Tagged entrepreneur

Why Producers Shouldn’t Ignore VidCon

When I bought tickets to my first VidCon last year, I was very excited. I had been interested in the online video revolution for quite a while and as a burgeoning video producer myself, I was convinced years ago this was the wave of the future of digital distribution and entertainment. However, when I’d eagerly tell friends and professional colleagues I would be attending, most hadn’t heard of it, didn’t think it was for them, or didn’t think it a credible or serious industry event. However, after only a few years, I could see that VidCon was quickly becoming the hub for online entertainment. So, with a Creator badge around my neck, I dove into something very new, vibrant, and innovative. After my experience last year, I knew I had to come back and I will be attending this year’s convention in Anaheim this June 23rd-25th. I feel that even “serious” independent video producers should not ignore what VidCon has to offer.

VidCon started as a fan convention founded by noteworthy YouTube celebrities Hank and John Green (Vlog Brothers). The first convention in 2010 had 1,400 attendees and an “industry day.” In 2016, more than 20,000 attendees are expected to attend and there are now separate Industry and Creator badges with their own content.


As the convention has grown, so has its incredible offering of insightful panels and workshops. This year, Industry track attendees will have access to “22 master classes taught by top industry experts,” as well as the inside scoop on what’s new in the business of online video. The Creator track, which was started last year, acts as a video production school, teaching up-and-coming vloggers about cameras, lighting, and script writing, while improving the skills and knowledge of veteran producers with tips on branding, legal concerns, and expanding production. Creator track workshops and seminars are taught by YouTubers and online video producers which give you a look into online production workflow.


I attended last year as a Creator and personally found a lot of the workshops to be fairly basic, having been to film school. However, these teenager to twenty-somethings were receiving a pretty comprehensive crash course in video production. With dedication to producing regular content, taking an iterative approach to their craft, and checking in yearly at VidCon to learn more and receive advice from other content creators, I could see that these young creators had the potential to outperform and outgrow the current media industry, without having to pay for a film school education! For me, and those of us who had experience with production, I found some great insight from attending Q&As of noteworthy creators. Other creators and I had the opportunity to ask questions about the process and received a transparent look into what it took to make videos like theirs.


The entertainment industry has taken notice of VidCon. Many of the large media companies have digital or online production arms and many of them are setting up shop at the convention. The Hollywood Reporter even ran a story on VidCon in its 5th year stating, “VidCon Matures as Hollywood Descends.” The Reporter sees, “VidCon’s growth [as] symbolic of a larger shift in online video.” I’ve even written about brand collaboration and integration in online video, citing the development and success of YouTube channels like “Lizzie Bennet Diaries.” Influencer marketing, internet optimization, transmedia storytelling– these are the trends being developed and discussed at this convention.

As a content creator, I would highly recommend staying abreast of what’s happening at VidCon. When you stand in the convention hall, you can feel the pulse of innovative energy that will sustain new media growth. The information available from industry professionals, creative content producers, and interested fans is incredibly valuable. Be warned! A majority of attendees still are those tweenage fans of internet celebrities and a huge portion of the convention is dedicated to their enthusiasm and entertainment. (See inflatable fun zone below.)  But, the potential for networking in and learning about a powerful media sector shouldn’t be passed up. I got my tickets early and badges are currently sold out, but you can tune into the live stream. Plus, there’s always next year.


I want to close with a quote from Hank Green, co-founder of VidCon, who revealed during 2014’s keynote speech a bit about the incredible momentum there is in online video creation. He said, “I don’t know what I’m doing. I have no idea. I don’t think that any of us know what we’re doing. There is a wave, and it’s made of technological things and sociological things, and it’s individual people making individual decisions about how they’re going to spend their individual time. And we are riding it. And that’s impressive. But it is not as impressive as understanding the wave.”

The wave originates at VidCon. Cowabunga.

Film Insight Episode 4: Marsha Levine on Product Placement

Marsha LevineRandy and Ben talk with Marsha Levine, owner of A-List Entertainment, a LA-based product placement agency. Definitely helpful to know how product placement (and clearance for brands) happens, even for indie films!

Film Insight Episode 3: Marc Smolowitz on Producing

Marc SmolowitzRandy and Ben have a jam-packed discussion with Marc Smolowitz, award winning Bay Area producer/director. He rouses us with inspirational messages to young producers! He wows us with his tech background and the inevitable return to his passion! Don’t miss even the tiniest bit of it!

Film Insight Episode 2: Prasenjit (Pras) Chaudhuri, Digital Marketing Strategist

Pras ChaudhuriBen and Randy talk briefly on the wildly popular first Producer Foundry meetup in San Francisco before turning to talk to Pras Chaudhuri, digital marketing and monetization strategist for Reliance Entertainment, as your hosts seek to discover how current or emerging filmmakers can identify and target their audience, even before they have a film!


Also, look for special film festival coverage coming soon from both the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival from last month, and the imminent Sonoma International Film Festival! Randy is going to be talking with anyone he can stick a mic in their face!