So, you’d really, really like to make some kind of original online series. Or sketch or short. You have a pretty good idea, but . . . Seriously really’d like to, but . . . It’s just . . .
Bad news. Your excuses are dumb. And getting dumber. Things are happening and the very best time is now, from a digital film making standpoint, to throw some shit at the walls. There are some good examples listed below.
It’s nothing personal. The movie business was so in the dumps by the ’70’s, it let wildly new ideas past the gatekeepers. A lot of it good, some not so good. But that era in film making meant everything to what we love to watch today.
Now is one of those in-between times. You don’t have to ask permission to be online. The meritocracy there is mind boggling, and maybe even a little evil. But that’s where the business is going. DVD revenue is gone forever. And the ability to create something that anyone can watch, right now, before anybody has a chance to stack the deck, puts you at a moment in time that it’s a shame not to take advantage of.
Here are those examples –
1) Networks are officially moving from reality to scripted content. Advertisers pay more and a hit can be more valuable over a longer period of time.
“We’re going into this because we feel like it will complement the schedule and, to a certain extent, round out what we are already doing on the unscripted side,” Bravo president Frances Berwick told the Los Angeles Times. “It was just time to do it.”
2) Actors are taking their weight in fun new directions. And that means they’re looking for your great idea. The nature of all this is adventurous and experimental. That’s their nature too!
Here’s what’s going on with Rainn Wilson: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/rainn-wilsons-impress-me-becomes-779154
“Impress Me becomes the latest web-turned-TV series as the increase in scripted fare puts writers and talent in short supply and programmers look to other avenues for success,” writes the Hollywood Reporter. “It joins TV Land’s upcoming take on Teachers; Comedy Central hit Broad City; Adult Swim’s Childrens Hospital; Showtime’s Web Therapy; Cartoon Network’s Annoying Orange; and Nickelodeon’s AwesomenessTV, among others.”
It will always be the case that the person that the audience already knows and loves holds most of the cards, even as producers. A script brings an actor and that brings the money. Or one of the infinite combination of variables there in. Movie, TV show, the only practical difference is distribution and packaging. What we’re talking about here is the distribution part.
As the ground becomes more level in terms of finding and delivering to a paying audience, what do we need all these guys in suits for, popular actor dude? Exactly.
3) Everything old is new again. The show Pinkertons gives an encouraging roadmap of how a show could be put together in what could become actual independent television someday on what’s left of cable tv. A wonderful experiment and a pretty good show. And remember, with DVRs, any time is prime time.
Here you have all the elements you need. The show creator, runner, funder, finder.
But this is the fun part: A guy named John Rohrs just dusted off an old-fashioned idea of how to put his show into markets coast to coast, one at a time. He trades them straight up.
“In The Pinkertons, we have a first-run show, which our broadcast stations are looking for,” says Sean Compton, president of strategic programming and acquisitions at Tribune Broadcasting. “It’s a genre that works for us – it’s a procedural like Person of Interest and Elementary. And there is really no risk for us. We’re replacing barter-only shows with a barter-only show.”
4) Meanwhile, telecommunication companies are getting into the content business as part of new direct-to-online networks. And they’ll need product.
“It’s increasingly clear that ‘mobile first’ is the way millennials are consuming all types of content, especially HD video and music,” said Terry Denson, vice president of content acquisition and strategy at Verizon. “At Verizon, we’re committed to working with only the best and most innovative content providers, like AwesomenessTV, and driving opportunities as new content models emerge and customers experience the most in-demand and popular video in entirely new ways.”
Over The Top (OTT) just means traditional networks lost the monopoly on your TV screen.
“Consumers can access OTT content through internet-connected devices such as desktop and laptop computers, gaming consoles (such as the PlayStation 4, WiiU, and Xbox One), set-top boxes (such as the Roku), smartphones (including Android phones, iPhones, and Windows phones), smart TVs (such as Google TV), and tablets. Consumers can access apps in most app stores.”
These telecom companies will use these new networks to sell not only their data plans, but also take a piece of the advertising along the way.
“Large Web companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook have dominated Internet commerce, while carriers like Verizon have been shut out,” said Kevin Smithen, an analyst with Macquarie Securities USA Inc. “The next battle lines are being drawn in online video, and Verizon wants to be sure they get their share of a sizable new pie.”
In short, the future is now.
So, with all respect, get off your ass and prove your concept. We live in exciting times.