Brad Wyman’s new live entertainment production company, WyTV, got a sudden boost in February of this year when Wyman convinced Charlie Sheen to go direct to the Web with his side of the story. That resulted in four episodes of Sheen’s Korner, a live program that got worldwide attention.
Just two tweets brought the first episode 663,000 live viewers and over 7 million on-demand views, says Wyman. Now, not many will have that kind of right-video-at-the-right-time success, but then not many have had Brad Wyman’s career. He’s produced around 45 Hollywood and independent movies, and knows Sheen from working with him on The Chase (1994).
Wyman felt the time is finally right for live online programming to find an audience, and so in January of this year he started WyTV. He now produces six weekly one-hour shows, including Fleischer’s Universe, where comedian Charles Fleischer interviews guests, which so far have included Marilyn Manson and Jason Schwartzman.
WyTV has already raised angel funding, and while Wyman hasn’t figured everything out about online video yet – he’s currently exploring syndication and product sales as revenue-generators – he’s a quick study. Here are the top five lessons he’s learned about creating live video for the Web:
1. Nothing Beats a TriCaster
No paid endorsement here, just a firm recommendation from someone who’s tried other production tools and found them lacking. “I’ve yet to find a better system than a TriCaster,” Wyman says, adding that other options aren’t as strong, mobile, or economical.
2. Social Media Is Key
How effective are Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools at spreading the word about a new program? So important that shows don’t need marketing budgets. “That’s a huge point,” Wyman stresses.
3. Live Is Only Part of the Story
While Wyman started out focusing on live streaming, he quickly learned that that’s just one way to get your video out there. He now offers video-on-demand, syndicates his shows to other sites, and puts the best clips on YouTube, in order to attract the widest possible audience.
4. Content Is Still King
The most important decision is what’s in front of the camera, Wyman says, so don’t shortchange your talent. That on-screen talent is what will get viewers to check out your shows in the first place. “Anything can be a live show now, which doesn’t mean everything should be a live show,” says Wyman.
5. When Doing Live Video, Include the Audience
What makes live video unique is its ability to interact with the audience, says Wyman, adding “To neglect that is ignorant.” You can’t interact with Katie Couric as she reads the news, he says, but you can absolutely reach Charles Fleischer during his show.
Wyman has big plans for new live programming, including streams from red carpet movie premiers and a spooky new show called Supernatural Sleepover which will feature cute girls in a haunted house. Where will he get the haunted house? “They’re all over L.A.” he says. So, apparently, are cute girls. To tune in, keep an eye on WyTV’s website.