I got a sponsor!

n105855521062_1680Some exciting news on the CHS front, we got our first CHS-V advertiser!  Healeo has been advertising on CHS for a while now, but they've decided to move their advertising specifically to my video series there. CHS-V is already building (and engaging) an audience by delivering timely, ground level video journalism and documentary-shorts focused on Capitol Hill.  I know that Capitol Hill is an attractive market for advertisers, so if hyperlocal ad-supported online video can work anywhere, it's here.  For ad supported video to work, obviously, I'm going to need to get views.  In this case that will often mean attracting viewers beyond just this neighborhood, and even beyond Seattle.  Lucky for me, Seattle and Capitol Hill specifically are centers for innovation and creative minded people, so I know finding topics with wide appeal won't be a problem.  Past episodes of CHS-V have already been featured on national and international blogs, and are regularly featured on various city-wide blogs, and even film festivals.  Any ad messages would be carried through all theses mediums. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to integrate the ads into the video. The only thing I know is, I DO NOT want pre-roll ads before every video.  If I'm not that interested in the video, pre-roll ads can be a deal breaker, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.  This is my first shot at integrating ads into my work so I'm sure there'll be some trial and error but I'm hopeful that we can make this work. Below is the first video with the 'presented by Healeo' post-roll at the end.  Tomorrow, I plan on testing out a more prominent (but hopefully not intrusive) ad placement.
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Doppler @ Sea-Tac & Spike Lee on Capitol Hill

Doppler waiting for Sue Bird at Sea-Tac Doppler waiting for Sue Bird at Sea-Tac Couple of my videos up online this week. The first is a Doppler Skit I shot a couple of weeks ago, where Doppler goes and greets Sue Bird at Sea-tac.   It's not the greatest thing I've ever shot (some seriously bad audio throughout the whole thing), but it got some pretty good laughs when it played in-arena at the Storms pre-season game.  Some of the footage I shot that night also aired on King 5 the next evening. Spike Lee at the Egyptian Spike Lee at the Egyptian The other is a CHS article/video of Spike Lee.  Spike Lee was being honored with the Golden Space Needle Award at SIFF, so I went and shot some video.  The event was pretty dissapointing overall, terrible questions from the moderator and audience lead to a pretty boring couple hours... as you can read about in the comments.
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Hope Art at STIFF

Seattle True Indepedent Film Festival 2009 Seattle True Indepedent Film Festival 2009 Hope Art will be screening at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival on Friday June 5, at 6:15 along with 5 other short films, at the Jewel Box Theater in Belltown.  Hope Art is the only Non-Fiction piece in the showing and I can't decide if that's a good thing or not.  On the one hand it'll stand out since it's the only doc, but that also means it'll be showing to a room full of people who many not be that in to docs.  But I'm still really excited about it, it'll be my first public showing in Seattle. The Hope Art page on the STIFF site allows reviews... so if you've seen Hope Art, go write me up good a review!
By the time Barack Obama was sworn in as president, the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle was covered in Obama Art. 'Hope Art,' takes a look at this phenomenon from the perspective of the artists, but also digs deeper to ask what this proliferation of Obama art means about the neighborhood. Are they merely displaying their support for their candidate, or are they being too quick to memorialize a president who hasn't even had the chance to prove himself? DIRECTED BY David Albright, MUSIC BY Colin Short, PRODUCED IN ASSOCATION WITH the Capitol Hill Seattle Blog FEATURING Jen Graves – Art Writer for the Stranger, Spike Mafford – Photographer, Shelly Farnham – Artist, Damion Hayes – Currator, BLVD Gallery, Kate Stineback – Capitol Hill Housing
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Advertise on CHS-V

Starting today you can buy ads on CHS-V through CHS's ad service.  New CHS-V videos are consistently some of the most viewed stories on CHS, both because of the CHS traffic, but also because they're often linked to and embeded by other sites like Seattle PIThe Stranger, and many others.  This means if you advertise on CHS-V, your ad will reach far beyond just CHS.  So what are you waiting for Seattle businesses?! Advertise on CHS! Advertise on CHS! Side note -  I don't love the idea of having advertising on screen at the same time as my video.  But this is the best way we could think of to a) give the advertiser good placement, and b) not make the viewer have to sit through an ad to get to the video.  Obviously I would prefer to have post-roll ads, but who honestly sits through those... if the video is over, you can just go on to something else.  Pre-roll ads are just annoying and I would never use them*,  so I thought this was a good compromise.  Plus as long as it's local businesses ads it's not so obnoxious as a Clorox ad or something.  Since I shoot widescreen, I just have to move the image down in the frame to make room for the ad, rather than actually placing the ad over part of the image. *This is not legally binding, so don't hold me to it.
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McGinn Announcement

On Tuesday I covered Michael McGinns announcement of his candidacy for mayor for CHS.  KIRO was the only TV crew that was there, the only other camera there besides me was the McGinn Campaign’s crew.  It was funny seeing how much the KIRO crew stuck out, all the journalists asked questions like normal people, and then Essex Porter in his suit talks all loud in his trained journalist voice... he just seemed out of place since he was the only one.  I'm so glad I don't have to deal with a huge camera like theirs and all that gear, although I was definitely grateful for their light.  It still seems odd to me that the people putting on the press conferences don't set up lights, even at the Sonics we'd rely on the TV crews to light the press conferences. I got some great feedback on my use of ‘tweets’ and blog comments in the video… Scott Schaefer of the B-Town Blog said
"Sweet Tweet Touch on the Vid!  Your use of Tweets in the video is very clever...innovative, appropriate, and definitely made me overlook that McGinn should've shaved.  I'm stealing this idea now."
Eli Sanders called me “ever present” on Slog.  I guess that’s a good thing…? And Monica Guzman of seattlepi.com wrote about me on the Big Blog, the post includes a rambly, semi-coherent quote from me… I definitely should’ve had my morning coffee before I called her back. I also got a comment from Paul Balcerak, of PNWlocalnews.com, who I quoted in the video as saying that he liked McGinns idea of fiberoptic networking.  Here’s what he said
On second thought... I have to reconsider what I said (and was quoted as saying). Yes, at first the idea of Internet infrastructure seemed cool ... but as so many have mentioned, it's not as if Seattle has an Internet problem or anything. The economy sucks right now and it seems like kids are getting shot in the CD and South Seattle on a weekly (if not more frequent) basis. I agree with Uncle Vinny: "I would be much happier if he'd drop the 'fiber optic network' thing and put the social safety net front and center. So anyway, consider "paulbalcerak's" video comment redacted.
This points out that including the tweets and comments in the video is not meant to be analysis, it’s just commentary… immediate reactions.  The value of having these comments is to give some context to what McGinn is saying by showing how others in the community are reacting to his statements. For some it may be useful to see other people’s reactions on screen.  For others, I’m sure it’s distracting and unnecessary.  Personally, I think it can be useful to see other people’s reactions because it can help you see where your own biases and preconceptions are, I think it is also a great way to engage the community by giving them a chance to be part of the conversation instead of just observing.
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La Rambla-ized Pike Street

My post over at CHS has really taken off!  Lots of comments, and other feedback via email and at my.greatcity.org, and they just posted it on the Seattle Great City Initiative homepage.  This was my first post as an "independent journalist" for CHS, so it was a good start!  You can expect me to be posting more frequently over there from now on.  Been really busy with work at Morgan Howard Productions and working on some videos for SeattleIAM, so I haven't had time to start a new CHS-V, but hopefully will do that soon.  In the meantime I'm just really excited to be officially writing and producing for CHS.  Story ideas anyone?
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"Hope Art" & Web Video vs. Doc Short

About an hour after I sat down to edit this video, I decided that I had a good enough story here for it to be more just a web video, and that if I spent some serious time editing I could probably submit this to some film festivals as a documentary short. What is the different between a web video and documentary short? I’m not sure exactly. (I’ve also been thinking lately about whether there is a difference between a “citizen journalism video” and documentary but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.) The main difference for me was that when I decided it was a doc short instead of a web video, I stopped assuming the viewer had ADD. It’s pretty well established that online video viewers have short attention spans... I know I do. When I watch web videos I often fast forwarding to find more interesting sections, or just get distracted by something else on the page and click away from the video. (I hate that I do this, and I’ve been making a conscious effort lately to extend my web attention span.)  When I edit web videos, I don’t add typically use very much nat sound unless it’s needed to tell the story, or long establishing shots, which slow down the pacing and give people a chance to get distracted, but I did use those things here. As a result I think “Hope Art,” is a better doc short, but probably doesn’t play as well as it could as a web video. Editing this video has reminded me a little about the limitations of web video. It’s hard to tell a good story when you’re constantly worried about holding the viewers attention. I’ve been focusing pretty exclusively on web video for a while now, but having a story that takes a little more time to tell is making me appreciate the idea of sitting someone down and making them focus on my film. So what you do you think? Is this video too slow paced for the internet? Did you sit through the whole thing? Also make sure to visit this video at it's CHS page, and add a couple of pennies to my earnings (I get $$$ per page view)
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