Along with newspapers and TV news, the internet has ripped out all the rules for what makes successful video. Before the internet you had TV, closed-circuit TV, satellite TV and video on a laserdisc. Now we have this whole new medium that anyone in the world can see at any time, and the possibilities are staggering.

What do you do in a world essentially without limits?

One of the things you can do is look at aspects of your project that do have limits; like your budget. As a producer, I routinely need to develop realistic budgets with clients. Early on they were reluctant to share those numbers off the bat. Perhaps they thought that if they did give a number, the project would be automatically expanded to meet it. I could just see this scene going through their heads:

Man buying a car:

“How much is it?”

Car salesman:

“How much ya got?”

But it isn’t like that at all. In my graduate film program, I had a professor who used to say that “creativity needs a prison”. What he meant is that with no constraints, there is no boundary to transcend, no fence to jump, no essential hurdle to be overcome.

It is through the limits of resources that we develop our most creative and effective plans.

The problem with the internet is that many of the old rules we used to live by no longer apply. For instance, 22 minutes with 8 minutes of commercials was a rule. Long form stories were another. Still another was the idea of making an appointment to watch something. Almost seems quaint now doesn’t it?

One very critical rule was the way you looked at quality. A TV engineer could tell at a glance if your video would pass muster. Nowadays the whole concept of quality is fungible, totally dependent upon circumstances and audience.

Since we cannot rely upon the tried and true models to get us through this time of transition, what can we rely on? Simply put, we’ll be looking at feedback. What are people responding to? What pushes their buttons? What forms of video will work here or there, how long, how good, how often?

Yes, things are changing faster than a California faultline. But one thing is sure. At TotalView Media, we’ll be looking at the data everyday and making determinations in our client’s best interest. Getting them the biggest audience, the fastest return, the highest sales and the most fans. (apologies to Frank Capra for that last line;-))

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Article written by Steven Washer
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