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Friday, August 10, 2007

Making the Right Deal So You Can Buy a New Car

Online Videos by Veoh.com

It’s a pretty exciting time in the world of independent content / video podcasting / pocasting / videoblogging / online video production. The Big Fantastic guys inked a deal with a Hollywood mogul , Tiki Bar TV and
Keith and the Girl signed a deal with Wizzard , the LonelyGirl15 guys struck a deal with Bebo on a new series Kate Modern in London and the Podacast WallStrip was acquired by CBS for 3 to 5 million dollars depending on who you talk to. It really feels like things are happening but online creators beware, I don’t see any of the independent content producers I know driving around in new cars… yet.

My whole life I’ve dreamt of a studio deal. Wait, that’s not true. When I was a kid I wanted a Webco Black Diamond BMX Bike and a surfboard. I’ll start over. My whole adult life I’ve dreamt of a studio deal, a deal where I would be warm and safe, a deal where I could have an office on the lot with my own parking spot, a deal where I would come up with “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas that the studio would green light and that I would then go write, produce and direct. Then the studio would distribute my production for the whole world to see. But then I discovered the Internet and how my dreams have changed.

Once I figured out what I could do with the web I created a fictional videoblog/online story that had millions of hits and I realized while I was waiting for that studio deal I could write, produce, direct AND distribute my own projects. I loved it. It was great. I could come up with whatever I wanted and just go do it and for the past seven years I have. Millions of people came to see my work but they didn’t leave any money just a big fat bandwidth bill. I quickly learned I didn’t know how to make money on the Internet.

So I kept at it and kept at it and finally came up with French Maid TV . It has brought me millions of views, I get paid money to make it and it is way more fun to make than any studio or TV project I’ve ever produced. Sure I have to deal with clients that put their “marketing speak” into the voice over but other than that I have a lot of creative freedom. It has brought me a big Hollywood agent and meetings with studios all around town. I’m out pitching all my “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas and it feels pretty good. But wait, I still don’t have a studio deal and as far as I know neither does anyone else who creates online video. The closest thing to a studio deal that I know of is what has happened to Big Fantastic.

The Big Fantastic guys made a show called Sam Has 7 Friends for $50K of their own money. They got millions of views. They got a big Hollywood agent. They had meetings all over town. Then they pitched a new idea called Prom Queen to Michael Eisner and he bought it. Not only did he buy it he also bought their online hit Sam Has 7 Friends. Can you believe it? These guys pitched and sold a new series as well as their old series to the dude that used to run Disney! Incredible. Side note: I used to be a production assistant on Michael Eisner’s “Voice of Disney” intros to the Disney Sunday Movie. You know, “Hello, I’m Michael Eisner and Welcome to the Disney Sunday Movie.” More about that another time.

Now the Big Fantastic Guys (who I love) are working around the clock the same way they did when they produced Sam has 7 Friends and they are getting paid for it! It’s great. Right? Well, I don’t see them driving new cars or in a big office on the lot yet and the other thing that crosses my mind when I drive through the studio gates is that they don’t own their content anymore either. Makes me want to ask someone for some advice. What a second, maybe I can Ask A Ninja? Let’s see the guys at Beatbox Giant created an online show, Ask A Ninja
They got millions of views. They got a big Hollywood agent. They had meetings all over town. Then they got something pretty cool. No, it wasn’t a studio deal with an office on the lot. They got a big advertising deal with Federated Media . But best of all, they still own their content. They still get to write, produce, direct AND distribute whatever “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas they come up with and if they can keep it all going, I’ll bet we will see them driving around in new cars soon.

Now if one of my “wonderful”, “creative” and “brilliantly evil” ideas ever gets bought at a studio I don’t think I’ll be able to turn the deal down just yet cause the market place hasn’t developed enough yet for me to survive full time on French Maid TV but I will ask my agents to fight hard to get me the best deal possible bcause the lease is running out on my SUV and I don’t have enough money to buy a new one… yet.

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