Here's a question and answer that our founder did with Crowdsourcing.org, the content was used to produce an article which is posted below. You can read the original article on their amazing site.
When we set out to launch Spidvid, a decision had to be made whether to form a small traditional entertainment studio which would develop original content, or do something original to challenge the status quo.
In late 2008 Seth Godin was writing about connecting people together, collaboration, openness, new media, going to the fringes, and other cutting edge concepts. Connecting the dots between wanting to do something different and what Seth was saying, it made sense to see if these elements were being applied to the video or film production model, and from our research the answer was no.
Video remixing and mashing was big around this time--where someone could upload a clip, and then others could download that clip with the purpose of adding value to the clip, and then sharing that improved clip with the hopes that yet someone else can add value to it too, and so on. While this was a cool phenomena to see the crowdsourcing power of video production on a large scale, the results were often mediocre because videos often didn't have a compelling story, value wasn't always added as it morphed along, and there was always someone who had to use a popular song for background music with no copyright clearances.
The goal for Spidvid was to always have an open video production ecosystem, but remixing was too open and chaotic. So the big idea was to crowdsource talent to create video entertainment where each individual on the team was responsible for something, and allow the members to set how the compensation split will work. For example, if a team has a video creator, 2 actors, 2 videographers, and an editor, the creator and team decide on each member getting 15% except for the creator getting 25%. If the video makes $1,000 in ad/sponsorship revenue then each member would get their pre-determined fair share.
So Spidvid fits into the crowdsourcing landscape as the site that aims to connect and empower individuals to create original video entertainment together, either locally, nationally, globally, or a combination of all three.
The concept came together over many months. "The back of the napkin" happened to be in the notes section on an iPod Touch leading to those concepts getting coded out as features over the next 8 months. On beta launch day in January 2010, 187 users signed up to get profiles thanks to our marketing efforts leading up to the launch day--including press releases, blog posts, getting small niche sites to write reviews, and most importantly--word of mouth and mouse.
Spidvid has grown up a ton--going from a concept with no users, to a public beta with 187, to now in late 2011 with 3,000 members, over 1,000 video projects launched, 250 projects completed, and over 1.2 million views.
Spidvid 2.0 is now being designed and developed to feature a simple and elegant user interface (UI), make video project work flow easier, add more social tools and location features. Spidvid 2.0 should launch in early 2012, and by 2015 full feature films will be produced by Spidvid's collaborative community.
Here's the lessons we've learned about crowdsourcing so far: #1 -- Projects need to be compelling, otherwise people won't be inspired and motivated to jump in.#2 -- The collaborative objectives and goals must be clearly articulated before starting a project.#3 -- The benefits and value must be laid out so each individual understands what they are getting for their time and talent investment.
The most surprising thing to date is how fast the crowdsourcing model has taken shape over the years. It used to be that we had to educate people on our new media concept, but now the majority of users understand what's going on as soon as they jump in to our community.
The majority of our users come from connections on Twitter, which makes scaling our community up fast challenging, but users coming in tend to be more active since they've had personal interaction with us before joining.
I wasn't much of a video creator before starting Spidvid, but now I am since I have a platform to attract talent cost-effectively and quickly. I've been creating many entertaining "how to" cooking videos and really enjoy the connections and partnerships I've built up over the past couple years.
It's exciting to think there have been many videos and films created that wouldn't have otherwise existed without Spidvid's crowdsourcing product to leverage. What keeps us going is knowing that the next big hit video or film may come from our community, making an impact on that production team, along with the thousands or millions of viewers that consume the content. There's a lot to be excited about in the crowdsourcing space, especially for video production, and we hope you'll be watching it all unfold with us.
Very rarely to do I promote and throw a website into people’s faces like I do when talking about the content that I am creating but when I talk about SpidVid.com I can’t help but through the URL into people’s faces. SpidVid has changed the way I look at the possibilities of video creation and brought my a little ways back into the days of film school in terms of creating video content.
I came across SpidVid last year while working as the online media coordinator for the 2011 Buttered Corn on the Cob Film Festival. They offered to host and promote the short films that were picked to be Juror Picks. I realized that to in order to explain what SpidVid was going to do for these films I would have to figure out what SpidVid actually did. So I took an old film of mine that went a few film festivals and was a winner on an online film contest. Within a week I got 2,000 views. I was shocked, 2,000 in less then a week.
I once was a online video creator for myspace when that site first launched a section for filmmakers where I was making around $400 a month from a web series I called The Nook. I averaged around 10,000 views a week but I had the backing of myspace as well as my friends and fan base. Plus on Youtube I averaged around 1,000 views with all my videos combined, so yes I was shocked that this website I never heard of could give me 2,000 in less than a week. At the time I was also working on a web series about my cats which was getting around 150 views a days by me resulting in hardcore promoting so I really enjoyed 2,000 views with no work put into it. SpidVid had me hooked and I couldn’t wait to share this with the Juror Picked filmmakers.
That was my first experience with SpidVid, watching my film that I thought was once dead be given a new life online and one of the 2011 Juror Picks get over 5,000 views when the same video on YouTube get around 300. Someone once said that YouTube was crowded, they were right. YouTube has a lot of crap out there and it is hard to shuffle to the good stuff. Yes, I know I might be part of the problem but YouTube is a really easy way for me to share my dog videos with my family. Just wait till I have kids I’ll crowd it up even more.
My second experience with SpidVid comes after the 2011 Buttered Corn on the Cob Film Festival when they decided to front the money for my next project Gen Y. Now I was going to get my hands dirty on the production side via SpidVid. I already knew how production worked on the traditional side of creating film and I knew a little bit about creating web content but I really wanted to create a web series with a continuing story. It really shouldn’t be that hard right.
I found that the part I found the most fascinating about SpidVid would also be the most frustrating. SpidVid is a global social network of filmmakers, each with a talent gift to give to your project. Unlike production in traditional terms where I knew who I was working with, could meet with them on a whim, we all lived in the same area, and I pretty much knew their schedules, SpidVid was completely global and online. I brought people onto my team from all over the world. I have an editor in the UK and a composer in Australia for example. They all have different schedules and different amounts of time they can give to the project. All our communication is done online and even our file exchanges are done online. As I type this blog I have an editor from Canada uploading a scene she has completed this week for me to add to the rest of the episode.
Also SpidVid has been very supportive in the process and even has brought knowledge to the tools we are using online to create this project.
Even though our schedules are different and we live in different time zones SpidVid brings together people who want to form and a team and ultimately create better content than what you would find on YouTube. Yes YouTube might be an online video giant but the content on SpidVid is fresher and will have a lasting impact in the online creative world.
As I read through this blog I see that it is the worst blog to be posted due to it being all over the place but that is exactly how it is when using SpidVid and it isn’t good nor bad it is a change at how online videos are going to be made. There will be global collaborating and SpidVid is ahead of the curve. With this change you will need to adjust how you set your time structure in creating deadlines. Things are going to take longer. You are no longer swapping hard drives but uploading gigs of footage between each other and not everyone has a high speed broadband connection. A benefit though is the Crocodile Mike can upload his work while you sleep and then while he is sleeping you write back his work needs these corrections. The days of looking over the shoulder of your editor is coming to an end.
I am really enjoying what SpidVid has to offer and the changes that they are a part of in the online film community. I am proud to have them be a sponsor again for the 2012 Buttered Corn on the Cob Film Festival. Please visit their website Spidvid.com and I will post next week about what SpidVid has to offer you are filmmakers and web series creators instead of rambling about my experiences with SpidVid.
Original article on Buttered Corn On the Cob Film Festival's blog.
BIG idea, check.
Director, videographer, actress, gaffer, best boy, voiceover, animator, editor….wait.
If the only thing standing between you and the creative execution of your big idea is a crew and some talent, you might want to click on over to Spidvid and consider using the power of crowdsourcing (there’s that word again) to excavate the talent you need to transform your creative carbon into a digital gem that will dazzle the Zooppa community.
Spidvid is a social platform that unites and empowers video creators/filmmakers and other like-minded creatives to connect, form production teams, collaborate, create and distribute content, and automatically give credit and compensation back to each team member involved. Teams can include members from any location and be formed locally, nationally, or globally.
For a preview of the digital stylings of the talent pool you will have access to, preview videos created by the Spidvid community at UnleashVideo.
Also worth checking out is the Spidvid blog and Spidcast, where you can listen in on conversations about how to find the talent, leverage the power of collaboration and rethink production while learning about useful tools and resources to make producing videos faster, easier, and more fun. Guests include executives, reporters, actors, writers, directors,producers, music artists, and Spidvid members.
If you have a vision and are ready to embark on your quest towards becoming the next Zoopperstar, then Spidvid just might be the place to start.
You can read the full article on Zooppa's blog here.
Sprouter: Tell us about how you got the idea for Spidvid and how you started it.
Jeremy Campbell: My company began its journey by developing and launching a video entertainment sharing site, UnleashVideo. I would contact video creators and filmmakers, then have them upload their content. This was going pretty well in the beginning, but before I knew it there were tons of white label video sites that seemingly popped up over night that really crowded the aggregation space. After tons of brainstorming I realized that original video entertainment was important to my company’s success long-term. I considered starting a small entertainment studio but didn’t really want to enter that traditional space. During this time my favorite author Seth Godin kept writing about connecting people together, collaboration, and openness. I did extensive research to see if a platform existed for the production industry where individuals could connect to form teams, collaborate, and create video entertainment together, and found nothing. So taking these three elements I went back and forth with my development team to come up with a strategy to develop such a platform. Just over a year later in December 2009, Spidvid launched as a beta. All video and film entertainment created by Spidvid’s community is now distributed on UnleashVideo, with future plans to partner with the large video distribution sites in 2011.
S: What were your biggest challenges starting Spidvid?
JC: Since there was nothing like Spidvid online, there were many challenges for developing the platform and building the community. On the development side we had to figure out what features should be core at launch, what the user interface should look like, and how our community would get value from using Spidvid for their production projects. We’ve made many tweaks since launch thanks to our community’s advice and ideas. Building our community has been slow but rewarding. We have advertised Spidvid online, sponsored small film festivals, and even got a great sponsorship deal on a couple niche TV shows, but the most effective way of growing our user base has been through engagement on Twitter, Facebook, and forums. You can’t buy a community, you have to attract one new member at a time, and nurture it daily to earn respect and loyalty.
S: What are the top 3 tips you’d give to early-stage entrepreneurs?
JC: Here are my top three tips, based on my experiences.
1. People are more important then ideas – Whatever your company starts doing will likely not end up being what it ends up doing. Change in direction will more than likely need to happen to achieve sustainable success, and it will be fueled by people both inside and outside of your organization. The startup term commonly used here is pivoting, and many of today’s greatest companies have done it.
2. 2X rule – This means that you will likely spend twice as much money as you originally planned, and it will take twice as long as you originally forecasted. Be sure to add in a buffer for cost and time because chances are they will be needed, and ultimately this element can mean the difference between success and failure.
3. Focus – There are so many “shiny new objects” out there on display. It’s easy to say wow Facebook has 500 million users so if I build something similar I should be able to carve out 1% of the space and succeed. Copy cats hardly ever win, so in most cases you want to do the exact opposite of whatever everyone else is doing and own it. Smart entrepreneurs are always looking for that elusive blue ocean to swim in.
S: How are you getting the word out about Spidvid?
JC: As I mentioned earlier we are building our community and brand mostly through social media marketing. We also sponsor lots of web series and short film projects on sites like KickStarter to help video creators and filmmakers fund their content, and in return ask these people to use Spidvid to manage some of their past and future production projects. It’s all about having an ongoing conversation with individuals we want to attract to our community, and ones already active in our community. We also promote and market the heck out of our member’s projects and video content, so that’s a substantial value added service for getting involved on Spidvid.
S: What’s coming up at Spidvid?
JC: We have some new features in the works on the project management side, access to Spidvid accounts through Facebook Connect, and a couple big interesting ones we strive to launch in early 2011. We are always listening to our community to make tweaks that continually improve their Spidvid experience, and will do anything we can to ensure that our platform remains unique and innovative going forward.
The original interview can be found on Sprouter.