The ‘You’ in YouTube
Make me a star. Oh fine then – I’ll just do it myself. “I’m live from an elevator near you…”
Metamorphosis of the filmTV industry – part 3 in a series of 4 articles
YouTube has become a form of television and one where the advertising dollar works exceedingly well, both for the advertisers who can target precisely based on watch history (not to mention everything else that Google most probably knows about you which will be a helluva lot) and for content creators with large fan bases that can easily monetise their videos. Google reported that YouTube on mobile alone reaches more people in the 18-49 age bracket than any broadcast or cable TV network.
When “You” is the core of the content
Now here’s an interesting development in the last few years – an amateur self-shooter armed merely with a mobile phone and a trout pout can make a living from ads interspersed by YouTube throughout their content. They can be reviewing make up, showing you how to do something or performing their song/cover.
An English lady I know records weekly and monthly tarot readings for each star sign. Her Taurus reading for the month uploaded 2 weeks ago has had 18k views already from all over the world. She is making well over a thousand euros a month now.
The platform also boasts excellent fictional dramatic or comedic content that we might expect to see on traditional television. I enjoy my favourite comedians on there. I personally find it of great use as well as entertaining. It’s my ‘go to’ source to see movie trailers before I commit to watching a movie. I do the same for bands when there is a jazz festival on before I fork out for concert tickets. It’s great for music and I personally use it to discover music new to me from the suggestions alongside the videos I’m watching. It’s also responsible for me having a gazillion tabs open because I crave more knowledge and more experiences – just like every internet junkie does. So yes, YouTube is just as bingeworthy as Netflix and the like. It’s often referred to as a ‘rabbit hole’.
Disappearing content and shooting stars of Snapchat
Particularly popular with younger audiences are the new-kid-on-the-block Tik Tok and Snapchat. Snapchat, now Instagram and Facebook too, you can set content to only be viewable for a few hours or a day. With so much effort for decades put in by teams of many to make content for others to see, it feels out right crazy to have content that expires in the way Inspector Clouseau might receive a message that reads ‘will self-destruct in 24 hours’.
Things are changing at lightning speed now. I remember getting to know a lovely young woman in Malaga who was an IT Salesperson for a large global IT company and she was incredibly into making Snapchat videos. Every day without fail there would be Gini (Virginia Salas Kastilio) sharing everything and anything about her life. Often it was just her dancing again in the elevator on her way out of her office or she may have seen a great sky driving home and she’d pull over to capture it. It could be introducing her new boyfriend with the relationship played out in Snapchat snippets. Nothing was out of bounds.
She was a great connector of people (I met her because she started a Meet Up group for people in Malaga interested in film making) and observer of humanity e.g. filming experiments such as getting strangers to stare into eachother’s eyes or hug for a long time to see what happens to the feels. Then next minute she’s one of the top social media influencers with more followers that you can shake a stick at, she’s left her boring job far behind and is working in London advising the BBC on Snapchat, starting a consultancy, starting an “I trust you” movement and speaking at conferences all over the world. Latterly she’s has been named by Inc. Magazine as 1 of 26 Women to Change the World.
I want to make a film
A friend of mine was a lawyer for many years. While out with her for an after-work drink, we were invited to be extras because the pub was being used as a film set that night. She agreed as long as we got hair and make-up as well as the free drinks. The hair and make-up job was a hell of a lot better than the script. We saw that it was a film destined to go nowhere with such painful dialogue. I discussed with her my personal weighing up of whether or not to move to LA and she revealed she had always wanted to make a romcom feature film.
They were her passion and she felt she had one in her to share with the world. Her friends and family, particularly her brothers, had always said “Yeah right – like everybody else” and laughed it off disparagingly. I however said “It’s all possible now. If you want to make a movie, just get on with it!”.
I also encouraged her to attend some courses on film as that is what had motivated me the most. Next thing I know she is calling me up after her one day course telling me they were invited to pitch their movie idea at the end and she’d been approached by the course organisers who loved hers and wanted to help her make it. They asked for a script. She said she had one and spent every free second over the next week writing it. She was even writing it sat on the toilet.
A few months later her and her parents’ houses are hosting/feeding a film and acting crew of 18, £100,000 of equipment has been borrowed from a film school and she is making a movie day and night over three intensive weeks. Sadly for personal reasons the project was abandoned and A Suitable Husband never got to the editing stage but she showed her brothers she could halfway make a film for sure.
Budget vs entertainment – no more
What is refreshing today, is that that while a big budget may help there is a place and a hunger for low budget done well too. Cazzie David, daughter of Larry David who created Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiam TV series, has created her own web series of short episodes called Eighty-Sixed and it’s pretty pretty good. She has a good following on YouTube. She is literally Larry’s ‘Mini Me’ so it has a sense of humour that sells reliably.
Pure entertainment gold was a miniseries on YouTube released every Wednesday following the traditional TV viewing format ironically, called Adult Wednesday Addams. Each episode was only a few minutes long from 2m30s to just under 5m for the longest. “A two-season, thirteen-episode web series, seen over 20 million times” it says on Melissa Hunter‘s website and she created it as well as playing the tweenage Wednesday. That is pretty impressive. I for one am part of the massive that cried tears of sorrow and threw tantrums on the floor when the series was abruptly halted by claims of copyright violation by the Tee & Charles Addams Foundation.
The end or just the begining?
The playing field has been levelled by technology making it so much easier to create content, availability through high speed Internet and user behaviour changes. So there is room for all these days. Just has to be great writing, done really well – because the competition is fierce.