Archive for May, 2011
We’re now at the point in PoPS episode production when the audience complaints start to ramp up. After about the 20-week mark since the release of the last episode, people start to get a little more vocal about wanting the next episode to come out. Then I start to feel like any time I spend away from the computer is time that I’m failing the audience. Frankly, it’s kind of amazing that they hold out for 20 weeks. YouTube and the internet in general is a medium that expects content quickly. That’s partially why vlogging is so successful. You can easily do a decent looking vlog in a day. Try to do that with a web series and it usually looks like garbage. I think that’s why web series have gotten such a bad name. People sacrifice quality for a faster turnover and then the people that were clamoring for you to hurry unsubscribe because the quality tanked. I think I’ll just let this take the time it needs. I did ALL of post on episode 1 of PoPS in two weeks, including sound and VFX, but that’s because I did it days and evenings for two weeks straight. And it was standard def, which was a little more forgiving work-flow wise.
Also this week, someone asked me for a bio of my film work for a project that they’re trying to get put together. When I revised my standard bio to include some new stuff and I read it back, I was actually surprised. It sounded like a lot of stuff. I guess you don’t notice when you’re living through it and each project takes months, but all lined up in a row it seems that I’ve been doing this stuff for awhile. Here’s my current bio:
Jake Jarvi’s been behind a camera since he was 12. In high school, he received an award at the Illinois Film and Video Competition in the Drama category for a VHS short about a hitman and his quarry. He then received The Presidential Scholarship in film to attend Columbia College, Chicago.
Jake spent five years in L.A., acting in the films “Old School” and “Bondage,” appearing in a few commercials, and landing a co-starring role on a Rob Lowe TV vehicle the day it was canceled. Before returning to Illinois, he made his first feature motion picture entitled “The Girl,” using consumer grade equipment, shooting on evenings and weekends. Reviewers have compared it to the early works of Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino. His comedy pilot, “Green’s Nursery,” landed in the top three at the Chicago Comedy Pilot Competition in 2007 at the historic Music Box Theater. He then worked with Meadowdale Pictures on the horror film “DISGRUNTLED” as co-writer and editor the same year that he wrote, directed, edited, and produced a short-form version of his “Twisted Thicket” concept, a fantasy fable, which screened at Vines Shorts Fest in Santa Monica, CA.
He’s served as the Digital Editor for SheridanRD.com for the last three years, editing every video that appears on their website as well as writing over 160 feature articles, profiles, and movie reviews for their print publication, Sheridan Road Magazine.
Which brings us to “The Platoon of Power Squadron,” his YouTube web serial about four 20-somethings with no outlet for their super powers. For the first four episodes he served as actor, writer, director, producer, editor, sound effects editor, and main VFX and compositing artist. For episode 5, a small portion of the audience donated just over 9 thousand dollars to help offset the cost of the series. He is currently in post production on the 5th episode out of a projected 10-episode series arc.
All put together like that, it seems like I’ve been up to some things. I was just too busy working on projects to look around for a second and realize it.
Thanks for reading, y’all.
The update this week was done by Adrian of Gloo Studios and JoCatofCatland as part of a video swap thing that he’s been doing with other people. So below is my half of the swap done in the Gloo format. The swap was very successful. It almost doubled their subscribership.
You know what’s messed up? This Arnold Schwarzenegger love-child situation. As if he thought, “Let’s just see how this pans out for 14 years, if he doesn’t look like Conan by then, maybe it can still be swept under the rug.” Even more disturbing is that it was a bigger news story than the flooding Mississippi destroying everyone’s lives on CNN during my lunch break. You know, it’s even pretty disturbing that I can’t sit down for a slice of pizza in a tiny storefront without being forced to watch CNN on a giant flat screen. And now I’ve commemorated all of it in a blog post. Wow. This actually sounded like a normal blog for a second. Moving on.
Reflecting on that last video update, most of the comment-chatter on the boards this week is a surprisingly impassioned debate as to whether Batman or Harry Potter would win in a fight. I didn’t expect for this to be such a hot button topic, and I doubt even the commenter who suggested it knew it would be this big of a deal. In fact, I didn’t truly realize how strongly even I felt about it until discussing it with my wife. We were driving home from Iowa when she launched her flag for Team Potter. I hadn’t even really thought about it, but once I started to, it seemed pretty clear that without Harry’s friends standing by, Batman would take him apart—and I LOVE Harry Potter, okay? I won’t go into too much detail here, because Eliza does read these things occasionally, but we practically got into an argument over it. It was pretty unbelievable. She kept saying that Batman was only a man and Harry went on to become an Auror, and I started telling her that her “Magic is Might” stance was starting to sound pretty Voldemort-ian. The bottom line is, people love their characters and strange theoretical fight mash-up questions.
There were a few people who thought my day job sounded pretty cool. And looking back through the footage, yeah, it isn’t bad: writing articles in coffee shops and libraries, editing behind-the-scenes videos of fashion photo shoots, and especially Fridays, watching and reviewing movies. There are far worse day jobs than this action. And The Beaver was unexpectedly powerful and really well written.
Now that I’m in the editing portion of Ep5, earth-shattering news isn’t coming in hard and fast anymore. No production war stories. No scheduling conflicts. I’m just sitting at the computer for 2-hours a weeknight, longer on weekends, piecing it together, and I’ll be doing that for a while longer. I will say though, that the possibility of an interesting opportunity came in the form of a Skype conversation last night. There’s a lot of development that would need to happen without my involvement before they get back to me, but they just wanted to touch base. Maybe nothing will come from it, but day job cowboys could never do what they do without big expectations and an natural inclination toward hoping for the best.
Thanks for reading.
I used to pose the question of the week in the video updates for a very simple reason: to get comments. It’s a well known YouTubers trick—so well known at this point that it can hardly be considered a trick anymore—that if you ask your audience a question you get WAY more comments. That interaction thing is what a lot of these internet kids find so attractive about vloggers. But after awhile I was genuinely interested in what the audience had to say. So I started to ask them about things that actually matter to me. True, it was mostly about movies and TV and making videos and creativity, so it may seem kind of like I’m just playing to a particular audience, but those are the things I actually care about. If I asked about world events, politics, or philanthropy like a couple of vlogging brothers that are hyper-popular, it would be disingenuous. I mean, when I heard Osama Bin Laden had been killed my first thought was about how I had watched Long Kiss Goodnight on VHS on the evening the towers fell. My second thought was about a screenplay I conceptualized with a buddy of mine about two day laborers who decide to become bounty hunters and track down Bin Laden using Adult Friend Finder. That was pretty much it. So clearly, not very involved in world events. But the people who do weigh in on my weekly questions give me a nice foundation for knowing what my audience is actually interested in and what’s on their minds.
The “ask a question” trick and other YouTube tricks that the most subscribed and watched people on YouTube use have been getting a lot of attention lately. Mostly because one popular YouTuber posted a 10-minute rant about a number of messages he’d received asking for the secrets of becoming “YouTube famous.” His rant was mostly about how being “YouTube famous” doesn’t matter and how he didn’t want to be asked anymore, and then a gazillion people all made video responses about their thoughts on YouTube fame.
You want to know how to be YouTube famous? Here are the tricks:
1: Be a vlogger. It’s really difficult to get people to watch a web series, so that’s a hell of a tough road. Vlogging looks pretty much like the video updates on here. It’s a person looking directly into camera and addressing the audience in regards to a particular subject or theme and being interesting, witty, creative, or funny enough to draw an audience. It’s video-blogging. Basically, video journal entries. Vlogging is the most embraced form of internet entertainment, and a vast majority of all of the most subscribed and watched Youtubers are vloggers. When people call me a vlogger, I cringe. I never wanted to be that, I just wanted to make my show, but it became a part of the game.
2: Use tricks such as asking the audience a question, verbally telling them to subscribe in every video, verbally reminding them to “thumbs up” or rate your video in every video, and post your videos as video responses to much more popular YouTubers.
3: Make the thumbnail (the still you see before clicking play on the video) so interesting, controversial, or hot chick-ish that people won’t be able to help themselves from clicking on it.
4: Post videos as often as possible or at least make sure people know when to expect them. I post every Sunday and a majority of my comments come that day; my audience knows when I’ll show up. And all of the huge vloggers have regular days they post on two or three times a week.
5: Get noticed by larger people who will link their audiences to you. That’s mostly done by the video response method.
Those are the big tricks. And a lot of these kids think being YouTube famous means something. For the really big guys, it does. Craig, from our cast, doesn’t have any other job than his vlog. He makes enough money in ad-revenue on his videos to make vlogging his living. But even people with many more subscribers than myself can’t make a living at it. There’s one vlogger I like a lot named crabstickz and he can barely make the rent every month. He’s famous, but he’s poor. This is an entirely new brand of fame, and I think it’s a very bizarre phenomenon.
And in my thinking, if you’re interested in getting into the industry, vlogging-fame is not something to be desired. The best that popular vloggers get offered so far is to be announcers or interviewers. I don’t know about you, but that’s not what I’m interested in.
Thanks for reading guys.