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Summary:

In this Five Questions With… installment, we have new media agent Brandon Martinez of Abrams Artists Agency. Martinez’s clients include The Crew‘s Brett Register and Compulsions creator Bernie Su. In response to our queries, he talks about the problems plaguing online content creators.

brandon-martinez

If it’s Sunday, it must be Five Questions time! Hooray!

Today we have Brandon Martinez, a new media agent working with Abrams Artists Agency in Los Angeles. Martinez created Abrams’ new media division, and his clients include The Crew‘s Brett Register, Compulsions creator Bernie Su, and Scotty “Got An Office Job” Iseri. Below, he talks about the problems plaguing online content creators and his crush on Glee‘s Dianna Agron.

1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?

There’s still a big disconnect between traditional and new media, obviously. A large part of that is the state of flux entertainment has been in these past couple of years. While box office numbers continue to skyrocket, the movies that do well are primarily sequels and reboots or other established brands (i.e. comic book movies). TV audiences are significantly smaller than in previous years. And we haven’t really seen another original web series take off the way Dr. Horrible did. Every aspect of entertainment is trying to find its footing and understand its place in America’s viewing schedule.

The problems that plague independent films are the same issues that online content creators face:

  • Where can I get money for my project?
  • How do I get a known actor to appear in my series/film?
  • Who will distribute this when it’s done?
  • How does someone, other than my mom, tell me how much they love or hate what I’ve done?

There is a great opportunity for investors who have typically funded festival films to see bigger returns when factoring in an online distribution plan. Films typically screened in limited availability now have a potential worldwide audience. And with money comes better talent, bigger crews, and industry recognition to the web space. Online content creators already know how to turn in a beautiful and engaging series on a minuscule budget, but I’d love to see what happens when real money is invested in a script written by Bernie Su and directed by Brett Register.

2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?

“Webisodes.” That term needs to die.

Web content is not repurposed television. If anything, a “webisode” can refer to ancillary content from a pre-existing television show, a “web-episode.”

3. If someone gave you 50 million to invest in a company in this space, which one would it be? (Mentioning your own doesn’t count.)

Personally, I’d start a new kind of production company, allowing me to hire from the online world and friends in development at traditional places. I’d finance pilots and possibly deficit finance a feature that could be broken into chapters, like The Bannen Way did. I’d experiment with interactive storytelling, multiplatform releases, and online marketing. Basically, I’d put my money where my mouth is.

If I had to choose a company that exists already, Blip.tv. Dina and her team have built a solid platform that is the number one destination for independent content creators. Their content is fantastic and their analytics really empower their creators. I think that if I gave them a significant portion of that $50 million, they’d use the money similarly to how I would.

4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?

Hmm, I send around a lot of videos. They typically tend to be things that interest me, like indie rock, indie films, and indie girls. Let’s check my Twitter feed

Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date With Destiny: A short Joseph Gordon-Levitt created with members of his online community.

Body by Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Downs: My roommate forces me to watch Glee and I’ve grown to love Dianna Agron, who directed this video by one of my favorite bands.

5. WILD-CARD: Many of your clients focus on creating scripted series. But is this the most profitable format for web content right now?

Is there a profitable format of web content right now? I kid, of course.

Scripted content is still finding its voice. It’s providing an opportunity for actors, assistant directors, editors and numerous others to share their stories. Some choose to make it a vehicle to showcase their talents, while others are demonstrating dynamic storytelling. Those are the projects that interest me the most. Miles mentioned quality in his recent 5 Questions post. As quality continues to rise (in writing, acting, basic premise, etc.), so will scripted content. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all lamenting the finale of an online hit akin to Lost. We need to see more second and third seasons funded before we get there, though.

Related NewTeeVee Content:

Five Questions With Redbox’s Mitch Lowe

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required):

By The Numbers: Budget Analysis of a Web Series

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  1. :):):)

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  2. It’s amazing how ridiculous entertainment has become. According to this man’s answers, he seems to be standing far from reality. First of all, movies are dying. Not growing. The fact that box office numbers are up has nothing to do with an increase in audience… These numbers he’s talking about reflect the studio workers, executives, and exhibitors raising their fees automatically every year. Hey genius, movies are almost $20 now. That’s why you have the bigger numbers. And if you want to know the truth, US box office is becoming obsolete on the bottom line. Foreign sales accounts for up to half of a movie’s revenue. I rarely come across anyone today that still goes to the movies, outside of special occasions. Cinema has been void of any creativity ever since the old studio system died off in the 90’s. And it is becoming a growing consensus that Hollywood is a punchline. Nowadays when you go to theaters, you’ll find 10 screens and 2 movies. It’s turned into a Sisyphean task because of the cost inflation. Guys like this agent would rather push the rock on flat ground if the people see that as progress and it still pays off his car lien. Honestly, would you work 9 months out of the year when you only have to work 2 months? Or would you spend the energy in creating a new screenplay when someone already did that in the 1985? I kind of wonder what this man actually knows about Media and its beginnings, and how to properly analyze what internet video is. Web Series, etc… it’s a fad. It’s like a new outlet for home movies. The sad fact is no one watches these web series because they are very poorly crafted. Most of it is hype, meaning if these web series were fee-based there wouldn’t be any audience unless it was entertaining.

    And more importantly, I want to comment on his liken to Blip.tv. As a show creator, I am going further away from companies like Blip.tv. With the recent hiring of that Epic FU trainwreck and it’s new ad policies allowing big pockets to advertise their shows over yours, Blip.tv is not legitimate enough for me anymore. And people should realize the true story about agents– They are only as smart as the actors who feed them. In a lot of cases (if not most cases), it is the agent or manager that is behind a really bad movie. And this guy seems to be on his way of becoming the poster child for that. He appears to have no idea or a clue of what’s happening with the internet, and he seems to be trying to cash in on this fad with less than mediocre clients. If anyone steps outside the box, they can easily see this man is basically describing an industry made of amateurs trying to fit into the greater crafted scheme. And he paints his clients as talented and seasoned, which they are not. And it’s this kind of mentality that has brought us the pretentiousness in the Streamy Awards and now a descension of the fad. To me, the web has always been just another outlet that has only recently become video-friendly. And if you look at who is making money, it’s the companies selling products and services to web creators. Doesn’t that say enough?

    What this NewTeeVee publisher and this agent don’t realize is that it takes a lot more to create “entertainment”… At least more than ‘just applying for a credit card and buying a camera from B&H’. And no matter who this guy teams up his clients with, it won’t go past a closed-knit group simply because they can’t create anything original.

    Instead of puffing up the clique, I suggest we start writing and talking about self-distribution. It is amazing to me that for the first time in history we finally have an affordable distribution outlet for independents, and the first thing they do is flock back to the big conglomerates they’re trying to circumvent. Hey NewTeeVee… seeing that you probably won’t be getting a real job as a journalist anytime soon, maybe you can consider discussion on the lack of PPEV and PPV software separate from a hosting agreement. How about that Blip.tv? How about putting some of your angel money into a software program that scripts out a PPEV tool? That way the creators, your only customers, have a reason to cheer.

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  3. Amen. This guy is clueless.

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  4. Just wanted to say thanks, Brandon! I’m honored that you’d invest your $50mm in blip. Please let us know if there’s anything else you think we can do to make blip better for independent producers. We’ve built blip based on feedback from show producers and people like you… so please keep it coming!

    Yours,

    Mike Hudack
    Co-founder & CEO, blip.tv

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  5. [...] Five Questions With Agent Brandon Martinez [...]

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  6. [...] Five Questions With Agent Brandon Martinez [...]

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  7. Brandon really must be an ineffective agent. I note he does not mention one project he has actually gotten successfully launched that is making money and high profile.

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  8. Marshall Hendrix Sunday, July 4, 2010

    Personally I hate Brandon and his self promoting propaganda.

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