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For today’s Five Questions With…, we get some insight from Zadi Diaz, the co-creator and host of Epic Fu, one of web video’s longest-running series. Diaz has been a prominent member of the web video world since its earliest days, and was recently elected to the IAWTV board of directors; below, she discusses the importance of net neutrality to online video creators and how HTML5 is helping move web video forward.
1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?
I think there are three main things holding back the industry as it is now:
- Technology. Technology needs to catch up with the amazing ideas that will allow creators to begin really showing what can be done on the web. HTML5 is a great step in the right direction: Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness Downtown was a terrific example of how we can begin taking storytelling on the web to the next level and make it uniquely different from other entertainment platforms.
- Promotion. Films have movie trailers; TV shows begin promoting their new shows months before they begin. Audiences are drilled to know when a film is premiering or when their favorite show will begin airing. There needs to be a better way for online audiences to find the shows they will enjoy.
- Laws. Show creators need to pay attention to what is happening with Net Neutrality and how it WILL affect their careers. We’re in it for the long haul; let’s make sure this amazing opportunity for independent storytelling and business isn’t taken away from us.
2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?
I’m not really a stickler about buzzwords. People who like them, use them. People who don’t like them find better words to articulate their thoughts, which then become buzzwords. It’s a repeating cycle. Though, they do make for good drinking games.
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.)
It would be an even split between Blip.tv, Vimeo, Revision3, and Next New Networks. The more that independent video companies succeed, the better it is for everyone in online entertainment. To me, these four companies have been around long enough to have a great understanding of the web video community as well as how important technology is to the growth of this industry.
4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?
The second one is a strange comedic short featuring Charlyne Yi.
Actually, just check out all the videos on their site. They are amazing!
5. WILD-CARD: Epic Fu’s release schedule has been pretty erratic over the past year, though new weekly episodes are now appearing thanks to a new sponsor: MyLifeScoop.com. How key is sponsorship to the future continuation of Epic Fu, and would you do it without that support?
Sponsorship and partnerships are great, but they are not integral to the continuation of Epic Fu. When we began the show in 2006, we knew the show would last as long as we wanted it to because we called the shots.
We’ve been very lucky to have had great sponsorships with Puma, Intel (s intc), Lions Gate (s lgf), Sony Pictures (s sne), GoDaddy, XBox (s msft), Carmex, Netflix (s nflx), and others. What’s so great about Epic Fu is that it’s on the web and there are no rules.
To us Epic Fu was always a grand experiment; a direct reflection of us and our interests. We may continue it, it may become something totally different, it may spin off into something else, or we may stop it and completely focus on the other projects we have in the pipeline. Whatever we do, the one thing I can promise is that this isn’t the end, it’s definitely just the very beginning.
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