Making Video Together: Interview with Spidvid Founder, Jeremy Campbell
Spidvid is bringing social to online video creation, complete with a formal revenue model for content ownership. Partnered with Socially Collaborative Media, the young platform is designed to help filmmakers connect, collaborate, and create web entertainment. With SOPA and PIPA threatening to stifle our every digital move, it’s more important than ever to prove that the Internet is a viable space for innovative business models, especially for content creators. Spidvid is here to fill an important niche in the digital revolution. To learn more about the service, we caught up with Spidvid’s founder, Jeremy Campbell, to get his take on the trials of startup life, the IAWTV Awards, and predictions for how new media will transform storytelling.
How would you describe the Spidvid model?
So Spidvid is where the world’s video creators and talent connect, build teams, collaborate and partner up together on projects, and produce video entertainment together. Our slogan is “Make Video Together.” Spidvid’s model empowers open video production on a global level by offering a collaborative set of tools to manage projects from inception right through to distribution.
How did you come up with the idea for Spidvid?
I personally wanted to create my own quality video entertainment but didn’t want to pay costly freelancers and contractors to do so. So I thought creating web based software that enabled me to partner up with the talent I needed on my team made a lot of sense, and doing so in a formal structure outside of the traditional social networks. Additionally I was inspired by Seth Godin as in 2008/2009 he talked a lot (via his blog) about openness, collaboration, new media, and connecting individuals together. I searched for a video collaboration site that leveraged these trending elements and found nothing so that further inspired me to build this product.
What kind of unique possibilities for creative content does Spidvid provide for that we haven’t yet seen from other platforms?
I think it’s all about empowering individuals to be able to create video entertainment that they couldn’t have otherwise. It’s all about centralizing like-minded individuals together in a community where they can openly collaborate together by leveraging each other’s time and talent, and giving them the tools to manage their projects and relationships.
In terms of property rights, why is Spidvid’s revenue distribution model for the filmmakers so important or revolutionary?
Our mission is to enable team members to share content ownership together, the “project pie” as we call it. You see this happen in big Hollywood projects where key actors and team members get project percentages but it hasn’t happened in this relatively young online video space. With more and more video creators collaborating and partnering together, we see a real opportunity to offer a formalized solution to this problem. Verbal agreements have been the norm to date, but this won’t hold up long term as projects get more extensive and abundant, and this space evolves into a real business opportunity.
Will Spidvid prove to be a helpful service for those looking to break into certain facets of filmmaking?
I think it’s a great way to jump into filmmaking. So if you write scripts but need a team to collaborate with to make things happen on screen then Spidvid is a great solution for doing that.
While the Internet provides for a great deal of social interaction, it seems that in terms of content creation — blogs, vlogs, journalism — a lot of it is still being accomplished individually and then released into a community for discussion. Why is it important to stress the collaborative side of creation, not just consumption?
I think that content creation and specifically video is all about collaboration since it takes a few team members with specialized skills to be able to successfully complete projects. I think what we seen early on in online video was creators trying to do everything themselves which produced less than ideal results, but with the ability to bring on team members as partners it allows the creator to start and complete more projects easier, and it gives members a vested interest.
Why do you think studios might be hesitant to transition from traditional media into digital media?
Because they don’t want to disrupt their traditional cash cow. Studios are afraid of change, and wish that things could always stay the same, but unfortunately their production models are under pressure, their audiences are fragmenting, and most importantly their budgets are shrinking thanks to disruption on many levels. We are seeing traditional studios move towards the digital world now as digital pennies are growing to digital dimes and will eventually become digital dollars as the space matures. I believe we are only in the 2nd inning of a 9 inning game.
How do you think new media will transform storytelling?
I think that creators and producers have to listen to their audience within social media circles to see where they should take their stories, and develop their characters. If a high percentage of viewers dislike a character, or are uninterested in a particular story line then the writers and the team needs to take a hard look at the future of their content.
Was Spidvid involved in the IAWTV awards? What do you think of them?
I think that whatever initiatives are done to enhance awareness and growth of our space then it’s great. The IAWTV does a fantastic job of evangelizing online video, and the tight knit community is really growing and learning together which is fantastic to see. We’ve had many IAWTV members on our podcast, and to get their perspectives and hear their stories related to the future of online video is very encouraging and inspiring.
What’s your best advice for anyone looking to get into the startup life?
I would say to just jump in and do it. Get in early, create a crappy product, fail and learn, listen like crazy to your users, and try to find the right product to market fit. And find a solid co-founder or two who can help you in the areas you’re weak in. Take your time building your team because startups are like a marriage in that you need partners you know, like, and trust, and who can be there in the good times and especially the bad times. I would also say to not get too attached to your startup as it will make you emotional and can lead to making bad strategic decisions in every aspect of the company’s lifespan. Oh, and find mentors who keep you optimistic, hungry and foolish, and inspired to change the world.
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