Archive for February, 2013

Forget the Numbers

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on February 27, 2013 by PoPS blog

Starting next week, the video updates are going to turn into a movie review-type show for a few weeks. The whole idea is to see if I can do a vlog that doesn’t have anything to do with our web series. A channel that would stand on its own. The thing is, much like the audience for our updates, my channel is going to be geared toward a very specific type of person. The straight-up movie fan. People who are into movies and the people who make movies, older movies, and somewhat forgotten or under the radar movies that I will introduce week by week. I’m not talking about classics, I’m talking about flicks from the 80s and 90s made by folks who are still very central to the industry. Sometimes other movies that precede the new releases we’re seeing today. In a landscape of remakes, reboots, and sequels, that’s not a very tall order. We’ll see if anybody is into it. It’s the kind of thing I’d like to watch.

My subscription and view numbers are plummeting again on YouTube. The view number thing makes sense. Not everyone is going to be interested in the updates and that’s what the channel mostly consists of. As for the channel subscribership taking off, it’s been four months without any actual episode uploads. It’s about the time when people just start unsubbing. Knowing that it’s par for the course doesn’t stop the nagging feeling at the corner of my consciousness though. Any time the numbers are dropping its like there’s a blinking red light just at the edge of my peripheral vision, intermittently distracting me throughout the day. I was saying to Eliza about a week ago, once you start thinking about the numbers on the internet…the number of viewers and the number of potential viewers, what’s getting eyes and what’s not, how do you find more viewers when you can’t produce the kind of content you’re interested in at a faster pace, how do you find money to pay people–once all of these things start swirling around in your head, it can get a little depressing. The internet is a big place, it’s easy to get lost. Once you fully dive into something of that scale there is absolutely no sense of rational perspective. It’s bigger than you can conceive of and there’s no way to control any of it. Having projects at work or plans with Lize remind me that there’s a very manageable, very fulfilling, physical world around me. The internet is always trying to get me to forget that. It only wants me to think about the numbers. It’s just wants me in the YouTube hatch pushing that upload button. That’s a LOST reference, I promise I’m not crazy.

One more thing! I found an independent video store a 30-minute drive from my house! It was wonderful to walk in there and see all the cases lined up, tempting me with there awesome cover art and synopses. It sounds kind of ridiculous but I’m going to get a membership.

Thanks for reading, guys.

–Jake

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PoPS video update 155-More Archival Video

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on February 24, 2013 by PoPS blog

YouTube Playlists

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on February 20, 2013 by PoPS blog

So, I finally did it. Someone asked me to do this forever ago, but I never saw the benefit of it. YouTube has a functionality where you make playlists of videos. People use it to break their content into subgenres, categories, best-of lists, just demarking a group of videos so that it’s more easily findable for folks who want more of the same. People who use YouTube more from the watchers side of things use playlists to group together some of their favorite videos.

A long time ago a very vocal member of the PoPS audience asked me to make a playlist of every episode part in one long playlist. I never wanted to, because the playlist functionality wasn’t necessarily user friendly to non-YouTube natives. And it’s entirely possible that I also didn’t want to put that old, crummy episode 1 in the same long list with the new and improved episodes. So instead of doing as they asked, I made each episode into an individual playlist on our channel. Since YouTube did the channel and functionality redesign, however, playlist videos pop up as a list inside the small-sized viewer right on the YouTube page. It makes everything so easy to find. So I made one long 37-video playlist with every episode part. I’ve redirected all of my episode links to that playlist and it’s easier than ever for people who happen upon the show to access any episode or part if they want to keep watching. This is one of the most useful tools for content creators that YouTube has introduced yet. Check it out:

Link to the YouTube PoPS playlist. The list appears in the viewer if you’re using the small size.

Thanks for reading, y’all.

–Jake

PoPS video update 154-The Greatest Update Ever

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on February 17, 2013 by PoPS blog

Trying to Look Pro

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on February 14, 2013 by PoPS blog

I was having a beer with a friend of mine this week and we were talking about the realities of YouTube. This guy has been in the game longer than Craig, had one of the first featured channels, but never hit the sweet spot where the channel blew up. We were talking about trying to overcome the mindset where having a few thousand views on something isn’t enough to motivate you to keep going. A FEW THOUSAND PEOPLE watching your work doesn’t feel like anything. Like me, he’s a film festival guy. He’s made shorts for years and got them into a bunch of festivals, but when a web series he made started tapping out at around 3,000 views per episode, he shut it down. The craziness of it all is that if you have a real life screening and 50 people show up you feel like you’ve just won a pushups competition in front of the cheerleading squad. It’s crazy. 3,000 people would have to stand in the aisles and start piling on top of each other to watch something in pretty much any theater. But since we know what’s possible–channels with 8 million subscribers and a viral video every time they upload–we get stuck in a draining mental cycle of stats and analytics. It’s like we’re suddenly trying to make numbers instead of movies. My buddy put it perfectly, “Why am I working so hard to make something with high production value when Jenna Marbles gets 15 million views for putting on her makeup in front of a webcam?” That’s the head space of trying to make something of quality on YouTube. I’m constantly reminding myself how amazing it is that you PoPS watchers actually show up to watch our show. I’m more grateful for every one person that watches all the way through the episode than if 10 million people clicked an episode part long enough to register a view before navigating away. The reality of it is that I was making these videos when my primary screening room was my parents’ living room for a captive audience of two people. And let me tell you, Mom and Dad are a pretty stacked deck in terms of audience reception. I’d probably still be making them for the same audience today, but I hit the jackpot and you guys showed up. Amazing.

As to the quality conundrum, many many many viewers on YouTube don’t care about the visual quality of your videos if they’re into the concept, the people, or the story your telling. For real. Part of the draw is the discovery factor. Part of the draw is that you’re NOT TV. You’re SOMETHING ELSE, something new. And the larger scale and more epic you try and make your little project look, the cheaper it’s actually going to appear. Because you can’t really do scale with no money. It’s practically impossible. Look at The Avengers. Huge movie. One of the biggest scale pictures of last year. Looks great. Now look at the city set piece scenes in Doctor Horrible, same amazing writer/director on a web budget. They still look good, fine cinematography, great acting, great writing, but the streets feel conspicuously empty, and there aren’t enough cars parked at the curb. It’s like this subconscious pull against your concentration. The surroundings feel too empty, too cheap, it destroys the reality of those scenes. Contrast that to the laundry mat scenes in Doctor Horrible. Populated to a realistic proportion. Even if it was empty that would be fine because we’ve all been in an empty laundry mat; it wouldn’t pull against our internal reality meter. I’ve never been on an empty city street. Well, I have, but never in broad daylight. We can’t compete with the bigs in terms of scale. We don’t have the means. We can take them in a smaller room though. You can do characters and conflict in a closet if you have to. In fact, that might be a pretty good hook. I can imagine being confined to a closet would cause conflict between any two personalities. And I’m talking literally here, guys. No closet metaphors. Although you could play it that way too to a very interesting effect. But I digress.

As I was thinking about all this stuff, I happened upon an interview on Ain’t It Cool with horror director Adrián García Bogliano and he said, “The problem is that film schools and technology have created a generation of directors too concerned with looking like pros, and the whole point of the non-Hollywood films we love of the ’70s and ’80s because they were pushing the limits in terms of content. They looked rough and they were taking risks all the time. And now we get to see B movies that try to recreate that ’80s feeling, but everything looks so fake and self aware that it’s simply boring, like they are trying to sell nostalgia, and they’re trying to wink at the audience constantly, and it’s frustrating.” That just nailed it for me. I have to try to remember that.

But while I’m still thinking about how cool our audience is, this one dude sent this our way. He used his time and talents to create a fan outro for PoPS:

How cool is that?

Thanks for reading, guys.

–Jarvi

PoPS video update 153-Workaday Update

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on February 10, 2013 by PoPS blog

Doing Things

Posted in Hypothesis the 7th on February 7, 2013 by PoPS blog

In the previous video update, I asked if I should try a non-PoPS vlog alongside the students taking my class. The vote was YES by a wide margin. So now I’m trying to decide what my nine-week vlog will be about. It’ll most likely be movie related. Anyone who’s read a few of my blog posts or seen a few of my updates or ever tried to have a conversation with me can now register their overly theatrical surprise.

In other news, I’ve come to realize that there are more VFX in episode
7 than I initially thought. It’s not the unholy nightmare that the VFX
count on episode 6 was (thank you, lightning shield), and they’re
mostly a more manageable brand of effect (lots of roto, compositing,
shot smoothing; less 3D oriented). It’s going to be time consuming.
Effects work always is. And the more things I keep agreeing to do
outside of the show, the slower it’s going to go, but so is the way of
the world, my friends. As it is, I’ve added three regular, separate,
non-PoPS, time consuming tasks to my schedule for 2013, in addition to
the one-day or one-weekend festivals and functions that I keep vying
for us to attend, and I think yesterday I may have agreed to speak at
some kind of seminar. Which sounds like a pretty cool networking deal,
but is another block of time I won’t be sitting at the keyboard
knocking out the show one frame at a time. I also have another idea
for a one-off short film that I’d like to shoot sometime this year,
while the concept is still fresh and exciting to me.

I’m currently still editing act 3 of episode 7. The last few days,
I’ve been cutting together a fight scene. Man, there’s a lot of
footage for a short little scene. And that shoot was a really hard
night. I should actually say that as our midnight wrap time ticked by
and the closer we got to our actual wrap time of 3 a.m., the harder
the shoot night became. I get tired and tense just watching the
footage. Really cool stuff though. Worth it? I say yes. That’s how I
know I’m still a filmmaker. I just keep making things.

Short post this week. Thanks for reading, all y’all.

–Jarvi