How To Throw A Party

Bill CammackThrowing a party in the year 2010 isn’t what it used to be. We’re all virtually connected now, through Social Media.

Back in the day, it was all about “Come to my party!!! :D” and since nobody knew anybody else online, it was pot luck what happened when you arrived.

That’s over now.

With Facebook, eVite, and a bunch of other sites, you now have access to *ALL* of the information you need in order to determine whether you’re going to a party or not. You know when it is, where it is, how much it costs and who it is that claims they’re going to go. If you need more information than that, you can look up the website to the venue and see the menu, who’s DJing, etc.

Besides the obvious reasons, this is important information because as our Social Media networks expand, we get more invites and there are more overlapping events. As of today, I have 1,905 Facebook friends, which means that if they were evenly spread out throughout the year, it would be FIVE PEOPLE’S BIRTHDAYS, EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE YEAR.

Not every weekend. Each one of 365 days, it would be FIVE PEOPLE’S birthdays and if they all decided to throw parties ON their birthday, probably three out of those five people are getting bumped… ASSUMING that I wanted to party every single day of my life. Continue reading “How To Throw A Party”

Hire an Executive Producer (EP)

2007 International Emmy Award JudgingIf you’re going to make television shows, or at this point, shows for the web… SOMEBODY on your team needs to KNOW. HOW. TO. MAKE. TELEVISION. SHOWS!!! :/

If you cut this corner, your productions will look like trash, and deservedly so. Now you can’t say no one ever told you.

I was minding my business one day and got a call from some so-called television production company to come in and interview with them to create a pilot for this show they were trying to sell. They had received my name from someone I had worked with before, so I decided (against my better judgement, haha) to go see what they wanted.

This was back in the day, so I show up to this so-called television production company with tapes. Beta tapes & 3/4″, just in case they were so primitive as to still be using 3/4″. Of course, it turns out that they had NEITHER. No Beta Decks in-house and No 3/4″ decks. So, that was that for my demo materials. Of course, at this point in time, my demo reel is right here on my site ===> (see sidebar), and companies are encouraged to check it out before wasting my time. Continue reading “Hire an Executive Producer (EP)”

I’m Gonna Be Like Walt!

Walt Ribeiro does a new video every single day… Like “Rejected”:

Meanwhile, I have at the very least *100* show ideas, and I’m not doing ANY of them. Not ONE of them. The last video I uploaded was “Social Media Observations”, almost exactly two months ago:

Formats available: iPod (.mp4) | 720p HD (.mp4)

Out to dinner after Yaron Samid's NY Video 2.0 Meetup with Kfir Pravda, Hadas Cohen, Sylvia Kuyel, Ben Homer, Rob Millis & Hootan Mahallati.

June 24, 2008

Granted, that was my 315th episode in two years, but still, I didn’t stop because I needed a break. I stopped because something that I couldn’t place my finger on wasn’t making sense.

I met Walt on May 16th, 2008 @ MashBash NYC. He left the afterparty right before we took this picture:

Suzy, Oz, Brett, Alana, Adam, Gary & Bill

At some point, I became aware that Walt is extremely enthusiastic! hahahaha He really seems INTERESTED in things, and PSYCHED! 😀 I then found out that he does a show about music, teaching people about music via the internet. Of course, one of my myriad shows was about music, so I watched a few episodes.

This is when I realized that Walt was outputting so much material. Doing a daily show is really amazing. I already knew how to do it, but at least three things were stopping me…

1) I wanted to make shows instead of, let’s call it, “video documentation of events”, which calls for a lot more production and a lot more time spent to output each episode.
2) I didn’t have consistent crew to do an ensemble show with, and didn’t feel like doing a show featuring mainly myself.
3) I didn’t have a reason at the time to do a show about myself.

Meanwhile, my site evolved from a work-based, Emmy Award-Winning Video Editorial site to a documentation of the NYC Videoblogging scene to its current form, which is simply a Bill Cammack fansite.

I used to do videos about stuff that I do, like visiting the World Trade Center (Ground Zero) with my friend Joey in the middle of the night, when we were on our way to the club:

Nov 18, 2006 – Passing by the 911 memorial @ the World Trade Center
 
In N.Y.C., even if you drive somewhere, it doesn’t mean you’re going to find parking anywhere near your destination. On the way to the club from where we parked, we stopped by the World Trade Center Memorial location.

 
… or hanging out with Masami, Masako & Laetitia:

Click the arrow in the bottom right corner to change from English subtitles to Japanese, powered by Dotsub.com.
 
But that stuff was different from “shows” to me. It was just “what was happening”, and I happened to film it. The ‘problem’ with doing shows is that you get caught up in a lot of minutia that REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY doesn’t have JACK to do with the videos you’re making… such as:
 
1) Who’s watching this?
2) How do I monetize this?
3) How do I know who my audience is?
4) How do I attract and grow my audience?
5) How do I get sponsored?
6) How do I let people know about the show(s)?
7) How do I get UGC? (User-Generated Content)
8) What topic can I / do I want to blog about consistently?

blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah

So here comes Walt, 🙂 Sitting down in front of his video camera or iSight or whatever, and just KICKIN’ IT. How simple is it? He doesn’t need extra crew. He has a goal (teaching people music). It’s something he’s enthusiastic about and something he does naturally. The show doesn’t revolve around gimmicks or graphics. The show revolves around what Walt has to offer to whomever’s interested in watching.

I named this season of my videoblog “Delusions of Grandeur” because you have to have them to assume that ANYBODY is watching your material. Meanwhile, one of my four (4) videoblogs on blip.tv recently surpassed 45,000 views:

Bill Cammack 45,000 views on blip.tv

WAY more importantly… I’ve become aware over the season of quite a few people that I know personally or that I’m related to that are subscribed to my blog in one format or another. I’m going to make a separate post about that, but it makes an immense difference when you personally know someone… ANYONE that you’re communicating to through your articles and self-expressions on the net. It makes a MAJOR difference, and now I know to whom I’m speaking when I do my “documentation of events”. I’m also glad when people that I’ve met IRL go back to their home cities, states or countries and “tune in” when I’m doing my thang. It’s cool and all that that people read some of my blogs essentially around the world, but a few of those markers belong to people I know, Like Rox in Hawaii or Phil in the UK or Masami in Japan.

August 22, 2008 – Recent Visitor Map for Bill Cammack dot com

So.. What does all this have to do with Being Like Walt? 😀 He’s found what he wants to do, and he’s doing it. It’s Quick & Dirty and serves his intended purpose. He’s doing what feels good TO HIM and doing what HE wants to do. Would he love to have his own television show? Maybe he would and maybe he wouldn’t. Until that time, he’s doing HIS thing, and I’m gonna do MINE. 😀

So what’s the Q&D show going to be about? Nothing. Everything. Whatever. hmmm… I guess that spells “new”. Anyway… Cheers to Walt for his enthusiasm and for leading by example, and let’s get this show on the road! 😀

AIIIIITE?

LET ‘EM KNOW!!!

Walt Ribeiro & Bill Cammack
Walt Ribeiro & Bill Cammack

Google Ads

I’m experimenting with Google Ads. I don’t actually LIKE them, so this experiment will probably be rather short-lived. 😀

I used to use them a long time ago, but then I stopped. The general point was that they were poor-looking and at the same time generated close to *ZERO* revenue, hahaha. I think that when I went to reactivate my account, I had accrued like $10 or like $9.50 or something. Meanwhile, I could have stood in front of McDonald’s opening doors for people and requesting change from them as they left the establishment and made that much in one day…. well… actually in just a couple of hours.

The reason I decided to bring them back was that I get a lot of random traffic now. Most of the traffic I got before was from my posting links to social media sites, so it didn’t make sense to tell people “Come to my site to look at advertisements! 😀 “. At this point, most of my traffic comes from Google, and they tend to bounce pretty quickly, so if they decide to bounce to an ad link, that’s fine with me. 😀

Still, I didn’t want the ads to show up to people who ‘normally’ browse my site, like actually going to my home page and seeing what’s on it. For that reason, I took Tyme‘s advice and implemented the ads in my single post code.

I decided to use link units instead of ad units, because I could get link units that were only 15 pixels high. The “thinnest” ad units I could get were 60 pixels high.

I immediately noticed a problem with relevance… Not that adsense was having trouble parsing the text on the page, but because I talk about so much different stuff in my posts. I don’t even TALK about cars, yet they were posting automobile links on my pages. One of my titles included the name “Nichelle”, so all the ads on the page were for “Helle” shoes or something. So, without the ability to specifically say “give me these type of ads”, there’s an incredible relevance ‘problem’. They would probably work better if my posts were only a couple of paragraphs long and about specifically one topic.

In general, I’m not a fan of random advertising anyway. I’ve been saying for probably a year now that product placement and sponsorship is the way to go. This is another reason these ads will probably have to vamoose immediately. 🙂 I don’t enjoy seeing mentions of items that don’t have anything to do with anything on my pages. I also can’t imagine why anybody would want to click on the random words they come up with. Then again, I’m not aiming them at ME, I’m aiming them at people who randomly search through google for topics they want to read about at that point in time.

I guess part of the experiment is to gauge the worth of random google ads vs sponsored ads… which is practically ZERO since you’re guaranteed to get paid whatever amount by a sponsor by the nature of the relationship. Google ads are like a gamble. “I DEFINITELY show your ads, and I MAYBE get a couple of cents out of the deal”. 🙂

Anyway, it’ll be an interesting experiment. I’m up to 83 page impressions since this morning, with ZERO clicks and ZERO page CTR, hahaha. I’ll most likely be done with this experiment when I wake up tomorrow morning. 😀

Welcome To The Dead Pool

A lot of shows and sites have been receiving the Fail Whale recently.

Bill Fail Whale

There’s nothing wrong with failing. Happens all the time. “Happens to the best of us”. Sometimes, it’s not actually a failure so much as an inability to meet requirements for continuation. You could have a perfectly successful show as far as getting the job done and delivering on time, but you’re just not getting the numbers of views or members or whatever your sponsors asked you for and your authorization to continue the show (or your funding) gets pulled, and that’s that.

More important than failing is what happens AFTER you fail… What happens to your media? What happens to your site? Did you think about this before you started your show?

I’m thinking about this today because I read Liz Burr’s post “Do Social Media Strategies Go To Heaven?”, where she talks about her WIRED SCIENCE Facebook app and the fact that the show itself was canceled and will not be coming back to PBS. She writes:

“The show’s cancellation has me asking myself, where do social media strategies go when they’re no longer needed? So far, the results of our most significant strategies are:

The Facebook application is especially interesting to me because it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Since launch, the application has been averaging 100 new installs per day. This is with no paid promotional activity whatsoever. I don’t expect this to stop anytime soon, because I don’t think we will reach a ceiling going at this (slow but) steady rate of installation (considering the number of users on Facebook). I designed the application to be viral enough for it to self promote. I suppose I could turn those activities off if I wanted to.

For the blog, we have decided to stop all posting, write our goodbyes and leave commenting open for a few weeks. We will then shut down all comments, and leave the blog up for the sake of Google and reference.  I am not sure what to do with the Twitter account. It essentially was a machine for the blog and site updates, but with no more site updates, what else is there? I suppose the Facebook fan page can stay in place, however we’ll probably put up a notice about the show and site saying farewell.”

So that project is ending, because the show it was supporting wasn’t picked up for a new season. However… The work that was done will remain and fans of the show will have access to it. Basically, it becomes “what it is”. A project that used to be active and is now inactive. C’est la vie. 😀

There’s a Next New Networks show called Bride-O-Rama that went “on hiatus”. 🙂

I can’t find on the page when the episode I embedded was uploaded, but a) I happen to know this particular show was cancelled a long-ass time ago, and b) the first comment is from October 29 so let’s assume it was canceled in late October, 2007 which was 8 months ago. Similar to the pending status of the Wired Science blog, this show remains in suspended animation. The shows are there to watch. The comments are there to read. As a matter of fact, NNN’s still serving recent ads on those pages, so anybody who happens by to check out some of the Wedisodes is helping out NNN’s bottom line.

OTOH… We have FastCompany.TV’s former offering “Global Neighbourhoods”, which as far as I know was canceled this very month, and immediately disappeared off the face of the earth as if it never happened.

Here’s what the “Global Neighbourhoods” creator, producer and host, Shel Israel had to say about it in his post Several Changes:

“That brings us to GlobalNeighbourhoods.TV (GNTV), my other online video program. Unlike WorkFast, GNTV is my baby, is an extension of not just the Global Survey, but Naked Conversations as well. As many of you know, GNTV was launched in March at FastCompany.TV, and–shall we say–had an inauspicious start.

When GNTV launched, I was not quite ready for prime time. If I was an actor, I would say I was prepared for a summer stock script reading. When the curtain went up, I found myself instead at center stage of an opening night on Broadway with some determined hecklers in the audience who managed for a while to distract me.

Most people seem to agree that I got better. After 14 episodes, I think GNTV has proved its value and professionals hungry for insights into how they can use social media in their businesses have found GNTV to have more than a little value.

A few weeks back, however, FastCompany granted my request to take back GNTV, to remove it from their site and to eventually relaunched it o a smaller scale on this site. Primarily, with FastCompany as a partner, the cost of sponsorship was too high for a new program. Here, I can charge a sponsor significantly less dollars and have great flexibility in the sort of deal I can offer. Here, I am the sole decision maker.

GNTV will go on a brief hiatus, until perhaps mid-August. I need to deal with the complexities of AV, production, storing, hosting, compressing, measuring, etc. Because some of these costs can be quite significant, I also need to have sponsorship before I restart.”

To be fair, Shel has posted a set of links to his 14 GNTV episodes he produced for FastCompany.TV on his blog. This means that assuming you knew he had a blog at all and assuming you saw that one post, you know how you can view his videos. I would guess that he Twittered the information and used whatever other publicity outlets he has at his disposal. However… Someone returning to FastCompany.TV will find that his show’s tab has been replaced with a photography show, and short of putting “Shel Israel” or “Global Neighbourhoods” in the search box, there’s no evidence that his show ever existed.

As far as his plan to relaunch his show on his own site… there goes his google juice. His videos will be available in the future at a completely different address on redcouch.typepad.com instead of fastcompany.tv. What’s the point? The point is that people are still hitting my Cory Lidle plane crash video from October, 2006, because they know where to find it from people’s bookmarks, forum posts and blog links.

If I had been moving that video all over creation, from domain name to domain name, people would hit dead links from the google searches and IME, *NOT* do more creative searches to try to find the same content… They just move on to other content that comes up easily under the google search for the same topic.

Similarly, maybe you have the same site… except your video host fell into the Dead Pool. Recently, VideoEgg discontinued its consumer video service and sent out a notice to people that had videos hosted by them that they were going to cease to host them shortly. Also, DivX’s Stage 6 streaming video site folded. The problem with this is that A LOT OF PEOPLE had videos on their sites which were actually embedded FROM VideoEgg or Stage 6. This means that they had to scramble to a) pull all their videos from those hosts, b) find a new host for all of their now-homeless videos, c) upload all their videos to the new host and d) go to every single post and change the embed code from the Videoegg or Stage 6 location to the new host location. If you happen to have over 300 episodes online, that could be a MAAAAAAAJOR DRAG! 🙁

So, that’s another thing to consider when you’re ready to make a show on the internet. While you worry about content and worry about being interesting and worry about being entertaining, and worry about getting sponsored and worry about your show being sustainable and worry about growing your audience and worry about creating surrounding social sites… you ALSO have to worry about what happens when your show lands in the Dead Pool. Do you have ownership of your own content after the fact? Do you have ownership of the site that it’s on? Are you going to have to uproot everything and start all over? If you get a new sponsor, can you easily swap the old one out and continue seamlessly creating content?

Believe me, you want to figure out / negotiate all these things UP. FRONT. and NOT when you realize your show that you thought was going to run forever is going down the tubes.

Welcome to the Dead Pool.