Thursday, February 5, 2009

Joss Whedon's Plan to Monetize Internet Content

A very interesting interview with Joss from Knowledge@Wharton

Joss talks about Dr Horrible and what if should mean for the web video business

 "..Joss Whedon wants to change the way Hollywood does business. While Whedon works inside the studio system on major projects, he also hopes to blaze a trail on the Internet for creating and monetizing independently produced content. In doing so, he is confronting what he terms the 'homogenized, globalized, monopolized entertainment system' "

It's an in-depth interview and Joss also talks about the deal with the writers, cast and crew:

"Knowledge@Wharton: Several numbers have been quoted regarding the overall cost of "Dr. Horrible" -- "low six-figures"; "around $200,000" -- can you set the record straight?

Whedon: We got so much of this done through people doing us favors -- department heads and people who have access to things. But you've got to pay your day-to-day crew. The actors all did it for nothing. And we all did it for nothing. So, the production costs alone -- the basic costs of filming the thing, and getting the locations, props and everything -- ran a little over $200,000.

We had a secondary budget drawn up in case of a profit, wherein we were trying to find rates for Internet materials. In some cases they didn't exist. We used models that had been created by the guild for repurposed, or reused, material that we used for original [content], because this had never come up before.

We didn't want to leave a sour taste and say, "Well, we made some money off of you guys being kind." It was like: No, everybody has to benefit from what they've done, obviously not enormously -- it's Internet money we're talking about -- but as soon as we got in the black, we paid everybody off.

So that budget was probably about twice what the original budget was.

Knowledge@Wharton: You've now earned more than twice the original cost?

Whedon: Yes.

Knowledge@Wharton: Which members of the production shared in the profits on the backend?

Whedon: The crew that got paid, got paid. [Those] who didn't get paid [included people like] department heads who had jobs and could afford to do this as a lark.

As we go forward into profit, there are also residual schedules and payment schedules for all of the creative people. We're trying to figure out how that works..."

It's well worth reading the rest of the interview.  

Web video. Tell your friends. This is the one.