A Spidvid Infographic

I’ve long been fascinated with infographics from a visual, information, and content intake perspective. I figured it was time to create an infographic for Spidvid because our community has been relatively active and has accumulated some decent statistics over the past few months. So I published a tweet (@Spidvid on Twitter) asking for a talented designer to collaborate with us in creating one, and Joshua Murphy of element3media kindly reached out and designed the Spidvid infographic art that you see below.

This is just the beginning of our community’s successes, and vision to become the world’s largest open and collaborative filmmaking ecosystem ever built in the history of mankind. If you need some sort of help/advice on your short film or web series, or some seed funding to develop your content, then please reach out to us and let’s discuss how we can partner up!

Cheers to infographics, innovation within the online video space, and especially to our community for producing remarkable video entertainment for the world’s audience to enjoy and share.

Spidvid Infographic

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Cutting Through The Noise For Filmmakers

cut through the noise

Lots going on in the world of collaborative video creation these days! There’s lots of useless noise out there, but we cut through it for you to only share the worthwhile stuff that matters. Below is the best of our last seven days of tweets.

The top Spidvid project completed/video uploaded this week goes to the team behind “The Unfriending” as embedded below. Before you unfriend someone on Facebook, watch this video first!

The Unfriending from Deron on UnleashVideo

An Online Video School

Did you go to film school? If you didn’t you may want to check out Vimeo’s new Video School series which is a collection of how to videos that will help you create better quality videos. And hey, if you did graduate from film school you may still want to check out some of the videos to refresh your memory on how to do specific production things.

Topics in Vimeo’s Video School to date include choosing camera gear, shooting, lighting, sound, framing and composition, storyboarding, editing, everything DSLR, effects, and other useful elements to improve your production value.

You may want to start with the 3 videos below, and go from there. These videos cover the basics that every filmmaker needs to have.

Choosing a camera

Shooting basics

Editing basics

Is there something you need help with to create better quality video entertainment? Post your needs in the comments below, and we will try to help you out and get you on your way! Or you can contact us if you want to have a private conversation.

Interview With Streamy Award Winner Mark Gantt

Mark Gantt The Bannen Way

I recently had the opportunity to interview Mark Gantt who is the executive producer and lead actor of the web series “The Bannen Way”. The Bannen Way killed it at the Streamy Awards and went on to win four awards, and has attracted over 14 million views. Mark is now passing down his knowledge of the web series business as a teacher through his workshop, so if you’re looking to learn from one of the best be sure to check that out.

Enough of kissing Mark’s ass, below is our interview.

1. Did you create your web series workshop to pass on the information and knowledge you gained from creating and producing “The Bannen Way” to other aspiring video creators and filmmakers?

Yes. I have met over thirty people for coffee to discuss my experience with The Bannen Way and have done over twenty panels in the last five months and realized that with the limited time available, there was little ‘nuts and bolts’ being talked about. One attendee of the NATPE panel I was doing called “Anatomy of a Hit Web Series” was very frustrated afterwards and I overheard her saying, “I still don’t know how to make a $#&@ web series!” I heard that, I heard that from several people. In the workshops, or on a panel, or at coffee, I explain that creating a web series isn’t brain surgery but it feels like that if you don’t have all the tools. You don’t need to be able to do everything, you just need to be able to work very hard, research like crazy, and build a team to help you with your vision.

2. Do you expect any of your students to go out and create a hit web series like you did?

Absolutely. I want them to create something that will empower them as artists, and give them a little extra leg up in the industry. It’s really about giving people a jumping off point. Enough information to get in trouble as I always say.

3. What’s the best book you’re read, or video you’ve watched that inspired you to create entertainment at a high level?

LOL. uh… I’m not really a book guy, everything is from experience. I have just worked on a lot of sets, so if people were doing a project I was there listening and learning… for free.

4. What do you think of web series creators and producers turning to crowdsourcing platforms like KickStarter and IndieGoGo to raise funds for their production projects?

I think it’s a HUGE resource. It’s an interesting model for a couple reasons. I think it allows the investors (ie: mom, dad, uncles, dentists, viewers, etc.) to feel that their money is actually going into a production, and helps force the filmmaker to FIGURE OUT how they are going to make it. It’s a great pressure on you to get things made.

5. What advantages do web series creators have over TV producers?

There are about 30 people that have to approve of you doing a TV series, not including agents, managers, and lawyers. To create and distribute a web series… you can be the boss. We worked with Sony (on The Bannen Way) so it wasn’t just us, but it was a lot easier than working with a studio AND a Network.

6. How is collaboration benefiting the new media production landscape?

Filmmaking by definition is a collaborative art. I love that you get a chance to work with a group of people with different talents to complete a common goal. People want to create. A director of photography wants to shoot, actors want to act and with technology improving, you can now actually shoot for very cheap. So instead of talented people without the money to shoot on film, they can now shoot on the Cannon 7D or rent the RED camera and end up with a great looking project in the end.

The explosive trailer for Mark’s hit web series, The Bannen Way.

5 Questions For Creative Director Steven Trauger

Steven Trauger

My previous interview was with director Johnny Blank. Today we pick the brain of Steven Trauger who’s the Founder and Creative Director of video production and motion graphic design company Seriously Total Video Productions.

1. What are the biggest challenges in creating a film, TV or web show?

Well, aside from the ever-changing technology landscape and the decisions knowledgeable crews are faced with there, the very first and often fundamental challenge every production faces lies in its initial idea or basic concept/story development.  A director can have all the tools and talent in the world at his or her fingertips, but if they don’t know how to properly use them, their video or film will not be successful in its delivery.  That’s because there is a language to follow in film.  There is the 180 degree rule and the commonly practiced notion of introducing an audience to a location via an establishing shot prior to any close-up.  It takes a beginner awhile to learn all of these, but whether a person works in the industry or not, everyone is exposed to them—audiences just don’t realize it while enjoying a motion picture.  Now in education, deadlines and conceptualization seem to present significant challenges.  Good location scouting/set design and proper lighting/audio can be real problematic for beginners taking their first stab at this kind of work.  Trying to mold a young producer’s ideas into viable content so that those ideas successfully communicate a point or tell a story can consume considerable time and effort.  However, as with any production, careful planning can lead to solid execution and a positive experience for all involved.  Expectations should be clear and production tracking closely monitored—especially in the case of daily, weekly, or monthly television/web shows/series so that deadlines are met.  In the professional world, a lot of the video content professionals are hired to produce revolves around the corporate world.  Having a client fully communicate what it is they want producers to exactly create and why can sometimes yield just as big a challenge.  And that’s okay because they’re not necessarily professional communicators, which is one reason they’ve hired you.  Amazingly, many clients tend to hire video professionals with no idea what or exactly how they want their idea conveyed.  It’s simply that—an idea.  Therefore, content producers need to not only be fully aware of their client’s goals and target audience but also be able to craft that idea into a concise message that gets results or serves an acceptable purpose.  Recent trends in online marketing have placed significant emphasis on the delivery of web-based video.  More and more companies rely on the creation of digital shorts or webisodes to entertain or get their message out to the public.  This is because the web has no time or creative restrictions but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges with doing so.  These short films can easily lock in an audience and generate buzz about an idea or product.  The trick for producers wishing to tap into that sort of viral power is to exercise caution.  Not all ideas can generate an instantaneous and far-reaching response.  Nailing down the viewing audience and appropriate delivery style is key to developing a winning campaign or entertaining series that does get widespread attention, thus attracting lots of followers.  It’s not easy to develop—especially when making comedy and so that is why I would say viral campaigns can be challenging in themselves.  Audiences today are smarter, they react differently than they did a few years ago thanks to the availability and wide-spread content that’s out there.  The trick is to make your video stand out.

2. Is collaboration between team members integral to the success of your production projects?

Absolutely!  The essence of all project work is the synergy that the group members bring to the table.  Any product is the sum of those efforts.

3. Is finding and putting together the right combination of talent hard to consistently do?

I don’t think so.  Of course it helps to understand the skill set your particular project requires–so you know how to budget, where to look, and what to look for in an individual’s capabilities/reel.  But I actually think it boils down to the issue of aligning schedules and geographic location—especially for those working in short films since a lot of this type of work is made on tight budgets and outside the normal scope of a typical 9-5 type of schedule.  There’s actually plenty of talent out there in the world; you just have to know where to look and be smart about your recruiting.  Regardless of computers, their capabilities for remote delivery, & online/phone discussion, what I have found is that the best collaboration typically comes from that which is face to face.  I also see a lot of people who look to hire folks who can work on-site, at their offices in the freelance world—sometimes because of the data pipeline/project workflow and other times because they simply want that direct physical interaction with the employee or as I like to say, creative partner.

4. Is film school needed in 2010 to become a star in the video or film industries?

Let’s be honest, a great education will only get you so far in the entertainment industry.  In order to be successful, one must possess some level of drive and motivation.  I suggest students look at what kinds of educational partnerships/internships/co-ops various educational institutions offer and realize it is these locations where most of their knowledge from the classroom will be paired with further experiential learning.  Watch the various entertainment mediums and concentrate on the styles/techniques used.  You pick up so much just from simply watching the work of other pros.  We’re in an age where it pays to be fiscally smart/responsible so when considering colleges, it’s helpful if incoming college students have a general idea what line of work they wish to pursue in the film/entertainment world.  Of course that’s easier said than done.  But that way students can do some research with their parents ahead of time regarding potential salaries they’re likely to see upon graduation and find a school that has the best offerings which fit their current financial situation.  Unlike medical school, most filmmakers or production personnel won’t make enough in their first few years out of college to pay off enormous educational loans.  In fact, the production industry relies more on experience and demo reels than it does degrees.  Sure, there are some cases where a name on that degree will help, and having a degree in general is a good idea, but in most instances, many people from all different backgrounds will be competing for the same position and that same salary once you are finished.  Is it in your best interest to pay more for that very opportunity?  Look at the school—see what they offer and also realize that your experience and the knowledge you will gain there will be what you make of it.  Finally, to make it truly big in the entertainment world there are 2 important questions one must ask: 1) who do you know and 2) how lucky are you.  I am sure there are people of equal talent to that of a Michael Bay or Jerry Bruckheimer but the real question is will they ever be discovered.  It’s all about being in the right place at the right time and landing that opportunity which gets the ball rolling.  Always having a positive attitude, remembering to network, and keeping up with current trends/issues will help ensure your future success in the entertainment business.

5. What will the video production landscape look like in 2015, and how will it evolve from its current state today?

Everything is moving towards data; film will only be taught in film school or used for specific reasons.  The question is will 3D be a fad?  My prediction is that you’ll see Hollywood move away from big-salary actors and return to strong stories.  The summer box office of 2010 proved that star power doesn’t always mean everything.  Will there be more technicians instead of artists?  While technology is great, it should remain a tool.  It already has taken away some of the awe audiences of the past have come to enjoy, advancing the quality of imagery depicted on the big screen over the years and allowing some filmmakers to simply make a film around such spectacle instead of storyline.  Today, with new computer advances there is no limit for realistic-looking visual effects or stylized production designs directors can technologically achieve in their films.  More courses in film schools will probably focus on how to act and manage content in the digital realm, for example DIY training, workflow/production server management, and acting for the green screen, etc.

I thank Steven for the interview, for his insights, and time. If you aren’t already, be sure to have our future interviews and posts delivered to your email inbox, or get them through your favorite RSS reader.