The term “Gaming The System” usually describes techniques used identify loopholes or tricks that allows one to evade community standards. In this particular instance I refer to “gaming” as legit techniques for videographers to rack up views and or build their brand.
Sex sells is a time tested adage that transcends all mediums, cultures and economic climates. Photo blog sites like Lastnightsparty or Drivenbyboredom who have been showing bare-breasted hipsters for years have delved into the video realm with impressive results. This video Hot Girls Making Out (8/10/ update – Removed by yoututbe) which I edited for Drivenbyboredom is a good example of building a brand by using sex as a lure. Almost 100K views with very little production merit. This video works wonders for his site, but does nothing for me since my brand isn’t built around sex.
Cats, Storms & Natural Disasters
Exploiting natural phenomenon for views is another technique that has stood the test of time and you shouldn’t feel bad doing this. If it’s good enough for CNN then it’s good enough for you. Like sex it probably won’t do much for you if it doesn’t build your brand, but even one good video capturing the work of mother nature can be a big winner. Here is one of the best titled The Aurora by filmmaker Terje Sorgjerd 3.7 million views at the time of this posting. This is gaming the system on it’s highest production level.
One of the most reliable ways to get quick views is to jump on a video trend with a tribute video. This video by my friends Shinobi Ninja is a remake of the recent Bed Intruder video meme and garnered them 53k views (8/10/ update – private link).
The High Profile Brand Portrait
In new media high profile brands can be very different than those found in traditional media. They can be skaters, bloggers, photographers, promoters, independent artist or they can be your traditional old media high profile celebrity. Documenting a high profile brand for views is probably the technique that requires the most preparation. For one you will have to produce a level of work that is satisfactory enough for that brand to invest the time. Secondly you will have to do some legwork to contact someone that will give you access. Then you will have to do your homework and figure out if this video will translate into actual views. Old Media Brands are sometimes more difficult to predict in terms of how many views they will bring simply because their audiences are older and not necessarily a part of the New Media experience.
The Corporate Account
The goal of many aspiring videographers is to get corporate accounts. It says you have arrived and are now playing the game on a level that separates you from the masses. Another benefit other than getting paid comes in the form of views. Now that you have corporate backing it means that the videos you make are going to get seen, bringing your brand additional exposure. This is the level of stratosphere that my brand TheNewPop occupies. Here is one corporate video I made for The Desigual Brand titled Undie Party that has about 75K views at the time of this posting. Keep in mind that corporate accounts can also come in the form of production houses, blogs, celebrity clients and record labels just to name a few. But it is not the holy grail that I strive for. That highest level of videographer existence is reserved for the High Profile Brand.
The High Profile Brand
The ultimate gamer is the High Profile Brand mentioned in the sections above. This brand gets views simply because of who they are. Lastnightsparty is a great example of this brand. Bronques (The man behind the brand) has leveraged his photo blog known for documenting topless drunken hipsters into hundreds of thousands of video views and highly desired corporate accounts. Other video brands in this category include the 13th Witness, Hypebeast, Vasthie & Maestro Knows. Keep in mind that there are other ways to build your video brand outside of producing videos. Of this list the only one to get their start as a New Media videographer is Maestro Knows. The rest have either leveraged blogging fame or some combination of the gaming teqhniques listed above into building their brand. Vashtie throws parties, Hypebeast blogs about street culture. Finding even minor success in this category means that people will be vying for your services based solely on your brand name.
In the end what is the most exciting thing about New Media is it is an emerging field and the players and techniques are just coming into focus. There are a number of ways not all mentioned here for you to find a small niche or achieve videographer nirvana. As far as “Gaming The System” goes, it’s all legit as long as your hearts in the game.
Next Friday: The New Media Advertising Model.
Trevor “Trevz” Bayack is a Brooklyn-born filmmaker who approaches his web pieces as mini documentaries. Recognized as a member of the 2008 URB magazine Next 100 for pioneering the “video blog” Trevz continually makes his pieces shorter, sharper and ever more shareable” Follow our twitter feed for more.