“But how do I make money from this?”
For a lot of people and companies getting into online video, that’s the great unanswered question. You can set up your equipment, record and edit some fantastic footage, and post it online for the world to enjoy, but when do the paychecks start rolling in?
Maybe that’s why the topic comes up so often at video conferences. The annual Open Video Conference was held October 1st and 2nd in New York City, and a large crowd of creative young people gathered to hear a first day afternoon panel devoted to turning good original work into dollars.
Sitting on the panel, entitled “How Will Creativity Be Compensated?,” were Julia Allison (Nonsociety), Carla Jovine (producer of The Cosmonaut), Andrew Rose Gregory and Sarah Fullen Gregory of the Gregory Brothers (Auto-Tune the News), and Ian Edgar (The Eclectic Method).
Unfortunately for anyone in the audience hoping for a secret well of ad money, the panelists agreed that it can take years of plugging away diligently before revenue opportunities present themselves. Allison was especially enthusiastic about letting people know that rewards won’t come quickly. She told of seeing many people fold up their efforts after six non-paying months, when she believes they should have stuck it out for two years or longer.
When online video performers have built up enough work and attracted enough attention, paid opportunities come from places the performer could never image, they said.
“If you provide a value, people will pay for that in one way or another,” Allison said. “Let the universe do the work for you.” She also recommended constantly brainstorming new ideas on compensation.
One surprising resource for opportunities is the fans themselves, said Andrew Gregory. They’ll buy souvenir t-shirts in colors they don’t like and download songs from stores where you’ll make the most money, just to support favorite online performers, he said, citing his band’s experience.
“They see you as at the same level and needing support,” said Edgar.
“The audience wants to get involved,” Jovine agreed.
Some of those fans could even have influential jobs that help performers land paying opportunities. That’s how the Gregory Brothers recently landed a paid job with Sony.
“Fans can work at companies, too,” said Allison.
Those were just examples, the panel stressed, and everyone’s path is likely to be different. There’s no one formula to replicate for online video success.
“Just do what you love and you’ll be compensated for it,” said Sarah Gregory.
While working to that goal, keep in mind that the experiences you’re having struggling for success are also valuable, the panel agreed. The end result doesn’t have to be financial; being able to do your own work and realize your own creative dreams is also rewarding.
“I would challenge everyone to open their mind,” said Allison.