Youtube & Cinema, Part II

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Key points from the previous entry:

– Youtube views do not equate “good” or “bad” content, they represent exposure or the “bait value” of your material.

– Traditional hallmarks of quality in filmmaking such as strong storytelling/acting or compelling technical execution do not carry as much weight in the low-fi, anything-goes-anyone-can-play universe of Youtube.

– Length/runtime is a crucial to a Youtube video’s success due to short attention spans and limited ability of the average viewer to absorb and process data.

There are other factors at play as well when engaging a Youtube public, probably too numerous to list here, and some that are only now coming to light. Take the fact, for instance, that Youtube is only a part of the viral equation of a runaway hit online. Youtube, it seems, is not always the starting point of a success story, but rather the go-to purveyor of the viral content. If it’s hot it will be uploaded to Youtube, or end up being viewed by the masses there, regardless of where it originated.

The question is then, for the purposes of adapting traditional filmmaking to the Youtbe-sphere, how do you optimize your film/content to maximize your chances?

First, get your hands on a Youtube/Social Media ninja. This person will not only bring you up-to-speed on the new rules of the game but become a crucial new component of your filmmaking post-production team. Beyond couseling you on the best digital formats, runtimes, and other new realities of the digital online realm, this indivudal will help you set up your Youtube Channel and tailor it to your needs. They will help you pick out tags, key words, proper titles, and see to all the other little details that will make a difference in terms of your film’s exposure. This individual may also help you navigate the legalities/copyright pitfalls that get videos pulled for a variety of obscure reasons.

Second, consider your release strategy. Is your project a concise one-shot deal project that needs to communicate a specific idea or two? Maybe your content is much deeper and requires the story to play out on a longer timeline. It is strongly suggested here to consider making it a web-series as you wil be able to serve up your sophisticated dish in small bite-size portions that may even win you a faithful audience.

Third, to tie it in with the last point, realize that Youtube and its competitors offer a filmmaker something absolutely unique and incredibly powerful that traditional models could not sustain; you can hold on to your audience and actually build communities around your content that may support and remember you for your entire career instead of having to re-build your core every time.

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