I feel torn when it comes to production companies working with up and coming talent making a splash on social media sites such as YouTube. It feels to me like there are all these really intelligent talented people doing interesting things, then these big YouTube networks come along, sign them up and suck out all their creativity. You are never quite sure what is going on behind the scenes, but it doesn’t feel right that most of the most viewed ‘YouTubers’ are signed with social media agencies such as Maker Studios, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. Once signed the social media agency gives them cookie cutter templates for both videos and promotional material, helps them with production, gives them a few deadlines, promotes their work and then takes a cut of the profits. While I do think that production companies should be working with up and coming talent, I guess I’d just like to see them help the talent grow rather than try to own it.
An interesting collaboration that popped up in my feed today is between one of the ‘signed to a social media agency’ YouTubers Louna Maroun (Looplady11) and FremantleMedia Australia the producers of Neighbours. The pitch is this, Louna has created a few 5 minute neighbours shorts where Ramsey Street is taken over by zombies, current cast members of the show battle it out with past members who have risen from their graves. She has access to the sets and a few of the stars both past and present.
I think the whole idea of giving up and coming talent access to the same sets, actors and audiences that the big boys like FremantleMedia have is a great idea, and is exactly what distributors should be doing! I don’t know where Lourna’s social media agency ‘Boom Video’ sits in this arrangement but it would be interesting to find out. It’s a win-win situation, with Fremantle getting access to Lournas fanbase, getting media coverage and most importantly helping homegrown talent.
If you are interested here is episode 1: