Beginning with the End in Mind (Event Summary)

I want to say thank you to all the speakers who came out to present at my event for the Producers Guild of America. Our venue was generously hosted by FotoKem Burbank. Although I’m not allowed to share any of Saturday’s material, I will share with you the event description and timeline. If this looks like the kind of event you’d like to attend, head over to my other venture PostSchedule.io and signup for my mailing list. I hope to host two new events in the late-Spring/early-Summer. I’d love to see you there.

Beginning with the End in Mind: An Overview of New Media Deliverables

When planning a show, it is wise to begin with the deliverables in mind. Knowing what you are expected to deliver can save innumerable time and money. And nowhere is it more important, than with new media companies.

What’s an IMF? What is vertical video? Can I create and deliver my final masters in the cloud? How can my post house help me navigate this technical landscape? And what effects does all of this have on your budget and schedule?

New Media Companies like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, and Snap often require deliverables unfamiliar to the heritage film and television producer. Join the Producers Guild for a day long exploration of New Media deliverables and the innovative solutions being developed to help simplify your workflow. This presentation will feature four presentations by companies at the cutting edge of post production:

  1. The Future of Deliverables: Spokesperson from Netflix will give an overview of the IMF format and how it differs from traditional film and broadcast deliverables.
  2. Delivering to Multiple Screen Sizes: Spokesperson from Facebook/Instagram will give an overview of the opportunities and challenges delivering video in the various frame sizes across Facebook’s properties.
  3. The Future of Deliverables: A representative from Ownzones will demonstrate their cloud base IMF mastering and delivery tools, and discuss the future of media delivery in the cloud.
  4. Contemporary Post House Workflows: A representative from FotoKem will discuss contemporary workflows and why your post house is your number one collaborator.

Event Timetable:

9:30 – Sign in and Breakfast

10:00 – Netflix Presentation

10:30 – Facebook Presentation

11:00 – Ownzones Presentation

11:30 – FotoKem Presentation

12:00 – General Q&A

12:30 – Event Wrap up

Event date and location:

9:30 am – January 26, 2019.

Fotokem Burbank

Even Netflix agrees with me: Post IS the new Production

If you needed any further proof that Post Production is the new Production, look no further than the participants in the Netflix Post Technology Alliance.

Adobe, Arri, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Colorfront, Fraunhofer IIS, Filmlight, Marquise Technologies, MTI Film, Ownzones, Panasonic, Red Digital Cinema, Rohde & Schwarz, and Sony.

Do you see how many camera companies are on that list!? Because this medium user sure did. And how far off is the Cinematographer-Colorist position?

How Netflix sent the biggest media companies into a frenzy

Good article on CNBC comparing Netflix and its competitors. Here is a particularly good quote about its spending practices:

While networks make decisions on TV ratings, Netflix plays a different game. Its barometer for success is based on how much it spent on a show rather than hoping every show is a blowout hit, said Barry Enderwick, who worked in Netflix’s marketing department from 2001 to 2012 and who was director of global marketing and subscriber acquisition. Since Netflix is not beholden to advertisers, niche shows can be successful, as long as Netflix controls spending. [Emphasis mine]

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again and again and again: (I could go on, but I won’t) the television production model needs to change!

The way television is produced is extremely wasteful. The creative process is always going to require exploration and false starts, it’s not an assembly line; but the amount of waste satisfying the Highest Paid Opinion alone is staggering. At a minimum the industry needs tools that enable more granular cost tracking, as well as tools that enable the analysis of that data. Just saying…

A New TV followup

It looks like Jeff Katzenberg has raised $800 million for his NewTV venture. You may recall my initial thoughts on the matter from last year’s post on a ‘lean’ production model.

The more I think about this new format, the more I believe that the most component is going to be a year-round viewing experience. In addition, I think these bite sized episodes will need to be released at random intervals. That is to say, not knowing when the next part of the story will be unveiled is the key element that will make NewTV must watch entertainment.

As an example: imagine being absorbed in Game of Thrones, as told in NewTV. The story would unfold as if it were happening in real life. You’d be on Facebook and you see your friends posting: “RIP Ned”. You’d fire up whatever NewTV service is hosting our Game of Thrones and find out what happens next.

I think this unpredictable release schedule is going to be critical for one important reason: if episodes are not released unpredictably what differentiates NewTV from regular appointment television?

Netflix is partnering with Buzzfeed to offer weekly 15 minute stories and I’m curious to see how they fare. My guess is not well. When people sit down on the couch at night to “tune in” I think they want long form content, or to string multiple short shows together, hence the popularity of the ‘binge’. What would NewTV be offering if you could just sit down and watch seven 10 minute scenes in a row?

night television tv video
Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

Planning Specialist, Partner Outreach – Post Partnerships & Integration

Another interesting job post at Netflix: Planning Specialist, Partner Outreach – Post Partnerships & Integration.

The focus for the Partner Outreach team is to proactively engage the creative community by educating creatives on technical requirements and best practices,driving new industry standards…

…while continuing to foster industry-wide change.

Although I think they miss the mark a little by focusing on the technical like: “Knowledge of industry standards and the bodies that ratify them.” Culture starts with people, not technology. Netflix’s greatest challenge is going to be the entertainment industry’s preference for inertia. (That’s why Avid is still in business 🙂

If I were in this role one of the first things I’d do is create a program for Assistant Editors and Post Supervisors of Best Practices. Maybe partnering with a group like A.E Bootcamp. Perhaps create a faux certification program.

I’d do this for three reasons:

Firstly, Netflix needs to educate producers on the benefits of their technological initiatives like IMF. Assistant Editors and Post Supervisors are on the front lines and the very people who stand to benefit immediately from the Netflix’s innovation.

Secondly, I’d bet that most of Netflix’s delivery problems are directly related to problems stemming from issues that these two roles (A.E.’s and Supervisors) have direct control over. A little education would probably go a long way towards smoother day-to-day interaction with the producing partners.

Finally, the entertainment is highly unstandardized. Today’s Assistant Editor or Post Supervisor, who is working on a Netflix show, will probably go on to work on a different show for a different network tomorrow. By establishing a sort of best practices culture, Netflix has the opportunity to influence the industry in a more profound way. How interesting would it be for the post team to do it “the Netflix way” on a show for HBO?