Archive for the 'Rebel' Category

New Web Series – Date:Unknown or How Social Media Affects The Battle of the sexes

I got a note today from Brandon Fletcher, the guy behind Can You Tube Hear Me, about a new web series he just launched, called Date:Unknown. This is a dating reality show, about people meeting for the first time on camera, after talking online and connecting via various social networks. So it is kind of the hype of web shows, on top of the hype of social networks, on top of the hype of reality shows 🙂

The production pays for the date, and also offers some safety in first meetings of online friends. The whole show is filmed, edited and scored by Brandon, 20 yrs old New Yorker with a lot of passion for the trade.

I saw the first chapter which can be best described as  a documentary about how social media affect the battle of the sexes.


Here is a short interview I’ve had with Brandon today, showing his great approach to life:


KP: Where did the idea for the show come from?

BF The idea didn’t necessarily come from a specific thing. I randomly just come up with a bunch of ideas out of the blue. This was just one that I chose to execute because I believe it was different and had the potential to be huge. I was seeing a lot of stories about people meeting others online and then getting killed or abused when they meet in person. So this is basically just my effort in providing a safe way for those who are skeptical.

KP Do you have media background, and what equipment do you use?


BF I interned with a media company and learned the basics. I use a Canon GL2, and edit using iMovie (stock Mac video editor).
KP How do you think social media help people meet and interact?


BF I think social media helps people meet and interact by providing more info about the persons they communicate with. It makes it easier for people to choose who they want and narrow down the criteria. You also get a sense of how educated they are by seeing how well they type, etc.

KP What are the 3 biggest challenges you have today.

BF I never look at anything as a challenge. I try to see the most complicated tasks as the easiest, therefore nothing is impossible. The YouTube trip was a great journey (KP – a trip to YouTube HQ, to convince them to feature his content). My main reason for it was to inspire others to take control of their future and to do whatever it takes to get the job done.


Video Games/Story MashUp

Recently I wrote a post about the importance of a good story, mentioning the amazing book by Robert Mckee with the same title.

Not long after that, Lance Weiler, an independent film producer, director and distributor, who directed movies such as Head Trauma and The Last Broadcast, published a great post about the relation between video games and movie scripts, discussing the same McKee book.

The post, written by M.Strange, and published at the Workbook Project blog, was a real eye opener, and simplified a lot of the concepts in the original book.

Here is a small example, comparing the idea of gradual increase in tension, with difficulty levels of Bosses in most video games:


I wanted to write about Lance for some time, as he is a multidisciplinary person with strong understanding of the power of social networks and online promotion. The Workbook project, one of zillion websites, is a great source for DYI filmmaking and thought leadership.

Lance, if you are reading this post – drop me a line, I’d love to e-mail interview you for my humble blog!

Here’s the song from M.Strange first movie, “We Are The Strange“:

What Old Media Can Learn from New Media Creators

The guys behind Something To Be Desired (STBD), Galacticast, and other great shows have one thing in common – they know how to create high quality content on the cheap. Most of them are not making a dime of their work. This is not their fault – it is a market that needs to mature. But still, they create great content in micro budgets.

How can STBD make a show for fraction of the cost of a regular TV show?

First of all they have one camera. Unbelievable, right? With smart editing they manage to make it look as if there are at least two cameras on set. Second, all their actors are volunteers. So, right, it is harder to do it for a long period with professional actors, but it is a creative way to do things. Third, they don’t have separate guys for editing, directing, sound, lighting, and overall production responsibility. It is all the same guy with the T-shirt. And fourth, their actors are involved in the script writing. Now compare that with the set of Studio 60….

As we all know, the world of television is changing. It is harder to get high rating for shows that are not event based. This viewership fragmentation reduces the economic value of single productions, and in time force old media producers to cut their budgets. So if there is one thing the old media guys can learn from these new energetic creators is how, with some creativity, to do things much cheaper than in the regular let’s-have-a-battalion-of-people-on-the-set-cause-everyone-does-one-thing approach.

This is not new. Robert Rodriguez made El Mariachi for 7000$, using the same concepts. Did it change the movie industry? No. but I am certain that when gross revenues will drop, the Hollywood guys will wake up. TV industry can do it now.

Somehow, I don’t believe it will happen…

4 Features That Will Make Ustream Kick Ass (of Live TV at least)

In my previous post I’ve discussed Ustream as broadcasting democratizer.

But, in order to create a real alternative to live TV shows, we need several features that are missing in that platform today. I like Ustream, but like in any other web based business, if someone else will provide these features, I will switch without hesitation.

Having said that, we might be able to find hacks that will enable us to do these things without modifying their system.

And please, don’t suggest solutions that cost zillion dollars – we are trying to find cheap ways to look like the big guys.

This is what I am missing:

1. Use green screen on the fly – I have a boring wall in my home studio. If I can green screen it and add a picture of Tel Aviv, it will look much more professional

2. Add video clips on the fly – I want to add, while in a live broadcast, external clips. For example, do a news show, and add a related pre-produced news clip.

3 . Add cameras, and switch between them on the fly – can be useful for both studio shooting and cooperating with other producers and reporters around the globe

4. Add soundtrack and call-in capabilities – so we can have a proper talk show, with professional soundtrack.

If Ustream execs are reading this blog – I’d love to hear your plans about these features. If any of their competitors has a better solution – let’s hear about it.
The rest of us – let’s see how we can do it on our own. If you have ideas on how to solve these problems, feel free to comment or contact me directly.

UPDATE: Chris Yeh from Ustream just left a comment below. Highlights: They are working on it, going to offer 3rd party plug-ins, there is no time frame yet for the features, but they see feature 3 on my list as top priority. Thanks Chris, I appreciate the quick response.

But let’s keep looking for ways to these things.


Let’s do all of the above – with one PC

When Poor – Write a Good Story

One thing we all agree about is that independent media creators don’t have a lot of money. We wish it was different, but it is the case. Most of us are working without external financing, and don’t see a lot of money from our work. So we are using one camera, editing on our home computers, trying to cut costs in every way possible. We cannot match the money and crew invested in traditional media productions.

But there is one thing that the big guys and us can do exactly the same – write a good story.

I had the pleasure of attending the Story seminar of Robert McKee. If you have the chance to attend it – it is an amazing experience. If not, you can buy his book Story, an equally eloquent source for his vision. Robert teaches how to write a good story, with a focus on screenwriting. There are tons of books about how to write a script, but this one is different – not only it is written by a real life scriptwriter’s Guru, it is also clear, direct, and with no bullshit approach. In his seminar, Robert stated that a good script is a seller’s market. There are tons of scripts out there – but not good ones.

We, unlike the film industry, don’t have a gatekeeper. We have a bigger problem – clutter, noise, tons of shows out there. It is still a major challenge to tackle, differentiate from more than 500 shows out there, and get people to watch ours. But no one can stop us from putting our content out there. Couple that with a good story, and you have a rival for big media. We have the ability to be brave. We can experiment, as we don’t invest the huge amount of money the big guys are throwing in their productions.
It is true that lighting, sounds, image quality, are all important factors of production value. But a story, telling an interesting tale, is impossible to beat.


Continue reading ‘When Poor – Write a Good Story’

300 DIY Style

If you didn’t see 300 yet – go and see ASAP. Not much of a plot (Persians want to rule the Spartans, some naked girl is mumbling, and from that point onward – dead Persians, dead Persians, dead Persian horses, dead Persians, dead elephants, and some dead Greeks), but if you watch the film as an artistic venture, it is very impressive. Not only the colors are amazing, but also some special effects create a whole new experience. They make it look like Alexander on Crack (as Deb use to say)
I came across Dan Masquelier’s blog the other day, and saw something pretty neat – he remade some of the action and color effects in 300 on his own.
here is an example:

His site has longer portions of this clip, as well as other cool DIY effects.

Dan used affordable editing and effects software (Adobe After Effect and Sony Vegas), and got an amazing look and effect. This is another aspect of democratization of content creation, where the only thing stopping people from creating quality content is their talent….

Camera Considerations – Part I

I recently bought a professional video camera, in order to start producing web shows. I wanted to share with you some of my considerations when I chose my camera – you might find it useful:

Buy or rent – you can rent pro camcorder in every major city. The pros here are simple – you can get a great camera for a low price. However, god is in the details. You should first check the cost of rental as % of a brand new camera. For instance, I found that I can rent a camera for 250$ per week, while a new pro cam (though not HD) will cost me approx 1500$. Hence, if I buy a camera and use it for ~7 weeks, I am better off then renting one. Add to that the fact that with a rented camera you probably have a limited time experimenting (cause you won’t just rent it to play with it) and you see that in some cases it is better to buy one.

HD or not HD – HD is hyped a lot these days, and no one argues that the picture is as crisp as it can be. I decided to go SD. HD requires stronger editing computers. This is a major consideration, as I am going to use desktop for my editing. Also, as I am producing web and mobile content, it seems that HD is not my top priority. Due to the fact that HD is hyped, you can get a decent SD camera for a relatively low price.

Part II coming soon….

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