Entry #1018
6:42 AM, March 16th, 2010:
It would seem like some sign from the Gods. Yesterday I give the DVDs to my contact at Atom Films of the first 10 episodes of "FOUR". The name of my 4-square series is of course a nod to 4tvs and a number that has kinda ruled my life for the past decade. This morning, at 4:04, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake hits Los Angeles (I slept through it). My contact asks me to call him and as if the stars align...
...they pass. LOL. You just have to laugh. I write these entries with a touch of romance, therefore the earthquake seems to be an omen. The truth is however, I don't necessarily disagree with him. This show is more "Survivor" than straight-up comedy which is the core at Atom Films. This was always gonna be a bit of a stretch. But at the end of the day, it's about getting hits. It's about people latching onto a product, a brand, and being interested enough to keep clicking. These first 10 episodes have turned out exactly how I wanted, if not a little better than I thought they would, and I believe this has legs to be picked up on a network. Obviously not Comedy Central, which I believe Atom Films is to the internet (among hundreds trying), but somewhere.
The kicker is, I stilllllllllllllll kinda think this would've worked on Atom Films. In the end, it can't all be about 2 minute sketch comedy videos when you're an "original content" website like Atom Films. It has to branch out and be about entertainment, and what people will click. I think when you see the first episode, it makes you want to click the next one. Simple as that. I believe by the time you get through the first couple episodes, you want to see what happens next, and by the end? You're actually anxiously waiting to see how it ends. Unfortunately, right now? Just not a lot of working business models on the net that can support a series like this.
So now what? Besides the obvious financial hit I just took (sweet, sweet jesus will the shitstorm in that area end?), what can be done? The truth, which kills me to even try and accept, is that this will have to be GIVEN away. Yes, 16 fully produced episodes, with production values making The Egos look amateur, will have to be uploaded online, for free. The concept is just too unique to "sell" without literally SHOWING "the suits" there is a market. If I can get thousands and thousands of hits on these videos... actually get a viral buzz going? Just maybe there is a second season, and just maybe an MTV or an ESPN sees the potential to make this into something more.
It's a lot of maybes, and not having the backing of Atom Films really hurts. He noted in the conversation about uploading to them anyway (users can upload anything) and then trying to pimp it a bit, but the bottom line is, you can't embed with Atom Films at all. And, they don't do HD yet. Two massive strikes that I was willing to put up with because they would've paid up front for the episodes. Without that, I just can't take the marketing hit. For example, when you link a youtube video on Facebook? People can play it ON their Facebook page. They don't have to click a link, they see a thumbnail, they click it - it starts playing right there. No matter where you embed it, it counts the views on YouTube. Same when you embed it on blogs, etc. THAT is how you get a viral buzz going. People continually repost the embed. With Atom, that's gone. The HD issue, is of course me being really anal, but in general - their quality of videos is just lacking. Youtube, even if you're NOT in HD? Looks incredible. I can post that link to someone, and know they're seeing it the way it's meant to be seen. That isn't anal, it's just good marketing. It's like making good quality business cards, or making them at home.
UGGGGH. More work. Just, for fuck's sake. I gotta say though, at least I have the ability to do it. So many people have ideas that never see the light of day because of a "pass" from someone who can make it happen. At least I have a tangible product at the end of the day...
...but goddamn, the shitstorm has to stop. What a year.
PS - Thank you to The Journey Gods for the earthquake. You tried your best. :-)