Glenn, live on BreeFM @11pm EST, Wednesday.
This article was written live during the show. As such it may contain significant factual errors. Over time it is hoped that these will be corrected. Please note that we try to provide a context to what is said on the show and to some degree I think that is accomplished. However with a summary like this it is hard to prevent a reader putting their own spin on what is said in this summary in a "comment" and that should not be taken at face value unless you actually listened to the show.
Glenn got sick this week.
Clarification of what was said last week and to the comments.
Last week Glenn put out the idea that OpAphid did some things that were innovative. It mixed different elements in a new form that was scalable. He did preface it by the fact it was a question trying to probe what was unique. It was not just a dynamic alternate reality game, but it was also blended with a "mass video series". Imagine 2005 before YouTube? Outside of pornography there was not much else mass market in terms of streaming video.
Lonelygirl15: there has been stories online before taking a similar approach but because of YouTube this was the first time a lot of people had seen it.
Cassieiswatching had done an alternate reality game mixed with a video but it was not dynamic and it also did not scale. A handful of people wrote to Cassie and got replies back in morse code. Some of the videos were very well done but the games were not the most participatory.
With OpAphid Glenn wanted the "players" to have a larger impact on the game/story. Some of Glenn's puzzles took as long to create as it took people to solve them (sometimes up to a week). Because it was not a for profit business it allowed some cool things to be done. Glenn wanted more people to participate on a greater level. There was in person interaction and greater on line interaction. There were friendships and rivalries with the online interactions.
Glenn is NOT trying to say he invented ARGs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Neither is he trying to say that Lonelygirl15 was not popular before him. In fact it had spiked before Glenn joined the team. It had been speculated that it might be an ARG and Miles wanted to include ARG elements but this was easier to achieve by including an ARG such as OpAphid. In the same way they brough in Jan Libby after Glenn was gone. Glenn was brought in to develop interactivity for Lonelygirl15. Today the interactivity is more modular.
Glenn feels very fortunate to have the place in the community that he has. When Glenn started doing his radio show a lot of people were dissatisfied with Lonelygirl15. People were most satisfied in the summer of 2006. Glenn's participation with Lonelygirl15 probably helped when the show was beginning to lag. Since Glenn left the show it had began to lag again by the time his radio show had begun.
It reminds Glenn of Kevin Smith. You can read one negative comment and you feel a need to respond to it.
V9 asked Glenn about Blood Cell. Glenn has checked out the trailer. "It is what it is".
What is right and what is wrong with online video?
Glenn thinks Lonelygirl15, KateModern, RedEarth88, Maddison Atkins, and the "community video series" such as the Coalition, LonelyJew15 etc etc are doing it right, and everyone else is doing it wrong.
Back in the mid/late 90s there was a revolution/evolution. A lot of attention was placed on the internet and the arena of video games. It really all started in 1993 with 3DO. Multimedia came about because of the introduction of CD-rom technology into computers. It was going to allow for different types of experiences. Not only would you be able to watch movies but games would have a more cinematic quality. This was the start of the entertainment business looking at video games as a new source of revenue. People thought this could be a replacement for the standard movie experience.
Multimedia coincided with the first Mosaic web browser and people began to talk about the World Wide Web. The internet had existed for many years before with BBS and other terminal based activities. You could check email, browse news groups, gopher etc. IRC was around. MUDs were around. The WWW was like witnessing the dawn of a new media. There was a term called "screenagers" and Glenn was hired to be editor in chief for Blast. It would be "Wired for the younger set".
Glenn had been working with Leo Laporte on a radio show called "On Computers". They had a live chat. "On Computers" had thousands of listeners but there would be very few people in chat because there were not that many people online. Leo talked to Glenn about Mosaic. There was very little to look at on the WWW. The first band to have a homepage was the Beastie Boys. In the summer of '94 the web was born in the form we know it now. The 'information super highway" became the buzz phrase.
If you get the Science channel there is a show called "Download: The True Story of the Internet" It is awesome!
From 94-99 we had this era. Everyone had a web site. It was all about "hype". There were a lot of bad web sites and a lot of "shitty web games". It was Hollywood seeing that there was money in the "game thing". They either wanted a piece of the pie or they wanted to mess it up so people would go back to watching movies. Jurrasic Park the game for example was horrible. "It is not just a game it is an experience" became the buzz phrase.
It is not that "interactive" is bad, but they did not understand the marketplace. They did not know what made the WWW work. They did not understand what made a good video game.
Glenn liked "The Hoard" for 3DO starring Kirk Cameron.
They had a phrase for all of this. The era of Digital Hollywood. What we learned is that Hollywoods involvement alone is not enough. It was a very costly experience for Hollywood.
When Glenn watches the new video series he sees people ignoring what has worked.
Look at Lonelygirl15, KateModern, RedEarth88, Maddison Atkins and our "community video series". Then you have the like of Smosh and the Guild. Beyond cpm you cannot monetize a viral video.
Now ARGs are getting attention because of big tie ins. Batman, Lost, Cloverfield work because people are interested in the shows/movies. You are not going to see an indie movie come out and be a hit because of an ARG (eg Napoleon Dynomite or Juno.). Blair Witch was more of an illusion. Even the NIN ARG had a pre-existing audience and the ARG built up the expectations. If ARGs could make or break a product it would be a very different world.
Hollywood is looking for online components.
The new 90210: There is a character who goes by the name of Silver. She posts videos on YouTube. It will either be launched by an online marketing campaign, or some other online component.
NBC: new season will have online components to everything. They want to extend the experience. They will call it "interactive".
Sofia's diary is a good example of this. It is essentially just voting. Whether you call it synergistic or supplemental it is not really interactive.
Blood Cell: it is online video but that's about it. They have Jess. It is video and it is online....what do you want?
Hollywood is treating it like everything else, just in smaller proportions. Everyone thinks they understand how to use the internet so they must be an expert if they already know how to produce a TV series. $10k an episode, no problem.
Michael Eisner is smarter than the rest because he partnered with Big Fantastic. You want to partner with people who know what they are doing. (Michael, if you are reading this, give Glenn Rubenstein a call, or send him an e-mail at email@example.com).
When you don't see any real communication with the audience you are not going to build a community. The audience is being entertained, but it is not being engaged. "We" get it right. We go about it in a madder that offers people something greater. Whether its in character interaction, dead drops, "on rails" interactions etc it is all greater than we are seeing out of the Hollywood people.
People are pumping money into these new series. This will be the era Digtal Hollywood 2.0: the worst aspects of Hollywood: people who are too arogant to figure out what actually works. It will give us some of the worse possible online series imaginable. These people are not smart enough to copy what has worked before online. They will take what worked in movies/tv and dump it online.
Chad Vadar and Smosh are doing original comedy online. There have not been a lot of online series that have worked.
Glenn hopes he can take what has worked already and take it in new directions with RedEarth88. Hopefully it will grab some of the attention and money. $5K per episode is too much money!!!! Glenn has a kick ass power point presentation, so if you know any VC or angel investors with say $50K-100K, then hook them up with Glenn (firstname.lastname@example.org). There is a business model, so there is a way to make money off this.
If it was not for this community none of these shows would mean anything. It is a testament to how much you can engage an audience. This is its own unique media and its own art form in a way. It is crazy how far we have come as a community.
Mathieas asked Glenn:
1. Is Glenn character driven or plot driven?
The plot for Glenn is the blueprint of the story. That is how he starts thinking about it. From there the characters become the people involved in the story. Glenn's weakness is that once he starts involving the characters he becomes fascinated with the back story of each character and becomes fascinated with "their plots" He wants every character to be compelling. That is the influence he gets from comic books. It is almost like each character has their own mini series. For example, Tachyon has her own existence beyond RedEarth88. Even Brother (who is one of the least developed characters ....he is mainly there to serve the plot in RedEarth88) originally did have a back story.
2 If Glenn had the budget what would he add?
More episodes, more interaction and then an expanded universe with a much bigger story.
3 How does Glenn view the 1st person vs 3rd person point of view dilemma?
Glenn used to think the uploading of videos by characters was a weakness......as in it was a limitation. But, it is actually part of what works about the medium. It adds to the experience. The characters have to have a perception of who is watching the videos. It would not make sense for Rachel to have an understanding of the greater danger. You have to construct the plot to the point that it makes sense who the audience is in terms of the characters. Rachel thinks it is random people. She feels safe in posting videos.
With LG15 you have a big problem because the "bad guys" can watch the video. It is different per series. As Glenn comes up with new ideas of series he has to think through who the character sees as an audience. There needs to be a good logic for why the characters are posting the videos. LG15 experimented with private vs public transmissions.
The "warspy device" is a great core "gimmick" for overcoming the problem with a 3rd person camera angle.
The world that we live in is one where there are many cameras so that increases the potential for the genre in terms of having to upload videos.
Keeping it real: sometimes you can be too real for the people you work with. If the relationship matters to you let go of your reality and go with the flow. Being right is cool. Glenn likes to be right and his track record is pretty good. Glenn tries to have his finger on the pulse. It sucks to be right if you cannot ride the wave.
Here is the archive of of stories from LG15 TODAY concerning Glenn's radio show on BreeFM.
Send questions to GlennFM@gmail.com
Played @ Song Title
01:53:42 Har Mar Superstar - Bird In The Hand
01:50:49 Plus 44 - Baby, Come On
01:46:46 JFJ Band - Sold Me Out
00:17:37 Len - Steal my sunshine
00:12:01 Dishwalla - Counting Blue Cars
00:07:37 The Used - Buried Myself Alive
00:05:17 Loveline with Will Arnett - Voiceover Work
23:59:03 Adam Ant - Goody Two Shoes
23:54:36 Kenny Rogers - Coward Of The County
23:51:41 Sting - Can't Stand Losing You
23:48:36 Ridel High - Self Destructive
23:18:40 Glenn Rubenstein - Emotional Ambience Current Song
23:18:00 RES2 Ep2D Music Comp+EQ
23:15:23 The Stereo - Three Hundred
23:13:07 The New Trust - This Invitation Has Meant The World To Me
23:09:05 The Talking Heads - Burning Down The House
23:06:20 Glenn Rubenstein - 46 Mash-Up of Doom
23:03:03 Kelly Clarkson vs The Pixies - Where U Been Gone (Glenn Rubenstein Remix)