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Old 05-26-2016, 10:53 PM   #1
Cracker Funk
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Finding Eyeballs

In separate threads, it's been discussed that one of the biggest difficulties for any indie filmmaker is gaining an audience, and that's something I very much agree with. It has also been stated that the simplest way to gain an audience is simply to make a superb movie, and that is also a sentiment I very much agree with. But that's not the point of this thread.

If it were possible for me to go back in time and tell the former me what things he should change, in preparation for Antihero, I would only tell him to do two things differently (he did more than two things wrong, but these are the big ones).

First, I would tell him to slow the F down. For personal reasons, he rushed production. He should've been patient and given it more time. Funny enough, some of the advice I received in this forum, and that I ignored, was that I should've slowed down. I wasn't given that advice until I was already in production, and there's no way I was gonna shut down production. But still. Moving forward, I now see the reason why an indie filmmaker needs to take their time (in one respect).

Mind you, I'm not one of those weekend-warrior filmmakers. That's just not my style, for many reasons. Once production starts, I want to finish it as fast as possible. But preproduction, and post, should be allowed to take as long as they need to take to get it right, no matter what that means.

I had to learn my lesson the hard way, and now I see the logic behind why I need to take more time. Hollywood and us indie types are very different from each other (duh). From a business perspective, when money is being invested, it makes the most sense to turn that investment into profit as fast as possible, so that you can re-invest the money more quickly, thereby giving yourself greater potential to make the most money possible. For them, it makes sense to do it fast.

I don't have any money to invest (not really, anyway). What do I have? Time. There's no need for this next feature to be out by any particular date. Hollywood has unlimited cash to invest. I have unlimited time. Which means I have the opportunity to really nail this movie.

The other thing I would tell my former me is that I need to start thinking about marketing before the film has even been made. But what does that mean? The former me, when people told him that he needs to think about marketing before the film is even made didn't understand what the hell they were talking about. In my former me's defense, I don't recall anybody ever giving any specifics of what that means. Like what, you wanted me to think about spending money I don't have? Okay, I'll think about that.

Finally, the light-bulb has gone off upstairs. Hollywood spends money on marketing. I don't have money. I have time. I've reached the conclusion that us little folk need to start spending time on marketing, long before you even have a screenplay. What exactly that means should be individualized, catering to the specific skills and personalities of whomever is involved. I've realized that I need to play so my strengths. What things am I already good at that I can exploit in order to gain an audience for my film, whenever it is finally ready to be seen by the public.

For me, the answer is youtube. I'm going to try my darndest to become a YouTube Personality. I've created a character, one whom I hope people will want to watch. If, over the next couple years, I'm able to gain a viewership, by the time I release the movie -- BOOM, instant audience.

There's actually going to be a few youtube channels, focusing on different things. There's definitely one main channel planned (this'll be the one I invest most of my time in), but I'm not yet prepared to share that one publicly. Hint - the "prolling" I've been doing lately is a setup for the channel, and I gotta say - step one was a resounding success. I need an arbitrary deadline though, so let's go ahead and say that the first episode is going to premiere on June 1st (though, knowing my habits, it'll probably be late at night, technically early morning June 2nd).

For the record, this is not the entirety of my zero-dollar marketing strategy. There are other aspects, some really important ones, mind you, that I'm not interested in sharing publicly at the moment. Anyway, I've been doing a lot of rambling, I guess I should finally get to the question I created this thread to ask.

Anybody care to spit-ball ideas for potential youtube channels that somebody might use to become a YouTube Personality?

Here's a few I'm contemplating (because they would play to my strengths)

World Record Holder of Meaningless World Records

Earlier today, on ESPN, I saw a story on some dude setting a World Record for the Most Hugs Ever Given in One Minute. He set a new World Record by hugging 79 people in 60 seconds. This requires zero skill. Literally anyone can do it. The whole thing was of course recorded, for proper documentation, but it was really boring. What if somebody (me) created a YT channel in which they make regular attempts to set new World Records, but specifically those that require no skill. And more importantly, what if the documentation of the attempts was made to be as entertaining as possible? Like, what if I dressed up in fancy costumes, a la WWF wrestlers in the 80's? And I talked shit to the camera, and the current holder of said World Record, in an exaggerated bravado manner, also like the aforementioned "wrestlers"? Not all of the attempts would be successful, and that'd make it all the more fun. Each episode would start with an interview of an "expert", then there's a silly training montage, followed by the attempt. Kinda like Man vs. Food, except Man vs. Meaningless World Record.

Any thoughts?

Music Mash-Ups

This one's been done before. But some of these channels get a lot of views, so why not throw my hat into the ring? This one is purely a play to my strengths. I happen to be kinda good at singing. The specific focus of this channel would be to do covers of popular songs, but switching up the beat. Not exactly unique, but whatev. It might work, no harm in trying, right?

That's all I got. I've had a few other ideas, but none that I currently like enough to seriously consider. Any thoughts on potential new channels, not just for me but anybody?
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:21 PM   #2
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Any thoughts?
Try it, see if it gains traction. There isn't really much data available, nothing more than speculation and a tiny amount of data from a few attempts, most of which haven't gained success. I would have expected to see more data available by now. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough.

I was listening in on a similar topic (further along the line) with someone setting up a boutique distribution company in NY. There was a Youtube test with a similar thought. An entity built up a 7 figure audience, ran a decent crowd funding campaign that raised some serious money, but when the feature film came to distribution is bombed. Bombed bad. Some were talking about the difficulties of converting a Youtube audience who don't or refuse to pay for content.

Might be worth seeing if there are articles documenting those who try this.

As for ideas for channels. I don't know. A lot of what gains traction on Youtube doesn't make sense to me.
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:29 PM   #3
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Bombed bad. Some were talking about the difficulties of converting a Youtube audience who don't or refuse to pay for content.
Well now that's an interesting thought! Though I can see how you'd think I was saying this, the plan has never been to make a YT release. My exploitation of YT was intended simply to get subscribers, so that when the movie is ready, I've got people who will watch the trailer and perhaps make it more likely to get picked up for traditional distribution.

But maybe that's not even the best way to go. Maybe YT distribution, with advertising, would make more sense. Hmm, now you've given me something to think over and discuss with my co-producers. What's best about this is that I don't think the method of distribution needs to be decided on right now. Whether we go for traditional distribution or opt for YT, neither scenario should stop my current plans of trying to become a known YT Personality.

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Might be worth seeing if there are articles documenting those who try this.
Heh. Funny you should say that. That's actually a large aspect of my main channel. More details to be released by June 1st/2nd.

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As for ideas for channels. I don't know. A lot of what gains traction on Youtube doesn't make sense to me.
Ditto.
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:42 PM   #4
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Oh, and I forgot to mention -- thanks!
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Old 05-26-2016, 11:58 PM   #5
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the plan has never been to make a YT release.
It was a cinematic release, I believe with a distribution deal and all. I got the impression it bombed worse than the Sharknado cinema release.

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That's actually a large aspect of my main channel.
Our team is continually looking for new ideas on what to do to build an audience. We're very aware that it's important to build (target) the appropriate audience. It's a valid strategy, though is it worth the time investment? Why bother taking months or years building an audience that you could achieve with a great film and a Facebook/google advertising budget of a days wages.

Take for instance, Ryan Connolly, the guy from Film Riot. His said early on his aim was to teach people how to make films while he chases his dream to make feature films. Instead of building an audience for the genre that will help launch his film career, he's makes short films, catering to film students. He's made a career out of it, which he may now love.

The point I'm trying to make is to keep your eye on your goal. Is there an easier way, which is also cheaper in the long run? Could you plans conclude and you be further from your goal than when you started?

Work out what's right for you, your team and your target audience.
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Old 05-27-2016, 04:35 AM   #6
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It was a cinematic release, I believe with a distribution deal and all. I got the impression it bombed worse than the Sharknado cinema release.
Oh, no we got our wires crossed. You thought I was talking about Antihero just now. I was talking about Rage of the Fire when I said that the original (and still current) goal has always been legit theatrical release, but that it's at least worth considering YT release.

Yes, technically speaking, Antihero did get a theatrical release. By definition. Why can I say that? Because nobody was paid to screen it. A very large theater chain chose to take the risk to put it on one of their screens, multiple showtimes daily, for at least one week. What does that mean? That means one less screen for them to make money with a more established film, one with an advertising budget. So just as I took a risk to make the film, they took a risk to screen. Sadly, the risk, at least financially speaking, did not pay off for either of us.

Had it made more money, it would've stayed longer than one week, because that's how theaters work. But I had no money for and no idea how to market it, so yes, it bombed. Even though the primary original goal (and this is publicly well-documented) was not to get a theatrical release, when we did eventually get a legit one-screen release, the fact that it bombed is so much more heartbreaking than you can possibly imagine.

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Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
Our team is continually looking for new ideas on what to do to build an audience. We're very aware that it's important to build (target) the appropriate audience. It's a valid strategy, though is it worth the time investment? Why bother taking months or years building an audience that you could achieve with a great film and a Facebook/google advertising budget of a days wages.

Take for instance, Ryan Connolly, the guy from Film Riot. His said early on his aim was to teach people how to make films while he chases his dream to make feature films. Instead of building an audience for the genre that will help launch his film career, he's makes short films, catering to film students. He's made a career out of it, which he may now love.

The point I'm trying to make is to keep your eye on your goal. Is there an easier way, which is also cheaper in the long run? Could you plans conclude and you be further from your goal than when you started?

Work out what's right for you, your team and your target audience.
Interesting. I didn't realize that that was how Film Riot started. That's a really cool story that he ended up taking a detour to something that works better for him. Ha! I guess I've got a whole lot of Film Riot to start watching. Thanks for pointing all of this out. I've always liked that dude. I'm just now learning that I've basically chosen to follow in his foot-steps. My main web-series is essentially what you just outlined above, except with a couple twists that are important to me and my style of filmmaking.

And yes, my eye is on the goal. I feel very confident that I won't end up going down his particular path. I'm following a similar trajectory, but I'm very much keeping the eyes on the prize and doing my best to make sure that everything I do points to the same target. The reason I feel confident in this fact is because I've done this before.

No, I haven't done this before. The plan for Rage of the Fire is so incredibly different than the plan for Antihero that I'm definitely on uncharted territory, at least for me. Literally, I've never done the things I'm doing right now. But figuratively speaking, I've done this before, in the sense that this is not the first time I've doubled-down and made big bold moves to get a feature film made on a tiny budget. The first one was a success, all things considered. The next one will build off that success by learning from the failures and successes that have preceded.

And I like your comments about finding a target audience. That is actually a very big part of my plan, starting with the screenwriting phase and one of the earliest episodes of the web-series will focus on just that.

Cheers!
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:01 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Cracker Funk View Post
Oh, no we got our wires crossed. You thought I was talking about Antihero just now. I was talking about Rage of the Fire when I said that the original (and still current) goal has always been legit theatrical release, but that it's at least worth considering YT release.

Yes, technically speaking, Antihero did get a theatrical release. By definition. Why can I say that? Because nobody was paid to screen it. A very large theater chain chose to take the risk to put it on one of their screens, multiple showtimes daily, for at least one week. What does that mean? That means one less screen for them to make money with a more established film, one with an advertising budget. So just as I took a risk to make the film, they took a risk to screen. Sadly, the risk, at least financially speaking, did not pay off for either of us.

Had it made more money, it would've stayed longer than one week, because that's how theaters work. But I had no money for and no idea how to market it, so yes, it bombed. Even though the primary original goal (and this is publicly well-documented) was not to get a theatrical release, when we did eventually get a legit one-screen release, the fact that it bombed is so much more heartbreaking than you can possibly imagine.
Nope, crossed wires still. I'm talking about the Youtube celebrity's film bombing.

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Interesting. I didn't realize that that was how Film Riot started. That's a really cool story that he ended up taking a detour to something that works better for him. Ha! I guess I've got a whole lot of Film Riot to start watching. Thanks for pointing all of this out. I've always liked that dude. I'm just now learning that I've basically chosen to follow in his foot-steps. My main web-series is essentially what you just outlined above, except with a couple twists that are important to me and my style of filmmaking.
You'd have to ask him if he considers it "working out better for him". If your goal was to make feature films and you're too busy making youtube videos to execute your goals/dreams, is that a win? Depends on your perspective. For many, if you can earn a living doing what you love is a good thing.

If you're interested in looking at a success story, look at Freddy Wong. From what I understand, after Video Game High School, some company (Hulu???) wrote him a big, fat 9 figure cheque to go make web video for them. Rocket Jump is his thing. He start by making action videos for Youtuve. For all intensive purposes, he seems to love making web video and now earns a very decent living doing it. It's possible I have it all assed up.
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:16 AM   #8
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Nope, crossed wires still. I'm talking about the Youtube celebrity's film bombing.
Ohhh, okay, now I gotcha. My bad, I totally mis-read your point. That's curious, and good info to have. Thanks for pointing out. Do you recall the movie that took a similar projectory but failed? There are reasons why I think my specific plans are probably different, but it'd definitely be wise of me to check out what they did and learn from it.

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You'd have to ask him if he considers it "working out better for him". If your goal was to make feature films and you're too busy making youtube videos to execute your goals/dreams, is that a win? Depends on your perspective. For many, if you can earn a living doing what you love is a good thing.

If you're interested in looking at a success story, look at Freddy Wong. From what I understand, after Video Game High School, some company (Hulu???) wrote him a big, fat 9 figure cheque to go make web video for them. Rocket Jump is his thing. He start by making action videos for Youtuve. For all intensive purposes, he seems to love making web video and now earns a very decent living doing it. It's possible I have it all assed up.
Well, of course you and I have no idea of whether or not these YT sensations are actually doing what they want to be doing. There's a way to find out, though. We can just ask them, hehe. Which is something I totally plan to do. So far as I can tell, part of becoming a YT Personality with any kind of following can sometimes involve collaborating/guest-starring on other people's shows, and vice-versa. Help each other build a following by introducing viewers to the other's show.
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Old 05-27-2016, 05:29 AM   #9
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Yeah dude, I just re-acquainted myself with Film Riot. As I've stated in other threads, it's been a long time since I've been active as a filmmaker, had a serious case of filmmaker-block. But yeah, I remember watching a whole bunch of Film Riot. That dude is dope. But yeah, my series will be decidedly different from his. Similar.
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:23 AM   #10
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Do you recall the movie that took a similar projectory but failed?
I don't. It was a topic that wasn't really relevant to me, so I didn't pay it that much attention sorry.

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sometimes involve collaborating/guest-starring
He does bring on filmmakers from time to time. There was even a time where another dude was running the show. It cannot hurt to ask.

Check out Rocket Jump, I think it's Rocked Jump Film School. It's a different slant to film riot. They've fallen a bit by the wayside lately, but still worth watching for a more traditional, but still indie perspective of filmmaking.
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