VidCon PowWow

When I was a camp counselor we would gather with our cabins at the end of the day and go around the circle doing a powwow. The “pow” would be the low point in the day, something that was frustrating or disappointing, and the “wow” would be the best part of the day.

In an effort to organize my thoughts from VidCon in a way that tries to show that I had a fantastic time, but also recognize some of the “pow”s of the event, I’m going to go back to my roots and powwow my VidCon experiene.

DAY 1
POW: I was really frustrated with the availability on Thursday. It was “Industry Day”, which is a great thing to focus on, but as someone who was mostly attending VidCon for the panels it was annoying that there wasn’t much to do on the first day.
WOW: Since I had so much time on my hands, I signed up to get a free manicure from the HLN booth. While I waited for it I met some pretty fun girls, one of whom is an LA local and I’m hoping will become a friend.
I also had a great time wandering the expo hall and meeting a few of my favorite YouTubers by happenstance which was lovely.

DAY 2
POW: This was the beginning of #linecon. While I was able to get into all the panels I wanted, I know that was not the case for everyone. I think that if they learn from this year and have a better system in place next year a lot of nerves and frustrations could be saved. Having tickets for signings and knowing about where in the line to at least tell people that they probably wont make it in would go a long way.
WOW: I went to so many panels on Friday and took lots of notes. I love the feel of learning that I got from being surrounded by other people who are also interested in creating online video. Such an inspirational feeling.

DAY 3
POW: More lines today. Specifically getting into the convention center was a nightmare on Saturday morning. Security people were contradicting each other and I saw one threaten to take people’s badges away. Both sides need to come in with an understanding that this is going to take some time. Clear communication would have been a huge step in the right direction on this one.
WOW: Saturday I got to meet one of my favorite YouTubers, and wound up meeting a bunch of people whilst waiting for a party that I never did manage to get into. It was great to connect with some new people, especially since I had come by myself.
I’ll also say that a favorite part about Saturday was that I finally mustered up the courage to bring my long board after debating it all weekend. It was fun to have that transportation, it sparked a few conversations, and was just generally useful.

Overall, I had a great weekend and am definitely interested in going again next year. Maybe with an industry badge? That my employer pays for? #wishfulthinking

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This Will Be: July 2013

Looking at my goals this month it seems that July will be very career and future focused. Which is exciting, but also a little intimidating. I hope that all this industry focus isn’t too overwhelming before I even begin. Though I suppose my anxieties can be saved for another time.

I started a new block of classes July 1, so I’m already on day two of the semester. This round is called Transmedia Development. When I’ve explained this to people I’ve mostly described transmedia as cross-platform development (developing stories that stretch over TV, social media, video games, ect). This month I’m going to learn how accurate that description is (or is not).

School in this city and industry means networking. I’ll be doing a lot of that this month, and I’m excited to see where it takes me. I’m unashamedly hoping that it gives me the opportunity to intern with a production company or media group I like. That’s goal number next, find a fall internship.

Of course, there will be a few non-school/industry things planned this month too. I’ve got the basics of my apartment down, but I would like to spend some time to make this new space more of a home. I’d also like to host some people for dinner or a movie night. I’m not sure what yet, but I love having people over and playing hostess.

After last month, I think it’s best I keep any vlog-making goals the same as last time. Since I will be focusing more on school, I want to be sure that the majority of my efforts are on my school work. So two videos. We’ll see how it goes.

Other than that? I will be headed to Comic Con for at least a day this month through my school and I’m wildly excited. I’m trying to determine what to cos-play as. Poison Ivy? Mrs. Reynolds from Firefly? (I’d have to cut my hair) I’d like to use my natural hair color, but if a character is red-headed, they’re usually all the way red, not halfsies like me. I know, first world problems.

There’s also a possibility that my mom and or sister will come down to LA to hang out with me for a weekend. I haven’t seen the sister since Christmas, so it would be awesome to see her, and fun to show off my new place. As complicated as my feelings are on this city, I’m starting to have favorite places that I’m simply itching to share with people.

What are your goals for the month?  Any wild plans for this craziness?

The New World of YouTube

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As the market for web content grows, the offerings grow even faster. The top destination for web content is quite clearly YouTube. While typically media content is scripted, shoot, edited, and then sent out to consumers via movie theaters or television airwaves; YouTube works under a completely different premise letting the viewers also be the creators of content (see my explanation of how different types of content make money for their creators here).

Unlike movie, television, and some web content competition, YouTube is free to creators and viewers, and also available upon viewer demand. Wherever you want to watch a YouTube video, you can. There is very little filter of content, allowing for a great diversity of video topics, production, origin, and length. All together this content, made by amateurs and professionals alike, has grown into a company estimated to be worth $45 billion (source).

The question that arises when YouTube makes money from the content shared on their site is not weather they are allowed to make money, but how much of that money should be shared with the people who are creating the content that YouTube is profiting from.

Monetization is the process of making money off of a product or service, that otherwise wouldn’t provide an income. Some bloggers monetize by selling ad space in their sidebar. People pay a fee for a month or two and have their site mentioned in a post, and do a giveaway, ect. YouTube is a for-profit company, of course they’re allowed to monetize and make money off of their efforts, but the service would be useless without the creators who draw people in.

The best way to make money is to figure out the best part of your business and find a way to get people to pay for it. What matters on YouTube*? Views and comments. Those are the interactions that both creators and consumers of videos get the most out of. They may not be the most profitable interactions, but they are the reasons people want to be a part of the YouTube community.

How can YouTube make a profit off these? To be honest, I’m not sure what the answer is. Advertising may be part of it, and certainly will be for the foreseeable future, but I can’t help but think that a more engaging form of advertising will eventually be thought up.

Meanwhile, YouTube as a company, seems to have decided that Subscriptions are the be all end all of video making. Here’s the thing: YouTube can provide the space, but if they want to grow as a platform they can’t dictate how people use it. In fact, the more freedom they give, the more likely people are to use their service in a way that brings in more viewers and – ultimately – more money for the site.

There are two things that can be achieved by introducing paid subscriptions.

Thing the first: no advertising. I can especially see the value of this in kids content. If I was a parent I would be willing to pay for a kids content channel, knowing that I could let my kids watch it without worrying about raunchy advertisements.  Peace of mind is absolutely worth $5-10 a month.

Thing the second: A requirement that paid subscription channels be high quality and consistent. If I was guaranteed an awesome video once or twice a week I could understand a subscription fee. Web series come to mind such as the Lizzie Bennett Diaries or Crash Course. Channels where I know I am getting consistently awesome content are channels I would be happy to pay for.

But the majority of content on YouTube is made by people who are not relying on said content as their source of income. People who make videos for fun, who got an account to upload that one video of their cat on a romba chasing a duck. In an internet climate where the only way to get noticed is through big cross-platform social media campaigns, what is YouTube doing to draw the general population of viewers and creators? Not much.

Do you YouTube?  What kinds of channels would you be willing to pay subscription fees for?

*to those who are creating YouTube videos