Is there such thing as a viral video writer? In most cases, viral creators are both writing and shooting their own work. But as the business matures, it’s highly possible that — just like television and film — writers will write and video people will produce. How long before they collaborate, and how will they split revenue?
Last night I received an e-mail from Rob Austin, creator of Singing for My Supper. On his site, he “makes you laugh (or cry) and then tries to convince you to give him money.” In his Q&A he says, “think of me like a really funny homeless guy.” It’s not any more sound of a business model than YouTube, but Austin admits he has “all the business sense of a dead dog.” Austin says:
My idea was that if I put a few out as Creative Commons I might be able to get some attention from videographers, and that that might lead to me eventually getting paid to write. I think my ideas are pretty funny, but I have no interest in becoming a videographer at this point in my life –nor the time.
Austin directed me to his blog of video skits, which include a spoof on “While You Were Out” remodeling shows which depict a jerk host remodeling a dorm room “jungle style,” while the occupant is passed out. Then there’s a mock commercial for Estromaxx, an “extra strength” birth control for women who sleep with multiple men at a time. They’re both very funny (IMHO) even in script form.
Austin asked for my advice, so I told him to identify and partner with a good viral video creator that could bring his comedy to life. I’d love to shoot “While You Were Out,” but it’s a little complicated for me and I’d procrastinate indefinitely. There’s not yet a way to sell your script to a videographer, and I’m not sure there’s enough money yet for a creator to buy scripts.
Ultimately this raises a bigger question- as television and web collide, what’s the role of the amateur writers and creators? Will we be “steam rolled” by the big guys? Will some of us slip into mainstream? Will SNL writers decide they can do better on their own? More questions than answers in this post.
That said, advertisers take notice. Folks like Austin might help you transform your marketing idea into something that’s funny and worth sharing. And for you video junkies wanting to dip your toe into the water, there are a bunch of ideas you can access for free if you credit Austin. But if one of your videos turns profitable, we can only hope you’ll at least buy him supper.