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Ah, the workweek's over. Finally, a chance to relax. And what better way to chill out than watching some TV?
Let's see what's on. (Click) Something in French - not interested; (Click) Air Bud - World Pup. Sounds like a low rent 101 Dalmatians; Dudley Do-Right. You mean the guy from the old cartoon? (Click) Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Aagh! Lemme outta this movie hell!
Like me, I bet you can't think of more than a couple dozen movies you really liked. Imagine that - there are thousands of movies coming out of Hollywood each year, not to mention Bollywood - and most of them are what's called in the business "stinkers." In fact, many of the second-rate movies are made by second-rate producers and directors who have awful track records - but still keep getting money for new ventures. Don't these studio people have any sense?
Well, there's only one explanation - the stinkers make money! Between box office, video, "foreign," cable and terrestrial TV showings, advertising tie-ins and "promotions" (like licensing fees from fast-food places), there are so many income streams for even the most mediocre films that it's almost impossible for modern movies not to make money. Forget about those statistics that talk about how a movie hasn't done well at the box office - the overall take for the average movie nowadays throughout its life cycle is five times the amount it will collect at the box office (http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/Demyst3.htm)! Meaning that even the biggest "dog" will make its owners a ton of money!
Somehow it just doesn't seem fair; "professional" moviemakers who seemingly can only make third-rate films get rich, while we, who are obviously far more talented, aren't even in the picture. Why, I bet any of us could put together far better films than 95% of the flicks available. If only someone would give us a chance!
Well, as a matter of fact, there is a place where you can show off your directing, producing and even acting abilities - and even make money off your work! Over the past year or so, there has been a revolution in on-line video, prompted mostly by Google Video (http://video.google.com).
Google Video started out as a service to allow users to publicly distribute their homemade videos to a wider world, but the service, while still officially in beta, has grown by leaps and bounds, along with the tens of thousands of free videos you can watch on-line. Google even has its own video player (http://video.google.com/playerdownload.html), and there are now commercial movies and TV shows you can pay to watch as well. Another way for Hollywood to make money!
But by going on-line yourself, you make movie money just like the Hollywood bigwigs. Not with Google Video, though - to get on the gravy train, check out Revver (http://revver.com), where your videos are worth money! When you upload a video to Revver, the company attaches an ad to the end of it, and when viewers click on the ad, Revver splits the advertising take with you.
Revver works kind of like a movie theater operation does; the theater owner collects ticket money and perhaps revenue from ads displayed with the movie, and pays the studio a percentage of the income as a rental fee. The theater and/or studio promotes the movie with posters, ads in newspapers and the electronic media, and by using reviews that place the film in a positive light. When you put a video onto Revver, the site indexes and places your work in the categories of your choice (the more categories, the more likely someone is to stumble onto your work). You can promote your film through links on Web sites, in news groups, whatever it takes to drive people to the site to view your film and click on the ad - so you can make money. You even get to pick the ads that will appear on your video.
How do you make movies that can be uploaded into Revver, or Google Video or one of the other numerous services (http://www.grouper.com, http://www.youtube.com, http://www.cubebreak.com) that let you display your masterpiece? Well, there are lots of answers to that question, too numerous to be cited here, but if you have a digital camera, it should be sufficient to connect the camera to your computer using FireWire or USB cables and use the software that came with the camera to upload it to the PC. Most of these services, including Revver, accept videos in all popular formats, including AVI, WMV, and Quicktime.
But of course, most of us will probably be viewers, instead of creators, of video. And that's cool too, because there are lots of intelligent and witty people out there with interesting and funny things to say - lots more interesting and funny than what you get on TV. Why spend your free time watching silly reruns of shows that weren't all that good in the first place when you can see something like Shalom (http://revver.com/video/19397), a funny takeoff on an old beer commercial, or The Magic Monkey (http://revver.com/video/19464/) - looks like they've discovered the Missing Link after all! And the tags listed with each video indicate whether a viewer's sensibilities will be offended - so in that sense, there's a lot more control over on-line video than that available over TV. Next time you want to chill out and relax at home, don't reach for the remote - reach for the keyboard, and help some bright moviemakers beat Hollywood at its own game!