Digital Hollywood Fall 2015

Digital Hollywood Fall 2015

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The Real Value by Michael J. Herman

After debating the pros and the cons, the insights and the banality, and the investments and the payoffs of last week’s Digital Hollywood, I have come to realize the intrinsic and indisputable value of Digital Hollywood and events like it.

It is not the seminars, nor the instructors. It is not the location, the weather, the prestige, or the technology. It is the social equity and contacts made during the conference.

Immersing yourself in content is one thing, but it’s as true today as it was 100 years ago that nepotism & relationships win over talents & training almost every time.

It’s networking face-to-face. Your chances of making a deal with Spielberg are slim to none, but your chances of making one with PewDiePie are much more likely.

We want to do business with people we like. We want to do business with people we know. And we want to do business with people that they know and like.

Social equity, the value that people put in relationships is King! In fact, it’s tantamount to currency.

I challenge anyone to show me where this is not the case. We’re not talking about selling shoes, or painting a house, or working in the lab. We’re talking about media and entertainment; an environment that exists thanks to social interaction.

The fact is that it doesn’t matter what you know, and it doesn’t matter who you know. Nowadays it only matters who knows you.

It doesn’t even have to be in a professional context. People who know people get hired and people who cocoon in their larva-like state simply do not progress.

It has taken four consecutive Digital Hollywood conferences of connecting with the same guy who manages a talent and literary agency for him to ask me if I’d like to have lunch and see about working together. We’ve connected and built a relationship. This could not happen unless I got in front of him and shook his hand.

So when someone suggests that Digital Hollywood is nothing more than dots and dashes, remember that some of those dashes are in the phone numbers you get from being at the event.

What’s the real value of Digital Hollywood? The same as any other live and interactive event… human contact.

Michael J. Herman is a writer-producer-entrepreneur who specializes in creating client and audience specific content for message-driven marketers.

Day Four

The Grand Finale by Michael J. Herman

Wrapped up like a burrito, Day 4 included more VR, more streaming, OTR, and Social Media training, but what it also had was important content about the business end of Digital Media.

On this final day of the semi-annual conference, the content came to a crescendo when the real, in-depth discussions got underway.

Santa Monica-based Expert Dojo’s Brian Mac Mahon led the day’s sessions which focused entirely on the nuts-and-bolts of Entrepreneurial Digital Media and playing-to-win.

MacMahon led a high impact session on startups and setting yourself up for success as a new enterprise.

“The missing ingredient for most startups is lack of planning which comes down at its core to B-R-A-N-D-I-N-G.”

What’s Branding? It’s not just your logo and your art work.

“It’s your product and your niche.” offers Mac Mahon to the 85 or so gathered audience members. “Good is not good enough anymore. You have to be clear and your audience has to know what they’re getting from you.”

Forget about apps and web video. The hot topic here is Virtual Reality and Virtual Reality. Pretty much nothing else. Everyone is vying for the next Oculus Rift and hoping they’re it.

Mike Weeks, whose stage presentation hypnotized and beguiled like Tony Robbins on speed, dazzled the crowd with his description of branding. “Your job is to find a way to make them say yes and feel greedy about getting what you have. Be identified as this and you’ll be in business for a longtime.”

The final discussions focused mostly on the actual business of Digital Media. Questions were posed and answered interactively by presenters and audiences members alike.

  • “Do you have your company/product/project ready to launch? If not, don’t! If yes, then what’s your plan? Have you covered development, manufacturing, marketing, strategy, financial, distribution, branding, marketing, social media, follow up, retirement, etc.? Few independent entrepreneurs ever even think about this and that is why there is an 88% failure rate in startup and in small business.”
  • Watch the money
  • Focus on action
  • All distractions are equal
  • Have great content
  • Give great service
  • Solve problems quickly and easily
  • Offer support
  • Get support and advice
  • Be gracious and generous
  • Always look for the win-win-win opportunities
  • Don’t haggle over small stuff
  • Celebrate successes

Not ground breaking maxims, but things we all needed to hear.

“Present, ask for feedback, retool. Present, ask for feedback, retool. Present, ask for feedback, retool. Until you get it right and someone says yes.” offers Weeks as a strategy that made multiple 7 figures and grew his tribe exponentially.

And, finally, join groups of people doing what you want to do actually making money at it. Sound familiar? It should, because Dr. Normal Vincent Peele told us the same thing in “The Power of Positive Thinking,” first published in 1952.

So I guess it’s good advice.

Michael J. Herman is a writer-producer-entrepreneur who specializes in creating client and audience specific content for message-driven marketers.

Day Two

VR – Very Real by Michael J. Herman

The second day of Digital Hollywood Fall 2015 focused almost entirely on VR or Virtual Reality. From programming to games, to telecom, and immersive technologies, there’s a palpable push to a VR world.

Lots of discussion on how content will have to be created specifically for VR and VR devices.

Lots of hope from production companies looking to be the next Oculus rift.

Lots of hoopla about the imminent advances in VR.

But I don’t buy it. I have heard nothing significantly different from what we were told in the past regarding VR. From what I have seen and heard today the technology has not made giant advances and the culture of VR still remains extremely niche.

I remember being at NATPE in 1988 and hearing the CEO of ATT proclaim that within 5 years we’d be able to teleport ourselves to the places we’re calling.

I’m still waiting.

I remember interviewing Frank J. Biondi, then Chairman of MCA-Universal (Blockbuster and McDonalds), in 1993, who told me that in 5 years a 1,000 channel world will be the norm and the prices would be a mere pittance per person.

The 1,000 channels showed up (sort of) but the prices skyrocketed.

And I remember when I was 9 seeing King Kong in 3D and thinking to myself, “Is that all?”

Yes, technology evolves, but, in my opinion, the heavy-handed push for VR technology is nothing more than a fad.

See you next year when Smell-O-vision makes its triumphant return.

Michael J. Herman is celebrating his 29th year as a writer-Producer-Entrepreneur.

Day One

The Creative Master Class TV Film & Video Panel  by Rachel Powell

The number one recommendation when raising funds via branded content: Your story should be your first priority –never graft a brand or a sponsor onto your show. If you use products as a resource, you need a seamless integration of them- or fans will react adversely. A second imperative is to figure out how to cut through all the noise out there, and make something that resonates and stands out, that is real and convincing, has depth and substance and zeroes in on your niche audience. If you pitch reality TV, try to come in with some of your budget, too, through sponsorship and, for all genres, they recommend talent who has their own audience which adds value to your project.  Hollywood is a heat seeking missile!

Go Digital Or Die – An Up-To-The-Minute update From Digital Hollywood Fall 2015 by Michael J. Herman

There’s an old adage in business, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” In media, the new adage could be, “If you’re not digital, you’re dying.”

At the Digital Hollywood Conference happening this week in Marina Del Rey, CA, the conclave is convulsing over the huge opportunities Digital is bringing to the market. Speaking with Branden Stephens, an independent Media consultant and former writer-producer of traditional media, “things are definitely changing, but it’s still unclear as to which way it’s going.”

Referring to a recent study out of UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Center, Millennials are spending so much time on their digital devices that a severe increase in eye disorders amongst the demographic are being seen nationwide. In addition, the responsiveness of the Millennial as a buyer and as an audience is getting harder to capture.

Is it possible that the convenience of instantaneous access has finally found its tipping point? Not likely. While digital is here to stay, it’s still trying to finds its legs among the truly millions of distractions in our lives.

The goal, agrees nearly every panel member at the conference is to create content that goes viral and has stickiness to it. Yevgen Stupka, whose playground is the European marketplace, says, “No matter what language you speak, you must be able to translate your message across media and across audiences. It is now easier than ever to identify your key demographic and it seems to be getting harder each year to reach that same audience.”

Anders Smallen, who works with outlets like Yahoo, Google, and Bing, offers that is sometimes just as hard for the programmer to find the right content for their audience as it is for the creator to find their niche market. “I have to provide the right content or my audience will click out as quickly as they clicked in. It’s really a symbiotic relationship between those who can provide the right content and those who have the right audience.”

But the biggest trend discussed at the event’s opening day is clearly the cross-platform and multi-platform development that is now taking place.  Content has to be delivered not only on multiple devices, but also in multiple marketplaces.

Yes, you can have your base on YouTube and build your audience there, but your audience is now in multiple places at the same time and you have got to capture their attention wherever they go.

That might mean advertising across platforms, creating multi-versions of the same content, or partnering with MCNs and MCPs (multi-channel platforms) to get your message seen.

Michael J. Herman is a writer-producer-entrepreneur who specializes in creating client and audience specific content for message-driven marketers.

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