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Monday, March 17, 2008

A Multimedia Buffet for You

Just finished having a late lunch in San Jose with bicycle-riding auteur/sage/animator M dot Strange.

One of the topics we touched on was artists (whether they're musicians, filmmakers, writers, photographers, whatever) who've been pioneers, in terms of cultivating an audience online. (If you have thoughts, post them in the comments here -- this is for my current writing project.)

He pointed me to the video of this talk he gave in Berlin recently, "Adventures in Self-Distribution." (In his usual humble way, of course.)

Then Jarod Neece of SXSW e-mailed to let me know they've just posted a mess of podcasts from this year's panels, including "Video Production for the Web and Mobile Devices," "Quit Your Day Job and Vlog," and two I moderated, "Digital Cinema for Indies" and "Animation and Digital Effects on a Budget."

That's a lot to watch and listen to...

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  • I think everything Mike (aka M dot) said was true and works...for him. What about those of us who are filmmakers because we like to be behind the camera not in front of it? Every time I think of ways of promoting my movie or doing something on YouTube, my overriding feeling is that I should be working on the film itself not this other stuff.

    I do think Mike hit the nail on the head when he said that we should pick something that no one else does and become the master of it - that is exactly what I am doing and it has paid off well.

    By Blogger GB, at 2:52 PM  

  • I thought "Adventures in Self Distribution" was excellent. What was interesting to me was that it really isn't about distribution. In fact, what seems to have happened is that M dot has perfected the art of attracting a base of "True Fans."

    He has an interactive relationship with his audience that makes them feel like they're part of something that is larger than they are, that is cool and very exciting. And they're willing to part with money for the privilege.

    So the movie is just a part of the entertainment gestalt, and probably not the most important part. It gives M dot the "credentials of cool," but he also has to devote a substantial amount of energy to maintaining his fan base by continually interacting with them. He does this by creating projects for them, creating materials that they can use to generate their own output and making many public appearances in which he celebrates them.

    It's brilliant, and probably happened organically for him - not part of some master plan.

    As an experiment I developed my own show featuring sock puppets. I was curious to see how the web audience would respond to something that was not aggressively promoted. I wanted to see where on "the long tail" the work would end up.

    One always hopes to go viral, of course. So far, this hasn't, though it seems to have engendered a fair bit of interest. It has been an excellent learning experience.

    First, I think it's important to know your audience. My subject matter is more suitable for people in the "over 35" crowd. That particular audience is not as into sharing as the 15-25 demographic.

    Second, if you're going to do something that is current events oriented, it needs to be REALLY current.

    Finally, you need to be really involved in the whole project - not just making videos. I think M dot has pointed the way. There's no way anyone is going to have a relationship of any kind with Nicole Kidman or Matt Damon, for example. But they CAN have one with M dot, or me or you. And if this relationship is properly cultivated, it can result in a decent living and the ability to generate more material.

    It you're curious about my work, it can be seen at

    Arthur Vibert

    By Blogger Unknown, at 8:12 PM  

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