promises to make it easier to run online contests by handling all the small details. I haven’t tried them yet, but this looks like it might make a useful service for

What Makes for a Good Blog?

August 20th, 2008

Productivity guru/hipster Merlin Mann lists 9 points for a good blog here.


July 6th, 2008 is a new project between Justin Robert Young and myself. We’re trying to reinvent television news on a zero budget. Launched a little over 10 days ago, Justin has already racked up an impressive number of interviews. Have a look for yourself at what we’ve been up to.

NYT’s piece on people making money for making videos for online watching (not porn!),
Making Money, the How-To Way - New York Times

Tools For Your Video Career

April 18th, 2008

Techcrunch has some ideas about using online video:
Tools For Your Video Career

Writing that novel or creating that cool independent film isn’t unlike creating a non-fiction book or video. The most succesful works choose a niche or genre and create something new.

The Harry Potter series was the product of J.K. Rowling’s efforts in creating fantasy genre content in the niche of children’s books. The Blair Witch Project was the result of filmmakers asking themselves what they could create in the low-budget horror niche that hadn’t been done before.

Rowling and the producers of The Blair Witch Project knew who their intended audience was. They created content for a very focused group that had wide appeal. When you write a book or screenplay, ask yourself these questions:

Who is this for? Have an idea of who you expect to read or see your content. “Everybody” isn’t an answer. That just means you have no idea who you’re targeting it for.

What can I bring to it? Take a look at your experiences and resources. Those help create a unique set of circumstances that you can use to make your creation original.

Am I trying to do something original or am I reflecting something else? There’s nothing wrong with being influenced or inspired by the works of others. Just don’t believe that because your book features a girl who goes to magic school to learn witchcraft and wizardry that your idea is nothing like Harry Potter and any comparisons are unfair. Be honest as to why you are tapping into a particular market. People who like one thing are likely to like more of the same – as long as it’s not a shoddy imitation.

Directories and guides are often nothing more than the product of someone taking the time to organize information. Often all the information is out there waiting for someone to find it. Directories of people and companies that hire special professional services are valuable to people in those professions. Entertainers including comedians, musicians and magicians will pay for up-to-date guides that list information about venues along with contact information. You might think that there would be more of these guides, but often the only people who go through the trouble of putting them together are the entertainers themselves, and they keep them a secret. Anyone can put together a guide like that. All it takes is a computer, a telephone and a list of questions. The venues are usually very happy to provide you with information on what price range they pay and what the working conditions are like.
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Fan generated content

January 24th, 2008

Fans not only love to get information about the objects of their adulation, they also like to discuss it and create content. Many publications are comprised of articles by writers who aren’t paid for their submissions. Articles in most niche magazines are written by fans and enthusiasts. They don’t do it for the money; they do it for the love of it. Pick a niche, and you’ll find tons of people who want to tell other people what they think about it.
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Found content

January 16th, 2008

Sometimes content just happens. Found content is something you can go out and find and turn into useable media without much modification. Web cams are a form of found content. You can sit at home and look at theme parks, weather conditions, and hotspots and ask yourself why you’re being such a shut in.
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You don’t have to be an expert to write a good book or produce an interesting audio CD. Lots of content is produced by people who find experts with specialized knowledge about a subject. Within the magic business there are several companies that produce teaching videos. What the producers do is bring in recognized magicians to a studio and have them give a lecture to an audience. They record the lecture and produce a video based on it. The lecturer is either paid a flat fee and given a number of videos to sell, or they get a cut of the total sales. What I like about that model is that it can be applied to lots of other niches. I’ve seen entire adult education courses that were basically filmed lectures of college professors. Whenever you see people market packaged workshops or seminars they’re often recordings of presentations given to live audiences.
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