Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A basic template for the future of streaming movies

There are several sites out there that you can watch free to the viewer streaming video content. They are quite successful in getting sponsorship with that media because the quality is good enough to get people to watch the videos available. Usually they are familiar with them from other sources and advertising.

What I am proposing here is duplicate the already proven methods of driving traffic to a streaming movie or video site, but add to it the social network aspect, because we are talking about working with indy filmmakers.

Let me paint a picture for you.

Say you want to watch a movie, or some short films and you get onto the forum. You'll see some of the titles that are creating a buzz, in whatever format that may be, bloggers talking about a film, articles written about a production or just the name of a filmmaker you know that you want to catch up on. You would in that case click on their profile see the productions they are currently working on, their blogs talking about the films they made in the past and movies or short films they liked, with links to the videos being discussed, right there in the meta data of the text. You could then click on the link and the viewer pops up and starts playing the film or short you were looking for, also right there in the player there will be links back to where you linked from as well as the profile or info page for the filmmaker or production team that created the film.

This is a small part of the web 2.0 experience that I think ultimately people will be looking for, a direct link to comment or email the filmmaker, view their other content and support any projects they may be trying to fund if you should so desire. All in one nice neat little easy to use site with very few distractions and banner ads to clutter things up.

Of course there is the financing aspect that I will get into at another time but it would suffice to say that logically if the viewer got to watch for free the quality of the player was the very best on the web, (I hear cinematographers sigh when I mention 720p streaming with no buffer) and the filmmaker gets paid a majority of the net profit, that this would be a winning proposition all the way around.

The real trick is the involvement of the viewers to blog about streaming movies they liked and create a viewer or reader base with rss feeds and Google clicks that should share in the profits to some degree as well. Anyone with a blog could have a link directly to the film they are recommending and get a "pay-per-click" income stream from the movies promoted on their blog.

Of course I think it would be important for everyone to be able to use the free system to link to their other content on other sites, like if a film is only available on Create Space, Veoh, Miro or Amazon, even a pay-per-view link to the filmmakers own website, there should be no criticism or bias, to linking directly and seamlessly to those.

This is what we are in the process of building and your involvement in the foundation is needed and wanted. You will see the links to the Streaming Indy social network around this and other sites. Go ahead, get involved now when it matters. No one will salute the 10000th member but the 100th that is still a celebration and a comrade won. Help us form web 2.0 for the indy filmmaker if you like what you are reading here and if you don't then tell us about it and make a contribution there that is what it was designed for.
Stay tuned and we'll see you there.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hollywood and the economy of the calculated sequel

There seems to be a shortage of original thought in the industry of film and from what I am hearing from the audience members they are getting tired of the bigger explosion and faster paced action selling the show.
What about art? Why isn't that being really cultivated in the market?
Well it's a lot like the recent bailout of the stock market. The choices were made clear and what should have been done wasn't.
I will clarify this. One politician stood up in the forum and said that if the government was going to try to bail out the economy it should give the $700,000,000.00 distributed to the citizens of America instead of to the very people responsible for the debacle in the first place. (that is paraphrased of course or I would have named and quoted)
But he was right. Look at what the money distributed to the people would have done:

For each citizen that would have been about $300,000.00 as a economic boost from the government.
What would the majority of American's do with the money?
Spend it of course. They would pay off debts and buy new cars, electronics and all the things that they buy now and some would even invest in the stock market.

Honestly who cares what the stock market does if they don't have money on the line?

But the people we elected to make decisions with that kind of money, our tax dollars, decided to give it to the failures that got everyone scared in the first place.

I personally think that is stupid. They don't trust their own constituents.
I think it would have made this a much better country to live in over the next five years and before the money is spent they should put it to a vote.
This is supposed to be a representative democracy. The problem I see is the the elect are representing the wrong people.

And so it is with Hollywood. Instead of letting the artist have free reign in the creation of the cinematic piece, the industry is controlled by the non creative financial types and decisions are based for distribution on what a film just like x or y has boxed in the past. The sure thing, or as close as they can get.

Very much like Paul Zane Pilsner talked about in his book, "The Next Trillion". Predominately about the wellness industry. He talked about the drug companies being a for profit group making decisions for research and development based on not what the world needs, but on the profit generated in the outcome of the research. He gave the example of a comparison of the profit between a one pill cure for cancer and a maintenance drug that the patient (customer) would take for the rest of their life.
The decision is obvious. The greater profit is in the maintenance drug of course.

Therin lies the problem with a capitalistic approach to decisions of this nature.

Don't get me wrong I'm up for profit just like every red blooded American, but where do you draw the line between sanity and profit margins?

Art and politics, The carving of the future by the desire for the almighty buck.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Alright Indy filmmakers, It's time to get in the stream.

Working for you and still rocking the streaming media. We are calling for submissions and are pushing the new model for Indy filmmakers to get noticed.

Let's take a look at some of the data that makes this trend viable to catch:
In an earlier blog I was writing I stated that Netflix was missing the boat on the members, then when they made a grand announcement that they were getting involved in indy film they were all too quick to drop the "red Carpet program like a hot rock. What is it about indy film that is so reprehensible?
I've seen some pretty good films out there in the circuit. But there is a lot of work that is not so good mixed in.
The problem is no-one wants to sort it out. I think I may have a solution.
Here is a quote from an earlier blog I wrote back in April.

One of the popular interests of our particular group is the contest for helping Netflix with a more effective solution for recommending new films to users. The currently employed offered are nearly all about some program or mathematical algorithms.
My personal viewpoint is that they are missing their most valuable assets; The members.

But first lets follow some of the most obvious trends to support this, let's take a look at what the public wants:

If one looks at the trend of the social element being part of all the major online players for content on the web.

We see Youtube growing even now after reaching an average of 52 million visits a month.
Myspace is actually on a trend to outdo the mighty Google for traffic, along with Facebook and more social membership programs are popping up daily.

Looking at this topic from a sociologist's standpoint one could surmise that; people are moving farther apart, and want to more than ever belong to something, to fit somewhere, associate with something, be heard and respected by their peers.
Thus the increase in online social activity.

Next we look at the content available, Youtube and, as well as Google and the others have dominated the market creating something called user generated content really getting the audience involved.

They put the most popular videos om the front page giving the users that are most effective at getting attention even more popularity and status within the group. Now

Youtube is opening profit sharing opportunities with this new breed of social filmmaker, and growing even more because of it.

This is the online viewing audience, and they are looking for more content.

I say give the public a chance to do this with Indy shorts and feature films,in a Wiki way. Wiki has redefined mans view of fellow man in a way and in general we want to have our line in the page if we know for sure, we're helping.

I think there is a social network solution to the Netflix contest issue give this new social filmmaker a place in the system. Here's a possible scenario:

Netflix Social Solution

The real essence of the system has to be the focus on the social system, bloggers, video bloggers, and podcasters compete to be reviewers or critics and the social network picks the ones they want to listen to.
This way bloggers and this new breed of social filmmakers become critics (and of course have their paid Netflix membership) to watch and review the films thus becoming potentially professional movie critics,(and who doesn't want that job?)
The critic after watching the film, leaves a review that covers quality, genre', acting, and/or story contents(but not giving away the plot surprises)and recommended list of similar movies with each review.(Herein lies the secret to effective film association.)
The social network then comes in and comments on the reviews, the reviewer getting a large number on positive comments (and rating stars)should be paid by the content provider with a standard to be set by the provider, (rating and popularity, number of completed views, etc.)
In this way the public knows how the system works and the potential of getting paid to blog is integrated, thereby embracing all the current trends of the web.

Honestly, I predict that the solution ultimately derived from this contest will look similar to what I have outlined here.
But I'm also willing to put my money where my mouth is, I can create the website and run the beta test through a service I recently discovered and would call it

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