CubeBreak’s Most Boring Cities on the Planet

I like to give my blog readers an early scoop on things, like I did Wednesday with Google Coop. Here's a press release that goes out tomorrow (Saturday, May 13) from CubeBreak.com (a video site I manage instead of sleeping).. It identifies the most boring cities in the world.

If you're a journalist, you don't have to embargo this puppy. 🙂

Click "more" to read the release… Continue reading “CubeBreak’s Most Boring Cities on the Planet”

Top 10 Tips for Making a Decent Prank Call Video

I don't pretend to have mastered the prank call video, but I've been learning a lot in the past week or so. The above video frames are from 2 prank calls from last night. First, I need to pay tribute to Crank Yankers and a crazy guy that dresses as a girl and does video prank calls (he goes by the name FireX 51485). I wasn't sure how the puppet thing would work for Crank Yankers, but it's a nice combination. However it's also fun to see the actual caller… FireX dresses up with makeup and wigs, and occasionally cracks her (whoops) himself up. Which makes you feel like you're part of the joke.

Revver Prank Call is now one of my hottest videos "earning" video with 1500 views (I get many more views at YouTube but make no income). As a result, I have decided to experiment with prank calls some more. I'll be archiving the series on CubeBreak's new prank section. So here are my tips (some of which I violate, but I'm learning):

1) Find a good location and recording method. My car is working well because the acoustics are okay. Last night I bought a $20 speaker phone from Radio Shack (Fone Free) that has a mike which suctions to the ear speaker of any phone and broadcasts the audio to an FM Radio. At home, I stay low-tech with the speaker phone because it's easier and gives it a more forgivable amateur feel (vs. piping audio of phone separately). Put the phone on camera so people can have an image of the caller.

2) Sketch out some primary bits. I usually have an outline with some "stand-by" lines depending on which direction it goes. This is especially important because the challenge is to keep them on the phone. This has never been more true than with the YouTube lady. Don't get caught looking at the outline during the call (I violate this one regularly because I can't commit them to memory). Rehearsal is best, but sometimes it takes a dozen calls to get the person live, and by then I've forgotten the script again.

3) Decide how you involve the viewer. I've been playing it "straight" with occasional glances to the camera and a few screen titles ala Stephen Colbert. The cross dresser above actually cracks himself up and it's very contagious… like those old Carol Burnett shows or when SNL folks start to break down in laughter because of Will Ferrell. Try different voices to keep variety.

4) Keep it short. I edit mine as tight as possible and they're still too long. Although the best viral videos are 20-40 seconds, I feel like a good prank call can go 1-2 minutes. After that, though, we're lost.

5) Have a big finish. This is hard because it relies on the caller. Sometimes I end my videos before the call actually ends… just because it's no fun to watch the call slowly widdle down.

6) Find a good prankee. The CEO of Revver was a good sport, but he was ready for me. Someone high profile is best (who cares about someone from your work or school?), and if you can get them on their cell it's even a better way to catch them off guard.

7) Don't be mean. There's nothing that bothers me more about a prank call than when I feel guilty for watching it because the prankee was tortured. It's more funny to make fun of yourself and let the other person be confused.

8) Roll with it. If the prankee takes you in a different direction, don't fight it. It's far more interesting to see how the pranker reacts to unanticipated comments from the prankee. Someone who did improv comedy once told me that you never contradict the other… every one of your lines must be a fluid reaction to theirs.

9) The dramatic pause is very tough but effective. I'm usually afraid to do this because the caller may hang up or try to bring the call to closure. But sometimes a well-timed pause will give you your best sound byte.

10) Don't forget to get permission. I sometimes send the person the video so they can evaluate it before giving me permission. But my goal is to remove the video if asked. Technically you're not supposed to record someone without their permission but as long as they grant retroactive permission if seems okay.

Let me know if you try one… I'll post it on CubeBreak.

ViTrue: A New User-Created Advertising Platform

This article on Adotas describes ViTrue., which was launched by Reggie Bradford, the former president of Tanberg Television, CEO of N2 Broadband and CMO of WebMD. ViTrue, Inc will, according to the release, be the world’s first user-created advertising platform, and the company will receive $2.2 million in funding from General Catalyst Partners and ViTrue’s founder. 

The founder of Sharkle.com, which was just aquired by ViTrue (not much on the site), says "Now not only can our video producers continue to share their personal creativity worldwide, they can earn serious money and we’ll make them famous by aligning this creative passion with the products, services and brands they choose to use in their daily lives. The result will be more creative and less expensive advertisements that benefit everyone involved.”

Nice quote, but I'm missing how the creators make "serious money."

Simple Way to Create Video Site

Bloggers are supposed to be experts, but in this case I'm making an appeal to people who know more than me. I currently manage a site called CubeBreak.com which includes select Revver.com videos that are hosted on Yahoo Site Builder. Low cost and it's really easy to use, but it's slower than mud. When I open it, it holds my computer hostage for 5-10 minutes as it slowly loads. There's got to be an easier way for a layperson to create a simple website without knowing HTML. Anyone? Bueller? Anyone? Ideally it would let me import the Yahoo Site Builder without starting from scratch.

Microsoft Buys YouTube

Okay, the headline isn't true. But it's certainly possible if you believe this BusinessWeek article titled "Microsoft: Let's Make More Deals." The article demonstrates how Microsoft is moving into the content creation area, which seems to bring them dangerously out of its core competency. I'd propose a better strategy would be to enable consumer-created content and wrap ads around them. The risk they run is buying a big content aggregator and probably starving them to death because Microsoft is about proprietary technology not content. That said, we'll all be using Microsoft Live soon, and even Google is becoming a newspaper.

I've highlighted some areas of interest in the below "more" section. My favorite quote:

People are rapidly evolving beyond the couch potatoes of old, who passively absorbed corporate sales pitches in between segments of TV shows. Instead, they're taking more control over what they watch, though technologies like TiVo (TIVO ) and YouTube, and skipping commercials they don't want to see. "Consumers are less willing to view ads that have a negative impact on the viewing experience," says Bainbridge's Marchese. Continue reading “Microsoft Buys YouTube”

Google’s Big News… It’s May 10

Google

So today is the annual day of Google news… the day they announce a big offering. We have learned about a "Coop" that Google is offering that "combining Google's algorithms with topics created by unique context, knowledge, and expertise of individuals." I'm not sure I understand this, and I can't find any information about it. Maybe I'm breaking the story here? A first-time exclusive for WillVideoForFood?   

But I think this is the real story. Burried in this article is the theory that part of Google's recent problems with indexing is because… Google's full. Sorry folks. Come back next year with your giant video files; we don't have any more room for your site. Sorry folks. Park's closed. Moose out front should have told you. (No wonder this blog hasn't been indexed yet).

We’re Happy to Use Peer-to-Peer to Distribute Films. But We’re Still Charging, Thank You.

I can't link to the WSJ because it's subscription only. But today saw a fascinating article (details below in the "more" section) in which Warner Brothers announced that it would use Peer-to-Peer technology to distribute its movies at the same time as DVDs. This gives them a cheaper distribution channel, but they're still going to charge a to-be-determined amount (it will be very interesting to see what price point they hit to ensure they don't cannibalize DVD sales but see if they can win over some people that are otherwise prone to privacy). My guess- 30% less than DVDs as long as the portability restrictions aren't much higher than DVDs. Otherwise the masses will go to NetFlix, Blockbusters or peer-to-peer black markets.

Movie Mongle

To read a highlight of the article, click "more" below.

Continue reading “We’re Happy to Use Peer-to-Peer to Distribute Films. But We’re Still Charging, Thank You.”

The Bloody Battle: Networks vs. Online Video Sites

It’s not the first, and it won’t be the last. This time C-Span has demanded that YouTube and iFilm remove the video of Stephen Colbert’s April 29 performance at the White House Correspondents Association. So the battle continues, and the online video properties are going to be pressured to filter content or become “Napsterized.” To see the “approved” version of this video, you’ll need to visit Google Video. Now I wonder what Colbert thinks of all of this. And I wonder if his agent minds if we use his image in this post.

Colbert

Citizen Created Commercials

Two interesting trends have accelerated the growth of "Citizen Created Commercials" (ads like those of FireFoxFlicks that are created not by Madisson Avenue but by folks like us). First, as brands migrate big television dollars to the web, there's simply not enough traditional paid placement opportunities (like banners nobody clicks). So marketers want something that provides and efficient impact. Second, in some industries we're starting to trust each other more than the ads and experts. In a recent study, some patient types are more prone to trusting the information they get on the Internet than their own doctors!

iMedia logo

With this in mind, it's worth scanning this iMarketing piece by nFusion's Mark Drosos. For highlights, click "more" on this post…

Continue reading “Citizen Created Commercials”

How to Make Money on Short, Viral Videos

For starters, let me get two things out in the open. I'm a Revver addict, and this blog is a spinoff of Revverberation, the unofficial blog of Revver. I'm also not a film pro, so we won't be exploring how to get your feature length film into Sundance.

 This blog focuses on how the average Joe can make money on their videos. There are currently four ways:

1) Upload your video to Revver.com and some other video services I'll be discussing in future posts. You'll make 50% of the ad revenue generated from your video. Here's my spoof of myself on Revver.

2) Enter your video into viral video contests (FireFox, Howard Stern, etc.), and those sites that give amateurs the ability to make "citizen created commercials." We'll be identifying lots of these.

3) Submit your video to a site that pays for great viral videos. Break.com is an example.

4) Create your own site using Revver videos. This is what I've done with CubeBreak, and I make a 20% affiliate fee on all videos that get ad clicks (and 50% of the ad clicks of my own work).