Some of you dream of a feature-length project, a comedy, drama or documentary that may appear on the Big Screen. Others long for the chance to see their special interest video appear on a niche TV network like The Speed Network or The Do-It-Yourself Network. While networks are always looking for high-quality, entertaining and/or informative programming, the competition is tough. Some nit-picking video engineer may claim that your video does not meet the station’s technical requirements, even if you dub your final project onto Betacam tape, the standard most broadcasters use. They will look at the video on a scientific analyzer and claim that the resolution is too low even though your DV camcorder produces an image quality that far exceeds the typical TV in a living room. Still, if you produce great material, a good network will be more likely to purchase or license your program.
There are many film festivals around the country that can help you expose your project to distributors. Many unknown film and video producers have managed to break into the system by making a splash in the festival circuit.
Perhaps the most approachable distribution channel is the DVD. The vast majority of people own a DVD player. There are loads of Websites and mail-order catalogs that sell or rent DVDs.
Downloading MP4 videos is certainly up and coming but it is still a little tricky for the average TV viewer. Many people have broadband and can download the video, but lots of these people are unprepared or unwilling to burn a DVD to carry into their living room. Even fewer have a broadband connection directly to their living room.
While producing a video on your favorite subject will certainly be enjoyable, it is very tricky to deliver it to an audience or to generate some income. If you can keep the costs to produce your video low and keep your income expectations low, you can probably reduce your losses, break even or even make a small profit. I seem to get a DVD every few weeks from our readers who want me to see their work and who thank me for inspiring them. You too can make a great video that you love and maybe even earn some money in the process!
Matthew York is Videomaker’s Publisher/Editor