Friday Links: YouTube, Netflix, Kickstarter

I’m now in serious countdown mode for our trip to Spain (just over two weeks to go), which is making it a little more difficult to focus on research stuff, but here are some of the film and media links I’ve been following over the last couple of days:

  • I missed it until now, Raymond De Felitta has been blogging the production of his film, City Island, for Salon and on his own personal blog, Movies Til Dawn.  The film stars Andy Garcia and Julianna Margulies, and I’m hoping to see it this weekend at our local art house.  Especially of interest, a post De Felitta made a few months ago when one of his producers compained about him posting “behind-the-scenes” footage from the set on his blog.  As he suggests, the producer’s concern about “bad” publicity is reasonable, but these clips (which would typically become DVD extras) can now serve as a means of building a connection with the moviegoing audience.  De Felitta’s honesty and thoughtfulness about this process is impressive, and the entire production blog is worth a read.
  • Ted Hope offers a pointer to a Coffee and Celluloid post by Joey Daoud on the positives and negatives of Kickstarter as a resource for crowdfunding movies.  Although Daoud recognizes the value of resources such as Kickstarter, he also points out that links and publicity didn’t always translate into donations.  He also points to a number of success stories, including Diaspora, a project focused on web privacy, which vastly exceeded their fundraising goal.
  • Via NewTeeVee, Netflix crunches the numbers on the future of video rental and concludes that DVD-by-mail will peak in 2013, when it will then be supplanted by streaming video, but what interests me is the fact that DVD-by-mail will remain a significant part of their business for the foreseeable future, at least until 2018 or so.  Still, they’re pushing the idea of streaming as the primary alternative really hard.  One other notable element that I missed: Netflix has plans to expand internationally starting in 2010 (scroll deep into the slide presentation, but apparently this has been on the horizon for a while).
  • Odd historical quirk of the day: the first megaplex built in the US, AMC The Grand 24, will be closing down after just fifteen years of operation.  The comments at The Hot Blog show how contested these sites are.  Although one commenter argues that the lack of any architectural creativity makes it impossible to lament the megaplex’s closure, others point out that the sentiment attached to the location may be associated with fondly remembered moviegoing experiences.
  • Via Documentary Tech, discussion of a recent report that shows that YouTube videos typically have half of their overall views within six days of being posted.  As the Documentary Tech writer speculates, this raises significant challenges for content creators interested in long-term engagement with their audiences, but it may also reflect a bias on YouTube toward current events and news commentary posted to the website.  It might also reflect the rising role of social media such as Twitter and Facebook in filtering and disseminating interesting, timely content (or that social media have a bias against older content in favor of being more timely).
  • The latest big-name director to step into the crowdsourcing fray: Luc Besson, according to The Hollywood Reporter.  Besson’s invites audiences to vote on all elements of the film from casting to script to music. Thriller? Comedy? You decide.

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