There is No Room for a New Video Business in this Economy

This is really tough to admit, but with everything going on, this isn’t the time for us to start up in the video business. The businesses that we were hoping to cater to when we started up in January, are surviving, but no one is doing well enough to spend money on video content. In another time, it’s an investment, and even though it might be a hard expense to pay for, there is a real value in our service.

I think that is still the case, but if I were a business owner, doing good enough business to pay my bills, and employees, and stay afloat, but not making almost any more than that, I don’t know that I would have the nerve to spend money on video or promotional materials either. I cannot blame anyone for not wanting to take ‘unnecessary’ risk right now.

The truth is, while I want to make videos for businesses, (and I am available if you want me to make a video for you) I cannot justify putting as much effort and time into this business knowing that it’s not the right time. I’m not giving up, I’m just putting the ‘actively looking’ for business aspect on hold. Instead, I’m focusing on trying on solutions that will help pay the bills in the short term.

As far as film and video work, what I’ve been doing when I have time, is writing, a lot. In the last month and a half, I’ve written two feature length screenplays. There is no better time than now, so I’ve been trying to work hard to have something to show for all of this time in isolation, and two screenplays is a good start. I love video production, but I’d be lying if saying I hadn’t dreamed of making a feature length film since I was fifteen. So why not?

We went from a gig economy to a stand-still economy, and it’s affecting everyone, and I’m fully aware of that, and I have been working as hard as I can to minimize the impact of it on my own life and business, and to maximize my output. I’m proud of what I’ve been doing, and I’m not writing this for sympathy, but rather to keep everyone up to date.

If you want to work with me, let me know, I’m always happy to work. If you can’t make the leap right now, I understand, and I hope you get through this as well as possible. I’m not going to be as vocal on here, but I’m going to still be around if you need me.

The Reason for Our Radio-Silence: Not a Vacation, Not Packing It Up…

I haven’t posted in over two weeks, not on here, and really not on any social media. Missing a week of posting, has been something that I’ve been trying desperately not to do since January, but ultimately, work takes priority over blogging, and I spent the last two weeks working, almost non-stop.

While I’m working hard to make this production company my full time job, and I absolutely love making videos of restaurants, and weddings, and really any excuse to interact with people and use my camera equipment; my original dream was making movies. Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed about writing stories and making movies.

The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I wrote my first full length screenplay. Now, twenty years later, I like to refer to it as a poorly written version of 13 Reasons Why. I then spent my entire sophomore year trying to get it made. The process of trying to produce a feature film was daunting, but the screenwriting was rewarding. It was when I fell in love with writing.

Since that experience, I’ve written stories, and started novels, and more scripts, and sketches, and poems and anything that I found rewarding to write down. One thing that I’ve always stuck with, when writing scripts and sketches has always been writing within a scope of something that I could hope to produce myself.

Going into this new year, my focus and concentration has been on this company, and I’ve been trying to make a portfolio that is enticing to future clients, and while it has involved a bit of writing, (and obviously this blog is writing), creative writing has taken a backseat in 2020, until about three weeks ago.

Three weeks ago, I saw an ad for a writer’s program. The main idea being that Ron Howard’s company is looking for ideas for films to develop. Apparently, his company has a deal with Netflix, and they’re looking for different films in different genres, to develop, and in the process help the writer of the idea to do that. Obviously, and opportunity like this is a dream come true.

I read the instructions, and it was simple, you needed to have a 30 second video, pitching an action-adventure movie. You also needed to submit a writing sample that showed you could write a complete screenplay. I had some writing samples, but nothing recent enough, and nothing that I thought was a good representation of my current ability as a writer. So, I had to come up with an idea, make a pitch, and write a first draft of a screenplay.

By the time I had the idea, I only had 2 weeks to write. I spent a couple days writing a scene by scene breakdown, and then ten pages a day for 12 days. It was an intense, and grueling two weeks, the first week of it I was also the main supervisor of my son, and I got behind, and the second week when my wife and son went away, I spent 12 hour days getting caught up and finishing.

Obviously, at this point, I cannot say much about the nature of the screenplay and pitch I submitted, because if they decide to purchase it, I will no longer own the rights to it, but I will say it was a very different experience than anything I had previously. I went from writing script ideas that I had hoped to produce myself on a microbudget, to writing a screenplay for a budget that I have no hopes of producing. It was freeing, and fun, I was never stopped by “oh, how would I do that?”

If anything comes of my application and pitch, I will let you all know what I can, and when. For the time being, I am excited to get back to my real work, here at Chocolate Diamond Media.

Where to Exhibit Work

When I decided to throw all my effort into making Chocolate Diamond Media my full time endeavor, I wanted to be strategic about how I did that. I wanted to make sure that I was spending money, but as importantly time in the right areas. One decision that came out of that, was to avoid YouTube.

YouTube is a great resource for many filmmakers and video professionals, but I have learned that YouTube rewards regular uploading, which is something I think can translate to churning out lots of content that isn’t particularly good, and often times becomes it’s own slog. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to focus on making our videos as good as I could, which often means spending a lot of time, and makes the idea of a YouTube channel nonsensical.

I went with Vimeo, because I think Vimeo is a better ‘highlight’ platform for people trying to showcase their work, and I’ve felt no desire while working the last six months to pump out content with Vimeo, no desire to try to get my subscriber count, or view count up. It’s simply a place that I can direct potential clients to in which they can watch my videos, and maybe on occasion if someone stumbles upon my Vimeo channel, they’ll be directed back to this site, or to contact me. I’ve been very happy with Vimeo, and ideally I do think that the way that I’ve been approaching Vimeo has worked well for me.

I have been getting increasing pressure to start a YouTube channel, and I’ve resisted. The truth is, having a YouTube channel is its own business, its own start-up, and I don’t want to throw myself into that because I do think what I’m trying to do will suffer in the process.

I did, however, start a YouTube channel. Ultimately, the deciding factor was the fact that I keep seeing video contests that I want to enter, and many of them require posting on a YouTube channel. I posted my Chirba Chirba video on there, and I will be posting the rest of my work on there in addition to my Vimeo channel.

I am not going to be treating my channel any different than YouTube, I’m not going to try to pump out content, and I’m not going to spend all my time and energy trying to capitalize fully on the YouTube algorithm. I’m just going to continue making what I’m making, at the pace that I’m making it, and post when I have a complete package. I’m not going to try to supplement the channel, I’m just going to let my videos stand there on their own.

I’d be lying if I said I had much hope for the channel, because I really don’t. I figure its just another spot where I’ll post content, and maybe on occasion it will lead interested viewers back to my site. Maybe. What I do think will be interesting, will be to see if with that strategy it gets me any more attention than Vimeo, and whether or not just putting out my best content infrequently will be able to get any foothold on its own. I guess, I’ll just look at it as an experiment, and have a place where I can participate in video/filmmaking contests.