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    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    First! Getting Hooked On New Media...

    I fell in love with original online video from the start.  It was 1999 and the first Internet wave was washing over the country.   I was finishing up co-writing, producing and directing PRESERVING THE LEGACY, a three-year environmental documentary series for PBS.   At 26, I had travelled the world and discovered the incredible ways we were quickly destroying the planet.  This was years before it was cool to be aware about global warming.  My friends hated hearing about nuclear waste, the population explosion, our carbon footprint, Superfund, air pollution and so on...  Working on this series was an incredible experience, but left me with a feeling like I needed to create something on the lighter side once it was over.    

    At the time, broadband and video were the big buzz words and companies were sprouting up like weeds on the Internet to cash in on they hype.   Start-ups were being given huge amounts of cash.   They needed content and they needed it now.   To me, as a filmmaker, the future was here.   For the first time, advancements in digital-video cameras and online editing software made it possible to create stories that didn't have to cost a ton of money.   Anyone could do it and that what companies were banking on...

    I was pitching two series ideas.  STUDIO VISIT followed the creative process of emerging visual artists and LOCKOUT revealed the process of breaking bands.    After three months of getting nowhere, Eveo came along.  

    Eveo was a startup based out of San Francisco and they were YouTube before there was a YouTube.   They were betting that user-generated video content would be huge.   However, before they launched their site they needed videos (which they called eveos)  to be seeded on the site so they could show their potential audience what to make.    They loved my ideas for LOCKOUT and STUDIO VISIT. Kids would see the videos, be inspired to make their own videos and then post them on the site.   Great.  Perfect.  Let's make it happen!

    The deal was fast and loose.  Since they wanted my videos to inspire others to make their own, my videos needed to have a home-made feel.   It was to be a one-man-band operation.    Me shooting, doing sound, lighting, everything...   They wanted me to make as many as I could as quickly as possible.   I was going to get paid $300 per video.   Each video was to be 2 - 4 minutes in length.    I could do whatever I wanted as long as it was about breaking bands or emerging artists.   I needed to be smart and plan ahead.   If I wasn't careful, this process could become very painful and expensive.   If done right, I would be able to tell some great stories and be able to make rent for a while.   What followed was the most intensive filmmaking experience I've ever had in my life.

    To be continued...

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