Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tubefilter #PayToPlay Meetup Review.

Tubefilter #PayToPlay Meetup Dec 4, 2012
This is my first review of this type.  Actually, come to think of it, my first review of any type.  Why write it?  Because this was one of the best and worst panel discussions I've ever been to.

In my view Tubefilter's meetup last night wasn't really a panel discussion.  The format was somewhere between a sales presentation  and 'an audience with.'

From a technical point of view it met the definition of a panel discussion, in that there was a panel and there was some discussion.  That's where the similarity ends though.
The panel were:

Brian Norgard -  CEO and Co-Founder of Meetup sponsor Chill.
Dan Dobi - Director of "Please Subscribe" a movie being released on Chill.
Michael Urie - Ugly Betty star, who's made  "Thank You for Judging", a movie to be released on Chill.

The proceedings were moderated by Drew Baldwin from Tubefilter and they were sponsored by Chill and SAG/AFTRA New Media.

So I knew before I went, that the discussion would be Chill-focused and Chill-biased, but I've often dabbled in the space of pay-per-view and I was happy to hear their perspective and context.

What I didn't expect was that both Michael and Dan knew virtually nothing about this subject.  They'd separately stumbled upon Chill, by making an interesting movie and not having a distribution channel readily available for their niche markets.  So the best and most relevant information was being imparted by Brian, hence why in parts there was a feeling that we were attending a different event called either "An Audience with Brian Norgard" or "Chill's Emerging Dominance of Community Driven Direct Online Video Revenue"

The whole feel of the meet up could have been that a promotional talk....however, right from the start the panel was hit by a curve ball from Dan Dobi.  He mistakenly tried to justify that he never goes to movie theaters and watches movies for free using bit torrent.  Nice!

Drew, a skillful moderator, let Dan continue his rather odd confession to include using bootleg copies of all the software he uses...including Final Cut Pro and other tools that he no doubt used to create his movie...

Oh and did I mention, Dan would like you to pay $5 to watch his movie "Please Subscribe" on Chill?

Dan did however also impart some quite useful information, when he told us that you need to be quite technically knowledgeable to make bit torrent work.  I wouldn't know, as I've never used it, and won't... well not until his movie is available. ;-)

Do you like comedy that plays on uncomfortable situations?  I do.  So, I particularly enjoyed when Dan was confronted by an audience member question. His discomfort and embarrassed looks were a joy to experience.

Can I add to this comedy of discomfort?  This was a SAG/AFTRA union sponsored event where a panelist had admitted that he steals from pockets of SAG/AFTRA members... and would like you to pay him for something he produced using stolen software.  Surely the discomfort couldn't get any better?

For me though, I had a force multiplier sat next to me.  Before the event started I had been chatting to the guy next to me.  He was really knowledgeable and interesting to talk to... and he is a SAG/AFTRA New Media representative!  We didn't manage to talk after the 'panel discussion' which was a shame.  He seemed... well... quite busy.

It's often said that the internet is like the 'Wild West'; full of pioneers, adventure and risk.  Well I think I may just have had an audience with modern day version of Broken Nose Jack McCall

**Update:  Having written this, I then sent it to all of the panelists via Twitter.  I got a response from Brian saying he'd hoped for a fiery debate and a response from Dan asking for my email address.

Swapping emails with Dan was fun.  He is clearly not the serial pirate that he came across as and merely wanted to make the point out that there are significant numbers of people out there using bit torrent and other services.  Dan hopes that these same people would perhaps forgo those services, if they were offered the movies that they want to watch at a more realistic and affordable price.  After all it's got to be a lot easier to pay a couple of dollars and click download, than to use bit torrent and then worry that you'll be caught out legally later.  I hope he's right.