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

8Dec/08Off

T-Shirts

Hey everyone! So some exciting news just in time for the holiday season. As many of you know we here at GadZook Films have been collecting a slew of funny sayings and non-sequiturs. What better way to enjoy them than on a t-shirt? Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, the GadZook T-shirt store!

T-shirts are now available from GadZook Films!

T-shirts are now available from GadZook Films!

We're beginning a fundraising push here to raise some money for equipment upgrades and more. Stay tuned for the unveiling of our IndieGoGo fundraising site in the next couple of weeks.

29Nov/08Off

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.

21Nov/08Off

Social Media Fundraising?

EDIT: Since I wrote this more research has revealed some specifics. I'm sharing that now. Thanks!

Lots of exciting things going on here at GadZook Films. First off I started a Twitter account. You can follow me and the GadZook crew by clicking the little icon in my sidebar.

GadZook Films is also on Myspace and Facebook, so add us to your friends and group lists! You'll feel so smug when all of your friends marvel at how GadZook Films was your friend months before we accepted their friend request. There's a link in the sidebar to the Facebook group as well, if, ya know, you just like to watch.

But here's the real issue: can independent filmmakers, like us here at GadZook Films, raise money using the internet's vast social networking resources? The folks at IndieGoGo believe we can. They have an interesting, albeit not new, business model. You, as Joe Filmmaker, set up a project on their site, establishing a specific fundraising goal. You e-mail friends, family, fans and let them know about what you're doing and how they can help. Theoretically the whole 6 degrees of separation should nab you more fans and more potential donors.

With regards to the fundraising aspect of IndieGoGo, it's a pledge system. Donors may pledge money to your cause using Amazon Payments (a filmmaker must setup an Amazon Merchant account). Money is not taken out of the donor's account, however, until the project meets its goal. IndieGoGo charges a 9% administration fee against all the money you end up actually raising. If you don't get any of the money then you don't pay. 9% is pretty high, more than some of the film-related non-profit umbrellas I've worked with in the past charge anyway.

For the record, Fundable.org, another web-based fundraising tool for filmmakers, charges a 10% admin fee. They use PayPal instead of Amazon to delivery payments.

It's basically a method of leveraging any sort of social network you've constructed for yourself to help raise money for film projects. And I'm going to be a guinea pig and try it out. Head over to my IndieGoGo site, become a fan of GadZook Films and stay tuned. I'll be uploading a project in the next week and try to raise some financing for it. Help me out and you'll see first hand how it'll help! Questions, comments?

In next week's column I'll discuss paying for online video content.