GADZOOK FILMS Producing independent film in Seattle, Los Angeles and beyond.



Ooh, ooh! Looky! New video! This puppy was written by Tyler Rhoades, and stars Tyler and the inimitable Patrick Donahue. You might remember Patrick from last year's 48-Hour entry from us, "Double Feature." Well he's back and it looks like he has a score to settle! Anyway, enjoy the film! And don't forget to Like it, give it a thumbs up, or head over to Funny or Die and give it a Funny! rating. Thanks folks!


Who wants to pay for internet video?

To stream or to subscribe. iTunes vs. Hulu. The immortal question that faces you, the end-user. How content will be accessed by the masses will effect you the filmmaker as well. As more and more distributors, content providers and studios are moving towards an online business models the landscape of developing content for the internet has exploded. But the concepts behind monetizing that content is still a matter of contention.

There are roughly two models - advertising and subscriber-based revenue.

Advertising is simple. There are the ads on the site and those that are embedded within the video itself. These are tallied on a CPC (cost per click) and CPM (cost per milli, aka cost per 1000 impressions). There's also flat-rate advertising, which is the most like traditional print advertising - someone buys web real estate for their ad to run for a specified amount of time. No click measurements to track.

With subscriber-based revenue the focus is on charging customers to view content. I guess that's more simple than ad-based revenue. Hmm. Anyway, moving on!

OK, so what are the pros and cons and what's right for you?

Let me answer that last question first. Both. There is no right or wrong method for finding a solid revenue stream right now. But there are considerations to be made.

With advertising, you provide your content to your audience for free. In return you need to toss ads up, around, in and on your video to reach the desired goal. If you've ever been to Hulu you've seen the most recent logical step in ad placement, which is basically laying commercials in the video where the commercials would go if you were watching it on TV. You usually cannot skip these ads but clicking them will only open a new window, allowing you to stick with the action and buy something later.

As an independent filmmaker ads are the most widely usable forms of revenue. You have a very limited audience and your content needs to be stellar for people to want to pay to view it. You can team up with Google and lay ads around your site or seek out advertisers and offer them play within your videos.

Without a large audience share your choice of advertisers (and the money they might bring) is small, but it could keep you in business. It all boils down to views. The larger your audience, the more money you make with advertising. If you can show you get 10,000+ views per video you'll have a good shot at making decent money.

The main drawback to advertising is that too much is a bad thing. You want your audience to be able to navigate away from it if they desire, or at least make its impact as small as possible. Look for CPC and Flat-rate ads mainly. Unless you're averaging 10,000+ website hits a day stay away from CPM.

For further reading, check out Google AdSense which will help you ad relevant ads to your website. And eMarketer tends to talk about the industry as a whole, including new advertising models if the current ones just don't float your boat. I now open the floor to any questions and comments.


Flash and Marketing

I've been working on a new post about IPTV but it's going to have to wait. I really do believe there's a paradigm shift coming in distribution models for independent filmmakers though. In the meantime I thought I'd post a bit about my experiences making my website "embedder" friendly. What do I mean by that? Well, it all boils down to Flash. Youtube, Vimeo, Revver, CollegeHumor... the all use a form of Flash file for their video. This reduces file size and makes the file very compatible across many different browsers and operating systems.

The small file size also allows the creator to allow the user to copy a short embed code to paste the video into their favorite blog or social networking page! Over the next few weeks I'm going to be testing some software and eventually updating ALL of my videos with Flash rather than Quicktime. In some cases there will still be downloadable high-resolution versions of the videos as well.

Below you can see the fruit of my labor thus far. Feel free to compare it to the Quicktime version found on my video page!

Get the Flash Player to see this content.


Snow Day on sale, and more

Snow Day, Bloody Snow Day is on sale NOW! Get the few remaining copies while you can at the reduced price of just $8! This is the Special Edition with extra features, Director & Crew commentary and it's widescreen for your viewing pleasure.

You may also notice that there are some books listed there too. This is our Amazon store and I hope you'll use it to find your filmmaking books (or anything you so desire). If you have suggestions for excellent filmmaking-related bookery, please leave a comment and I'll add it in. I expect that store will be getting new listings frequently as my personal filmmaking library is pretty extensive and I haven't even added half of the books I'd recommend.

Hope you're enjoying the redesign of this page, too. I was a little tired of the default theme and didn't like the other options out there so built my own. Let me know!


Learning PHP

With the recent changes going on over at GadZook Films I thought it only appropriate that this blog get some of the love. I've been working nearly non-stop since Friday last to update everything. The last update to the site was done in, I think, 2006. This blog uses the default WordPress theme but through some digging and helpful internet posts I was able to learn enough about PHP and CSS design so that I could get a matching color scheme and embed some RSS info in here.

I won't say I'm an expert and I readily admit I have a long way to go to be fluent in PHP but I think I get the basics. Show me a PHP page and show me its corresponding CSS and I can probably figure out the rest.

How does this affect you, my humble filmmaker friend? Audience. Not my audience but yours. Most of the work I've been doing has been under the hood, streamlining code and adding information to make this whole site more easily visible to web crawlers and the like. This is important because it allows me to see where people are coming from and how deep they're traveling through my site. Do people even notice I have a Projects page? They might have, except since it hasn't been updated in two years they might've forgotten.

So after installing the Google Analytics code I was finally able to see an accurate idea of who was coming to my site (and my blog) and what they did while here. The answers weren't good. 90+% were leaving the site after a few seconds having gone no where but the front page. People were not inclined to click through.

What'd I do? For one I added more dynamic content on the front page - hit refresh next time you go there... it's new stuff! Most people came to this site for the blog, probably because I update it more than the site. So since that's a change I'm working on I wanted to draw people back to the site. I dug around and was able to edit the sidebar.php with links back to the main site. Time will tell whether these actions will have any significant results, but the site is already retaining more visitors.

Why am I telling you this? Just having a YouTube page isn't enough anymore. You need to give your audience a reason to keep coming back, to want to research and learn about your projects. Give them a starting point and embrace this social networking! It'll set you apart. I'll talk more about how I feel sites like Facebook and Myspace and to a different extent Youtube and the like should be used in a later entry. Cheers. And check out the new sections of the site. I hope to add more content as it becomes available!