You are “On-Demand”

Breaking news…the world’s gone digital and it includes you! To in part quote Francis Ford Coppola, “…digital technology will allow 200 million people to tell their story…but unfortunately we’ll have 200 million bad stories.” Now, that is not a direct quote, but it is the basic point of that quote by Mr. Coppola over a decade ago. The point, for me, about that is that it is true. Some of those stories will be non-union, web series, ULB films, studio films, true indie films, bad TV shows, student films, and shorts. But at the end of the day, the possibility of all those films having some kind of audience, is indeed possible.What that world will look like, we’re already beginning to see, and you’re in it RIGHT NOW. Maybe you’ll be one of the folks who wants to create your own story, maybe you won’t, or maybe you’ll be IN someone’s good story or even perhaps several of the bad ones. Either way, there is NO escaping the direction of content and entertainment…there just isn’t. The reality is that many many years ago…even before Napster, musicians and music producers were able to create “in-home” production studios. That was much easier with music because it is all AUDIO. There are no lights, no actors, just sound and sound engineers and therefore it was possible pre-internet craze as well as visual digital chaos.

But now, more than a decade later, the visual digital chaos and “On-Demand” craze has finally reached the front lines of the common “John Q” consumer. For the first time in the history of television in 2011 more people watched TV NOT on a TV set. And as we’re in the final two months of 2012 there is no doubt that the slight numbers from 2011 will be far more in 2012. it is easy to say, that by the end of 2013 it is very likely to believe that more than 75% of entertainment watched…will be watched “On-Demand.”

Additionally it is easy to say that if YOU could obtain enough content to put on your own Channel on YouTube, and enough people watched YOUR content, then YOU are your own Network…not just Oprah. Because any form of “On-Demand” content…demanded by enough people is nothing more that what films have always been based upon…as well as television. The difference is simply now, and forever more, that the ability to be and create “On-Demand” is indeed…in your hands. The tragedy of course in this brave new world, is the lack of any requirement, skill, education, background or guidelines on one’s ability to do so. At least for “most singers” they can carry a tune (not all of course) and there are a lot of voice-challenged success stories in the history of music because there are a lot of styles and tastes out there.

Many would say that the same is true for on-camera work content. That one persons “bad” is another viewers genius. But the reality is, we have a great deal of history, even recent history to tell us that this is simply not true. So while I most encouraging of the extreme need and value for a GREAT DEMO REEL, I’m not an advocate of believing that you can “create your own” content and have it be successful and worthwhile without any training in the areas of producer, writer, editor, director, 1st AD, DP and all the other departments associated with content creation.

My suggestion, look for good projects to ACT in first, and glean some great content/footage for your reel from that. And if you’re going to consider creating something on your own, think small, and be smart. Make it involve as few moving parts n’ pieces as possible and look at it as an exercise not something for public consumption. The ability to tell a great story and HOW to do that will forever be mutually exclusive from all of the technical knowledge it takes to make something look and sound great. Conversely there are great writers, DP’s, and actors who’ll never be able to create great content on their own. So remember, the “On-Demand” world we now live in does not mean it means that you too have to create something that is “On-Demand.”

I leave you with a couple of key articles to review, as well as knowing that you now can officially “buy Twitter” followers. Wow, and just when we thought we might get real “Campaign reform” we have the ability to buy our own Twitter lobbyists. OY.

Independent Film Financing Venture, Slated, Unveils Alliances:

Monetization Arrives at Vimeo: ‘Tip Jar’ Available Today, Direct-to-Audience Sales Coming in 2013:

My best to you always, Kevin E. West