Creative Payment Model For Indie Film – Big Media Could Learn a Lesson

Things like this get me really excited…

Very few of us enjoy the close-boxed mentality of big media. The whole mindset essentially flies right in the face of how the web works and continues to ignore how society interacts with media. I just ran across an example of how media 2.0 and the internet’s open model has seemed to influence an independent film titled Revoloution.

The premise is quite simple – moviegoers can watch the movie for free and then decide how much they wish to pay after they have finished watching it. We all have gone to movies and have felt quite robbed from the experience. Many people do not frequent theaters as often because it is not worth the gamble to spend a sizable chunk of change on something they may not like. Big-business media will almost assuredly never sign onto something like this for various reasons – one being that their product is, well, bad. Hollywood is already losing money, this would just speed up the process. Nonetheless, this model could be a much more beneficial model for aspiring filmmakers to garner an audience and begin to create buzz on a particular piece of work.

I could see a more hybridized version of this type of payment where less is paid up front and a ‘tip’ is requested after the movie is over. If I only had to pay $4 to $5 to get into a movie, I might just start going to movies again. Additionally, if the movie is decent, I definitely would provide a tip. Of course this model is more risky than the pay-up-front model, but with declining ticket sales, they may want to consider taking a few risks and getting creative. One thing I do know, hiking up the price of tickets is not going to work.

For more details on this experiment, watch the video below:

Much of the media online is free without even the slightest hint of payment. Even for the lucky (and talented) individuals publishing high-quality work exclusively on the web, compensation still is a challenge. However, people are making it and some are doing quite well for themselves. With the rise in popularity of web media with its low overhead and much less profit, big business is going to need to rethink payment models and the content they are willing to spend millions on to produce. (Many) people know crap when they see it – sadly, the majority of all media (internet or not) falls into that category. However, on the web, I do not have to pay $15 or sit through 20 minutes of commercials to see it.

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Daily Delicious – Google Getting Into TV Ads?

I have been quite vocal on my lack of regard for online advertising and have even spent some time writing about how I think it could be improved. While it may not be in the online world, it is good to see some companies trying to improve the advertising we are exposed to. Our good friends at Google are interested in making TV advertising “useful” for its viewers. I assume this model will be loosely based on their highly successful Adsense program. After spending my youth watching TV and subsequently ridding my life of TV after living on my own, I can understand how some people think TV advertising could get a little smarter…

According to this article, Google is planning on making $11 billion in ad sales – not too shabby. It is not a secret that Adsense is a success from many different standpoints. I would definitely like to see online advertising go even further in its usefulness and site-by-site basis, but I recognize how large of a leap Adsense made to online advertising. Old media advertising could definitely use a shot in the arm at this point – and who better to go it than one of the best success-stories in new media. Still, it will be interesting if new media ideas still work in a different medium. Old media definitely will be eventually making the slow transition to new media – perhaps that evolution will take care of the problem on its own.

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Daily Delicious – Photo of the Year

I spend a lot of time trying to take photography that is interesting aesthetically – however, the most powerful photos rarely ever are what most would deem artistic. This rule is definitely the case with this year’s Photo of the Year which was taken in Lebanon during the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. This photo shows the unbelievable scene of a young, hip group driving through a demolished scene in their convertible. They do not quite enjoy what they see either. The dichotomy of the characters, the setting and the context are priceless – hence the fact that it is Photo of the Year for 2006.

This really begs the question of how much photography is about a perfectly composed scene with vibrant colors and an engaging perspective compared to a compelling scene that speaks for itself. With each passing day, I am greatly leaning towards the latter. Visually interesting photos can pique a person’s interest, but a compelling and powerful scene captured on film can define or encapsulate a generation. In recent months, I have seen myself less interested in the details of composition and much more interested in searching for a captivating scene and then doing my best to capture it in its fullest. I have yet to succeed in this endeavor, but I am trying.

What are your thoughts? Is it all about the composition of a scene, the scene itself or a little of both?

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Daily Delicious – Design Like You Give a Damn

Yes, many of us know the phrase “Design Like You Give a Damn” from the book published by Architecture for Humanity. Well, the radio program To The Best of Our Knowledge just had an amazing program on this very subject. As you can expect, the founder of Architecture for Humanity was featured in it. The program went into many different examples of how design can help solve many of the global problems we face while improving the overall quality of life for the inhabitants of this world. The entire hour was quite inspiring and well worth the listen, no matter your walk of life.

The topic of how design can make the world a better place is definitely not new – however, more people seem to actually be interested nowadays. For most of its existence, design has been grossly misunderstood. With our generation receiving the torch (whether voluntary or not) from the “Me Generation”, I find it highly hopeful and motivating that topics such as these are gaining more interest.

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Daily Delicious – FAUST: Flash Augmenting Standards

Through a fairly heated debate on standards I ran across a very nice write-up on how to integrate Flash elements in a site with maximum accessibility, backward compatibility and standards in mind. Called FAUST (Flash Augmenting Standards), this method ensures media/data will be accessible no matter how far down the technology chain you go. The example on the site shows how absolutely beautiful this is for the end-user. Flash developers and front-end developers should sit down together and read this side-by-side.

I have made very clear my opinion on anti-flash standardistas. That being said, I have a deep respect for web accessibility/standards and feel it is a high priority to make Flash as web-friendly as possible. A lot of work has been done towards this end and FAUST seems to be an attempt to put all the fragmented pieces together in one cohesive package. I really applaud this sort of work as it is all too infrequent but highly important. With media consumption on the web growing, Flash is almost assuredly going to become even more integral a part of the web. These sorts of methods are going to make the process just that much nicer for the end user. Major kudos.

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Daily Delicious – Social Data through Microformats

Microformats are becoming hotter topic with each passing day. With Firefox 3 supporting microformats, web designers/developers are suddenly going to have many more tools hanging from their belt. I understood the gist of microformats, but it was not until I read a great brief on microformats that I understood the depth and power of what they make possible.

Semantic code now has a whole new layer of meaning and functionality with microformats that we currently have only scratched the surface of. In addition, those features will theoretically be easier to implement. The elemental microformats are where things get very interesting for me. Social features such as voting, personal connection and tags can be published and parsed through simple semantics. These features give the potential for any site to participate and contribute to socialized information. The next-generation social bookmarking/aggregator sites could be merely a centralized hub of otherwise decentralized information. This theoretically lessens the the need for behemoth all-in-one social sites such as Digg. This gives web publishers another tool to both contribute and tap into a stream of information to make data more rich and connected. Very exciting.

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Daily Delicious – Second Life Gets Nuclear

The whole Second Life phenomenon has been quite interesting to watch evolve. For those of you still somewhat ignorant to the game, it centers around the premise that its world is completely flexible – with users able to create new content and interaction for the Second Life world. Hell, it even has its own monetary system, the Linden. What is so compelling about the concept of a completely free world is when people try to take the world in a completely different direction. Recently, long time gamers decided to nuke two corporate-owned stores (American Apparel and Reebok).

The person responsible for destroying these two stores is not too happy about the direction the game’s world is moving and came to the conclusion that blowing some things up was a good solution. This same person apparently wants the creators of Second Life to give his army (yes, he had an army) the ability to vote on future changes. Through this little experiment, “citizens” have begun to rebel and ask for more democratic power. I find this all extremely interesting. I am quite curious how these same people will react if they do not get what they want. It could soon be a very unhappy (not to mention radioactive) world in Second Life…

I am not a gamer myself, I myself look forward to seeing how this pans out. This has to be the first case where violent actions in a game’s world impacts they way that world works.

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Daily Delicious – A Black Google Saves Energy

TreeHugger has an excellent article about how a website’s color scheme can actually impact power usage of its audience. Actually, it makes perfect sense, I just had never really thought about it. If Google switched their background to black, it would have 750 Megawatt-Hours a year. According to the Department of Energy, this would roughly be enough to power the state of Pennsylvania for an average month of consumption. Frankly, I never would have thought the numbers would be so staggering.

As can be expected, some eco-minded folks are already changing their bright-color-schemed ways – such as ecoIron with an energy efficient color scheme. Even the slightest glance at this blog’s design shows how energy inefficient it is. White is by far the highest consumer of energy with red not too far behind. All of this is spelled out very clearly from another DOE page. Some Random Dude is the web equivalent to the Hummer. Yeah, this all sounds funny to myself as well.

So what to do? Do we all change our vibrant ways? I would like to scale things back a tad from this site, but I am very cautious of ruining the site’s identity. Either way, this is an interesting topic in the theoretical sense. Does design on the web need to start accounting for energy efficiency for the end user? Perhaps it is just me, but it seems that with every passing day, web design becomes more and more like industrial design.

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Design Open Discussion – What is Your Design Style?

The topic is fairly straight-forward. Are you more digitally or traditionally inclined? Is there a genre that your work always seems to fit in? If you do not know what style you follow (if any), explain what direction your work leans towards. Please be descriptive and explain why you think you got there to begin with. I know it is a Friday and everybody’s head is already in the weekend, but if you could, spend a couple minutes and share your thoughts – this could be a fun one.

Daily Delicious – Nine Inch Nails New Album Spawns Abstract Web Sites

Here I was, just about to write about microformats, when this came along…

A new Nine Inch Nails album is coming out in April. Thanks to our good friend Kellie, and her great link comment, I learned about a series of abstract websites pertaining to the theme and (from the rumors) storyline of the new album. To say the new album is political is like saying the sun is warm – just a warning to those of you that do not enjoy politics. Yes, I know, this has been done before. Yes, I know, this is a form of marketing. Still, the tone and the way it comes off just seems different than other viral marketing campaigns.

A lot of people are not big fans of viral marketing. I, however, see a great beauty to it. Most viral marketing I have been exposed to is quite creative and engages the user’s imagination. On top of it, it is much less money-driven than traditional advertising methods. With viral marketing, success is dependent on the individual to appreciate it enough to want to share it. Traffic and buzz can be artificially generated, but I have noticed that method tends to fizzle out very quickly if there is not a genuine interest from the public. I rather like the idea of marketing that is depends on the public’s interest rather than cash. I see how this project can turn people off. Still, for myself, I find it absolutely fascinating.

UPDATENew Nine Inch Nails song found on a usb drive in a bathroom in portugal. This is getting cooler and cooler by the minute. In case the URLs hosting the MP3 die, you can download it from Some Random Dude (sorry, this is absolutely killing my bandwidth).

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