Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Meet the YouTube Filmmakers

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SARAH POLLACK: So welcome everybody to the Meet The

YouTube Filmmakers panel.

This is part the Google Santa Monica Speaker Series, and we

want to thank the Santa Monica office for sponsoring the

event tonight.

My name's--

yes, bravo.

My name is Sarah Pollack and I'm the Film Community Manager

at YouTube.

We're going to start by just introducing the panelists and

watching a quick clip from each of them to introduce you

to their work.

So we're going to jump right in and then talk for about 40

minutes and open it up for a Q&A for about 20

minutes after that.

So first we have Ben Shelton.

Ben is a local filmmaker who got his start on YouTube

making comedy videos.

The success of his videos brought him the attention of

companies like Fox and the NBA, both of whom have

commissioned his work.

In a more serious turn, Ben recently directed the short

film My Name Is Lisa for YouTube Project Direct, which

was our first short film competition.

The short came in third place and went on to win the YouTube

award for Best Short Film in 2007.

It has since been viewed over two million times.

So we're going to watch the first minute

of My Name Is Lisa.



My name is Lisa, and I've been inspired by my mom to tell

everyone to walk away from their computers and read more


-So you're using the computer to tell them to

stop using the computer?

That's my Lisa, use your addictions like a weapon.

-Now I have to start over.

-Now is your lunch break.

-Uh, you already made me lunch.

I had a sandwich five minutes ago.

I only need one lunch.


-What's up mom?

-Hi Lisa!

-Are you going somewhere?

-I guess not

-I'm going inside.

-Me too.

I'm going inside.



SARAH POLLACK: That's actually a very moving story about a

young girl who's dealing with her mother who is suffering

from Alzheimer's disease.

So you can check it out on the site if you'd like to see the

rest of it.

Next we have Mike Belmont.

Mike is an animator and director who has been on

YouTube since the very early days of 2005 where he's known

to his fans as m.strange.

His feature film, We Are The Strange, screened at the 2007

Sundance Film Festival, and turned into a cult classic.

About a month ago, Mike uploaded the film to YouTube

in 17 different languages all translated voluntarily by his

fans, and the videos have already received over a

million views.

Mike speaks about digital distribution on panels around

the world, and along with Arin Crumley is a founder of From

Here To Austin, which is an online festival to help

filmmakers distribute their work.

We're going to take a quick look at the trailer for We Are

The Strange.




SARAH POLLACK: Next, we have Francis Stokes.

France is also a local filmmaker, and a graduate of

the Tisch Film School at NYU.

He was one of the first users to be invited into the YouTube

Partner Program following the success of his comedic series

God, Inc, which was picked up by the SciFi

channel last summer.

After the long writer's strike, Francis is working on

the pilot for them now.

His feature film, Harold Buttleman, Daredevil Stuntman

was featured on the home page of YouTube last summer, and

currently has over a million views.

We're going to take a quick look at a episode of God, Inc.


-Sarah Melody Church.

You're going to be product development, right?

-That's right.



-June 3, 1976.

-And death?

-November 5, 2006.

-How did you die?


-Oh, ouch.

That sucks.


It was pretty painful.

But I had the support of my friends and family, so that

meant a lot.


Isn't there a cure for that?


-Oh, yeah.

That's next year.

Well, let's give you the tour.



SARAH POLLACK: Next we have Arin Crumley, Arin and his

collaborator, Susan Buice who's in the audience here,

made the film Four Eyed Monsters, which played at

about a dozen film festivals.

Won the 2006 Sundance channel Undiscovered Gems Award, and

was nominated for two independent spirit awards

before being the first film ever featured on the home page

of YouTube where it received over a million views.

IFC recently picked up in the broadcast rights, and Arin

also speaks about digital distribution at

panels around the world.

We're going to watch a trailer for one of Arin and Susan's

upcoming podcasts which details the evolution of their

film and their relationship.


-Music in this episode is by Francois, Dixiescumbag, and

the Golden Pastime.

-And the name of this episode is Shock.

-In an abyss of emptiness, we found each other.

-And we pulled each other out of isolation and wanted it to


-So we created a home.

-What we had created was bigger than us.

And we lost ourselves.

I began to feel crazy.

I became unhappy.

I needed to become my own person again.

I began a revolt.



SARAH POLLACK: And lastly, we have Javier Prato.

Javier is an Argentinean filmmaker who moved to Los

Angeles in 1998 to pursue his film career.

His short films have screened at festivals around the world,

and his short Jesus Christ: The Musical gained him

internet fame.

Javier also entered YouTube's Project Direct film

competition, and his film Empty Arms was selected as one

of the top 20 finalists by a panel led by the award-winning

director Jason Reitman.

We are going to take a look at Javier's reel.


-From the director of Jesus Will Survive, into a new dawn

comes an epic of bloody proportion.



-You don't understand what it's like until you have to

live with it, because no matter what I do--

-You just need a good idea, the audience will follow.



SARAH POLLACK: So those are our panelists.

I think you can tell all their work is very varied, but what

they share is that they're all independent filmmakers,

self-distributing either feature films, short films, or

web series online.

So to start off, I want to talk a little bit about why.

So Francis, we're going to start with you.

Why post God, Inc online for free?

FRANCIS STOKES: Why did I post it online for free?

Well, at the time I, more than anything, wanted an audience.

I had just finished a feature film and I had played

festivals where you'd be lucky if 20 or 30 people

came into the room.

So I decided with this new idea I was going to do

something for no money and upload it to the internet and

see if anybody watched it.

That was the goal was, more than anything, to get my work

out there to be seen.

SARAH POLLACK: You mentioned film festivals.

Mike, you're known as a pretty

rebellious avant-garde filmmaker.

But ultimately you chose to take your film We Are The

Strange to Sundance Film Festival before

posting it to YouTube.

Why did you do that and would you do it again?

MIKE BELMONT: I was just doing what I thought you were

supposed to do, which was a great thing

for press and crap.

But if I would do it again, I really look towards--

I mean, people, I got a lot of stuff where people were asking

about what film school they should go to or

what vessel, whatever.

My answer to everything now is the interweb.

So I'm looking at YouTube for my next animated feature film

I'm doing now, and that's probably where it will

premier, and I'll do everything online just because

the stuff I make is so bizarre.

It doesn't appeal to the masses, which

was evident at Sundance.

When my movie played there half the audience walked out

and asked for their money back.

They weren't the kind of people I

want to impress anyway.

Like whatever.

The people I want to impress and the people that my stuff

appeals to are online and are these new audiences that can

find your stuff.

They're unable to find them at festivals and these places

that are expensive and locked out and proprietary.

And the internet is open and available to

anyone in any culture.

Like I put my film up in 17 languages.

So that's where I want to be.

I want to be where the real people are who appreciate it,

not people who are there because they're looking for

the next big thing or the buzz or whatever.

So that's where the real film fans and people who appreciate

it are now.

So that's why I'm there.

SARAH POLLACK: So your technique is fairly

progressive anyway, the content itself.

Ben, My Name Is Lisa is a little bit more traditional,

and I think we've heard from the traditional critics that

YouTube is not necessarily a place for

high quality content.

Do you agree with that?

How do you feel about that, having a film up there?

BEN SHELTON: Well, first let me just say, honored to be up

here with all these guys.

I love the fact that it's very different work.

It's not like you saw the same clip five times in a row.

But I think taking from what you're saying, it's a

traditional film.

I made a short film for Project Direct, and YouTube, I

think, was first known for basically the new America's

Funniest Home Videos.

You know, dog on skate board or baby farts or whatever,

something like that.

But just like any new media, we're going to transition into

a period where good content is good content.

I'm not trying to say my film is good content, but it just

so happens that it is more of a traditional short film.

Even though it's about a heavy topic like Alzheimer's and

it's traditional, I think the reason why it did well, and

the reason why I will continue to put work on YouTube is

because we are bending in that direction.

America's Funniest Home Videos is not a

prime time show anymore.

I mean it is, but it's not that popular.

Eventually, you want to look for better content and you

want to look for something, a narrative film, short film,

good storytelling.

SARAH POLLACK: And you think that exists on YouTube.

BEN SHELTON: Well, yeah.

I mean right now is the transition.

The fact is that YouTube is not that old.

It's still in its beginning stages.

The fact that My Name Is Lisa-- so one short film of

the year means something.

I'm not sure exactly what it means, but it definitely means

that we're getting ready to watch some

more substantial content.

SARAH POLLACK: And do you think, then, has traditional

schools, film school, for example,

Javier, what do you think?

Is that irrelevant now?

Can anybody be a filmmaker?

JAVIER PRATO: Of course.

You just need from a cell phone that can record video up


SARAH POLLACK: And is that a good thing for filmmaking, if

anybody can be a filmmaker?

JAVIER PRATO: Of course.



In the 1920s, where can you get a camera for under $150?


And do you guys agree?

BEN SHELTON: Well can we take some Ratatouille?

Everyone saw Ratatouille?

Anyone can cook.

That doesn't mean everyone should cook.

So anyone can make a movie.

That doesn't mean everyone should, but

yeah, anyone can, right?

FRANCIS STOKES: Audiences should be

the determinant though.

That's the difference is that the audience decides, not some

sort of funnel that is the distribution network.

And that's what's great about the internet.

I don't know about film school because I think that there was

always the ability to make films. The difference was

whether or not you could get them seen.

In the '90s I never made any shorts because there really

wasn't any way to get it seen by an audience.

MIKE BELMONT: And I kind of think that the internet age,

or what happens on YouTube, there's kind of like some

Darwinism built in to the process, like survival of the

fittest. Where if I were to be working in a traditional

system, I would have all this P&A and all these publicists

making it seem like I'm the coolest guy in the world and

my stuff is the best ever, right?

But when you're online it's like sink or swim.

There's no one doing that for you.

So your content has to work on your audience or you're dead.

So I think that leads to making better stuff in the end

because we don't have this whole system supporting us,

trying to make you seem like you're something you're not.

You are what you are to your audience or you're not or you

don't exist. So I think in the end it'll

lead to better content.

And just since we're here on a stage, what you were talking

about, I had this idea about what YouTube is right now and

what it will become.

Just think of it like a giant open mic.

Like you're here on the stage and an open mic just started.

Right when open mic starts, all these people run to the

front of the stage with face make-up and are making fart

sounds and doing all this ridiculous stuff.

And maybe people at first are like, oh wow, that's so funny.

That's so great.

And there may be someone at the back of the stage reading

their poetry that they've developed for years that's

beautiful and expresses whatever they had inside.

Maybe you're making a short film that has a little more

content to it and you're in the back, you're going to be

drowned out by those people for a while.

Just like YouTube is very new.

But after a while those audiences are going to be like

isn't there anything else there that has something to

say or any meaning to it?

And over time they will find that content and look for it,

and the tools will get more powerful to find it.

So it's still evolving and it's still new.

That's just something that I've observed.

SARAH POLLACK: So the focus there is on audience.

Obviously, Web 2.0 has been all about social networking.

With YouTube you put your film up, users rate it, they

comment, they make video responses.

There's a ton of immediate feedback--

sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not so good, sometimes

it's totally irrelevant.

But Ben, with you, My Name Is Lisa, I think it's the twelfth

most discussed film of all time on YouTube.

Do you enjoy that?

Do you enjoy having that kind of interaction with your fans?

Is it a pain?

Is it a nuisance?


I absolutely love it.

The YouTube audience is expanding.

It's like what Mike was talking about earlier.

When you go to a festival, there's certain type of people

that go to film festivals.

They're usually with a company or they just

like the art or whatever.

Everyone's on the internet.

Everybody from--

and probably three-year-olds to your grandfather.

So everyone's there.

So the type of comments are going to range.

Some of them, yeah, are not going to be that great or


But others are going to be very, very interesting.

And some of the right people are going to watch your work.

Since we were talking about going to a festival first or

going to YouTube first, I posted my film on YouTube

first. Since then I've been approached by film festivals

that says if you enter it in ours it'll be an official

selection already.

So it's kind of like if you go to YouTube or put your film

online, everyone will see it.

It's not guaranteed.

But that's the option is that when you're on the internet,

you're in someone's home, you're at work, you're


FRANCIS STOKES: I think it's another thing to think about

that with the internet, the ability for niche marketing,

especially if you're a filmmaker like Mike or

something that has a specific audience.

The film festival approach is really, really kind of absurd

under those circumstances, or the chance that someone who

would dig your stuff might happen to

walk in at that time.

That's the beauty of the internet is the fact that the

whole community online can connect to who finds your work

resonates for them.

MIKE BELMONT: Well, and in the end, the whole film festival

paradigm ends up killing culture because then people

will only make films that appeal to those buyers or to

those audiences or whatever.

Because that's kind of where I come from.

I'm not practical at all.

I just think about art and culture and eating ice cream.

You know, the things that really

matter to make you happy.

So I think in the end it's going to lead to a richer

culture because there's these audiences that people can find

on YouTube that are not anywhere else and they'll make

stuff that's different that will appeal to people.

I just look at it as more freedom in that there's people

that I can make happy with exploding

head videos or something.

FRANCIS STOKES: And because it's more diverse where if

we're relying on the traditional distribution

channels, they're looking for the largest audience for every

product they produce.

And so there's a lot of stuff that I would like that they

wouldn't do because my taste is too specific.

BEN SHELTON: And everyone eventually gets to see it.

It's like what he was saying, survival of the fittest. If

your video gets watched by a few, then bigger, then the

right people with the money, with the distribution, they'll

get a hold of it.

SARAH POLLACK: Did you think, Ben, that we are changing the

film industry?

And Mike in particular, you have a ton of

interaction with your fans.

They translated the film for you.

Do you think that relationship between you and your fans will

change how films are made in Hollywood or no?

MIKE BELMONT: Well, I'm trying to raise the bar myself, like

I'm trying to do stuff so that these kids, like most people

like my stuff are 14, 15.

They'll get used to that, and they'll be like, well, I can

send a message to m.strange and they'll send it back, or I

can submit my picture of myself and they'll put it in

their movie.

So I am trying to raise the bar and do things.

When my DVD came out I put seven sound tracks on it so

that people could switch through it.

So I am trying to nudge it in a new direction, because for

all of these years there was no competition.

Hollywood or let's just say Hollywood, the film business,

had no competition.

There was no one pushing on it.

They were just getting richer and fatter and this bigger

thing and they can do whatever they want.

They got lazy.

In the end, the viewer is the one that suffers.

If you're an artist or creator or whatever, it's like your

goal is to serve the audience.

You have to give them the best, the best that you can do

or else you're not doing your job.

So in the end I think it's better for everybody-- for

filmmakers, for viewers.

But people have to choose to go independent or choose-- you

know, they can't pretend I'm going to put it on YouTube,

and then if they get a movie deal or something, they're

bye-bye internet and go the regular way because that's not

good for anybody.

But then it's just another rich guy driving a BMW, but

how many more of those do you need?



Well because you said that, I was going to try to talk about

this at the end, but it raises an interesting point, which is

are we fighting Hollywood and the studio system here, or are

we trying to get its attention?


I think that there is definitely a battle happening,

a war happening between old media and new media.

I think that what's happening here, and I think a lot of

people in this room are a part of this, is that new media has

a more savvy, more in-tune way to distribute information,

whether that be video information or anything.

Old media is struggling to hold onto their tried and true

monetarily successful system that is just making less and

less and less sense every second that passes.

So that's not going to be let go of easily, and I think

we've seen lawsuits and things that have shown that that is a

serious battle.

My confidence, if we have to take sides, I'm voting on new

media because who's going to win in an age of information

and internet and where digital, basically, is

something that kids are basically born

knowing these days.

That's who I think is going to win.

MIKE BELMONT: Well the way I look at it, like at its base,

whatever war is fought is just going to be a battle for

people's eyeballs.

What are people watching?

It's getting to the point where people, as traditional

media becomes less relevant, as people read less magazines,

and watch less TV, and everything goes more online,

and films and music and everything starts advertising

more online, then it's just a battle for eyeballs.

People's eyeballs, these generic eyeballs, don't care

where the stuff came from.

If they like looking at it, they like looking at it.

That's where, you just talk about a battle where it

doesn't matter where the media's going to come from,

whether it's from Warner Brothers or whether it's from

some dude in a bedroom.

That's where the fight will start happening, and then it's

all about getting an audience.

What better way is there to make an audience or keep an

audience is to interact with them as close as we can to

having verbal communication with someone in the same room,

like something on YouTube.

So that's why, no matter what goes on, I cherish that


I keep doing that because I know for any type of media

creator it's just going to be a battle for your audience.

Before traditional media, you didn't own your audience.

They owned your audience and they would allow you access to

our audience.

But now you have them, so it's a battle for

eyeballs and audience.

ARIN CRUMLEY: But let's looks at what their main asset is.

What is traditional media's main asset?

Well, the content.

The creators that either write the content, or produce it, or

shoot it, or whatever talent actually brings it into


That's, I think, the interesting time that we're in

right now where the creatives can say OK, well, let's see,

do I want to work within that system or do I want to be my

own, basically, micro studio where I've got production,

which is totally cheap-- you can get really cheap, super

high quality cameras that rival the quality of film, or

in some cases surpass the quality of film.

Then you can have your own distribution channels with

advertising revenue, or sales of DVDs off your own website,

or even digital theaters that you can release your films

digitally all over the place.

More and more theatres are getting decked out with

digital projectors.

So I think we're getting very close to a time where from the

creatives perspective, it just makes the most sense to

produce your work and publish it to the web.

And then from that published place, it kind of goes down

into all these different screens, YouTube being a very

important one, but also the whole other slew of cell phone

and theater and home, and all the places where you can

digitally go.

I think that at that point it really makes no sense to have

a centralized film industry.

Because what you have is something much more efficient,

which is a decentralized film industry where every single

one of us are our own little microscopic film industry with

our own fan base, our own audiences, our own support

network for the stuff that we create.

SARAH POLLACK: I have to--

really quick.

But Arin, ultimately--

I'm going to put you on the spot here, OK?


SARAH POLLACK: So Four Eyed Monsters was on the site for

about nine months, but ultimately you had to take it

down in order to accommodate a broadcast deal with IFC.

So is that a conflict there?

ARIN CRUMLEY: Well, that's a hard-hitting

question and I like it.

No, definitely.

First of all, we didn't take it down, it's set in private

so we could reverse that at any moment.

And IFC, if you're listening, we may do that at any moment.

And let that be a threat because it's been a major

leveraging thing.

What we have with our audience, the fact that after

showing the film on YouTube we went on to get a deal to

release the film nationwide on DVD and put it on TV, that's

completely unheard of.

It was because they saw the audience that we had.

So it's the only reason we were even

talking to begin with.

Now, why can't it continue to be on

YouTube at the same time?

It's a good question.

That's what I was rooting for.

I think that right now you've got this kind of like--

unfortunately, it's 2008 still.

It's like today's world is kind of icky and we're in

between and it's sort or a mess.

But no, I think that what they're failing to see, and

this may change-- we may be able to put

it back up on YouTube--

they're failing to see what we proved through all of our

research, which is that when your film is online, DVD sales

are more than they would otherwise be.

Which begs the question, why isn't every single film that's

ever existed online on YouTube?

If it's discoverability, and the conversation that happens,

and the sampling, and the culture mashing that happens

when something is online actually improves business,

why would you argue with that?

But right now it's just a scare thing where they're like

ah, it's the internet, it's black magic and it could

destroy us if we're not careful.

JAVIER PRATO: It's just a domino effect.

It's a pyramid backwards.

That's basically what it is.

SARAH POLLACK: What do you mean by that?

JAVIER PRATO: What I mean is you plant the seed online, and

if two people like it, they sent it out to their friends,

and their friends will send it out to the other friends.

And we'll grow into a worldwide tree of information.

SARAH POLLACK: I like that analogy.

So we're talking-- yeah, that's lovely.

Yeah, sure.

BEN SHELTON: Can I say one thing?

Taking off what Arin was saying.

For a while now we've had pirated versions of films

available on the internet if you search for

them and get in there.

And yet, $100 million was the weekend gross of

Iron Man last weekend.

The fact is that people are still going to keep going to

the theaters, and I just want to say right now, I love my

film online, but seeing it on the big screen with these

great speakers, listening to music, that's still going to

be part of our culture.

Online is one part of it, and in the theater is

another part or it.

So there's definitely wars going on, but I think in the

end it's a way of getting that all connected.

I do also want to give credit to my brother Josh out here

who co-wrote the film My Name Is Lisa, and also wrote that

music that you heard.

Didn't that sound pretty good on these speakers?

SARAH POLLACK: Let's talk a little bit about the

drawbacks, because obviously, I think we all agree that

there are a ton of pluses to being online

and finding an audience.

But OK, so seeing it, it's not quite the same as seeing it on

the big screen.

But what are some of the other drawbacks,

before we go too positive.

I mean Arin you basically distributed your film online,

built a huge audience online, you have a ton of engineers in

the room right now.

What were the difficulties?

What do you wish existed that didn't?

ARIN CRUMLEY: Well, OK, the number one problem with the

internet right now in terms of filmmaking is discovery.

With all of this material, how the hell are you going to

navigate your way through to what's relevant to you?

To be honest, would have expected to see more from

YouTube by now, because when I first starting seeing what was

going on, like oh, we're just months away from it really

coming together where you could start comparing people's

friends networks with what's being favorited.

And come up with a really interesting discovery

environment where instead of sitting down at your

television to flip through 50 channels, you sit down at 50

of the most relevantly selected videos that maybe

come from your subscription channel, or maybe from your

friends favorites mashed together with what else is

going on maybe in your geographical area, maybe with

some other topics that you've been tracking and bookmarking,

and maybe with some other music you've

been listening to.

Because that's where I really see this whole Web 2.0 thing

evolving to, which is the integration of it all that

really empowers the individual.

So that your essentially a powerhouse of discovery,

whether it's finding information as Google

obviously has made an amazingly capable thing, or

whether it's finding videos that either entertain you, or

have the information that you need, or are

somehow just relevant.

So right now there's tons of amazing films that maybe get a

couple hundred views.

So we've been fortunate in that the stuff that we've done

has caught, like you were talking about with the

upside-down pyramid, and people did spread it and

there's sort of a slow, kind of organic discovery mechanism

built in just to the nature of the internet.

Obviously, people could email links.

But I'm talking about something that's hyper.

What I would love to see is us get to a day where it does

integrate with theatrical.

So if something is made in a bedroom in Zimbabwe, by the

next week because of the explosion that's been

happening, it could be being booked in theaters or showing

up on all kinds of other screens that are all connected

to the same system of scalability.

The thing that we're working towards here is for every

piece of content to reach its full potential.

And that's been the frustrating thing about going

to film festivals is you're just sitting there and you're

like, OK, these 12 people.

I don't know if this is the full potential of this film.

Let's be in an environment where we can

reach that full potential.

JAVIER PRATO: It's like a physical representation of

what is happening with the internet.

The way we can distribute films is basically it's all

about sharing.

We started sharing our films. That was it.

I mean I did it.

They didn't like my shorts or whatever.

Experiment I do with video, but my main goal is to reach

an audience.

You give me that gift, of course I'm going to take

advantage of that.

FRANCIS STOKES: Can I springboard off of that?

My main goal was also to reach an audience, but if you ask

what the biggest drawback to the internet is right now, in

my opinion, it's the other side of the coin for artists

creating content, which is monetization.

Not everybody has--

very, very, very, very tiny, very few people have been as

successful as Four Eyed Monsters in terms of

distribution through the web,

self-distribution through the web.

Or even God, Inc., which was indirect.

I mean God, Inc. didn't make me money.

SARAH POLLACK: Do you just want to just maybe share a

little bit about what you did with Four Eyed Monster?

ARIN CRUMLEY: We built the first core audience by

releasing eight episodes that kind of documented the

creation of our film, and also went into the difficulty of

being in a relationship, and making a film about that

relationship, and how that had compromised the relationship.

So that got all these people on board that were watching

and really wondering what had happened to this film.

We had already made this film and we're kind of had given up

on it, but then we decided there's enough people here

where we could probably self-distribute this film.

So we asked everybody to give us their zip code so we could

figure out where all these online audiences were.

Then we actually built a Google map with the help of a

friend that showed these hearts above each city.

A larger heart represented a city that had more people

saying that they wanted to see the film.

We were able to actually use that map to talk to theaters

and say listen, we've got all these people that want to see

the film in these cities, can you book it?

And some of them were forward thinking enough to be like OK,

we'll give it a shot.

And instead of losing money theatrically, which even most

mainstream films, definitely most independent films lose

money theatrically, we did it intelligently enough using

information backed with information to make sure that

we wouldn't lose any money.

We had all these sold out screenings, and

it did really well.

Eventually it got to 30 cities nationwide.

So from there we decided to start selling DVDs.

Anybody who has a film today that wants to start selling

DVDs, there's tons of solutions out there--

b-side, DVD Baby.

There's all these options.



And so you can just have that going and

you get all the money.

You hold on to all the rights yourself.

Then we wanted to expand the film and get it out further.

So we started talking about posting it, the entire thing

on Google video, and our contact at Google Video,

George Strompolos had moved over to YouTube.

He said why don't you do this on YouTube?

And we're like YouTube?

This movie's 70 minutes.

There's no such thing as a 70-minute YouTube video.

And he's like I think that we could try it.

Let's talk to the technical team.

We started working out a way that we could do that.

And then a sponsor came on board that said for everyone

that we could get to go join their site,, they're

like a start-up website, they would give us $1.

So we tacked on a message to the beginning of the film

saying hey, welcome to our film.

If you want to support our filmmaking go join this site,

Because then the film got all this blogosphere attention for

being the first feature film on YouTube, and it was on the

home page, thanks to Sarah, and people were spreading the

links around.

It was just getting all over the place.

So many people saw the film that we were able to get

50,000 people to join and made $50,000.

So between that and the IFC deal, and the DVD release that

we're doing right now and we're on shelves in Borders

everywhere as of last Tuesday.

This is the first week of our release.

The film has grossed a quarter million dollars.

So this is an independent film that Susan and I made in our

loft in Bushwick thinking probably no one was ever

going to see it.

But it just so happened to strike a chord and we were

able to kind of push it out there.

SARAH POLLACK: Then let me ask you.

How much did filmmakers then, do you think, participate in

defining the business model, because you guys did not wait

for companies to figure out the ad revenue question.

You directly took your audience and you leveraged it

to create a revenue stream.

Is the burden shared for filmmakers to figure out a way

to monetize their content, or is it all on


ARIN CRUMLEY: Well it's the wild west right now, which is

what's so amazing, is anything you can think of you can try.

The workbook project run by Lance Weiler is a great

environment where he's interviewing on podcasts

everybody that's trying the craziest things.

From the people who did Lonelygirl15, to interviewing

just all kinds of filmmakers that are

really pushing the envelope.

And who better to determine what the new film industry is

than the filmmakers.

I mean we're at an amazing opportunity.

You mentioned From Here To Awesome, one of the reasons

that we co-created From Here To Awesome is to bring

together filmmakers and collectively define how do we

want this industry to work.

What licenses do we want to put on our films that allow

companies to distribute them and monetize them freely,

sending all the payee back to the origin, to the creator.

What can be done?

And I think it's wide open right now

for what can be done.

And whose most agile?

It's not the old media companies.

SARAH POLLACK: Ben, you're writing the feature version of

My Name Is Lisa now, based on the success of the short film.

When that is complete, is that something that you would post

to YouTube and try and replicate this model, or would

the preference be to find a producer in Hollywood and get

studio distribution?

BEN SHELTON: I don't think there is a preference.

I think YouTube--

it just depends on what type of film we're talking about.

I think when we're all talking about online versus

theatrical, we're talking about specific type of

projects and we're talking about

reaching the biggest audience.

And so I think in a certain time, what we're saying is

it's not going to be a question of which anymore.

It's just going to be a which first maybe.

But everything is going online and

everything's going into theater.

But I think I wanted to go back to one thing we were

talking about, filtering through to find good content.

Right now, YouTube has, you've got your stars, your five

stars, you've got your favorites, and comments.

I think it would be great to have, because YouTube is just

another outlet for filmmakers, to have a section that really

was able to give people the ability to rate

cinematography, rate writing, rate

acting, directing, scoring.

I mean every single aspect of filmmaking, so then you could

even filter even more.

That's not going to be for baby farts or kid on a

skateboard, but for specific filmmakers, there could be a

hub, a part of YouTube that was more for that so that then

we would address the open mind.

SARAH POLLACK: What about the rest of you?

Actually this time flies very quickly, and we're going to

wrap-up and open for questions.

But you have a room full of brilliant engineers here, both

from Google and outside, what are some of the challenges

that you would want to extend to them going forward?


ARIN CRUMLEY: I would throw out editing.

Because one of the main things, again,

I would have expected--

well, in fact, there is an editing tool in YouTube and I

think that that's an interesting step in a very

cool direction.

Because I think that you should be able to sample any

movie that exists already and create a common thread on that

portion of a movie, and that just shouldn't be a problem.

Like I don't think those things should be getting

kicked off there.

Because I know a lot of young filmmakers that use the

dialogue of discussing other pieces of movies to actually

be learning their filmmaking, and to be able to piece apart

things, and dissect video.

I think we need to start thinking of video as not just

one stream that's continuous, but with the new editing

software that I think will eventually allow edit by edit

posting so that every little small piece of edited material

can be broken down and mashed up in different ways.

So I think that it's very important to think about that,

how video can be remashed.

But then also at lunch today, we were talking about

translation and the idea that when you're editing your video

you've got all kinds of text and metadata and

time stamp, geo stamp.

A lot of cameras are recording a crazy amount of stuff.

But that gets lost the second you export it to a video file

that can be posted to YouTube.

But what about maintaining this metadata?

It's wide open for standards.

There's no standards on any kind of metadata out there.

It's like well, here's the new protocol for metadata to have

all the English, all of geo stamp, all

the different languages.

And then why not learn, too, from Wikipedia about this idea

that people will participate?

You got your film translated to all

these different languages.

dotSUB is an amazing site that we've used to translate our

film into different languages too.

It's kind of like the rating thing.

Getting in there and rating different cinematography and

rating different things.

Really turning it all into a big conversation, a big media

conversation in which you can participate, and if you want

to get involved and help transcribe some footage.

I could see people really collaborating on the internet

in making the documentaries.

It's already happening with projects like Open Source

Cinema where it's a film about copyright, and he's using the

internet to prove that copyright as we know it is

totally obsolete.

He's having fans edit different scenes that he's

been using back in his film.

Check that out, Open Source Cinema.

So there's so many things that innovation, I'm sure, will

expose to us very soon.

SARAH POLLACK: Last question.

As you involve users more and more like that, translating

films, and I think you touched on this Mike, but maybe a

little more.

As they are translating your films, as they're re-mashing

your content, will they still care about Iron Man?

Will that ever go away, Or if they get more involved and--



FRANCIS STOKES: About the big Hollywood

release and all that?

SARAH POLLACK: --over content as they become

a part of the process?

What happens to the content that's created without them?



MIKE BELMONT: Well just about caring about commercial

content in regards to your stuff?

SARAH POLLACK: I mean as they get more involved, as a movie

becomes such a collaborative thing, what happens to the

movies that aren't made in that way?

MIKE BELMONT: Well it's kind of like it is that survival of

the fittest thing.

I go out and speak to different places where

filmmakers are like, well how do I get an audience?

And it's like say something interesting.

Like you have to work harder and you have to do--

it's like it's going to really weed people out.

It's like people are I want to make a film or I want to write

music or whatever, and it's like, but I don't

want to work hard.

Then you're not going to do it.

So it's kind of like you have to do the stuff, and the films

that don't do it are going to stay unseen.

I don't know.

I just have this thing where I'm kind of like agro and I'm

like work harder or something if you're an artist. So I

think people are going to do it and get out there or

they're not going to do it, and that's just the way it is.

But I think that's the way it should be, because in the old

system the people who are lazy and not putting anything out

there, they just have this P&A behind them and this whole

system that pushes them to the forefront, and like look how

cool they are.

But if you stuck them in the front of a web cam, no one

would really care what they were saying and they wouldn't

get an audience.


It's like the cold, hard truth, just like nature.

Like sometimes little baby birds get eaten

by ants alive, ah.

But it's just the way it is.

But the system is good.

ARIN CRUMLEY: I think bottom line, we're moving out of the

manufacturing era and into the information era, and you can

no longer manufacture media.

You just can't.

You just can't say oh, every evening we have one hour of

this, and every summer we release x number of these

types of movies.

Instead what you can do is actually way better, and yeah,

way more natural and the sort of way nature works, which is

that every human being acts upon their own inspiration.

So it really puts creatives in a really interesting position,

because instead of being told how to manufacture content

working for this big system, instead you can just say what

do I actually want to say?

What would actually make sense for me to communicate and make

something about?

And if you do that, the blogosphere has already proven

to us that you will find your audience that's in tune with

you, that's on the same frequency and

wavelength that you're on.

So it's actually very simple and very easy.

People just need to make things that

they're passionate about.

SARAH POLLACK: So with that I'm going to open out, there

are two mics if you want to start lining up for any Q&As.

But while we do that, one last thing I'll say is yes,

filmmakers can just make what they want,

hopefully, going forward.

But there's so much more that you have to do too.

Because you have to--

you're everything, you're your marketer, you're your


Francis, for you, as a creative type, is that

difficult to step out from behind the camera and then be

forced to really market yourself, especially as we're

working on improving discoverability, and in the

meantime it's kind of in your hands.

FRANCIS STOKES: Extremely difficult for me.

I don't like any aspect of that.

The one thing I think that YouTube did for me was allowed

me to connect directly with an audience in a way that changed

that whole dynamic.

Instead of you just--

SARAH POLLACK: Did you come out of your shell at all?

FRANCIS STOKES: Did I come out of my shell?

Did it help me come out of my shell?

I guess.

I don't consider myself introvert.

I consider myself one-track minded.

So I always want to be producing content, I don't

want to be thinking about that other stuff.

What happened with YouTube audiences, I was able to hear

people, connect with people, and how they

responded to my work.

And that ended up feeding what I do, as well as I was

marketing my work.

So they both dove-tailed and that was ideal.

SARAH POLLACK: All right, we have a question over here.

AUDIENCE: I'm wondering what do you guys do for promotion,

and I'm wondering if you guys view traditional promotional

media, such as billboards, posters, et cetera, as going

away or becoming still relevant or if you just use

internet as your promotional media.

ARIN CRUMLEY: I call that type of promotion, that's what I

call ambush advertising.

Because you're aiming to interrupt somebody in

something they were trying to do with some other message,

and that's the only way to get it to them.

I think that when you're in a world where everyone has

complete free will on their machines, like it's not a TV

where you really can't really control what's going on, this

is your space and you are totally going

to rule that space.

You really can't sneak that much through.

Maybe little bits of banners here and there.

But you essentially have to make people voluntarily want

to participate in what it is that you're doing.

So making films, that's the easiest thing really.

It's not like we're trying to sell lemonade or something

weird, but we're trying to promote

something that is engaging.

It's inherently engaging because it's film.

MIKE BELMONT: The way I promote, which I think is the

most powerful and the best way and it is the future, and it

was something that used to be used a lot in the world is

just word of mouth.

That's the best thing, the best kind of promotion or

advertising you can get.

So the way I generate word of mouth, like advertising, is

just by being nice to people.

So I know that's alien--

I used to live here in LA, you know being nice to people,

like who would have thunk?

But when I get messages from somebody on YouTube, whatever,

I always reply and I'm nice to them or anything.

Then that person, just because you did that, which may seem

like nothing, they're going to go out and tell all their

friends and everyone they meet, you've got to see this

movie, you've got to see this thing.

Those billboards all that stuff, those are just lies.

You have to go out there and put this big thing up there

because no one would watch it or like it anyway.

No one's going to talk about it, so it's all about word of

mouth, and I do it by just interacting with people.

SARAH POLLACK: But flyers were a big part of

the Four Eyed Monsters.

You had fans out on the street passing out flyers, passing

out stickers.

ARIN CRUMLEY: One thing I do believe in is I do believe in

art work, and the fact that you can take your message of

your whole film and you can kind of try and condense it

down into a logo or things that kind of are symbolic of

the whole wavelength that your project is on.

People can see that and almost sense a little bit of

a window into it.

It's kind of like the little YouTube freeze

frames that you get.

You're like I think I might want to dive in there.

So I do like the idea that you can represent, and I think

that's what people are doing with their online profiles.

It's like the inside of their locker in a way, like in high

school, like open it up, you've got stickers of all the

different things that you like.

I think that that's the better way to use logo in promotion

beyond just blasting out a billboard.

But one thing that the billboard industry has is that

in all of the whole advertising industry,

including a lot of people in this room involved in Google

advertising, is that you can act quick.

So again, the problem with a lot of what we do here is the

discovery can take months or sometimes years for a project

to really reach a critical mass.

Whereas you put up a billboard, suddenly it's on

people's minds.

So I think that the more we can get discovery honed in and

so it's something that happens, so that word of mouth

happens at this hyper speed that we never would have

predicted would be possible, then it'll be totally

irrelevant the idea of having a billboard up.

MIKE BELMONT: Think of billboards maybe like the Web

2.0 billboard is through word of mouth marketing is people's

MySpace pages and their Facebooks and their blogs.

They'll take your imagery, they'll take your trailer,

they'll put all your stuff there.

Those are like the new billboards, and it is word of

mouth, and it's sincere advertising because they

believe in it.

So that's kind of like your new advertising space, which

you can reach people eyeballs that are flipping to those

pages, so that's kind of something that's

available to a nobody.

AUDIENCE: I was just going to ask a question about

technology, like YouTube, that allows you to disseminate

content on a mass scale like it does.

I think it always has some cons to it, and I think it's

analogous to cell phones or now all of us are used to and

conditioned to getting dropped calls.

That's just part of the technology.

So it strengthens some areas, but some

areas it also weakens.

So what I want to know is that kind of visceral experience of

watching something in the feeder with other people on a

huge screen, is that something we're going to have to get

used to and is that something we're able to get used to?

FRANCIS STOKES: Get used to that going away you mean?


FRANCIS STOKES: I don't think it'll go away.

I think people are going to want that experience too.

What surprises me is how willing they are to experience

media in a different way, like with YouTube.

That so many people watched my feature film, which is 94

minutes on the little YouTube window.

That's what's surprising to me that they're willing to

experience a different way.

But I don't think that that means that they don't want to

experience stuff projected on a screen and an audience

together, because that's still, obviously, a really

popular way of enjoying entertainment.

ARIN CRUMLEY: And I think you really have to factor in,

again, this whole new phase of the internet thing.

I think a lot of it is actually designed to take us

out, away from the internet.

So the internet is part of our backbone of our lives, it's

how we discover things and whatever.

But I think that more people are going to see live music--

music's done really well because of MySpace and the

fact that you can really discover all these bands.

We've had the experience where we were able to do a

theatrical release because we had an internet fan base.

I think that if you look at any other industry like the

airline industry, they have all this very careful traffic

control and different prices for different times when you

want to fly.

Look at the theatrical industry.

It's just a terribly designed, totally stupid industry.

FRANCIS STOKES: You kind of look at it like this.

ARIN CRUMLEY: But someday I think it might get more


We'll see.


I mean YouTube and all this stuff, it's not perfect.

But going theatrical, let's just say that's not yours.

You don't have any control over that.

It's kind of like how I look at myself

and the stuff I make.

It's like YouTube, it's not perfect, but it's mine.

So of course, it's not perfect but it's yours.

You have control and you have the power over it.

Theatrical will never be yours.

Theaters are awesome, yeah.

But just think of it like that, it's yours.

I'd rather have my own thing that's not perfect than not

have it at all.

BEN SHELTON: And also you're asking about will

that ever go away.

No, because it's a completely different thing.

We socially will always want to go out to a theater and

watch a movie.

It's a social thing more than is--

I mean it's also entertainment, but it's about

getting together.

Whereas internet, we're coming to you, you don't even have to

get out of bed.

You're right there watching the movie.

It's just different, they co-exist.

SARAH POLLACK: I think that--


And the family--

you're there because we're here.

Don't forget that, OK?


SARAH POLLACK: No, but I think that's true.

I remember a lot of us who just did South by Southwest,

in the theater there, the Alamo, where you get your

beer, and your nachos, and it's a much more communal

experience that you're actually much different than

date night when you just go see whatever generic

film has come out.

FRANCIS STOKES: Yeah, I think there's potential for, as Arin

was saying, a lot of revolution within the

theatrical industry just like everything else.

But that doesn't mean it'll go away.



This is a question for any and all of the panelists who might

have an answer for--

I thought it was interesting.

But what would you like to see from Google and YouTube to

improve your visibility of your content and streamlining

the revenue stream to the creators?

JAVIER PRATO: That's an answer for Google I guess.

SARAH POLLACK: But what would you guys like to see to

improve discoverability and monetization?

ARIN CRUMLEY: I would like to see higher money from the

partner program.

I think that the partner program is really cool, and

we're definitely a part of it, like we were excited to be

part of it.

Anybody that we talk to.

Most filmmakers don't have a clue about it actually, so

it's like news to their ears that you can go to and join.

I think it should be more accepting because it's kind of

hard to be accepted right now.

I assume that it'll become more open to people.

But I think that, yeah, I think that you should really

just have way more control.

I think you should be able to make your own little banners

that kind of pop up, or your own little videos that you go

to, because maybe you're doing a show and you want to,

halfway through the show, go to a video that you made

that's promoting a product that you actually really do

like, and you've made a little endorsement for.

I think that if you're going to make a film and sell it to

a TV channel that then is going to try and monetize it,

why not just take a step back and figure out OK, well I'm

sort of now my own TV channel, so what am I going to do here

to be able to make the budget I need for each

piece of new content.

So yeah, I think that all the ways that let the way you will

monetize your content be part of the creative process and

not factories, one setting, one-size-fits-all.

I think then you let the creative minds solve those

problems and do it much better than a marketing person ever

really could.

BEN SHELTON: Well said.

I mean higher quality is obviously something we always

want for our films, even if it's this big.

YouTube is a huge, huge company, getting bigger and

bigger, and we love to be able to show our

stuff at the best quality.

Then also, like I was saying, the ability to rate films in

different ways besides just stars and

favorites would be great.

And then also, we have hypertext, but hyper film

would be great in the sense of being able to click the film

to find out more.

It's along lines of what Arin was saying in the sense that

he uploaded it 17 different languages.

I've done, I think, three or four different languages on My

Name Is Lisa, but if we were all able to do it in the same

video and then you can just scroll down to which language

you want to watch.

Then maybe there's a director's commentary you can

just click for director's commentary.

Or pause it and click on the actor and it says what other

movies they've been in.

And then getting a type of like Rotten Tomatoes reviews

that aren't just comments, but more traditional film reviews

of your films. And more create a home for filmmakers, like an

IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes or I don't

think, pick your company.

SARAH POLLACK: A wish list, obviously.

ARIN CRUMLEY: I have just another one that's totally

counterintuitive to--

I don't know if you would ever think of it, but I think that

instead of us uploading to YouTube, the videos should be

downloaded from us.

If you think of podcasting and the way podcasting works, you

post your material to an RSS feed, and that's very great

technology because you can also attach licensing that

then allows it to be used in other various ways.

I think you should be able to take your YouTube account and

say everything on my RSS feed I want to be a video.

It's just an attached enclosure.

It's easy technology.

I think that that would really change the way Content Creator

can think of one stop publishing.

You publish it to all screens-- theatrical,

whatever, YouTube, all of them in one spot.

That would be a way that that would empower it.

SARAH POLLACK: I think the point, it is an unfinished

product, clearly with a lot to do.

OK, last question.

AUDIENCE: Thank you very much.

My name's Lisa Crosato, I'm a professional actress.

First of all, I want to

congratulate all the panelists.

You're all wonderful.

This conversation has been extremely cerebral from my

point of view.

I would like to ask Javier Prato, who we haven't heard

that much from, what's the emotional importance here with

your filmmaking, and how is it a departure from conventional


How does it feed you?

I don't hear from your intellect.

I want to hear from your heart.

I loved your film, Jesus Christ: The Musical, it really

affected me.

So I want to know a little more about that from you.

JAVIER PRATO: How did that affected you?

AUDIENCE: Well, I thought it was controversial.

I thought it was provocative.

I thought it was hot.

I thought it was unusual.

It made me feel something.

I'm an actress.

I don't want to hear all this talk about revenues and

streaming this and this.

I'm not a techy, I'm a human being.

So that's how it affected me and I want to know how you

were inspired to make that.

JAVIER PRATO: You know, it's art.

Come on.

We don't have nobody tell us you have to make a film about

this rabbit who gets hurt by these bear.

We do whatever we want.

One morning we wake up--

that video Jesus Will Survive, I did it only one day.

It's just for fun.

I didn't do it to try to sell the ticket.

SARAH POLLACK: But you found an audience.

FRANCIS STOKES: Does it change your feelings about it to get

the reactions you've gotten?


I mean I got bad answers and good answers, and I

respect them all.

I'm an artist, period.

That's the power that we have. You have the power, we have

the power, and the people that create art have the power to

just create something overnight, a distribute it

worldwide with a click of a button.

SARAH POLLACK: Pretty amazing.

JAVIER PRATO: So I mean we have to accelerate here.

I think we're in the right path, and I love it.


Last question, and then we'll wrap it up.

AUDIENCE: I was wondering if Google thought of partnering

with theaters that show movies, movie theaters.

We saw Iron Man, and they have all these ads before the movie

now for like newspapers and stuff.

And I thought ah, well--

my manager, Carrie, though of it.

What if YouTube had filmmakers like us--

I'm one too--

of showing all the stuff that YouTube does

before a regular movie?


SARAH POLLACK: I'll turn it to them, but would you want to

see your content on the--

ARIN CRUMLEY: You already have a thing that says

embeddable in blogs.

You can choose whether or not you want that.

You can choose whether or not you want advertising.

If there was a check mark--

I know--

if there was a check mark to say this film is available


Of course, we would all check that box off.

Of course.

FRANCIS STOKES: I mean in the old days they used to always

show shorts before films, and I think that was

a really cool thing.

Either cartoon or just a regulatory short, and now

it's, yeah, it's ads.

That's really disappointing.

I think it would be really neat to see that again.

BEN SHELTON: And my film is available if anyone wants to

show it before your feature length film, if we have a big

producer in the room that wants to--

No, but also, I've talked to you a little

bit about this, Sarah.

I know that YouTube's goal is to create the

best website possible.

They're working online.

But I do see kind of, in a way, of MTV 20 years ago and

25 years ago, and how they then turned into MTV films.

I mean I could see YouTube films not counter against

their online division, but co-existing.

My Name Is Lisa, YouTube short film becomes YouTube feature

film, or any of these, God, Inc. could be a series as well

as a feature film series.

And you could be producing it both ways.

So I think YouTube itself, from my point of view,

definitely should be working with feature films,

distribution, just like MTV films eventually did.

SARAH POLLACK: Future to be determined.

We'll talk after.

So with that, we're going to close it up.

Thank you guys so much for being here.

I want to thank all the filmmakers--

Ben, Mike, Francis, Arin, Javier.

Thank you guys so much.

To finish up the night, I'm going to bring out Cuong Do

who was YouTube's third ever engineer and is now heading

engineering for features on, and he's going to

talk a little bit about what's going in the

Santa Monica office.

So thank you guys very much.

CUONG DO: Great job guys.

I guess I'm on.

I'm going to share a little bit of a historical


I'm going to share a little historical perspective before

handing over things to the Santa Monica team here because

I wanted to give a little personal perspective as an

early employee of YouTube.

So over the last two and a half years that I've been at

YouTube, it's been an amazing time.

It's been a time of incredible change.

I've seen us go from a small group that migrated from cafe

to cafe, and from lease office building to lease office

building to a slight upgrade, which was a office that was

kind of rodent-infested and kind of smelled in weird ways.

But it was home for us.

From that, now we're part of Google and we have great meals

cooked for us every single day by a world-class Google chef.

So it's been quite a ride over time.

I've also seen us go from this unknown brand--

people were very confused when I told them

I was joining YouTube.

They thought that maybe I jumped off the deep end and

maybe had these delusions of touring

with the band U2 perhaps.

Fast forward to now and it's amazing.

If I wear YouTube merchandise anywhere in the world, it's

instantly recognizable.

So it's been a pretty amazing ride.

I think that one of the things that has stayed constant

across all the change and all the growth we've seen though

is that we have lots and lots of potential, but that's sort

of limited by how much engineering talent

we can bring in.

So when we came down here to talk with the Santa Monica

engineering team, we were thrilled by their enthusiasm

and their passion.

It was pretty amazing just how happy they were to see us and

how excited they were to work on YouTube.

Recently, they've introduced two major features to the

website, and those features, while maybe being out for one

or two weeks, have met with overwhelming positive response

from our community.

They've also contributed to a number of other key areas in

our website, like helping it to scale.

So I'd like to introduce, I'd like to share the spotlight

with these guys, certainly.

So I want to hand it over to a couple of the architects of

our success here in Santa Monica.

Hopefully, these guys will come up.

There we go.

We have Brian Glick, our product manager.

And then we have Philo Juang--

I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly--

and he's a tech lead here.


BRIAN GLICK: Hi everyone.

So my name is Brian Glick.

I'm a product manager on the YouTube engineering team here

in Santa Monica.

My most viewed video on YouTube has 179 views, so

watch out filmmakers, I'm coming for you.

So Philo and I are going to be talking

about YouTube in general.

We're going to be talking about our product, the

opportunity with a focus about the YouTube work happening

here in Santa Monica.

We're going to open up for Q&A after.

Really the theme around everything

we're doing is people.

It's about the YouTube community and the

people that drive it.

We wouldn't be where we are today without our strong

community, and that really is the focus of what we're doing

here in Santa Monica.

So for me, it's really amazing to see the scale of where

YouTube is today.

We have 10 hours of content being uploaded every single

minute of every single day.

The scale is amazing.

The platform really gives users the ability to reach an

audience in ways that you just really couldn't do three years

ago, and so much of our panel touched on that.

Another way to look at it is that we have over 7,200

feature length movies uploaded every single day.

Another way to look at it-- someone mentioned this on a

blog recently.

I can't remember who mentioned this--

but it's the equivalent of having 600 television channels

broadcasting original content 24 hours a day, which is not

bad considering that half of what's on television today are

Bowflex ads, and the other half are

Gilligan's Island reruns.

So you might say that not all the content on YouTube is as

interesting as the content on television.

But I'd argue that even the less watched content on

YouTube is deeply cared about by someone, someone really

loves that content.

I don't know anyone that cares about the Bowflex ads.

Woo, Bowflex!

So the most amazing part of all this, though, is really

the democratization of media.

That was really a big theme here on the panel, because

it's not 27 producers sitting in a room that's deciding what

gets popular on YouTube.

It's our community, it's the community that surfaces up the

best content, and I think that's really powerful.

I want to share a slide with you that we use internally all

the time to make the point that despite the scale and the

size of YouTube, we can't get fat and lazy, but we're going

to get led off to slaughter.

We know that we're only part of the way to our full

potential today.

We know that every day our users, our partners, and our

advertisers have new ideas for us or they struggle with

things that they want to do on YouTube.

So rest assured that we're taking this opportunity very

seriously, and we know we have a lot of

work ahead of ourselves.

So that brings me to the four core pieces of

what we do on YouTube.

The four core pieces of the user experience on YouTube

today, which is discovery, community,

distribution, and identity.

They all overlap at times, but its identity that we're really

focusing on here in the Santa Monica team.

So we're going to talk about that last.

So first discovery.

Discovery's all about helping you find the content that's

interesting and relevant to you, whether it's personal or


That means making sure that you can search for videos,

then you've got video recommendations, you can

browse through the content on our pages and really find

stuff that you want.

Users first get to videos a few different ways.

Friends email you a link, you find the embedded player on

another page, you've used the search engine on a home page,

and then once you're already watching a video there's a few

other ways that you get to videos after that.

You look at related videos, you search

from there, you browse.

We need to make sure that each of these experiences is really

as easy as possible for me to find what I want to watch.

Next, community.

Users interacting with other users is really the heartbeat

of YouTube.

There's a few different ways you can do that.

You can comment on a video, video responses, and then some

newer initiatives we're doing like streams, with streams

being a very interactive and social way to engage with

other users around video.

So this is something that we're currently testing out on

our TestTube site, so go ahead and check that out.

Next, around community, there is this little video called

Chocolate Rain.

I don't know if you guys have heard of this.

I really believe that this video wouldn't be where it is

today without the YouTube community, without people

contributing to it.

It was amazing to see the community come in and really

add this little narrative to the video.

A whole story to it that wouldn't be

there just on its own.

We've got 21 million watches on the video, hundreds of

thousands of comments, thousands of video responses,

and plenty of awesome parodies.

I love the McGruff, the crime dog-- that was awesome.

So the community's really critically important to what

we're doing on YouTube.

Next, distribution.

So the goal of our distribution strategy on

YouTube is to extend our reach beyond by allowing

you to discover and share videos wherever you are,

whether it's elsewhere on the web, or whether it's beyond

the browser on a mobile phone or a device.

Even today we announced a partnership with Hewlett

Packard allowing users with HP devices to participate in the

YouTube community.

Finally that brings us to identity, which is really the

focus of what we're doing here in Santa Monica.

It's really closely related to each of our other areas.

It's about you being at the center of your video

experience and giving you the tools and the ability to

represent yourself in the community.

To me, giving you that power to manage and broadcast your

identity is really the cornerstone in using the

YouTube platform to reach out, to be heard, and to make a

powerful impact.

Our recent YouTube Debates were a really

great example of that.

We learned that even snowmen can have a voice--


When we think about users, as well, we think about users in

a few different ways.

Like you've got users that obviously watch videos, you've

got users that upload videos, but then there's also users in

between, and they should also have voices as well on our

community, even if you don't upload videos.

I shouldn't need to have to upload a video in order to be

recognized and popular and successful

in the YouTube community.

We can affect that in a few small but significant ways,

like recent ratings and recent comments are things that we've

launched recently.

That really let me call out and showing my involvement in

the YouTube community there on my channel page.

So now I'd like to introduce you to Philo Juang who's one

of our tech leads on the Santa Monica team is going to talk

more about what we've been doing in the office.



My name is Philo, and I'm a software engineer here at

Google and YouTube.

When people ask me what do you do at Google, I always say,

well, I work on Google, and they usually tell me, oh, I

love Google.

Every day it helps me do something at work.

But then they ask me what do you do at Google.

And I say well, actually, I work on YouTube.

And then they say one of two things.

Usually either oh, I really love YouTube.

Or number two, I hate YouTube.

Yesterday I was at work and someone sent me a link to this

cat in the shower, and I lost the next three hours because I

kept on watching video after video after cat in the shower.

But anyway, working on YouTube is really an incredible


As Brian mentioned, we work on the things that revolve around

the identity, one of the core focus areas of YouTube.

And someone said we should come up with a team logo.

We put the You in YouTube.

Kind of like Uncle Sam, World War II.


Anyway, we build tools that personalize and customize, so

to speak, YouTube to your own personal experience.

For example, I'm a big soccer player.

One of my favorite soccer players' name is Kaka.

I hope that means something different in Brazil.

Because he's actually really darn good.

But some other people on YouTube are looking for music

videos, feature films, or people falling off

skateboards, cats in showers, who knows?

Why should we build a site that can figure these things

out and accommodate you in your space, you the user.

We just had five amazing filmmakers here with an

incredible amount of talent, and they had something

different to say for different audiences.

Why can't we build a site that can make all of us feel

comfortable in our own space, and change YouTube

the way we like it?

That's what we're trying to accomplish

here in Santa Monica.

So this brilliant thing is that it's still a very

start-up feel.

As an engineer, what that means to me is that if you

come up with a great idea, you can spearheaded it onto the

web in front of millions of people really, really quickly.

And with identity, we build things that speak to people

directly, and you get great feedback that you can turn

around and act on right away.

More importantly, with the start-up feel, you can be

irreverent, have fun with the whole process I say.

For example, look, kittens in showers.

Come on, I don't care who you are, that's funny.

All right, back to serious stuff.

So this here hasn't been officially released yet.

It's still in Beta, but we're going to give

you all a sneak peek.

One of the big things that we're working on is

experimenting with a new personalized home page.

The goal is to bring videos that are interesting and

relevant to you right in front of you.

It's like your window to YouTube.

For example, your subscriptions, videos that

we'd like to recommend to you, feature videos that our crack

team experts up in the Bay area have picked out for you.

And other things like one of the filmmakers around here, I

think it was Arin, was talking about how if you want to get

an audience, you want to be able to have your friends

share videos with you, see what they're watching, see

what they're sharing.

Well we have something like that with the

friend activity module.

So you can be able to see what your friends are liking.

Maybe you find out that you don't really

like what they like.

It's all right.

But the point is to make it more personalized, you can

move these modules up, you can move them down, you can move

them entirely-- it's your space, and you can decide what

kind of videos you want to see, when you want to see

them, and where you want to see them.

On the flip side, we all know that you all like to send

funny and interesting videos to your friends and waste

their time, posting up on social networks.

So we made it easier to do this.

For example, if you're a Facebook user, when you click

Facebook, it should just show up in your mini feed.

Even better, what the site does is it now keeps track of

what you do if you're logged in.

So if you post a dig a lot instead of MySpace, the dig

link should move up to the top.

Same with the blog if you like to email your mom a lot or

something like that.

It should just be there immediately just for you.

There's a lot more that we don't have really much time to

go into, like more share options, but if you click the

link on your right, it'll show you a pretty nice list of

things that you can do.

So moving on more quickly, one way we can improve the

experience is also improve existing features that we

have. One example being the inbox, which we

brought from a--

we call it oh so 2005, which is not that long ago, but on

the web it's positively ancient.

And we've brought up something more modern, made it more

faster, make more usable.

So you can keep up with everything that's going on in

your inbox that much more quickly.

It's important for big feature film producers, people who

have a lot of people they're communicating with-- oops,

that was the wrong one--

because that way the people can keep in touch with their

audience faster and be able to be more responsive.

Going backwards, another example is the address book

where we centralized all the contact management, like your

friends, subscription, subscribers, all in one place.

You can add, remove, and changes to them so you don't

have to keep on searching for them wherever your subscribers

are, wherever your subscriptions are.

And just like the inbox, it's faster, freshly renovated.

My wife watches a lot of HDTV so I had to

throw that in there.

Anyway, one thing I wanted to call out is that we also have

a lot of fun working here at YouTube.

On April Fool's, YouTube wanted to

rickroll all of the users.

If you're not familiar with rickrolling, what you do is

you say this is the greatest video ever, or check this out,

women in bikinis.

And you even post up something like a face thumbnail to try

to lure people into clicking on your link.

And then what you do is you send them to this '80s video

of Rick Ashley just dancing around, singing, you know all

that '80s thing.

And you say ha-ha, we rickrolled you.

Anyway, so for the Santa Monica office, what we did was

built in a time bomb in there that went off on April Fool's

in 10 different countries around the world.

We got like seven million people and 45,000 enough that

were either irritated or got the joke or

whatever to post a comment.

Stuff like oh, you made the world good.

This is my favorite one here, be right back, killing myself.

I love the internet so much.

See, these other ones that number one, we can print, and

number two, were written in languages that we actually


So we had a couple ones in another language, I think it

was German or Russian or something, so we got some

friends to come and read them.

They said, you don't really want to know what that means.

It's kind of like you got me, you jerks.

But a lot less polite than that.

And on that note, I'd like to show you this video.

Actually, no, I'm just kidding.

We wouldn't rickroll you.

Anyway, thank you all for coming and listening to us.

We hope you had a great time.




BRIAN GLICK: Now we're going to open it up to Q&A, so if

you have any questions you could just line up on the mics

at the side.


I didn't even formulate it or anything, I

have a bunch of questions.

First of all, I'd like to know if you guys are looking into

bettering the compression method.

I know you just added that HQ thing, but I'd like it if it

was all HQ and we could get rid of all this crappy video

quality stuff.



I mean we did recently launch high quality videos, you saw

it, and it's dependent on the quality of the video that gets

uploaded to us.

So people have been uploading high quality videos for a

while, so we're working on refining that all the time.

AUDIENCE: What size do you consider high quality?

BRIAN GLICK: So the bit rate it needs to be, I don't know

that offhand.

But generally, we can take, what is it, I think up to a

pretty large file size.

So send us the highest quality video you have, and if we can,

we'll show that in high quality.

AUDIENCE: I also wanted to know about the front page.

I was kind of bummed out that you guys personalized it.

I think you have a ways to go with the personalization,

because honestly, I really like the featured videos a lot

more than seeing stuff that I think you guys through

algorithms or whatever think is related to the

videos that we like.

Like the features show stuff that's completely different

than anything that we would ever be able to find on our

own that's related to stuff that we've seen previously.

So I think that's--

it's just my opinion.

I think it's a step in the wrong direction.


I mean it's really about personalizing the

experience for you.

So if you like featured videos, you can move that up

to the top of the page.

We're really all about trying to help you discover content

across YouTube in all sorts of different ways, whether it is

featured, or whether it's your subscriptions, or whether it's

what your friends are up to.

Eventually as we evolve the page, we want to give you many

more options on ways to find content, and featured is a big

part of that.

But there's many other ways that our users tell us they

want to find content.


Why are favorites stopped at 500?

BRIAN GLICK: It's a good question.

PHILO JUANG: It's mainly for scalability reasons, mainly

because there are some people who were-- unfortunately,

there were some people who were abusing the feature, and

so yeah, we had to put in a limit somewhere.

But certainly that's something that we want to

ease off over time.

AUDIENCE: I've hit 500, so I can't favorite any more

videos, and I feel like I want to favorite videos.

So it's kind of bizarre that that hasn't been opened.

Second thing, my playlists, they're all stopped at 200,

which is kind of embarrassing if I'm collecting a playlist

of everything that has to do with an

amazing internet thing.

Well there's more than 200 videos that relate to that.

So now I have two playlists for the same thing.

So if I'm going to have some watch a whole playlist of

everything I've collected, now they can't do that.

So please open playlist up.

16 by 9, we all shoot in 16 by 9, it's 2008.

So what's the deal?

I don't want to be watching this weird black--

Is that coming?

BRIAN GLICK: It's one of those suggestions that we hear all

the time, so we're looking at that.

We're always focused on just try to build the best product

we can for our users.

AUDIENCE: The last thing is I'm subscribed to over 100

different YouTube channels--

BRIAN GLICK: Dude, you're a power user.

AUDIENCE: So you guys somehow cut it off at five pages.

So essentially, if I don't log into YouTube for one day, I'm

now missing videos from the people I'm subscribed to

because it only stops at five pages.

I can't see things that were posted 18 hours ago.

I can only see stuff that was 15 hours ago and above.

PHILO JUANG: That's definitely something that

we are working on.

Again, a lot of this stuff, unfortunately, was the site is

dying so we need to kind of do something to improve


But certainly, we know that this puts a limit on

legitimate uses.

That's something that I'm having my team work on in the

very near future.

BRIAN GLICK: Or you could just log in every half hour or so.

That would also solve that.

AUDIENCE: I'm a big fan of due to the 720P, HD,

wide screen, all that stuff.

And also, anyone can download my link if I want them to, the

.mob hi def file.

Can you just add that and we just let people

down it if we choose?

BRIAN GLICK: So like I said, tons of suggestions we're

hearing all the time, so we're focused on just trying to

build the best experience we can.

We'll see what we come up with the future.

One more question.

AUDIENCE: This is not easily solved and I know that, but

it's important.

As a filmmaker, comments on the internet are the most

worthless thing on the planet.

In terms of building community they're great.


Funny kitty video, comments can drive more views, awesome.

In terms of putting out film on the internet, which YouTube

kind of has both, comments really are not useful.

I would argue it's because of anonymity, and I'm not saying

you unmask all of