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Monday, September 29, 2008

How Comfortable are You with Taking Risks in Your Online Video?

One of my clients, Chris Christensen of Amateur Traveler sent a tweet out this morning about this Extended Stay Commercial.

It's a 60 second spot that I can't really see playing on regular TV (maybe late night TV) but it is a great example of risk taking, pushing the envelope and doing what you need to do to get views in online video.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Can You Use Online Video To Effectively Market?

I hear people say over and over that you can't create viral videos. I say that's crap. You can create viral videos, you just need someone who knows what their doing.

Craigslist is a great place to find people who can operate video cameras at rock bottom prices or for free. You can also find people with knives for sale on Craigslist but you wouldn't hire anyone with a knife to perform your heart surgery and you shouldn't just hire anyone with a camera to create a viral video for you.

First and foremost if you want your marketing message to go viral you have to be willing to take a risk. You can't create a safe "TV Commercial" and expect it to go viral. It won't and you will be wasting your marketing budget. So if you work at a conservative company that won't take chances stop reading now. This post will not be of use to you at your current job. Or you can quit your job or get fired and keep reading.

By taking a risk I mean that you are going to have to do something that you can't do on regular television. You are going to have to do what I speak about at conferences:

1. Move 2 or more emotions
2. Have spectacle
3. Have Story

Take a look at the above video with Ashley Tisdale, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens that was shot on location at the basecamp of Disney's High School Musical 3. Sure it has big stars in it but there are other Big Star behind the scenes videos that don't go viral. This video has spectacle, story and depending on who you are moves two or more emotions. Imagine doing a similar video at a political rally. It would go viral as well.

I know, it's easier said than done and that's why you need someone who knows what they are doing.

Well Tim, I don't have big stars and I don't want French Maids in my viral video.

You don't have to have big stars or French Maids in your viral video. Just ask yourself what audience you are trying to reach and what viral videos are already doing that. Chances are you could hire the creators of that video to create one for you or you could ask another viral video producer to create a video that fits your brand and reaches and your target audience.

How do I reach these viral video producers?

Other than sending an email to the producer you want to reach you could ask me or another online video producer who has millions of views if we know them. We have a close knit circle of friends in the viral video world and chances are if we don't know them we will know someone who does have their phone number.

There are also sites like Podtrac and Tubemogul where you can contact producers and advertise on their shows which may be a better way to test the waters in using online video to market your products and services.

It's a lot easier to jump on a moving train that it is to build a train and find the tracks to send it down. Shows that already have the targeted audience you are trying to reach could save you a lot of time and money and could build a stronger bond with your consumers because you are supporting a show that they care about.

If you are looking to reach girls and young women 15-24 I would seriously consider Abigail's Teen Diary. If you are looking to reach boys 12-18 I would consider Ask A Ninja or Retarded Policeman.

If you really want to start your own viral video I would suggest a long term strategy where you create a brand that is going to become it's own train. Take a look at Will It Blend. Blentec's Head of Marketing, George Wright created a online sensation where the cost of the first 5 episodes was $50 and as of a year ago had had over 70 million views and had increased sales 20-30%. Not bad for a video where a guy in a lab coat puts everyday items into a blender. The Will It Blend videos have even generated income from online advertising and DVD sales. Can you imagine having your marketing make you money? I love it.

If you are looking to reach Tweens right now fastest moving train out there is FRED. A quick look at Tubemoguls Top 40 reveals that the annoying high pitched voiced teen has over 105 Million views with 99% of those views coming from YouTube. What a monster.

That's fine Tim but I already have a video message and I just want to get it out there to as many people as possible I don't want to create a new video.

Well if you have a 30 second spot don't go buying any pre-roll time on advertising networks where you TV spot is going to play in front of a video that could be shorter than your ad. You might end up upsetting your consumers. If you are going to go the pre-roll route keep your message short 5, 10 or 15 seconds tops. People don't want to watch an ad when they are expecting their favorite video.

You know Tim, I want to do pre-roll advertising but I don't have a pre-roll video or the money to make one. What can I do?

If you have a good idea of what your video message is and you can create a Google Text Ad them maybe you should test a service called Ad Grinder. For $99 you can create a video ad by uploading your photos, graphics, video and voice over to the AdGrinder website and then you can place your finished ad as a pre-roll where ever you want to buy placement.

Bottom line is whether you build your own or use someone else's viral video series to get your message to your target audience, you will find online video very effective in engaging your consumers.

That's great Tim but online videos are cheap. I only want to spend $1000 and get millions of views.

Well, there's always Craigslist.

If you need some viral video consulting or would like to sponsor 1TimStreet contact 1timstreet at gmail dot com.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How Do You Get a Hollywood Agent?

Every year millions of "wanna bees" move to Hollywood in hopes of being "Discovered", getting a big Hollywood Agent and Making it in Hollywood. Well now you don't have to move to Hollywood to get a big Hollywood agent.

I had the chance of catching up with ICM digital content Agent George Ruiz and I asked him about what he looks for when he's searching for talent to sign.

George explained that first and foremost he's looking for passion. George believes that you as a online video creator or performer need to be passionate about your work but he also needs to be passionate about your work. He can't sell you if he doesn't believe in what your doing.

Keep in mind that you as a online video creator succeed in helping other people. You succeed in helping people laugh. You succeed in helping people cry. You succeed in helping people with information and you succeed with advertisers by helping them get the message out about their brand.

You also have to have something that an agent can use as a sales tool. An agent isn't going to pick up the phone and say, "Hey I met this great guy who thinks he might be able to make some videos that might be able to get some views."

Agents are salesmen who need to believe in the products they are selling and they need to have sales tools.

Sales Tools? What are you talking about Tim? Agents are cool and creative they don't do sales.

Wake up.

An agent needs to be able to show a studio, network, production company or Web 2.0 company something that will make them believe that you can do something for them. If you are a writer it would be a good idea to have a few really good scripts written. If you are a director it would be a good idea to have a demo reel of really good videos that you have directed. If you are an actor it would be a good idea to have a demo reel and resume of the best work that you've done.

Now the chances of you getting an agent right now if you only do one thing is pretty low. Your best chance of getting a new media agent is much better if you write, produce, direct and act or are part of a team that does all that. Right now agents are looking to sell turnkey solutions for studios and networks. There's very little money flowing in online video right now and people who can do multiple jobs and have already proved it are of the most value.

Already Proved it?

Are you smoking crack Tim?

I need an agent so I can get work. I don't have anything to prove it.

Well you better get off your butt, go make a video, post it on the Internet and get an audience.

Get an audience?

If I had an audience I wouldn't need an agent.

There is a bit of a Catch 22 going on here but the bottom line is that you are going to have to put out for free to get an agent and the bigger your audience is the more studios, networks and production companies are going to want you. Even if you have an audience of millions you can still use an agent to set up meetings for you. Agents are dealing with buyers everyday and know what the buyers are looking for. They can work for you setting up your next project while your working on making your current online video hit.

That's just stupid Tim. If I have millions of viewers I don't need an agent.

Well, I can only think of a few online video creators who are making money with online video content that don't have agents but they do have companies and funding behind them.

Agents don't cost you money on the front end the way a staff sales team does and they could get you more money on the back end because agents know the deals that have already been made, they know things to ask for in a deal that you might never think of and all for the low, low price of 10%.

How Do You Get a Hollywood Agent?

Have something to offer that an agent can use to sell you:

An online series with millions of views
A resume and demo real
Emotionally engaging written material

Then contact a new media agent by email or contact someone who already has a new media agent and have them recommend you. That's how I got an agent. Kent Nichols of Ask a Ninja recommended me to UTA and after I had been signed awhile I recommended Blake Calhoun who produces Pink. Now there are other people that I've sent to my agents at UTA and for what ever reason they weren't passionate about those people and they didn't even call them in for a meeting even though they had millions of views.

One of the people George Ruiz has been able to sell is Video Blogger Brigette Dale from Lincoln Nebraska who has signed a deal with ABC Family.

For Online Viral Video Consulting or to Sponsor 1TimStreet Contact 1timstreet at gmail dot com.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Do Some People Get Millions of Video Views?

Over the last two weeks I've been traveling to meetings, events, pitches and consulting gigs in New York for the New York Television Fest, Las Vegas for Blogworld, San Francisco This Week In Media and a VIP Tour of Pixelcorps, San Jose for Streaming Media West, Emeryville for a VIP tour of Tubemogul and back to Los Angeles. 10 days on the road can make you really tired but not tired enough to miss TubeFilter's Hollywood Web Television Meet Up last night at the American Film Institute.

The TF boys rounded up the First Couple of online video Kim Evey and Greg Benson of Mediocre Films and one of Digital Hollywood's biggest power brokers George Ruiz of ICM for an intimate night of Q & A about making a living in online video.

Kim Evey and Greg Benson have a pretty impressive list of online video projects they have worked on:

Retarded Policeman
Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show
Two Hot Girls in the Shower
The Guild
Greg Hits Hollywood
Phone Call to God

Why are Kim and Greg getting millions of views?

Well in my opinion it's pretty simple. They have talent. They have lots of talent and their videos contain the secret ingredients of viral video success.

What are the secret ingredients of online viral videos?

1TimStreet's 5 Secret Ingredients of Viral Video Success:

1. Don't Suck
2. Move Two or More Human Emotions
3. Have Spectacle
4. Have Story
5. Have Talent

Sure it's easy for me to say that but sometimes it's hard to understand if your videos suck. People don't want to admit they have an ugly baby and people that know you aren't going to tell you that your child could cause someone to gag choke and die.

I know that the little videos that I shoot for my blog aren't going to get millions of views because to most people they suck but I also know that to a small group of people who read my blog and watch my little videos the information on my blog videos is way more important than the episodes of French Maid TV that I create that get millions of views. I also know that even if I spent a lot of time and money lighting, shooting and editing my little interview videos I would never see a return on that investment.

Examine any viral video and depending on who you are you will find that it moves two or more human emotions. What are those emotions?

The Primary Emotions are:


Combining any two or more of them will get you views.

You are so full of crap Tim. There are no emotions in French Maid TV.

Sure there are, Lust is a sub-emotion of Love and Humor is a sub-emotion of Joy. French Maid TV is funny and sexy. There are however other people who find French Maid TV surprising. Some are full of anger, sadness or fear when they see sexy women dressed as French Maids explaining products and services to young men for money. C'est la vie.

I written before about how according to Hollywood screenplay guru Robert McKee, when ever there is an advance in entertainment "spectacle" comes first then "story." So go use the search box and to find some ideas for a great spectacle that will fit into your online video because you are still going to need spectacle if you want to get millions of views of your Internet video.

We are slowly moving into "story" in the evolution of online video as a form of entertainment and if you want your online video to have shelf life make sure it has a story element to it. Two years from now fewer and fewer people will be watching the Star Wars Kid on a daily basis.

I can give you these secret ingredients but you may just not know how to cook. You may not have the talent or the vision to see what emotions are in a script when you read it. There are people that are tone deaf and I think there are also people who can't hear or see when something just "works" or doesn't work. Talented people have little voices that tell them when something "works" or doesn't work. Talented people know when they need to do better.

Being able to create something from nothing, building onto something and making it better or knowing when something sucks and having ideas on how to fix something when it sucks is talent. If you want to have millions of views of your videos you must have talent.

If you don't have talent you can always hire it.

For Sponsorship Opportunities or Online Viral Video Advisory Services Contact 1timstreet at gmail.com

Monday, September 22, 2008

Online Video Leaders: Leo Laporte

Online Video Leaders is a new blog series I'm doing about leaders in the online video industry who I believe are breaking new ground and leading the way as we build this new industry.

When it comes to online video Leo Laporte is no twit even though Leo runs Twit.tv and Twit Live.

Leo seems to create and monetize more online video content than any other independent producer on the Internet today. Leo is truly the Digital Master of online audio and video community building and has broken ground in areas of relationship building, podcasting, advertising and new business models.

From the independent content creation side Leo creates and delivers more information daily through his Twit network than most people consume in a month and he is an inspiration to other online content creators as well.

According to Leo's website, "It all started in 1998 with a small cable network called ZDTV, a channel dedicated to covering computers, the Internet, and personal technology. The people behind this site all worked on that network as hosts, reporters, or producers."

In 2004, ZDTV, then called TechTV, was sold and dismantled. Former TechTV hosts, Leo Laporte, Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, and John C. Dvorak, and producers Robert Heron, David Prager, and Roger Chang went on to other jobs, but stayed in touch, with each other, and with fans of the late TechTV. Those fans told them again and again how important TechTV had been in their lives, and how much they missed the channel.

On a rainy evening in January, 2005 a few of that group got together for dinner after spending the day covering MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. Leo, who was working as a radio host, happened to have a microphone and recorder. He turned it on and recorded 20 minutes of idle chatter about the Expo and the tech world in general. He posted that recording on his web site. Within a few days tens of thousands of people had downloaded the recording. TechTV fans began clamoring for more. A few months later, TWiT was born.

I first saw Leo at the Podcast and New Media Expo in the Fall of 2005. Leo talked about Podtrac and how they handled his ad sales and how anyone could go make online content and get it out to the masses. I left the New Media expo inspired and within a few weeks shot the first episode of French Maid TV.

Leo Laporte is a true pioneer of online audio and video and one of my Online Video Leaders.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fred Tops the Tubemogul Top 40 with 100 Million Views

Even if you don't like the pesky little high pitched voiced Fred you have to respect his might in topping the Tubemogul Top 40 with over 100 Million Video Views.

BTW the latest Fred Episode is sponsored by Fox's New movie City of Ember. Way to go Fred!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Are the Diet Coke and Mentos Guys Dead or Are We Just Moving Out of Spectacle?

I'm at Blogworld Expo in Las Vegas working on my presentation for tomorrow about Monetizing Online Video and I remembered that a couple of weeks ago I saw the EepyBird "Diet Coke and Mentos guys" had posted a new Experiment with Stick-Notes for ABC Family promoting Samurai Girl. When I searched YouTube I found that after 2 weeks of being posted on YouTube it only had 154,213 views as of this posting and it has been reposted (a viral video trick) two days ago as Office Covered in Sticky Notes (watch in high quality) with only 515 views as of this posting.

What's going on here? Have the EepyBird guys lost their touch? Are views not being counted? Is the ABC Family logo in the bottom right corner turning viewers away?

I think there is a lot going on here.

First let me say that I respect the EepyBird / "Diet Coke and Mentos guys" a lot. I think they are geniuses and left alone to create engaging video spectacles they are unstoppable but knowing what I know about ABC Family and the Disney Cable Network marketing machine I have a feeling this video was "killed by committee."

The video itself feels like something you could get on TV. It's not "Internet Special." It's also missing some key elements of viral video success.

Let's go back in time for a moment to the early days of filmmaking back to the Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (The Lumière Brothers, 1895) This short film was the "Diet Coke and Mentos" of it's day. People paid money to go into theaters to watch this film of a Train pulling into a station. It was a spectacle, it was emotionally engaging and it moved two or more human emotions. Patrons were mesmerized by these motion pictures and they were terrified as well.

Terrified? Of a Train pulling into a station?

Tim, are you nuts?

Yes. I am nuts and yes they were in fear. Watching this film they thought they were going to get hit by the train and ran screaming from the theater.

They didn't understand the technology of film.

According to screenwriting guru Robert McKee when ever there is an advance in entertainment technology "Spectacle" comes first then "Story." In the early days of filmmaking people paid money to sit in theaters and watch horses and buggies going down the street and trains pulling into stations but it wasn't until 1903 and Edwin Porter's The Great Train Robbery that someone actually told a story using film. The same is true of Sound, SFX, 3-D and Online Videos. Spectacle comes first and then story.

Once people had seen The Great Train Robbery and other story based films they had no need to go back to just watching a train pull into a station and horses and buggies going down the street.

Have we left "Spectacle" and moved to "Story" in online video?

No, not by a long shot but we are on our way.

So why isn't the new EepyBird video getting millions of views on YouTube?

I think there are multiple reasons why the Spectacular Sticky-Note Experiment doesn't have millions of views. It does have spectacle but it doesn't move two or more human emotions and here are a few other reasons:

1. The opening shot doesn't deliver what the video thumbnail promised. When I see that small photo with a bunch of colorful Sticky-Notes and the EepyBird guys I'm expecting to see a bunch of colorful Sticky-Notes and the EepyBird guys right away and I'm expecting to see a funny spectacle right away. Instead I see a guy's hand with a pen tapping on an office desk with an ABC Family logo superimposed on what looks like high quality film or HD. The first thing that runs through my mind is that this is something someone recorded off TV of ABC Family and uploaded to the Internet. It doesn't look like an Internet video or a EepyBird video.

2. The running time is too long - 3 minutes and 19 seconds. Now 3:19 is by no means too long for a video to go viral but it can be a deterrent if a video doesn't have a lot of views or deliver what the thumbnail promises.

3. I think this video was being advertised across the Google network as a 300 by 250 banner ad and I don't know if that made it a turn off to people or not.

4. The video has spectacle but it's not emotionally engaging except for when you first see the EepyBird guys.

I'm sure this played very well on TV (if it did play on TV) and I think it may have played well on ABCFamily.com if it did but it's not really an Internet video. It looks like a TV show clip, like a scene out of Ugly Betty placed on the Internet and most of all with the exception of the spectacle of the experiments themselves it doesn't look like an EepyBird production.

Internet video is a new medium just like Television was a new medium and in those early days of TV producers were taking radio programs and placing them on TV and they didn't work so well. New TV formats had to be developed just like new Internet video formats are being developed.

From a business model I was very excited about the Spectacular Sticky-Note Experiment. I'm really, really excited to see a Cable TV network and a brand name sponsor like Sticky Notes get involved with an online video production team. I want this to work.

I hope I'm wrong and that this video is getting millions of views somewhere like Vimeo that I don't know about because I believe in the EepyBird guys and I think they can create emotionally engaging videos full of spectacle that will continue to get millions of views and I want to see talented online video content creators make money.

Maybe if this video was somehow featured on CNN it could get some more views on YouTube?

What do you think?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Licensing Your Videos

When I think of licensing my videos I first think about making them available on mobile phones in Europe or Asia. Then I think about licensing clips for TV shows about Internet video or a licensing deal like EPIC FU did with Next New Networks that later allowed them to move EPIC FU to Revision 3.

Well the folks at Common Craft have a different way of looking at licensing online videos that may very well have more potential for some online video producers.

Check out the above video.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

MSN is Looking for Independent Producers with Great Stories

I had a chance to chat with Rob Bennett, General Manager of Entertainment and Video Services for MSN and Joe Michaels Head of Business Development / Entertainment and Video Services for MSN at the New York Television Festival's Digital Day this week and they looking for content from Independent Producers who have great stories to tell.

If you think you have an emotionally compelling story you can contact MSN Video via email:


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

YouTube Videos Just Went Interactive in a Whole New Way!

My head is spinning. I have been inspired by the INTERACTIVE Fortune Teller. This type of technology has been available on QuickTime for some time but not on YouTube. Now that it's on Youtube we are going to see some major innovation spawned from this viral video hit.

I see INTERACTIVE Fortune Teller as a groundbreaking pivotal moment in online interactive storytelling.

This is going to be a fun ride.

I've shot an email off to the creator of INTERACTIVE Fortune Teller and I hope to have more info soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lonely Girl 15 guys Premier New Show at New York Television Festival

Tonight the Lonely Girl 15 guys Greg Goodfried and Miles Beckett will Premier their new show LG15 The Resistance at the New York Television Festival.

I had the chance to catch up with them today at the festival with my FLIP camera

Monday, September 15, 2008

Will NBC Serve Ads in Their Embeddable Videos?

NBC posted the SNL skit of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton and they have made it embeddable. It's gone viral.

Will it and future videos stay that way and will NBC deliver ads to these embeddable videos? More importantly, will they ever rev share with bloggers who post their videos?

Friday, September 12, 2008

"Dear Mr. Obama " Is a Viral Video that is Polarizing

Dear Mr. Obama is an emotional YouTube video promoting John McCain (I don't think that it's from the McCain Campaign http://www.youtube.com/user/weneedmccain) that shows an Iraq Veteran who has a personal message for Barack Obama.

It also has an American flag and when the veteran finishes giving reasons why Obama is wrong and disrespectful to the US Forces the service man walks away to reveal he has a prosthetic leg.

The Dear Mr. Obama video is a very powerful and heavy handed emotional video that I think will go viral (CORRECTION that went viral with over 5 million views while I was writing this post) and will be very effective in polarizing viewers and dividing the United States of America even more than it already is.

The producers of this video should be very proud.

Why Is Seth Macfarlane's Promo a Big Deal?

Seth Macfarlane's Promo is a co-branded promo that is utilizing widget technology from Gigya to deliver a 300x250 banner ad that has video, click-able links and allows for embeds on third party sites.

So what? It's just a stupid promo for Seth Macfarlane's new cartoon comedy Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy?

No it's not.

It is a co-branded advertisement where Burger King paid not only for the creation of the 300x250 interactive banner and the promo in the banner they also paid for the ad buy on the placement of that interactive widget AND for the creation of Seth Macfarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy and a co-branded site.


But more importantly, YouTube/Burger King allowed me to grab that widget and embed it on my site.

What's so important about that Tim? I grab embeds all the time and put them on my site.

Yes you do but you don't grab embeds that are 300x250 banner ads and place them on your site. Big advertisers have never wanted their ads to go places that they couldn't control but for now it looks like Burger King is willing to give that a try and who knows, with this widget technology they might be able to control it. (But that's another blog post for another time.)

This is a really big deal.


Because in the past if you were going to launch a new show you had to build an audience before you could find an advertiser who would be willing to spend money sponsoring your show but now the rules have changed.

Now I can find a sponsor who like the idea of my new show (that hasn't launched yet) and I can guarantee them ad impressions with my new show.

How can you do that?

If they sponsor a co-branded widget or co-branded Google Gadget Ad with my video content in it and I buy placement across the Google Ad Universe I can guarantee them the amount of impressions I buy from Google because I know Google will deliver those 300x250 interactive banners to any relevant site that I buy space on.

What? You're going to buy advertising on Google? Where are you going to get money to do that?

I'll get the money from the sponsor that wants to get their name out there. The will have their branding on the 300x250 banner right next to and around my video content. And they will get the impressions they pay for and I will build an audience for my show.

Do I have to have a new show?

No you don't. You just need a sponsor who believes in your show.

Take French Maid TV for example. Let's say that a big sponsor who would normally advertise in Maxim magazine or on Spike TV has a new product that needs to be explained to 18-34 year old males. In the past I know the French Maid TV videos would only deliver between 1 Million and 5 Million views for my sponsor. If I have a sponsor who wanted to get 30 million impressions I couldn't guarantee that. But now if a sponsor wants the French Maids to explain their product and service I know that I can reach as many people as my sponsor is willing to pay for and with the embed maybe even more.

So that's why Seth Macfarlane's promo a big deal?

Now get out there go meet some potential sponsors and get them to sponsor your new show!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

MySpaceTV Launches Direct Video Upload Up To 512mb

MySpaceTV launches a direct video upload

· No apps/installs/downloads necessary, it’s in browser action.
· also announcing a new video upload amount – it’s now 512mb.
· There is also now no limit of video length moving forward.

I asked if MySpace was gong to have any rev share deals for content creators and Jason Kirk, VP of MySpaceTV said,

"at this time there are no immediate plans rev share on advertising video from Direct Upload and Record. That said, if content looks promising or finds an audience on its own we’ll certainly consider taking things further with the creator/content. "

I guess that's pretty much the same answer anywhere, "If you bring us a lot of traffic we might think about giving you some of the money."

I wonder if anyone would go to work at a online video site under those terms:

"Come work for our website and if you bring us a whole bunch of customers we might think about paying you for working here."

I have a few ideas on how I might be able to make some money using this new feature but I need to check it out a little more before I blog about it.

Here's the press release MySpace sent me:


MySpace Users With Webcams Now Able To Upload Video To MySpaceTV Without Saving Files To Computer

Video Upload Limit Increased To 512MB; Video Length Limit Removed

NEW YORK – September 11, 2008- MySpace, the world's premier social network, today announced the launch of Direct Video Record functionality for MySpaceTV (http://www.myspacetv.com) enabling users with any webcam to directly record and upload videos to MySpaceTV without having to save a single file on their computer.

To access the new feature users simply log into their account and upload a video as they would normally, and click on the “Record a Video Now” button to start the short record and upload process. After recording, users will be able to share videos in the usual fashion throughout the site including bulletins, comments, blogs and profiles. Videos will be processed in the same way and using the same technology as regular file uploads. All videos will still be subject to MySpace’s terms and conditions. Users will be able to preview and rerecord videos before they are viewable by the public or choose to keep them private as with all other content on the site.

In addition to the launch of “Direct Video Record and Upload”, MySpaceTV is also announcing a new video upload limit of 512 megabytes per video with no upload time restriction, users still have no limit on the number of videos that can be uploaded.

“The new direct upload feature is a great addition to our constantly evolving feature set on MySpaceTV. The MySpace community is a creative group of individuals who we expect will fully utilize the direct upload with creative shows, commentaries and vlogs,” said Jason Kirk, VP of MySpaceTV. “Whether you are a musician, videoblogger, budding actor or an everyday user just looking for a job and using this tool to post a video resume, MySpaceTV makes it easier than ever before to with ‘Direct Record and Upload’. Look out for more updates and areas on the site where you can use this new tool in the future.”

Once uploaded, users will be able to share the new content they have created in a variety of ways including embedding messages on bulletins, blogs and sections throughout the MySpace community. Content will also be able to be used and shared off of the MySpace network on blogs, wikis and websites. Future upgrades of the tool will be iteratively rolled out in the next few months and will enable users to share and communicate even faster.

Where Do You Cast Your Online Videos?

Movie Studios and TV Networks hire production companies and those production companies pay casting directors thousands of dollars to use casting facilities where actors come in to audition for movies and TV shows.

Well, online videos only cost thousands of dollars - some even less. Where can you cast your online videos so that you don't look like some sleazy producer with a casting couch in your apartment?

If you're in Hollywood you can give the guys at CAZT a call or email and see if they have time available in their casting facility for FREE. That's right I said FREE. I'm using them now to cast new episodes of French Maid TV. Check out the above video for the deets.

CAZT enables casting directors, producers and directors to securely view audition videos online. CAZT profiles allow actors the opportunity to showcase their talent to casting directors, producers and director. AND with a CAZT premium membership (this is how they make their money) actors can watch their own audition video(s), read private feedback from the casting director, and post a "re-take" directly to the screen the casting director, producers and director use.

The CAZT model is different but it is allowing actors additional marketing opportunities that didn't exist before. It will be interesting to see how this works out and it it becomes a standard.

If you don't live in the Los Angeles area you might think about striking deals with local bars or churches that are closed during the day or offices with conference rooms that are closed at night.

Some people are even using the Internet and live webcams to audition people.

Where do you cast your online videos?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

When Will We See New Online Video Formats From The Studios?

Sorority Forever: Episode 1 "Sisterhood"

Last night the guys from Big Fantastic invited me to a UTA / Wonderland Sound and Vision party for The WB's new show Sorority Forever. It was a fun little party in McG's office on Sunset BLVD in West Hollywood which as I was told was the former office of Ronald Reagan and SAG.

That really got me thinking about old vs new. To most people in entertainment McG is a hip cutting edge music video and motion picture director. To the kids of online video McG is established old media. McG IS Ronald Reagan.

Don't get me wrong, Sorority Forever looks like it's going to be a fun ride. It looks like it would make a great TV show and McG is truely a hip cutting edge director. I'm glad to see McG is partnering with Big Fantastic and creating online video but the video that is being created is basically a TV format. Now there's nothing wrong with TV formats. I have nothing against TV formats...except on the Internet.

I believe that if you want a successful online video series you have to create something that people can't get on TV because the TV viewing experience is still superior on a 42" plasma. The problem is that it's hard to get studios and networks to spend money on something that doesn't exist. Studios and networks need to know something has a chance of building an audience. And that's where opportunity lies for you.

In the early days of television radio formats were placed on TV because radio was where the money was. Today TV formats are being placed on the Internet because TV is where the money is and advertisers understand and have advertising that is built for those formats.

We have not yet begun to scratch the surface of formats for the Internet but there are a few shows that are testing the boundaries.

You Suck At Photoshop is one of those shows. If you haven't see the first season of You Suck At Photoshop I urge you to go check it out. EVEN IF YOU DONT CARE ABOUT OR WANT TO LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT PHOTOSHOP.

You Suck At Photoshop is a screen cast of a guy giving a Photoshop tutorial but as he works his mouse and keyboard you get back story of his life and subtext of his feelings towards the people in his life that are keeping him down. In addition to the linear video the star of the show, Donnie who you never see on camera opens the door for his audience to interact with the show.

You Suck At Photoshop is something you would never see green lit at a studio or network for regular TV but I wouldn't be surprised if it did show up on late night cable some day.

Beyond You Suck at Photoshop there are other new formats like Lonely Girl 15 that are developing but none have taken hold yet or built a huge audience and become a household name. Now is the time to put your thinking caps on and create new formats that studios and networks will be interested in licensing from you.

If you have a new format or know of one please share the URL.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Online Video Leaders: Jeff Macpherson

Photo by Tim Street
This photo is licensed under a Creative Commons license. If you use this photo within the terms of the license or make special arrangements to use the photo, please list the photo credit as "Tim Street / 1timstreet.com" and link the credit to 1timstreet.com.

Online Video Leaders is a new blog series I'm doing about leaders in the online video industry who I believe are breaking new ground and leading the way as we build this new industry.

For my first featured Online Video Leader I thought I would feature the person who inspired me to leave a life of producing television. A life where I was working for studios and networks who owned all the content I created. A life where I made good money but didn't get residual income. A life where I just wanted to escape and have a refreshing cocktail that would clear my mind and let me creatively run free. That person was Tiki Bar TV's Dr. Tiki AKA Jeff Macpherson. I'm sure I'm not the only one inspired by Jeff but I think he has had a much bigger effect on me than anyone else.

I had been working in entertainment marketing for several years creating TV promos, interstitials, movie trailers and commercials for Hollywood studios and TV networks but I didn't own anything I created. I would write, produce and direct industrial sales tapes for new TV shows, build websites to market movies, create online stories to launch new shows and it was creative and fun but at the end of the day I wasn't really driving the boat. I didn't get any credits for my work and worst of all I didn't own what I was creating.

That all changed when one day I got a call from Spike TV. I had been working for Spike creating promos and interstitial programing for them when at about 5PM on a Friday afternoon Spike called and asked if I could shoot something the next day on Saturday. I thought it would be something like covering a red carpet movie premier with a camera crew but when I ask asked Spike what they wanted me to shoot they said, "We were wondering if you could shoot some hot girls in lingerie reading cheat codes to videos games for the Spike TV Video Game Awards?" Without hesitation I said, "Absolutely!" My next question was, "Where are we shooting?" they replied, "We were hoping you could find a place." Then I asked, "Who are the girls?" They said, "Well, we were hoping you could find some girls." I said, "OK, do you at least have the cheat codes?"

The next day I was building a set in my office and casting beautiful women who were stripping down to their lingerie and once they were cast they would read cheat codes to some videos games. Not only was this funny, it was fun and I asked myself how could I do something like this, make money at it and own it.

I had been creating videos and interactive stories on the Internet for a couple of years at that point but I hadn't been able to make money at it directly. I would build creepy stories that used video, text and photos to tell a story but I couldn't figure out how to make money with it other than getting work from studios to create content that they owned. So with the Hot Girls in Lingerie Read Cheat Codes in my mind I came up with some silly idea about women dressed as French Maids teaching guys things but I didn't have a way to make money at it so I started searching for videos on the Internet that might be funny, sexy and some how making money and that's when I stumbled across Dr Tiki.

It was the Summer of 2005 and by Googling I some how found this thing called DTV that played a video called Tiki Bar TV. Tiki Bar TV was awesome. It had three main characters: a bartender named Johnny Johnny who wore a fez hat, a doctor, Dr. Tiki who made things better by writing cocktail prescriptions and a sexy drunk brunette named LaLa who was every guy's late night bar fantasy. These three people would hang out with other occasional bar patrons at a Tiki Bar, making cocktails, giving out the drink recipes and being silly. Tiki Bar TV had sharp witty writing that was fresh and like nothing I'd ever seen on TV. It had everything I was looking for and I was in love.

Now remember the Apple iPod was very popular at this time in 2005 but at that time it only played music and audio podcasts but this guy, this Dr. Tiki had figured out a way to use video with RSS and get listed in the iTunes music store even though his podcast was video. When I saw that I knew I was dealing with a genius. From what I could figure this guy was shooting a show in what looked like his apartment (which it was) he had his drinking buddy and his girlfriend (I'm still not sure about that) acting in his show and was getting global distribution through Apple iTunes. I was blown away.

This guy was already doing what I wanted to do, I could see how I could connect the dots on getting sponsors to sponsor the show and I was sure a video iPod was on it's way. I had to partner with Dr. Tiki. I fired off an email to Dr.Tiki and introduced myself. He replied and we began an email and phone conversation that led to me jumping on a plane from Hollywood and heading to Vancouver where the show was shot.

Photo by Tim Street
This photo is licensed under a Creative Commons license. If you use this photo within the terms of the license or make special arrangements to use the photo, please list the photo credit as "Tim Street / 1timstreet.com" and link the credit to 1timstreet.com.

Once in Vancouver Jeff, Kevin Gamble (Johnny Johnny) and Lara Doucette (LaLa) welcomed me with open arms and using my 2 new Sony HDV cameras we shot an episode of Tiki Bar TV in 16:9 aspect ratio because I was convinced that the Video iPod was going to debut with a wide screen video viewer. After we were done shooting we went out bar hopping in Vancouver and had a night of fun and frivolity that left me with a headache in the morning and a time I would never forget. I got to visit the set of Tiki Bar TV!

Well, I was wrong about the 16:9 video iPod but when the video iPod did debut in Steve Job's Key Note address Tiki Bar TV was featured by Steve Jobs as an example of the new kinds of video content that would be available on the video iPod. Tiki Bar TV immediately shot to number one as the most subscribed to podcast on iTunes and the gang was very excited. Jeff and his team had created a video series that caught the eye of a major corporate executive and captured the attention of the online world.

Dr. Tiki and I were never able to come up with an agreement that would allow us to work together but Jeff did get a private investor that had a whole lot more to offer than I did and we went our separate ways.

There are many times that I wish I could have come to a mutual agreement to work on Tiki Bar TV but I'm thankful I wasn't able to because had I become part of the Tiki Bar TV gang I would have never created French Maid TV.

Jeff Macpherson has been an inspiration to me on so many levels. Jeff is a pioneer of the online video industry and a true Online Video Leader.

I can't wait to see what Jeff's next project is.

If you are interested in sponsoring Tiki Bar TV or one of Jeff's future shows shoot me an email and I will gladly hook you up.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tubemogul Launches Marketplace for Online Video Producers and Advertisers

Today the leading online video super syndication/distribution analytics company Tubemogul launched a marketplace that is a dating site for online video content creators and advertisers complete with profiles, viewership statistics and more.

Right now the FREE Tubemogul Marketplace just covers stats of Flash videos but Tubemogul CEO Brett Wilson tells me that more features are on their way and may include the listing of Quicktime / downloadable stats as well.

I had a chance to speak with Brett about the launch of the Tubemogul Marketplace while I was at the New Media Expo in Vegas. After you watch that video be sure to see if your videos are already listed in the Tubemogul Top 40. If not you may want to set up a profile.

I'm very excited about Tubemogul launching this marketplace I think it will give brand marketers, advertisers and media buyers the statistics they need to make the right buys for the brands they represent and more importantly it will give independent content producers a fighting chance to be seen for the views they have and how they compare to cable TV views.

If only independent online video producers got paid cable TV CPM rates, our world would be a better place and here's out chance.

Thanks Tubemogul.

Hopefully other companies will follow your lead and we will see several companies competing the way text ads competed.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A New Twitter Superstar is Born

Tonight the Twitter is a buzz about the Republican National Convention. Tweets are coming from both sides of the Isle and as Sarah Palin delivers her address the FakeSarahPalin chimes in with tweets like "WILLOW STOP LICKING YOUR BROTHER" and "THAT'S YOUR CUE TO STAND UP WITH THE BABY, DANG IT!!!11!"

"NOW STAND UP AND CHEER FOR ME SUCKERS!!!! Ok ok ok ok ok now, let's get our hate on. This is gonna be fun"

As of this posting FakeSarahPalin has 1300 followers.

The real Sarah Palin 400

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

An Unknown Hollywood Legend Dies

Thanks to Liz Shannon Miller of NewTeeVee for this video.

Most people know his voice but few knew his name or what he looked like. In recent years he was featured on camera in Geico commercials playing himself but even still he was an Unknown Hollywood Legend.

I was lucky enough to work with that legend Don LaFontaine, who was THE voice of movie trailers and I was always in awe of Don.

Don loved what he did and he loved sharing what he did. When I would direct Don I would just hand him a script, sit back and let him read. Don didn't need direction. Don directed himself. If he messed up or needed to do it a different way he knew before anyone else. He was at the top of his game.

When I worked with Don he had a limo that drove him from recording studio to recording studio to do reads that would take him 15 minutes or less in and out and he was booking $40,000 per day in voice over work. Don was always a gentleman. He would even take people along for the ride in his limo and let them see what his day was like, giving them tips along the way on how they could get into the voice over business.

I once asked Don what trailer he had made the most money doing and he told me that it wasn't one trailer but that it was one Steven Seagal movie. It might have been Hard To Kill. Anyway, Don said he did a couple teaser trailers, a couple regular trailers, the TV commercials, several trailers for the VHS home video release including sell through, rental and industry trailers and screeners, then he did TV commercials for the VHS, then he did TV promos for the pay-per-view, TV promos for the PAY TV version, TV promos for the regular TV version and then he did more and more promos for the DVD release and the TV commercials for the DVD release of the movie. Don LaFontaine told me that he made more money doing voice over work on that Steven Seagal movie then Steven Seagal made starring in the movie.

Don went on to tell me that when he walked up to Steven Seagal at an awards show and introduced himself to Steven, Steven Seagal had no idea who he was and just nodded politely and walked away.

Don loved telling that story and Don loved what he did for a living. Don will be missed for a long time to come.

All I Want for Christmas is a Way to Dynamically Deliver Ads into Quicktime Videos for FREE

So I was thinking about what I want for Christmas this year and the only thing that popped in my head was that I want some technology. I want the really cool kind of technology that Volo, Podaddies and Castfire have to deliver dynamically inserted ads into Quicktime Video and I would also like this technology for FREE. Then maybe as a stocking stuffer I could go for some hip ad networks that have advertising inventory that they want to deliver to people who watch videos on their iPhones and iPods.

"Tim, the research, programming, hard work, sweat and tears that went into this technology is worth something. Why would you dare ask for it for FREE?"

That's a good question and here's my answer.

The current rate card for these technologies run at about a $5 CPM to dynamically deliver ads into Quicktime video. If I want to build out my inventory, get it up and running and test it with my own promos, cross promos from my friends or even run some CPA ads I can't afford a $5 CPM because I deliver too many videos and I would go broke.

"Well you have to spend money to make money Tim."

Yes you do, but you don't have to spend money on technology that won't pay for itself.

"But Tim, it will pay for itself. If you install it advertisers will come."

OK, then how about you install it for FREE and let's watch the advertisers come?

Well, I ah, I'm going to need to, ah let me talk to my boss.

OK. While you are talking to your boss I'm going to talk to some friends of mine on the Internet and find out how close they are to finishing video ad insertion for Quicktime that will run on the Open X banner ad server I installed FOR FREE to deliver banner ads on my site. Cause there are several people working on it.

Hey Chris Pirillo how is your little video ad insertion project coming?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Ushers In Interactive Television

Photo: Steve Garfield.com

I was expecting EQAL the creators of Lonely Girl 15 to create a show that would bring Interactive TV to the masses but it looks like it was Hurricane Gustav that made Interactive TV happen on a large scale last night with CNN's Rick Sanchez and Twitter.

Sure there's American Idol's text messaging and email and Facebook and yes using those platforms are interactive with TV shows but they don't have a back channel like the instant micro blogging site Twitter does. Twitter is a service where viewers/users can see what other viewers/users are talking about even if a TV show that is using it doesn't feature a user's comments.

Now it wasn't a perfect situation last night with CNN and Twitter. I was waiting for the ever overtaxed Twitter to go down every time CNN gave out the Twitter URL on-air and indeed I did see the Twitter "fail whale" (When Twitter crashes, users see the "fail whale" error message.) a couple of times but Twitter came back and kept working. Overall Rick Sanchez and his producer did a great job of using Twitter to interact with their viewers by using Twitter spending their time reading tweets from viewers on the ground near the storm and online humanitarians like Andy Carvin who spent the weekend setting up the Gustav Information Center and used Twitter to get the word out.

Moving forward with Twitter I think that with the proliferation of live video services like Ustream, Qik, Stickam and other services we are going to see new Interactive Television Shows incubate at speeds traditional TV development could never move at and based on last night I see News organization like CNN, Fox, MSNBC and others becoming potential investors or even buyers of Twitter.

If you are a producer considering creating an Interactive Television show you should take a close look at using Twitter with a Live Video streaming services today because your competition already has.