Digital Production Buzz
September 15, 2016
Al Mooney, Product Manager, Adobe Systems, Inc.
Michael Karg, Founder and Managing Director, The Interview People GmbH
Laura Blum, Blogger, FilmFestivals.com
Scott Page, CEO, Ignited Network
Cirina Catania, Founder and Lead Creative, The Catania Group
James DeRuvo, Film and Technology Reporter, DoddleNEWS
Larry Jordan: Tonight on The Buzz, we look at some of the big announcements coming out of IBC. We start with Al Mooney, the product manager for professional video at Adobe. He joins us to explain Adobe’s latest announcements on collaboration, virtual reality and the creative cloud, and then he explains what they mean.
Larry Jordan: Michael Karg co-founded the Interview Company in 2007 and since then it has expanded until it has outlets in more than 80 countries. Tonight, Michael joins us to explain what his company does, and how they’ve been so successful.
Larry Jordan: Laura Blum, contributing writer for Thalo.com begins a three part series on films of the Arab Spring. This uprising began in 2010, and now is filtering into feature films.
Larry Jordan: Scott Page continues his five part series on growing a successful creative business using his SPACE process. Tonight he looks at converting fans into dollars.
Larry Jordan: And after nine years, we’re saying goodbye to supervising producer Cirina Catania. We look back at the last decade of The Buzz and think about some of her favorite interviews.
Larry Jordan: All this, plus a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo. The Buzz starts now.
Announcer: Since the dawn of digital filmmaking – authoritative – one show serves a worldwide network of media professionals – current – uniting industry experts: production, filmmakers, post production and content creators around the planet – distribution. From the media capital of the world in Los Angeles, California, The Digital Production Buzz goes live now.
Larry Jordan: And welcome to The Digital Production Buzz, the world’s longest running podcast for the creative content industry covering media production, post production and marketing around the world. My name is Larry Jordan.
Larry Jordan: Well, like any bee in the spring, each fall IBC pushes our industry in a new direction, and tonight is the first of two shows looking at the major announcements at IBC. This week we’re talking with Adobe Systems. Next week, we’ll talk with Blackmagic Design, Boris FX, Cooke Optics and Ned Soltz. Between acquisitions and new products, there are major changes this month. Also something we learned as we researched The Buzz audience. We said a better understanding of film criticism improves the films that we create, so we invited Laura Blum, film critic and writer to become a regular on the show to expand our coverage and our creative thinking.
Larry Jordan: These are times of change in our industry and for this show. After nine years we’re saying goodbye to our long time producer, Cirina Catania. It’s been a long, exciting and eventual trip and we get to chat with her one more time, tonight.
Larry Jordan: I also want to remind you to subscribe to our free weekly show newsletter at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Every issue, every week, gives you an inside look at The Buzz quick links to the different segments on the show, and curated articles of special interest to film makers. Best of all, every issue is free.
Larry Jordan: Now it’s time for a DoddleNEWS update with James DeRuvo, the senior writer for DoddleNEWS. Hello James, what’s the latest?
James DeRuvo: Hi Larry. Well, the big story this week is Lytro CEO Jon Karafin saying that the company is working on a handheld version of their light field cinema camera. It’s that iconic rectangular shape tube camera and what it can do is it can capture all the light available in 3D space and it enables you to adjust everything from focus, ISO to shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, you can adjust it all, after the fact, after you take the picture and after you make the video. They came out last year with a … model.
Larry Jordan: OK, so we’ve got a possible light field camera which can be handheld. What else do we have for news?
James DeRuvo: Atomos updated the Shogun Inferno external monitor recorder this week. It can now record 4K 60 and it comes with AtomHDR engine with ten stops of dynamic range and the seven inch ultra-bright monitor has 1500 nits so you don’t even need a hood to view it in bright daylight. It shoots in several different kinds of RAW and wide screen and 4:3, and it’s a really super cool external monitor recorder that’s really ridiculously bright.
Larry Jordan: You know, I’ve been thinking, we’ve got a lot of production stuff, but is there anything that helps us get the scripts written?
James DeRuvo: Well, Final Draft released their version ten this week.
Larry Jordan: Oh wow.
James DeRuvo: And the big takeaway is that you’ll be able to collaborate in the cloud with anybody around the world, so it’s like having a virtual writer’s room and it comes with the ability to have a bird’s eye view of your story structure through Story Maps, Beat Boards and Structure Points. And you can jump in and out between any point on the script, move things around, and it has really cool new features. The one I really like though, it has Alternate Dialog options that you can actually save in the script file, so that if you want to just see where your dialog can take you, you can actually use different dialog and see how it plays. And it’s on sale right now for 30 percent off until September 26th, so you can pick it up for 169 bucks, or 79 bucks for an upgrade.
Larry Jordan: Yes I know, but the thing that was impressive to me, is I had to drag you away from your computer tonight to be able to do this report. What’s the latest on social media?
James DeRuvo: Well, social media history is being made this week because tonight, Twitter for the very first time is streaming the NFL. So go to Twitter right now, and watch the New York Jets play at Buffalo Bill’s, live in HD and it’s gorgeous.
Larry Jordan: I’m surprised I was able to get your attention at all for this report tonight. That’s very impressive.
James DeRuvo: Well I’m ready for some football Larry.
Larry Jordan: You know, one of the things that impressed me about that light field camera, is that not only can you focus it after the fact, it actually records a 3D picture, so you can get a sense of walking around the image as opposed to just a standard 2D picture. I’m really excited about what this handheld camera can do.
James DeRuvo: Yes but the big challenge that we’re going to have is that the file sizes are 400 gigabytes per second of video. So it requires this ridiculously huge supporting trailer that has servers in it to do all the recording. It’s going to be quite a challenge to get all that down into a handheld feature. But if they do, it could really change the way we make movies.
Larry Jordan: And James, what website for people that want to stay current with you?
James DeRuvo: All these stories and more can be found at DoddleNEWS.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s DoddleNEWS.com. James DeRuvo is the senior writer and James, thanks for joining us, we’ll talk to you soon.
Larry Jordan: I want to introduce you to a new website, Thalo.com. Thalo.com is an artist community and networking site for creative people to connect, be inspired and showcase their creativity. Thalo.com features content from around the world with a global perspective on all things creative. Thalo is the place for creative folks to learn, collaborate, market and sell their works. Thalo is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers, and story tellers from photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between. Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Visit Thalo.com and discover how their community can help you connect, learn and succeed. That’s Thalo.com.
Larry Jordan: Al Mooney is the senior product manager for professional video at Adobe. He’s responsible for the overall strategy of video editing and content creation from mobile to desktop. And he has been busy this week. Hello, Al welcome.
Al Mooney: Hey Larry, how you doing?
Larry Jordan: You know, it’s not how I’m doing, it’s how you’re doing. First you’re a new father. Second you go to IBC, and third you change the world with all your announcements. Have you had any sleep in the last week?
Al Mooney: I actually, to be honest with you, cheated this year. My beloved daughter came six weeks early and so I did not go to IBC I think for the first time in 15 or so years. I relied on my wonderful team mates to tell our exciting stories for me. Yes, being a new father is a bit too much of a handful to travel to Europe.
Larry Jordan: Well many congratulations.
Al Mooney: Thank you so much.
Larry Jordan: So let’s get right to it. What did Adobe announce at IBC?
Al Mooney: So as usual we went to IBC with a whole host of new things to reveal for our digital video audio products. New features are coming to pretty much all the key products. If I start with Premiere Pro, we had a really exciting thing, which is a whole new way for creative people to work together, as we’re seeing more and more the desire to collaborate across boundaries, across borders. So we revealed a new piece of technology which is based on something we’ve had before called ‘Anywhere,’ and this is a thing called ‘Team Project.’ Basically, what this lets you do is, as a user of either Premiere Pro or indeed Prelude or After Effects, instead of working on a project which is locally staged to your machine, you work inside a team project. That’s something that we host on Creative Cloud, and it means you’re able to collaborate across the different disciplines, and work fundamentally on the same project. It’s very powerful. It’s a deep collaboration service, does all the things you’d need it to like version control, conflict resolution, all of that stuff. You can work with centralized media if you’re in that kind of a workflow, or indeed local media. You can even use Creative Sync, which is our Creative Cloud technology for enabling people to sync media, to work with proxy files to ensure everyone’s got the same pieces of media locally synchronized. To work together, every time you’ve done something, you single click, upload your changes, single click for those guys, downloads those changes to them and we can all work inside that same project that’s managed remotely. So that’s a really powerful new way of working with team members.
Larry Jordan: Well you’re calling these reveals. I would call them announcements. What’s a reveal mean to you?
Al Mooney: We just use the term reveal because basically when we go to these shows, we are talking only about the features, we’re not discussing things like timing or pricing. It’s just a slightly different piece of terminology. That’s the word we’re encouraged to use so I’m just making sure I play the right game.
Larry Jordan: So you’re using reveal to say this is features, but you haven’t announced ship dates and pricing yet?
Al Mooney: That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Larry Jordan: Well, does Team Projects, which is a wonderful piece of collaboration software, does that require Adobe Anywhere, because the hardware specs for Adobe Anywhere are pretty steep?
Al Mooney: That’s a great question, and I should have mentioned it. No, that’s the beauty of it, or one of the many beauties of it. Absolutely no additional hardware is required and even better than that, no additional knowledge. That’s the great thing, the After Effects person sits in front of After Effects, Premiere Pro person, Premiere Pro. Prelude, Prelude. Really, there’s about two or three pieces of new UI, a little share icon and a little download changes icon, things like a history slider, so you can go back to previous versions. But you’re just using the same machine you were using on the previous version and we’re managing everything in Creative Cloud. So there’s no new costs for hardware whatsoever.
Larry Jordan: Well as soon as somebody says they’re managing stuff on the cloud, we read every day about new hacks to cloud services from the rich and famous, down to the small and insignificant. What’s Adobe doing to assure security for our media and our projects?
Al Mooney: Well I think the most important thing to answer about that is if you’re talking to media organizations, generally their primary fear, paranoia, or whatever, is the media itself. So, Marvel don’t want their stuff stolen for example. But the great thing is, because this is working fundamentally with local media, as I say if you’re on a shared storage infrastructure you can still do this, but we’re not doing anything with media. All we’re doing is managing a database that understands who the users are on a certain team project, and what changes have been made. Of course this is all encrypted at a very high level, Adobe is constantly looking at ways to improve security and it’s extremely important to us. But in terms of what’s up there, really it’s just fundamentally encrypted edit decisions and so on, so there really should be no concern about losing important crucial pieces of media at all because we just don’t deal with media. That’s something that’s local.
Larry Jordan: So to get a picture of this in my own head, if I’ve got a team of editors working centrally off a server, what you’re allowing them to do is to share information about their projects, but the media is still stored internally on the server?
Al Mooney: That’s precisely correct. So those guys would need a connection to the internet obviously, such that they could use the Creative Cloud service to manage all the collaboration. And like I say, that’s what changes have been made in the comp, what changes have been made in the edit. There’s a title here. All those kind of things, everything except the media. So if I was in a facility working on shared storage, that’s one way of doing it. But like I say, the other thing is you can just keep local copies. Now if you want, you could use Creative Cloud to sync those pieces of media, that’s an option you have. But we’re not telling you you have to do that. As long as everyone has access to similar media, there’s a thing called the ‘Media Management Panel’ which lets every user link directly to their similar repository of media, and then once again, it’s really just all about sharing the changes and the decisions that you make creatively.
Larry Jordan: Philip Hodgetts said last week as he was talking about this, that this is really the one last strength that Avid Media Composer has. That now Adobe is going head to head with Avid on collaboration. Do you see it being directly comparable?
Al Mooney: I’m not going to say it’s directly comparable. The way Avid have done it is not the same as us. We’re very much leveraging what we have with the Creative Cloud and that back end. But I will say that the fundamental notion of making it easy for people to work together is something that’s extremely important to us, and you’ve seen this with various other things in Creative Cloud too. Things like libraries, like creative sync and making it very easy for people to share their creative ideas and so on. It’s hugely important to us, so that’s what it’s all about. Making it easy for people to work together wherever they are.
Larry Jordan: Before I change the subject to virtual reality, because you mentioned libraries, I have to ask, can we now put video up to a library?
Al Mooney: That is still not supported right now. We know people want to do it, but there’s some technical issues that we’re overcoming. You can have your stock video as part of the library, but in terms of using libraries to share actual pieces of video media, it’s currently still not there I’m afraid, but like I say you can use things like Creative Sync, shared folders within there to overcome that problem. So there’s ways over Creative Cloud to share media, it’s just not something that’s inside libraries right now.
Larry Jordan: Well tell your engineers to have it working by Tuesday would you please?
Al Mooney: Certainly Larry, anything for you.
Larry Jordan: What’s happening to virtual reality?
Al Mooney: VR is fascinating. As you know, it’s been such a juggernaut in the industry, I’m so excited that we adopted it when we did. People are really using Premiere a lot to make VR content, and so what we’ve done this time is focused on making it easier to get started and just make the experience a lot more pleasant. So whereas in the current shipping version you need to tell us what you’ve got, you need to tell us that it’s a piece of VR media, you need to tell us what kind of VR media it is. Is it monoscopic, what kind of stereo etcetera? All of that goes away with the next release, so we have a model which we call ‘Auto Detection,’ so we’re just going to read method data in that media. We know it’s VR, you’re going to import it, you’re going to throw it on a sequence, and then you just need to click the VR button to start working. So just taking those multiple steps of having to wrangle settings away from the user, have them be able to just get being creative straight away, is one big thing.
Larry Jordan: Go ahead.
Al Mooney: We’re also enabling people to hide those controls, so we have pan and tilt controls in the interface, but actually we’ve found that what most people do is they like to click and drag directly on the media that is intuitive to them, it’s the way people expect to work. So you can hide those VR controls and just make that VR media even bigger. Loads of other things, but I guess those are the two directly obviously user facing features.
Larry Jordan: What’s happening with After Effects?
Al Mooney: After Effects is all about performance. They’ve done a whole bunch of stuff recently. As you’ve probably seen, all the last releases have been about performance. The support for Team Projects is in After Effects as well. They have the brand new 3D renderer, they’ve got the Maxon C40 standard render in there, that’s a fast multi threaded 3D renderer, and it lets you do things like text extrusion, beveling, advanced 3D inside After Effects that’s fast and easily accessible to people who maybe haven’t used 3D before. It’s faster, a lot more use of the GPU, in general, in terms of what’s happening, within a comp, but also a lot of their effects are now being imported to the GPU. I think it’s four, I need to check, but I believe four new effects come to the GPU so you’re going to feel that it’s snappier, more responsive. Things like playing back footage, whereas we used to need you to cache frames, now for the vast majority of source footage that you’re playing back, you hit play and it’s just going to go. So snappier, faster, new 3D renderer, all about performance this go round.
Larry Jordan: I was watching a video where Carl Solay is making faces to his monitor. What’s going on with Character Animator?
Al Mooney: And what wonderful faces they are. I wanted to export those frames and keep them as my desktop image. Character Animator has come on in leaps and bounds. I’ll just call out a couple of really exciting things that’s happened with that. For those of you who don’t know Character Animator allows you to animate characters simply by moving your face in front of your camera. It’s very powerful and it’s being used far and wide. So the live ‘Simpsons’ episode that aired a couple of months back, Homer Simpson himself was being driven by Dan Castellanata via Character Animator. Things like Cartoon Donald Trump and stuff like that you’ve seen on late night TV, all using Character Animator. So that’s really exciting in itself. A bunch of new features as well, the most notable one is we’re now going to have dynamic link support for Character Animator. That means instead of having to export your project as a piece of footage, bring it in to Premiere Pro, you can have that, if you will, live connection so you’re going to bring it in as if it’s a piece of footage, any changes you make are just going to update in real time, just like they do with After Effects.
Al Mooney: Really important is a new file type for Character Animator, the dot puppet. It gathers everything you need into a single place so it makes it much easier to share with your team members and so on. Improved things like eye gaze, being able to record eye gaze movements separately. It’s always such a fun thing to talk about this. Improvements with performance in general with big puppets as well, so big things happening there too. We’re really excited by Character Animator. Like I say, the way it’s being used is just tremendous, so exciting to watch.
Larry Jordan: You’re improving the audio in Premiere. Are you migrating the audio engine from Audition into Premiere?
Al Mooney: What we’ve done this time is we’ve introduced a lot of new audio effects in Premiere Pro. They are the same audio effects that appear in Audition and that does a bunch of things. Firstly if you’re a Premiere Pro user it means you’ve got new well performing great sounding high DPR UI effects. That’s important, we needed to modernize our audio effects in Premiere, and we’re really done that. It also means that your workflow from Audition improves automatically. We’ve done a lot with Audition improving its workflows with Premiere Pro recently, supporting things like dynamic link, … frames and so on, but now if you use those effects in Premiere Pro you pass them over to Audition, you’re going to see those effects perfectly brought over. So really we’ve been focusing on making the effects layers as similar as possible to improve integration between the two applications.
Larry Jordan: So when are you going to ship all this stuff?
Al Mooney: I am not at liberty to answer that question, you know that, I can’t believe you asked me. No, if you look back at the way we’ve done it, you can probably get a fairly good idea, but right now it’s all about the features, we’re just telling our wonderful customers what’s coming next and hopefully sooner rather than later.
Larry Jordan: And where do they go on the web to learn more?
Al Mooney: There’s two places you should go. There’s adobe.com, all the information’s there, and also just Google ‘The Creative Cloud Blog’ and see all of our videos and blog articles that detail all of these things that are coming soon.
Larry Jordan: Al Mooney, senior product manager for professional video at Adobe, thank you so very much, we’ll talk to you soon.
Al Mooney: It’s always a pleasure Larry, take care.
Larry Jordan: Bye bye.
Larry Jordan: Laura Blum is a filmfestivals.com blogger, a Thalo.com contributing writer, and a former film and television development executive with Sony BMG. Hello Laura, welcome back.
Laura BLum: Happy to be here.
Larry Jordan: I’m interested in your thoughts about a new wave of films looking at the Arab Spring which was a series of protests and riots that began in Tunisia in the winter of 2010. What are you seeing?
Laura BLum: What we’re seeing Larry are a lot of films. We’re five to six years after the Arab Spring, and we’re starting to see something of a new wave of social dramas and genre movies.
Larry Jordan: How did the media first cover the Arab Spring?
Laura BLum: You saw a lot of documentaries at first so anybody with a smartphone took to the street, and folks were out there filming what was going on. So what you saw was just a spate of you are there documentaries. They went viral, you and I saw them, and they also made the rounds at festivals. A lot of these came out of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, other countries, and I absolutely loved a wisecrack that Variety put over which was “Democracy did not always win out, but documentary absolutely did.” I just thought that really summed it up.
Larry Jordan: How did narrative films borrow from the original documentaries at this time?
Laura BLum: They were dealing with a lot of the underlying issues, some of the contradictions and frustrations that triggered the upheaval in the first place. You’ve got some themes like tradition versus rebellion, political and or world surveillance, cultural pressures of shame and fear, individual freedom versus collective responsibility, and it’s fun to watch that a lot of the new film makers are millennials and they are pushing back against social restrictions.
Larry Jordan: How did the films portray this push back against social restrictions? What cultural pressures were these films dealing with?
Laura BLum: Some of the films I actually want to talk about, one in particular is ‘As I Open My Eyes,’ by a Tunisian film maker. It, like the other films I want to talk about, centers on mother daughter relationships. So you have a lot of these tensions and some of what’s going on here is in order to portray the larger society, in this film and in a lot of the other ones, this film unfolds in three acts. You’ve got family, society and poverty. And the film maker, Layla Bouzid, said, and I quote, “To solve the problems of society, you have to start with the family.”
Larry Jordan: But why mother daughter relationships? Why not father son?
Laura BLum: Great question Larry. Women are the repository of honor in traditional Arab society. And of course that’s changing, but there’s still a very firm bedrock there where women are how a family feels honor, and conversely, shame.
Larry Jordan: You know Laura, there’s a lot more to talk about with these films because I’d like to get a sense of some individual examples of new narrative films on the Arab Spring. Can we bring you back next week to talk more specifics?
Laura BLum: With pleasure.
Larry Jordan: Laura Blum is a Thalo.com contributing writer and a filmfestivals.com blogger and Laura, as always, it’s a delight having you on the show. Thanks.
Laura BLum: Thank you.
Larry Jordan: Scott Page is a musician, technologist and serial entrepreneur. He currently serves as the CEO of Ignited Network which is a start up music accelerator, focused on teaching artists how to think like a start up. Hello Scott, welcome back.
Scott Page: Hi Larry. Good to see you, good to be back.
Larry Jordan: It’s always wonderful to hear your cheerful voice at the other end of the mic. We are in the middle of a conversation on what you call the SPACE process. This is a five step process that we can follow to grow our business. We’ve learned so far that S, which stands for story, is how we describe our business and our passion to others. P, which stands for plan, is a method of setting goals for ourselves and our company. A, which stands for army, is a group of people committed to enabling our brand to grow. So what does C stand for?
Scott Page: C is the big one, it stands for conversion. And this is where I find most all these businesses or these small artist owned businesses fall down. They know how to make stuff, but they don’t understand how what they call conversion funnels work. And today we have all these new techniques, we have science now in data to tell us how do we move somebody through the process. So conversion funnel is really like the first time you get to talk to somebody, you invite them, and let’s take an online conversion funnel. If you find somebody online and you send them to a landing page, they at least got to the landing page, and then we want them to do something, we want them to convert. We want them to give us their email, so whatever the copy landing page says, we get them to input their email. Now we have their email, the next step is what’s the welcome email? They’ve just got onboard it, they signed up to whatever your offer was, now the next funnel is the welcome email, or the welcome experience. And then that needs to lead into the next thing, what am I going to offer? So how do I move people through the funnel to build trust, because to get people to buy and to get people involved in what you’re doing, a lot of times it really takes the trust. So these conversion funnels are techniques that are now well defined, and I suggest that anybody out there listening to start with just Google conversion funnels and start learning how to use those. But the converting part of getting somebody to actually pay for your product, is where it falls down and we now need to use the science that we have to really help us go through that.
Larry Jordan: Well we’ve talked about the fact that we need to build trust between our audience and us, so that they feel comfortable buying whatever product it is that we’re selling. What should we not do? What tears down conversion rates?
Scott Page: Being too forceful in the beginning. You’ve got to be very careful about ‘the ask.’ And what I mean by that, a lot of times, the first thing they ask is go buy something, go do something, so the key is to build that trust through the relationships, through the conversations you have, and once you can build that trust people will then do it. So the most important thing is not to try to be hard sell right out of the gate, because that usually turns people off.
Larry Jordan: So it sounds like what a conversion funnel is a series of steps that we can follow that bring people into the fold until they finally feel comfortable opening up their check book and sharing it in our direction?
Scott Page: Absolutely, and again, this is very well defined, and you can start learning how these conversion funnels work. But that technique and that understanding is really important.
Larry Jordan: OK, we’ve got four letters. We’ve got one to go. Can we bring you back next week to wrap it all up and discuss the letter E?
Scott Page: Let’s do it.
Larry Jordan: Scott, where can we go on the web to learn more about you?
Scott Page: That’s Ignited.network.
Larry Jordan: Scott Page is the CEO of Ignited Network at ignited.network, not .com, ignited.network. Scott Page, thanks for joining us today.
Scott Page: Thanks Larry.
Larry Jordan: Here’s another website I want to introduce you to. Doddlenews.com. DoddleNEWS gives you a portal into the broadcast, video and film industries. It’s a leading online resource, presenting news, reviews and products for the film and video industry. DoddleNEWS also offers a resource guide and crew management platforms specifically designed for production. These digital call sheets, along with their app, directory and premium listings, provide in depth organizational tools for busy production professionals. DoddleNEWS is a part of the Thalo Arts Community, a worldwide community of artists, film makers and story tellers. From photography to film making, performing arts to fine arts, and everything in between, Thalo is filled with resources you need to succeed. Whether you want the latest industry news, need to network with other creative professionals or require state of the art online tools to manage your next project, there’s only one place to go. Doddlenews.com.
Larry Jordan: Michael Karg is the founder and managing director of The Interview People, started in 2007 with his partner Matthias Wuerfl, The Interview People was highlighted as one of the 50 most innovative start ups in 2012. Hello Michael, welcome.
Michael Karg: Hello Larry.
Larry Jordan: So how would you describe The Interview People?
Michael Karg: Well The Interview People is a niche agency. We provide text and images to media worldwide. Magazines and newspapers can come to our platform and look for a content, be it features, interviews or images. And they can license it then for their publication.
Larry Jordan: It’s almost like stock footage except you’re doing interviews rather than images.
Michael Karg: Yes that’s right. We ourselves don’t do the interviews. We receive interviews done by journalists working for publishers that we incorporate with, or freelance journalists who submit their interviews to our platform and we offer it to the media.
Larry Jordan: Why did you decide to start the company?
Michael Karg: Actually it all started with Matthias. Back in the day he was a freelance journalist himself and he has done a lot of interviews with pop stars and musicians, and as a freelancer he started from the beginning to look for magazines, mainly in Germany, who were interested in those interviews. Then the idea came up that we could do this on a broader basis, internationally, not only with his content but also with content from others. And from then we also decided that we approach publishers, and came up with many UK publishers like the Telegraph, Times, Independent, and they were actually quite eager to participate. They run their own syndication department, but we have quite a good approach and connection to the market through many magazines, so we are incorporating with them now for years, and have a lot of very good content.
Larry Jordan: Are all of your interviews designed for print? Or do you do audio or video interviews as well?
Michael Karg: Actually they’re all designed for print. However, all our interviews that we receive from freelance journalists are all on tape so they would also be suitable for radio and when we started the whole thing we not only approached the print market, and the digital online market, but also the radio market. But we found it was very hard to actually market interviews in the radio market because firstly there are a lot of small radio stations who would be interested, but somehow lacked the budget, or also already have quite good services. So we focused then on the print and online market.
Larry Jordan: Who are some of your typical customers?
Michael Karg: Typical customers are international magazines like Marie Claire, Elle or Playboy, and also national newspapers all around the world. But we also have a lot of smaller publications which are quite successful in their territories, so we are not only going out to the English speaking market or the German speaking market, but we have climbed more than 80 territories, so it’s always exciting seeing which languages the content appears in.
Larry Jordan: 80 countries. That’s a lot of distribution.
Michael Karg: Absolutely. It’s not like we have 100 clients in every country. Sometimes it’s just one client, but like in Mongolia, for example, we had one client. But yes, it’s always nice to receive the copies and see the credit printed in foreign letters.
Larry Jordan: How do you get the interviews? I know that you started with Matthias’ work, but how do you get interviews now? Are you soliciting freelance journalists to send them to you?
Michael Karg: Yes, on the one hand we’re incorporating with some freelance journalists for years now, so it’s routine now that they send through their content and we offer it. On the other hand, we’re incorporating with publishers and scan their content on a daily basis and see what kind of content they have, then we pick and go from there.
Larry Jordan: What types of interviews are the most popular?
Michael Karg: Celebrity interviews from movie business and also music business, but we found also that the fashion industry gains a lot of attention, so there are a lot of fashion designers or models which are quite popular for editors. But we have a lot of interviews with people from the arts, literature, politics, sports, especially now with the Olympics for example, Usain Bolt’s interview was highly sought. So it’s a very wide range of interviews that appeal to the market.
Larry Jordan: It sounds like these interviews are not breaking news, but more evergreen, where they’re not dated, you can run them at any time? Is that true?
Michael Karg: That’s correct yes. We did deliberately not focus on any news because the news market has some big players like Reuters, Bloomberg, and they operate on a very large scale. So for us it’s simply not manageable to get the news, and the name defines that it’s just for one or two days and that’s it. Our content is actually more long term. Sometimes we even sell interviews which are from last year because it’s an interesting interview, if there’s timeless quotes, if things haven’t changed that much they are still worthy, so for us it’s better to have this long term content. I mentioned we have a lot of magazines, and they have to prepare their magazines for example, now for December. So when they print the interview, it should still be somehow important and newsworthy too for the readers.
Larry Jordan: Is there a type of interview that is in demand that you can’t get enough of, you wish you could have more of a particular type of interview?
Michael Karg: Not really. I have to say that in the course of all the years we’ve built up a large network. It’s never enough of course, but I would say we have a really good portfolio. On the other hand, we are always eager to receive interest so if anybody has interesting interviews or story that they have written, they are absolutely welcome.
Larry Jordan: And if they do, and if they submit them, can they make money from your site?
Michael Karg: Yes, absolutely. We have a 50/50 share with our freelance writers, so whenever we make a deal, we report this deal to them, we send them a status report, and at the point when we receive the money from our client, we forward the freelance journalist their share.
Larry Jordan: What are your plans for the future? What’s the next step?
Michael Karg: Actually we’re just working on a new content program, because in recent years the market has got more difficult, and we found that some publishers are interested in content but don’t have the budget. So we try to find new ways that we can still offer the content to publishers, but monetize it maybe in a different way, so we’re working on a model where we’re taking a third partner from the advertising industry, because what publishers do have is ad space, and so, maybe we can monetize content via this way.
Larry Jordan: For people who want more information about your company, where can they go on the web?
Michael Karg: They can just go to HYPERLINK “http://www.theinterviewpeople.com” www.theinterviewpeople.com.
Larry Jordan: That’s all one word. Theinterviewpeople.com. Theinterviewpeople.com and Michael Karg is the co-founder and managing director for The Interview People, and Michael, thank you very much for joining us today.
Michael Karg: You’re very welcome, it was a pleasure talking to you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Cirina Catania has been producing The Buzz for the last nine years, and has booked almost 1400 interviews for this show during that time. But what you may not know, is that she’s also a successful writer, director, journalist, and tech evangelist. She’s a former senior marketing executive at MGM UA, and United Artists, and is one of the original co-founders of The Sundance Film Festival. Hello Cirina, welcome back.
Cirina Catania: Hi Larry. Boy we have some history don’t we?
Larry Jordan: I tell you, we do indeed. You know, it’s a delight to welcome you back to the show, but I’m truly sad to announce that you’re moving on to greater things. What’s happening?
Cirina Catania: I know. Well we’re still going to be in the same big sandbox. For the last five months I’ve been struggling with data hacks that I had, and in the process of that, I really started examining what I was doing. I’m a very creative person, and like all creatives we have to renew our sources of inspiration and look for new beginnings so I decided that after all these years, especially with the new owners of The Buzz, you and Stephen Ross and Page and all our wonderful new regulars, and then with Debbie Price really ready to step up, if I was going to do it now’s the time, so I am headed out into some new places. Big ideas, big spaces right?
Larry Jordan: Sounds wonderful, but let’s take a look back for just a second. What were some of the highlights in producing the show, aside from the lost sleep?
Cirina Catania: Even if you’re making a film, you still have to do The Buzz and you don’t sleep for 48 hours at a time. Yes, that was fun. Oh I don’t know, I think back at all of the discoveries that we made. Just finding people who were starting out and watching them grow over the years. People like Philip Bloom or iOgrapher or even Frame io that’s going after a $10 million investment source now, and look at Rampant Design and people like Wes Plate with Auto Duck. I looked at my key ring today and I saw the beer opener with the duck on it. So you know, watching people that I can find in my research and through friends, and bringing them on The Buzz and introducing them to our listeners and then over the last nine years watching them grow. You know, when we first started The Buzz, Soundcut was on version six probably?
Larry Jordan: Version four.
Cirina Catania: Version four, my goodness. So Apple, and Adobe and all of those companies have really grown. It’s just watching history unfold I think.
Larry Jordan: You have a gift for being able to spot trends before they become a trend. I’ve always been amazed at that in you. As you look at it, how has tech and media changed over the last ten years? I mean, you produce shows on a regular basis, what’s struck you?
Cirina Catania: I think it’s changed a lot because we’ve gone from using large crews to using smaller crews. The budgets have shrunk and I think that clients are wanting more for less and that’s been stretching a lot of creatives, and I think we’ve tried to be as helpful as we can on The Buzz to help them monetize what they do. Help them understand that they’re not alone, and can give them guidance with new tech and the gear and the gadgets that we all love so much. So I think we’ve been able to help.
Larry Jordan: If you had to prognosticate on what’s going to happen in the future in media, what would you guess?
Cirina Catania: I really think the more things change, the more they stay the same. We’re going to have creatives doing their best to tell stories as best they can and using whatever new technologies develop. It might be new cameras, it might be 4K, 8K, 10K, 100K, it really doesn’t matter. The techniques might change, but it’s still all about storytelling, and I think that the world of creativity’s not going to change. And that’s why I really want to keep being a tech evangelist out there and working with my team at Lumberjack and you know Blackmagic’s coming to New York to talk. I’m going to the all American high school film festival at the beginning of October. Yeah, working with young people and mentoring, as I get older then I can turn around and mentor other people and go to user groups and watching people come up to you afterwards and answering their questions and seeing how excited everybody is. Also, being able to finish my film., that’s going to be really nice. But, hopefully, you know, we can still do The Buzz once in a while.
Larry Jordan: Oh I would be sad if that didn’t happen. And thinking of that, nobody can take your place, but we have a new producer who’s going to be wearing the producer hat.
Cirina Catania: Yes, I’m very excited. Debbie Price, there’s nobody better. She’s been producing NAD for several years now so everybody knows her, she’s been with you for something like 11 years. I can’t think of anybody better, and that’s another reason why, if I was going to make this transition, now’s the best time to do it. You know, I feel like my baby has grown up and is going off to college, and there’s some great professors going to take really good care of her.
Larry Jordan: Now you’re forcing me to wear a clean shirt. For people that want to keep track of the films when you finally get them done, and the other projects you’re working on, where can we go on the web to keep track of you?
Cirina Catania: Go to thecataniagroup.com and that’s my last name, thecataniagroup.com.
Larry Jordan: And the supervising producer of The Buzz and film maker in her own right, Cirina Catania is the head of The Catania Group, thecataniagroup.com. Cirina, giant hug, thank you for all of your hard work.
Cirina Catania: Thank you Larry.
Larry Jordan: Take care, bye bye.
Cirina Catania: Hug back to you and thanks to everyone that’s helped over the years.
Larry Jordan: Take care.
Larry Jordan: You know, it’s a time of change in the industry, and it’s a time of change for the show, but I think there’s some really exciting things coming that I’m looking forward to seeing and I wish Cirina the very best, and I wish Debbie great success as she takes over from some very very large shoes.
Larry Jordan: I want to thank our guests tonight, Al Mooney from Adobe Systems, Michael Karg, The Interview People, Laura Blum, filmfestivals.com and Thalo.com, Scott Page, Ignited Network, James DeRuvo, DoddleNEWS and the inimitable Cirina Catania with The Catania Group.
Larry Jordan: There’s a lot of history in our industry and it’s all posted to our website at digitalproductionbuzz.com. Here you’ll find thousands of interviews, all of them online and all available to you today, a capsule of the industry for the last ten years. And remember to sign up for our free weekly show newsletter that comes out every Friday. Talk with us on Twitter @DPBuZZ and Facebook at digitalproductionbuzz.com.
Larry Jordan: Our theme music is composed by Nathan Dugi-Turner with additional music provided by Smartsound.com. Text transcripts are provided by Take1 Transcription. Visit Take1.tv to learn how they can help you. Our producer for tonight’s show is Debbie Price with assistance tonight from Cirina Catania.
Larry Jordan: My name is Larry Jordan and on behalf of all of us, we wish Cirina the very best, and thank you for joining us for the Digital Production Buzz.