You know what I think is a waste of money? Web video companies with layers upon layers of middle management, approval processes, and legal clearance issues that, at the end of the day, make awful bullshit. THAT’S what’s not sustainable.
Funny Or Die’s motto seems to be “Just go make stuff”. And that’s why the site’s still around, because we have 30 videos a month instead of 2 bloated web series a year. The majority of those shoots are nothing like the one you see in that picture- they’re run-and-gun and crazy and weird. But I’m sure glad the site does mega-productions, because it gives a major leg up to young filmmakers so they can go make great movies and TV shows and possibly have some sense of what the hell they’re doing. And that’s a future I’m in full support of!
WEB VIDEO FAIL. (imagine in impact font)
I hope the future of internet video DOESN’T look like this.
FOD Behind the Scenes
Here’s a behind-the-scenes photo from the Little Drummer Boy shoot. It takes a village to make an Internet video.
Everyone, there are some sets that have the maximum amount of people there, but most projects HAVE MANY, MANY people involved nonetheless; even after you carve down necessary crew to fit the budget. I don’t know what’s going on in this picture, but It takes a lot of people to make a film or a series or a high-end commercial. It just does. Producer, director, writer, actors, wardrobe department, script supervisor, camera department, gaffers, electric, craft service, location manager, props, SFX, ETC, ETC, ETC.
Look, if you’ve never made a professional-grade project, it’s understandable that you haven’t experienced seeing this many departments all working their asses off. But if you think that the future of Internet-Distributed films and series is four friends in Barry’s back yard on the weekend, you are mistaken.
That’s not the future of entertainment AT ALL.
The future of this industry changes every six months.
The PRESENT, which is what I care about, is making web shows sustainable.
This ain’t the way, sorry.
I love FoD, and they make awesome stuff. Everyone I’ve met over there has been great, and I admire what they have built. But when I see big crews on web video shoots, my heart sinks. It tells me that the producer doesn’t plan on making something sustainable.
At least not right now.
The day I will jump for joy is the day that someone takes 10 million dollars and instead of making an independent feature film or shooting a network TV pilot, the entire budget is poured into a web project.
The storytelling is crafted FOR the online medium (whatever that entails—I don’t know if it’s been figured out yet), the money is put into production value and a real marketing campaign that creates legitimate awareness on a broad scale, meaning a marketing campaign that can at least compete with something like Boardwalk Empire and The King’s Speech in terms of getting the idea in front of Average Joe’s eyeballs so he’ll actually tune in and watch it.
Consumers have already proven that they’re ready to go online to get their entertainment just as much as they’re willing to watch TV or go to the movies (maybe even more so).
But until someone gets serious—and I’m talking about everyone—major studios, production companies, content providers of all shapes and sizes and stops treating online as an also-ran and a place to save money and reach the same amount of people, it will continue to be a place where the content doesn’t contend with traditional media (sometimes—and I mean in terms of reach, production value, sometimes the talent that is attracted to a project and is able to work with / for very little).
I think places like Blip.tv and FoD and a few others are brilliant in the way they’ve been able to maximize 1.) the amount of money being allocated to new media content and 2.) how that money is spent in the best possible way. And I know these places would really kick some serious ass (some serious traditional media ass) if their budgets grew ten-fold.
And I know that some folks are making content for 1/100th of what a major TV show or film spends, and it’s infinitely better.
But the dollars, particularly the marketing dollars, have to keep growing. For some of that, we just have to wait and see as the tide changes. We also have to keep making great shit really efficiently and continuously impress those with the coffers. But it’s a double-edged sword—the more we prove we can do with very little, the less folks are inclined to give us anymore than very little.
If I saw a crew like this and the budget was 1 million dollars (or hell, even 500K) and it was for a SINGLE WEB PROJECT, I would stand up and start the slow clap.
I know more can be done with less. I know more can be done with even more than is pictured here (+money).
It’s an interesting time.