What a Difference a Decade Makes
Sometimes you have to take a step back and appreciate how far online video has come. I recently read about YouTube’s plan to offer 4K resolution in their videos. While most computers don’t have a fast enough internet connection to handle this resolution. They can handle 1080p. And that’s kind of crazy if you think about it.
Back in 2000, I launched my own “personal” website after graduating high school. I was fresh off of doing an “underground” website that poked fun at my school with comic strips and audio. But, I had never put videos on the web.
The photo above is a still from a short I made in 2000…in literally my parent’s basement. It was the summer before starting undergrad in Philadelphia. The funny thing is that the size you see there was the norm for “hi rez”. 320x240. The file size was 24mb and the video was in black and white and only a minute long. This was also back in the days of the modem. (Gasp!)
I remember being so jealous of animators back than. Because they had this amazing program called “Flash” that allowed them to make animations for the web that could actually be streamable and “byte sized”. I was infatuated with a site called NewGrounds.com, where all the weird and strange animators seemed to thrive.
And slowly, very slowly…internet video has become common place. It’s hard to believe a world before youtube. And now sites like: Hulu. NetFlix Streaming. Etc. For the first time in history, filmmakers are in direct contact with their audience. There is no need for a middle man any more.
And I suppose, some people are really scared about all of this. I’ve been on countless film festival panels in which distributors are running around proclaiming the sky is falling. It may be for them. But, it’s not for filmmakers. We can actually stream our films to peoples’ giant HD televisions in beautiful 1080p now.
If anything. Now is the time to take hold of our future. With places like kickstarter.com crowd-sourcing funding for online videos and film projects…the doors are wide open. At grad school, I wrote several feature length screenplays. But, it wasn’t until recently that I wrote something that I felt really compelled to make. And since I’ve moved to Los Angeles, I’ll surely do the standard “send the script off to producer types and see if I can get money to make it”.
But, I also refuse to be taken prisoner by that model. I refuse to wait for a greenlight. Because I know there is an audience waiting! As corny as it sounds, I believe everyone has an audience, it’s just a matter of finding them.
With crowd-sourcing your funding, the audience actually has a hand in MAKING the film with you. And what audience wouldn’t want to be a part of that? I have donated to several kickstarter.com projects since listing my own. Why? Because for a few dollars I can help someone make their dream come true. That’s pretty compelling stuff.
Maybe you need more money than a kickstarter drive could generate, but I believe these venues are the new building blocks to producing a film. And I’m fascinated to figure out which parts go where.
Yes. It’s the wild wild west out there right now. And it’s exciting and frustrating and everything else. But, I do believe we’re on the horizon of something very exciting for film (er HD video?).
I really do.