How to grow a YouTube empire

Over at TechInsider there’s an indepth look at the rise of Smosh. Started by a couple of teens at home, in a time before money could be made on YouTube, they’ve gone on to amass billions of views and millions of subscribers.

THE ORIGINAL YOUTUBE STARS: How Smosh went from a ridiculous Pokémon video to a comedy empire

Teenagers Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla were living at home in 2005, months after graduating from high school, when they began to unlock the secrets of going viral.

Has the SEC just changed the rules for film funding?

Back at the end of March the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) updated an investment scheme known as “Regulation A+” (got some SECy names over at the SEC!) which will go into action on June 19.

The Hollywood Report has an article about it, linked below, but I thought I’d chime in.

Reg A+ redefines how companies can seek investment in vehicles – including film. THR opines that this might change crowdfunding as Reg A+ offers the chance for the investors to get money back on their investment, unlike the normal Kickstarter model where the investor gets no financial return but gets ‘perks’ for stumping up the cash.

Be clear: this will change little for the small film trying to raise money. The paperwork requirement is too costly and complicated for a guy in his garage making a SciFi short. Reg A+ WILL help the studios to put films on the auction block for open investment – i.e letting them tap into a kind of crowdfunding that sits better with large corporations.

Reg A+ has two tiers (with slightly different paperwork requirements) – up to $20 million and $20 – $50 million. This will also be HIGHLY attractive to mid-level funders looking to get in on name productions.

I see this as potentially harmful to small filmmakers. If someone sets up a Kickstarter-like website that brokers these Reg A+ deals then that will seriously bite into small films. I’m sure the general public would rather put $100 into ‘Iron Man 5’ than ‘Mom’s backyard shenanigans’, especially if not only do funders get a digital download but they also get the chance to get a small return.

I’m curious to see the ripples here.

Here’s The Hollywood Reporter article

FilmRiot’s Epic Summer: ‘Real Gone’

I am a huge fan of Ryan Connolly and what he has done with Film Riot. He is probably responsible for thousands of people trying their hands at indie filmmaking. So blame him.

Anywhosit, he has this ‘Epic Summer’ thing going on and the latest offering is the Connolly-produced short film ‘Real Gone’, written and directed by Seth Worley (@Awakeland3D).

The film is funny and a great example of what can be done in a weekend.

First, watch the film.

Then, because it’s FilmRiot and they love that behind the scenes stuff that shows you have to actually make a film, they’ve got 3 BTS episodes too!

These types of things are invaluable – for a couple reasons. First, of course it is great to see what they did, how they got the shots, etc. But, for me the bigger benefit might come in the form of inspiration and showing that you can do something so great on a shoestring budget.

Thanks Ryan and co.

Check out the BTS shows below.

There’s a whole whack of other content… click here to do the search on YouTube.

Breaking News…on SnapChat?!

Fortune does a piece on why SnapChat – a piece of software I don’t understand for a generation I know nothing about – should be on the radar of anyone looking at the evolution of media companies.

It’s a brief intro into the possible future of the ‘no, we’re not only for sexting’ platform. Journalism and politics may be on the close horizon.

Fascinating stuff.

Late 70s Sci-Fi ‘serialism’ more from TheDissolve on SF

I love this series of articles from TheDissolve about my favourite kind of movie – Science Fiction. Only in Science Fiction (and children’s literature) can you deal with saving the world.

In this instalment they look at the time around the release of the first Star Wars and how other films – more entrenched in SF history – were in the works. Films like Superman, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Flash Gordon all took a look backwards. So did Star Wars of course, but in a more veiled manner.

Anyway, the guys at The Dissolve will say it better (and longer) than I ever could.


This will change nothing: inside Studio manipulation of VOD

Great whistleblowing article over on TorrentFreak about the state of things in the relationship between VOD services and the Studios.

What becomes abundantly clear is that major studios are in a monopoly position, capable of making outrageous demands. This is a system based on complete disregard for the consumer or concern about the quality of the product. That in and of itself is not unique – many industries are like that – but we like to fool ourselves into thinking that filmmaking has something (even if just a little) to with creating good to great art.

Be clear – if this is the studio method of operation then why would you, as an independent filmmaker, choose to be part of it? Because you want to work with A-list stars, win an Oscar, have a high budget?

At this point I have given up on that dream and decided instead to focus on a ground-swelling of production that targets the customer (crazy idea!) and not the sales pipeline.

Anyway, I digress.

Please read this informative if blood-pressure-raising article.

We likes numbers! Breaking down some distribution scenarios

Adam Leipzig over at Cultural Weekly talks my language… numbers!

Leipzig breaks down a couple of different scenarios for a low – he says ‘micro’, but here in Japan his number ($400k) is medium budget! – budget film as far as traditional or direct distribution. It’s good reading if you like to see simulations and numbers (which I do).

Of course, the problem with articles like these is that they are VERY subjective and your mileage might vary incredibly. So they are best taken as theory, not practice.

Do we need reminding about shooting for low budget? Yes we do!

Ok, yes, there’s been a LOT of articles over the years that tell you a varying amount of tips (this article has 14!) on making your low budget film.

And yes, usually the things are the same.

But some of you (read: us) are not listening and keep retreading the same bald tires.

So I’m linking in this one.

Read, understand, absorb.