Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Creative Room

I knew that I would get behind in my writing, especially once I got hooked on those books, whose names we must not speak of (especially as I haven't read the final one yet but it arrives tomorrow from Amazon!!).  I only have a moment to write this morning, well not even a moment, but I'm going to anyway as I'm sure all 10 of you subscribers are desperately missing my witty prose and I just needed to get the thoughts flowing again.  

I had a pretty cool day yesterday as an article on After Judgment and our new deal with Koldcast TV came out on Tubefilter TV the same day as Tubefilter hosted its Web Television Meetup.  Cool!  What's Tubefilter?  It's OK, if you're not in the digital realm and involved in a web series in one way or another you probably wouldn't have heard of it and if you have, well then you spend way too much time surfing the web (just like me!).  Tubefilter is the new destination for all web series news -think of it as the TV Guide for WebTV.  When I first met the co-founder Marc Hustvedt, it was right prior to our launch in October and I'm embarrassed to say that I had never heard of the site either.  Thankfully a mutual friend introduced us, albeit late into a wine soaked party, but I luckily remembered to follow-up the following week. Tubefilter has since been kind enough to write three articles on After Judgment.  

The Meetup last night vividly reflected both Tubefilter's exponential growth as a news leader in the web series realm and the proliferation of web content and series creators.  The James Cagney room at SAG (don't get me started on SAG issues right now) was filled to capacity with the quirky digital folks that I have come to love, along with some curious studio folks and a few 20 something starlets representing the network quality (and funded) MySpaceTV shows like Sorority Forever.  It was an evening tinged with irony, however, because of where the event took place, ie. SAG (don't send me threatening letters not to work on non-union web series), and that one of the guests was Cristian Cussen, an ex-Scott Rudin development exec turned Original Content VP for MySpaceTV.  Unfortunately, his speech and subsequent thoughts during the Q&A didn't exactly reflect the entrepreneurial spirit of the event as they boiled down to this: around .1% of all web series submissions to MySpace had a pilot commissioned and that it would be practically impossible to get into his office to even submit unless an agent and/or an already successful show got you there.  I felt like I was right back at a talent agent showcase where they were there to watch your work and maybe offer advice but not consider you for rep unless you already had six guest stars under your belt.  The catch-22 of Hollywood had manifested itself in the digital world.  

Not that Cristian wasn't interesting or at least well-intentioned.  He was there to elaborate on his job.  I'm always game to broaden my knowledge about digital distribution platforms, especially when they are the 2nd biggest on the internet.  It's just unfortunate that the continental divide that existed between the aspiring creatives sitting in the audience and the guy with the microphone was so awkwardly apparent.  As each of the brave questioners learned, after first announcing who they were and plugging their show of course, was that MySpace couldn't really help them.  Well, unless they had a MySpace page with thousands of friends, but other than that, unless you made it into the inner sanctum of content development with an idea that happened to correlate with an advertisers wish list at the right time of the year and with an ICM/Endeavor/UTA digital agent behind you, good luck, but don't forget to spend money buying personalized ad banners!  It was a little disconcerting to say the least and I think that Cristian was aware of 'the man' that he had become in the room.  

Perhaps, though, his slightly uncomfortable experience gave him food for thought.  It certainly gave me some.  Maybe it might have spurred an idea like this, somewhat similar to what Tubefilter is developing with it's Screening Room project: create a MySpaceTV incubator.  I don't have the idea fully fleshed out, but why not offer a distribution platform for web series creators that has limited access to the full rolodex of MySpace users.  Have a different featured video from the Incubator page everyday, tailored to the preferences of the user.  I produce a SciFi show and I bet that there are just a few folks out there on the site who have happen to like genre.  If they click through, then it takes them to the incubator page, of course laden with advertising, with links to the official MySpaceTV programming- the fancy stuff if you know what I mean.  I would assume there would be a screening process to get onto the incubator page - a certain level of production value needed- but it seems like a good idea to me.  Just as I think that the Screening Room project that Tubefilter is developing is a potentially groundbreaking service for new web content developers to use as a launching pad for their show, if the relationships that Tubefilter have are actually solid enough, though knowing them and their work ethic I believe that they are. 

The spirit of the web community returned once Felicia Day walked to the mike as she is the poster child for indie web success.  Over the past year she has turned down more than twenty deals before signing a lucrative deal with Microsoft, XBox Live and Sprint so that she can maintain her intellectual property rights of The Guild- pretty impressive to say the least.  But, having researched and followed her for the past year, nothing that she said was new news to me, she just re-confirmed that her success took a lot of hard work, passion and a little help from Joss Whedon's fan base.  It was strikingly apparent how everyone stared at this petite, quirky red-head with awe and admiration; she had fought Goliath and won.  The night ended with me, however.  No, I wasn't introduced or singled out because of the Tubefilter article.  I just happened to win the raffle for a pair of tickets to another Digital event next week.  Though it might sound conceited, the best thing was, when my name was called, I could hear a bunch of people react as they actually knew who I was.  I guess my quest to conquer the monster has already begun.  Be back soon.

All Things T

1 comment:

David Nett said...

Taryn --

I agree with much of your assessment of the web meet-up, especially the frustration with Mr. MySpace. He brought a stuffy studio feeling to what has been a really fun gathering these past two months. He wasn't a jerk about it, which was nice, but the advertising-driving-creative mentality is just disappointing to see so soon in the life of web TV. I still retain hope that "New Media" will mean not just old-school thinking on a new platform, but actually more of Felicia's brand of geek-roots justice.

Oh, and congrats on the KoldCast thing. The TiVo deal is, I think, huge.

Catch you at the next meetup.

GOLD, the series