Since I started working on the book, I’ve been checking the Youtube top 100 videos list semi-regularly. Turns out that close to 85% of the videos that score big are made by pros. Of the remaining 15%, a few– maybe 5% are jokes– videos that look like porn but aren’t, for example. Another 5% are at least “semi-pro”—produced by people with some experience. That leaves about 5% for piano playing cats and kids who bite other kids fingers.
Amateurs are being squeezed out of web viewing as the web grows up. Video is big money now. Professional TV and filmmakers are flocking to it for fun and profit. In addition to YouTube, professional entertainment services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Funny or Die, My Damn Channel and HBO eat up more and more viewing hours every day.
That means YOU are now in the entertainment business—competing for eyeballs against pros like me and the giant corporations who’ve been marketing on film and video for almost 70 years.
Here’s something every entertainment professional knows by heart, and it’s always, always true: Watching is Voluntary. The people who most skillfully reward the audience for their time and/or money get the most views, the most ticket sales, the most purchases, the most participation. The ones who don’t reward the audience get nothing. The reward they’re looking for? Entertainment. No entertainment = no viewing.
Whether you’re an individual who wants friends to share his barbecue video, or a company trying to build a more passionate customer base, consider the value of your video to the viewer before you shoot.
And welcome to the entertainment industry.