explains Steve Weiss. The fellas do seem to agree on at least this one instance.

FilmFellas webisode 13 from Steve Weiss, Zacuto USA on Vimeo.


14 “Face Your Brand”

“You want to grow an audience,” says Steve Weiss “You want to say, ‘Joe (Swanberg) is shooting film XYZ in Iowa, here’s a behind the scenes picture, some text and a video.’ Now you’re building an enthusiast crowd for Joe’s films.”

Personal-branding is essential for filmmakers today. By building a large group of fans, the filmmaker can communicate and directly engage with the viewers . Using the social media outlets such as facebook, twitter and myspace to disperse information about your film is the best way for you to connect directly with your audience and get to know who they are.

“But, if you’re constantly sending news blasts, at some point it’s going to be too much and I’m just going to turn you off,” retorts Edward Seaton.

So, what is the filmmaker to do, use existing social media sites to disperse information or should you build your own site and draw your own traffic?

FilmFellas webisode 14 from Steve Weiss, Zacuto USA on Vimeo.