BigScreen LittleScreen held its August Slam meetup last night at the Magnet Media offices in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Organized and hosted by Paul Kontonis, last night’s event featured eight — count ’em: eight! — presentations from a variety of web video producers. Some projects had already been completed, while others were either ongoing, in development, or passion projects that the producer hoped to finish one day.
Here are the highlights, enjoy:
Magnet Media Bonus Opener
Presenter: Ryan Swearingen
Swearingen opened with the preview of a series of videos Magnet Media produced for one of its clients, sandwich shop ‘Wichcraft. He said the objective was to “build some buzz around their 10th anniversary and make a splash. We produced 10 short videos for them, and released one a day.” But these were not ads, according to Swearingen. The videos were “micro-documentaries” — pieces of content with an actual story. Each piece focused on a different aspect of the ‘Wichcraft brand, whether it was showing off a recipe or spotlighting some super-fans.
One of the ‘Wichcraft founders is “Top Chef” host Tom Colicchio, whose mini-doc showed him creating one of his favorite sandwiches.
Swearingen said the videos were produced rather quickly — it took the team two days to shoot all 10 videos, and then two weeks for post-production. The budget? Roughly $10,000.
As for the distribution plan, Swearingen said it was mostly organic. This doesn’t mean ‘Wichcraft won’t put some paid media behind it, but for now they have been pushing the videos on their social channels, YouTube channel, and their site.
Presenter: Jen Heasley
The half-hour cooking series follows Heasley as she meets up with athletes and chefs for sports teams to cook their favorite dishes.
Heasley gave some background: “The series is based on two things: Americans love athletes and food.” Her show’s a product of growing up in a household where she had support from her family both as an athlete and a cook. She said, “I really want to do a cooking show with pro athletes.” She observed a show that combined both qualities wasn’t something that existed in the market.
She screened a promo, which featured her visiting the Baltimore Ravens facility and speaking to the team’s chefs as well as cooking with former NFL pro Shawn Springs.
Heasley said she has already drummed up enough interest that a local Pennsylvania CBS station has picked it up.
Presenters: Tyler Ben-Amotz and Jamie McCeland
Ben-Amotz, the director of production at Hayden 5, partnered with McCeland and his directing partner Pete, two former BBDO employees who wanted to jump into directing. The branded video’s called “The Camp Gyno” and was produced for Hello Flo, a tampon delivery service (yep). Ben-Amotz said, “We did this direct to client, it’s the directing duo’s first piece of content — their launch video.”
The branded video itself is about a pre-teen girl who is the first one at summer camp to get her period and becomes a self-styled consultant and leader for all of the other campers. (It’s very funny.) But then things fall apart when the other girls discover the existence of the Hello Flo delivery service.
Answering the question of finding a child to play a very direct (and vulgar) character, Ben-Amotz said, “It took rigorous casting. She’s actually older than she looks.” The video lives on the Hello Flo homepage and on YouTube.
LEGO Galaxy Squad
Presenter: Steve Lettieri
Lettieri’s an executive producer at Killer Minnow, a creative studio focused on intellectual property creation and content, most of which is animated. It wasn’t his first time at BigScreen LittleScreen, but this branded piece for LEGO was brand-new. After screening a behind-the-scenes piece, which aired on Cartoon Network to direct users to the branded online video, Lettieri showed off his animated cut of LEGO Galaxy Squad’s galactic battle. The behind-the-scenes video was not produced by Killer Minnow, but featured one of the studio’s executives explaining how the piece came to be.
Lettieri said, “The budget for the behind-the-scenes clip was more than the budget for the animated short,” adding, “Our piece was $30,000.” But when it came to the online video, “The animated short took six months to make” and “we had a guidebook about how the team could use the mini figures in the content and how far they could push them in terms of movements. It’s a conversation we had throughout the process.”
Presenter: Sage Suppa
Suppa screened a promo for “12,” a parody of “24” that would have spanned 12, 5–8 minute episodes… if it had been produced.
“The show fell apart,” said Suppa, “We had a reading, but then the cast backed out.” Suppa said he had cast a lot of big YouTubers in the main parts, all of them with upwards of 200,000 subscribers. The idea was that when Suppa would launch a Kickstarter for the project, the support it would have received from fans of these YouTubers would have made it easy to cross the $50,000 funding goal. Unfortunately, creators did not like the idea of “using” their subscribers, and, in some cases, Suppa said creators wanted to focus more on their personal brand instead of what made the most sense for the show. (Ah, the entertainment industry.)
Now Suppa is pivoting to create a behind-the-scenes-style web series about his attempt to make the show happen. Suppa said he shot a lot of footage, and this version would provide a “look inside the process.” Though he still hopes to make the parody.
Presenter: Henry Rembert
Rembert’s video is the first episode of a web series, a workplace comedy about people at an ad agency. He said, “I’ve been working in marketing and advertising for a while. It was a great place to mine for comedy. You throw in a fickle client, and things go really crazy. I’m excited to get this idea out of my head and hopefully touch like-minded people.”
It’s divided into six episodes made of four 16-hour days. All it took was two units and they just knocked it out.
Presenters: Ryan Swearingen and Thomas V. Hartmann
Hartmann started with a little background: “Sion Fullana is a Spanish iPhone and mobile photographer, who is now based in NYC. This piece was done for Stated magazine, which Ryan is one of the founders of.” Hartmann was the video’s producer, the first time he’s worked in that role.
It was released back on the 8th and has received 4,000 views across Vimeo and YouTube. It’s locked down an 80% approval rating on Vimeo, which makes sense considering the video aligns with what we know about the Vimeo audience and its artistic sensibilities.
Swearingen said they made a conscious decision to move their video content off of just YouTube and Vimeo with embeds despite the community support from both.
Presenteer: Mark Malkoff
Malkoff produced this video in partnership with My Damn Channel, specifically for his web series on MSN called the “Mark Malkoff Challenge.” In the video, Malkoff is carried around New York in a front-facing baby harness by Grizz from “30 Rock.” Malkoff said he had always wanted to do this video, but the logistics were tough, not the least of which was because he needed to find someone with the size of Grizz as well as an adult-sized harness.
Both Malkoff and Grizz were happy with the final product. Malkoff joked, “When jaded New Yorkers are freaking out in the street, you know you’ve done something right.”