I am involved a wide variety of new media projects these days, both large and small, but one important point is quickly being “brought home” to me. In traditional media, projects that required millions of dollars, but held promise to earn even more, could take months, year or even decades to come to fruition. In most cases, this wasn’t a problem, as the potential earnings were so great and the financial stability of the players so well established. If a producer or director had made $10 million on their last movie, they could go a considerable time before directing the next, without adversely effecting their lifestyle.
In new media, though, we are under no allusions of big, lump sum, payoffs or multi-million dollar budgets. Instead, the powers that new media producers wield is action and speed. Even with limited sums of money, new media producers can launch a product and begin bringing in income via advertising, sponsorship or premium content almost immediately. They can, if only they will act.
Even with limited sums of money, new media producers can launch a product and begin bringing in income via advertising, sponsorship or premium content almost immediately. They can, if only they will act.
With many of my contacts coming from the traditional media world, there is an almost overwhelming “big budget” mentality. Most don’t want to move forward until all the financing, content and personalities are lined up. They can’t imagine budgets in the thousands, after working with millions, even though the costs of producing new media are dramatically lower.
Unfortunately, this often prevents the project from ever moving forward. The principals talk and talk and talk and produce nothing. It is a dark trap left for those traditional media producers when they enter the new media world. While some rules are the same, many of the basic beliefs are different. Unless they can reach beyond the “truths” of the traditional media industry, there is a danger that they may never enter the new media industry.
When I am working with people, I consul them to take some immediate, direct, physical action on the project — film an interview, design a logo, set up web hosting or blog, record a sample 5 minute podcast, even if the final project calls for a full hour. Do something! Regardless of what the final project might look like, these direct, active steps help to make the project real and provide substantial momentum. Otherwise, projects can get bogged down in their own inertia.
The truth is, at the beginning, new media projects often require nothing more than time and action. While a potter might study book after book on pottery, it is only when they hands to clay that something special begins to happen. If you are serious about producing new media, you need to sit down and create. Otherwise, you might simply talk forever.