The AnyClip Plot

Imagine a web service where you can find every moment of every film in pristine quality.  You can search by dialogue, tag, actor, or any possible data source you can name.  You can cut any moment of less than 2 minutes and post it, send it, tweet it to anybody anywhere in the world.

You can access this service on any digital platform web, mobile, television etc.

This services allows you to relive every iconic moment you have ever experienced in your film-watching life no matter where you are.  Scenes pop into your head and you can instantly find, share, collect, distribute or any other verb you can possibly imagine.

Technical challenges abound for this service.  Extracting metadata, serving, editing and the panoply of technology elements create a thicket of problems none of which are insurmountable.

The real issue for AnyClip is that Hollywood wants to get paid and consumers (everybody thinks) want everything for free.  How do we find ways to get digital consumers to spend money for content?

Today, Fred Wilson will give a talk on disruption to arguably the most disruptive company in media history — Google.  For Fred, there are six words to consider when making a quality web service:  global, social, open, mobile, playful, intelligent.   How would the movie studios would fair under such scrutiny.

In certain ways, the movie industry is among the most zealous in the world when measured against these business values.   Global filmmaking has arrived and content is exported throughout the world.  It’s hard to think of a more playful industry and for all of the hand wringing that goes on among culture afficionados, plenty of thoughtful, intelligent, moving content originates and is developed by big movie studios.   While the studios don’t create many social services, they create much of what we talk about in social situations.  Movies are social.  Eventually the industry will figure out mobile.  They have proven their ability to adjust to new mediums many, many times.

BUT THE STUDIOS ARE NOT OPEN.    They believe that they should closely harbor what they own and get paid in advance by consumers and businesses who want to experience  or use their content.   And they absolutely disapprove of “playing” with the content.  They are playful, but only until the movies are completed and then, please, please don’t try to change or edit these works.  Openess is deeply foreign to Hollywood, but vital to the success of latest wave of Internet hits (MySpace, Twitter, and even Google) come to mind.   This tension is the opportunity for AnyClip.

I am an Internet executive, but also an aspiring filmmaker.  I want people to see my film, pay for it, and I surely don’t want consumers to steal it.  Still, I will put 100% of the content on the Web in different stages because for The Aaron Cohens to build an audience, the film and its marketing must be open, global, playful, intelligent, mobile, and, most importantly, social.   Surely, these “six words to live by” are the cost of entry for AnyClip.  We must execute on these values.

But will the studios connect and embrace this vision?

This is the narrative tension at AnyClip.

Scene One.  Take One.

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4 Responses

  1. great post!

  2. Smart thinking Aaron, and the new company name–AnyClip–is way better!

    We’re struggling with the same issues in distributing our films of course. Our partners at B-Side recently launched a pay what you want site for our film “Rip! A Remix Manifesto” (www.ripremix.com). So far about 70% are paying essentially nothing, but the 30% who are paying are paying enough that if we crank up the volume of traffic, we’ll actually do quite well.

    Plus anyone can remix and post the film, or portions of it, at http://www.opensourcecinema.org, so here’s a film that truly is open.

  3. [...] Aaron wrote a great post detailing some of the challenges we have before [...]

  4. You are def. up for a challenge and I am looking forward to seeing you guys succeed over time…but the immediate (pessimistic) questions that come to mind for me when learning about anyclip are such:

    1. The studios and film-makers have to front a lot of money to develop the works that the do…without really knowing, I would guess that it’s substantially more than that of a music production (like a CD)…and involves a lot more parts than just a band of artists…so why wouldn’t the industry want as much up front money as possible from their content efforts…without out it will the ‘high budget’ blockbuster movies cease to exist and only low-budget indy-type films be affordable to be made?

    2. Are movies and movie distribution as disrupted by new technology as music and print has been? Again without knowing anything it doesn’t seem like people are going to less movies at theaters…until the bread-and-butter starts to clearly dry up, won’t it be hard to change ‘business as usual’ for the studios? Maybe if you can spin it as an additional source of revenue (at no extra cost for the studios) it will be easier?

    3. Assuming that studios sign on and do offer up all their content to be chunked and played with…what sort of applications do you envision the general public will want to pay for utilizing that content? Don’t get me wrong, the idea of being able to pull up random clips of interest for a given moment seems like fun, but I just don’t see anything that would motivate me to actually pay for it (and hence the fears of the studios become re-enforced)…I think you’ll have to really lay out a killer concept to consumers that will make them want clips so badly that they’re voice will force the studios to eventually cave…

    Anyway – all those negative questions aside (I’m probably just not grasping the whole idea or don’t have enough industry knowledge to ‘get’ it), it is interesting to hear about the idea and the early stages of what you guys are working on…I do hope you achieve it all!

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