This is an ever-evolving story of a girl writer and her two greatest loves, the movies and travel. As she hikes the trenches of Hollywood, you're brought along for the ride.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

With Online Entertainment: Your Vote Counts!

Back when studios picked the movies and television networks picked the tv shows, consumers didn't have much of a say in what was presented to them as entertainment.

Pilot season was big business. Money was lavishly spent on producing a good pilot and networks could afford to be choosy. Even so, less than a quarter of all tv pilots ever saw the light of day and even fewer went on to become successful series.

I once worked on a pilot for CBS that had a good premise and script, a known film director, and an excellent cast. It never seemed to have a chance and was gone...completely vanished into the vault of never-to-be-seen-TVLand. Some TV shows, like Judd Apatow's early "Freaks and Geeks" aired, but got jerked around by the network so much that even die-hard fans didn't know when (or what day) to tune in. To the TV shows that never made it and those that didn't make it for long, there never used to be an afterlife. It was all about money, ratings, and advertising dollars. Quality content without a sufficiently large base of viewers just couldn't cut it.

Then, the DVD craze hit big as did the DVD box set. Critical darlings like "My So-Called Life" and "Freaks and Geeks" achieved cult status on DVD. Then the internet went BOOM! And with it came American Idol, Total Request Live, On Demand, Netflix, Cable channels up the wazoo, Youtube, and HBO original programming. On-demand entertainment was suddenly at your beck and call. You there, in your recliner: Who is your American Idol? What's in your Netflix queue?

The internet leveled the playing field and essentially gave the reins directly to audiences. We don't need a network executive to choose our programming line-up. Now, we have seemingly unlimited choices for entertainment. Increasingly we have even become content providers ourselves. Pick up a camera, upload a video, and voila-- you have final cut in the pilot of your own creation and instantaneously, it can be shared with the world. For better or worse.

With this comes an obligation of sorts. There's so much out there right now-- from videos of drunk squirrels to bad celebrity impersonations to funny home videos of peoples' kids that may or may not be funny at all. Then, there's the sheer number of online video sharing sites. Whereas, it started with there's Hulu,, Veoh, Crackle, My Damn Channel, Tubemogul--the list goes on. A quick search brought up over fifty well-known video hosting websites.

It would be impossible for one person to see every Youtube video, let alone everything out there. As entertainment consumers, our obligation is to help the 'cream rise to the top.' If you like a Youtube video, rate it! If you think a Funny or Die video is funny in the truest sense of the word: Click the Funny or Die meter to 'Funny' on the video's page. If it's worthy of forwarding to every one of your Facebook friends, post the link-- give it a Digg. Pass it along. Become a fan.

Because it's not just about getting hits anymore. Now, it's all about the quality. In the new age of online entertainment, reality is slowly being replaced again with original, scripted programming-- much of it independently produced by people who have no known Hollywood connections, but they can write and they can tell a story. They're anxious to hear your comments and get your votes. They're putting in the time for free because they're passionate about what they do and they hope to do it a lot more.

Even Hollywood talent agencies like UTA/Veoh are starting online entertainment divisions and scouring the web themselves. Let's make it easier for them to find the best: VOTE, COMMENT, SHARE, SEND. Entertainment is now a democracy.

Copyright 2009 by Kliedle

No comments:

Post a Comment