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After going through the full agenda of Vidcon2012 in Anahiem it is painfully clear that the bubble/suits have completely taken over and all the fun of past years has been relegated to a sideshow.
The worst part is it is nothing but people from the IAWTV running almost all of the panels. (Why does Jim Louderback need 1/3 of the panels at Vidcon?) Yes there's Youtubers on some of the panels, (emphasis on SOME,) but it looks like a Tubefilter meetup/mixer at best. Hell, was Rich even INVITED? Kevin Smith is really the lone bright spot among the panels.
The Youtubers and their community MADE Vidcon what it was and now it looks like Hank has handed it over to the bubble. I have to say I'm upset and very disappointed that they went this route in 2012.
I was not invited to this event and here's what happening.
1) IAWTV and TF are big sponsors of VIDCON so it makes business sense to appease your sponsors by creating the event around the sponsors. It's branded entertainment 2.0 and you can't blame VIDCON for jampacking the panels with their sponsors.
2) TF divorced the web series community two years ago to focus primarily on covering online video producers a/k/a YouTubers. And every once in a while they'll write about a Felicia Day web series just to say they did.
3) The web series community isn't the easiest to unite and I can see why IAWTV and TF has moved on to tap into the YouTuber culture. All MOST web series creators care about is promoting their own project and could give a hoot about yours, that's the biggest problem we continue to face within the community. It's a me, myself and I first, and community second mindset. Anytime you see a web series related site pop up, creators are there PROMOTING like there's no tomorrow, instead of connecting with their fellow creators. When you organize a meet-up, which takes times and money, the creator will complain that you're charging them to attend, instead of thanking you for organizing the meet-up. Heck, they complained about paying $5 to attend LAWEBFEST panels and screenings.
4) Web series entertainment is maturing, but the web series community is struggling because all they care about is self-promoting and only surfacing when something benefits them. This is not it. This attitude is the cocktail for failure.
5) Like WSN, IAWTV, VIDCON and TF are media businesses and doing what benefits its business. You can't blame them for this. What I'll say to anyone who don't like they're doing... create your own. Sorry for rambling, but its the honest truth.
The thing is the big Youtubers don't NEED the bubble, in fact they never did. Letting the IAWTV pass themselves off as "experts" and telling the fans to take a hike is a massive risk to their credibility with the very fans that made them. (Hank Green I am looking directly at you when I say that.)
Another thing to note is that the IAWTV is NOT a PAID sponsor of Vidcon.
Self promotion isn't really an issue, that's how the top Youtubers made it in the first place but to hand this thing over lock stock and barrel to people who have FAILED in the web space, (how Squaresville got a major panel is beyond me,) is a good way to kiss those huge numbers of fans goodbye in subsequent Vidcon's.
Hank forgot that Vidcon is for the FANS, not the SUITS and if fans come out hoping to meet Shane Dawson only to be cockblocked by the George Ruiz's of the world, (Felicia Day really needs to stop hiding behind him at fan events btw,) they aren't going to be back next year. Without the fans, you don't have anything for sponsors. When you make the suits the stars of the show, you WILL lose the fans.
I'm following you, but its a business, that's what you're not looking at.
I like Jim Louderback (he runs Revision3, a pioneering Internet TV network) and he should be on the panel. But the rest of them I'm not so sure about.
Also I'm not saying you shouldn't self-promote, but people are becoming blind to it. And self-promotion without participation in the community is fruitless.
Hank isn't doing anything wrong here. It takes sponsorship coin to put this event together for the fans, the gate alone won't cover expenses.
On a side note, I do try my best to help the community and contribute where I can.
That you do, and that's why I respond to your posts. :)
Dude -- you are laying right across the well known line -- I can't wait to hear what you have to say in person, next month -- what a breath of fresh air.......
Thanks Bob. Looking forward to teaching the workshop and answering any questions you might have.
Rich, I couldn't agree more with #3 . I've tried so hard to communicate with a lot of people and instead of getting a hello or what is your name, I get a web series flyer, business card, or Kickstarter jammed down my throat. Building relationships is key for any community but when 90% of the community only cares about themselves it's hard to keep it sustainable.
This is why I have moved on from building relationships with many of the web series creators, except for a select few that have shown themselves to not be transparent.....and several of the good "guys" post on WSN and that's why I stay apart of this community.
I feel ya Mike. I moved on a year ago. WSN is what you make of it and I've made awesome contacts through WSN. Pretty much 99% of my contacts is via WSN. Some come to promote and vanish. Others build strong relationships. So as mentioned, its what you make of it.
I couldn't agree more--LA Film Fest is having a panel at noon today titled "Long Story Short: The Art and Power of Online Storytelling" and yes, it's free -- you just need to print out a registration ticket--if it's still open. But you know what it's going to be -- a lot big budget high-end takes on the web this, and the web that. If a discussion has been started on Net Neutrality, someone please clue me in. If not, maybe someone should start one.
So then, where does grass roots web, as Chad laments, now end and the bubble/suits start? -- It's getting harder and harder everyday to tell.....and the really sad reality of it all--I'd still go to Vidcon 2012 if I could get a "Community Ticket" -- for anyone who doesn't have one yet and was thinking to go, those are sold out....Thanks so much for your post, Chad.....some very insightful observations...
Many creators seem to focus too much of their attention on other creators. This is something that began to happen with the Tubefilter Meetups and the formation of the IAWTV. It is not that these are not important relationships, but rather these are not the only relationships.
If you are going to focus on other creators make sure you watch their show, comment on their show and interact with their show. You build stronger relationships by showing an interest in the work of others. That is how you build a community.
However, there is a much wider and more important community out there. This has always been the key to the Youtubers success in channel building and was also the key to the success of lonelygirl15: just watch the two videos PRIOR to Bree's first vlog on June 16, 2006 or research the comments left by lonelygirl15 during the early months of the show. The Youtubers understand that while building your channel you need to reach out and interact with other channels. More importantly you need to interact with the comments on those channels. By reaching out you build a complex matrix of online relationships that will eventually feedback into your own show if you produce something that is engaging.
If you approach a Web series as an island then most probably you will remain just that. There are a few notable exceptions where a Web series has been "adopted" by a large pre-existing community and hence were drawn into a larger World. However, for most shows, the onus of reaching out is on you. And as stated before that does mean investing a lot of time in watching and interacting with the work of others in the community.
I think the creator's best resource are other creators. So its important to build strong relationships with other creators as well as your audience as you mentioned. I believe creators can agree with me that there's just not enough time in the day to balance web series and their personal lives and day jobs, but unfortunately it has to be done. The indie creator is his/her own studio who runs everything from show concept to delivery + marketing, fan engagement, publicity, etc so its extremely difficult to build and sustain an audience. We just don't have the same luxury as traditional and emerging digital studios with "backing." Indie creators will continue to suffer because of this. Web series is a tough industry to monetize and engaging with creators and fans is just a small part of it. You still have to make the content and be consistent with story, production value and roll outs. It's not an easy industry.