Friday, March 3, 2006

Anthony’s Top 5 Reasons Why You Need to Get Down with Podcasting

1. Get People to See Your Trailer
If you’ve got a trailer for your project, there’s no better way to get it out to the masses. You can just post a straight trailer or you can get creative and dole it out in pieces, show entire scenes, or add additional content similar to DVD extras to entice people to check out your film. Because podcasts are portable the chances of people sharing a trailer they like with friends is much greater. If you’re really smart with your promotion and people respond to the material, your podcast could become “viral” and begin to spread on it’s own momentum driving traffic and media attention to your project. That’s exactly what happened to the media makers I interviewed for Sundance. (see last blog)

2. Digital Film School
Filmmaking education is not just established institutions with professors and formal classes, it’s anything that helps you learn your craft. DVD extras and filmmaker commentaries are mini-film courses in themselves. Similarly, there are a growing number of podcasts (soon to include my own) that cover the subject of filmmaking. Pretty much every week I listen to a few hours of content that helps keep me abreast of new equipment and technologies, industry trends, tips and tricks, and generally how other filmmakers are dealing with the same issues I encounter. It’s specialized education for free. In a few weeks (or sooner) I will begin posting a small portion of the video lessons from the Down and Dirty DV - Vol. 1: Documentaries DVD in podcasts… free for you to download and share. Film school, workshops, and media all cost money. Right now the filmmaking podcasts are all FREE. It’s a great way to try before you buy. Oh and did I mention podcasts are (currently) FREE? That’s a no-brainer.

3. Get People to See Your Movie
If you have a short that you want to get out there, I think this is the best thing to happen since for all the same reasons I listed above in reason #1. However, I think the potential for features is just being tapped into. You can dole out your movie in pieces and tease the audience. If you’ve got a project just languishing on the shelf, it could find a whole new audience in the podcast world. While it’s admittedly a long shot, it’s possible that in the best-case scenario you could get a distribution deal out of it like the filmmakers from Four Eyed Monsters. If you’ve got a “calling card” film a podcast could help you get funding for the next project or gigs as a director for hire. Most importantly, it’s a cheap way for you to get direct feedback and interaction with your audience. Now it’s not the same, but just so you won’t have to stretch your imagination quite as far, check out this PBS documentary from Frontline posted in 23 parts…now imagine instead of streaming video that those segments are podcasts put out every week.

4. Take Your Projects Anywhere Ready to Show
If you have your videos in a portable format, you’ll always have something to impress that agent you just happened to meet at the gym or that new crewmember you’re trying to recruit. The bottom line is that you can carry all of your video projects with you without the need for a computer or dvd player to show them off.

5. You Can Still Get in on the Ground Floor
The last stats I heard on podcasting just a few weeks ago (on a podcast ironically), said that only 10% of people surveyed even know what a podcast is. 10%! If you’re thinking 10% is lame or why should you waste your time if there is only 10% penetration, then you’re looking at it the wrong way. To me that figure means that this thing is just getting started. Podcasting today is like having an online business was in 1992- It’s cutting edge and the field is still open enough to get attention because there is not as much competition for eyeballs. That’s the situation today, but it’s changing as we speak. Four Eyed Monsters is getting a distribution deal. Anni Rudegair of Soccergirl Incorporated is now in an excellent position to command sponsorships and sell related products. (I don’t know, but suspect that some negotiations may be taking place as I write this.) Both have pulled off these feats after podcasting for less than a year. Feel that draft in the room? Well that’s an open window of opportunity, baby! However, this window of wide-open opportunity closes a little with every new and corporate sponsored podcast that hits the digital airwaves. If you’re in now, God willing, you’ll be well positioned and established when the other 90% catches up in the next few years.

Down and Dirty DV Factoid:
The new Oxford dictionary has officially declared podcasting to be the “Word of the Year - 2005”.

I’m talking infinite possibilities here, people. A few of my associates think I'm overhyping podcasting. Ironically, none of these people have actually tried it. If you just subscribe to a few decent video and audio podcasts, you'll get it right away. So that's it, my whole podcast rant... for now. I'll shut up about it for awhile and get back to video production issues, but I hate to see my fellow filmmakers sleep on such a powerful new medium and miss the boat. Just don't say ya boy, Anthony, didn't try to put you down with podcasting from the get-go.

'Til next time...peace, love, and video, Baby. I'm out.


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