Last week I met with Jamison Tilsner of Tilzy.tv. Tilzy.tv is site to review and critique the wonderful world of Web Television. Jamison, along with Josh Cohen and several others, review Web TV and meet with web content creators of all types of online media.

Tilzy.tv

Tilzy.tv

I picked Jamison’s brain for some more knowledge of the new industry for the BEA panel in April. Jamison had some great things to say about the future of the industry and the possibilities in store for web creatives. 2009 is going to be an excellent year for this type of content and a “call to arms” for web creators is being established.

Here’s what we spoke about:

One of the things I found really interesting how much the Tilzy guys like the We Need Girlfriends show made by Ragtag Productions. The model that I teach for web television is based on their path of media creation. The model that the Ragtag guys created is not a standard model, but is a model that is teachable. Jamison said that the only standard to appear is the fact there is no standard. That’s not an easy answer for an academic when trying to pitch a curriculum to many different schools.

There are many misconceptions that not only professors may have about Web TV, but also the content creators that are out there just beginning to produce or have been producing. Jamison said:

Some misconceptions by many people is that Web TV is just TV repurposed for the web. It is an entire realm for new original content. Once people get over that idea, another misconception is that web content is only short form.

As we’ve seen from Dr Horribles and Diggnation, Web TV shows can be longer form like traditional television.

A huge part of our conversation was the changes being made in Web TV in order to make it a viable outlet to television producers. This means completing the thoughts of those producing television and that means explaining to content creators that you can have “fame” and you can make money in this industry just as any other content creator would.

Right now, many Web TV producers are in the mindset that “success” in Web TV is the ability to be purchased by a major company and repurposed “upwards” to traditional TV. (a la We Need Girlfriends.) That model is not the only option any more. Creators are keeping track of their views in many ways, but they are also keeping track of their brand. This is done with the CPM model, or impressions, of their brand. The more people that see it gets them closer to being entered in culture. Companies like TubeMogul are keeping excellent analytics on views of a show. This notion is EXTREMELY important to those who might be interested in utilizing the creators content for other such means as product placement or cross promotions.

Michael Eisner’s company, Vuguru, has hired storytellers to produce Web TV shows. This services the idea that a corporate mentality can accept new media television and afford to pay the producers. That is… if it is a good story.

To me, it proves that Teaching Web Television is ABSOLUTELY neccessary! If the field is growing, students should be trained in this field. If taught correctly, the teaching of Web TV should not offend any traditional Television professor. Like I’ve said before, this is actually a television renaissance: The stories have to be strong, the content tighter, the screens a bit smaller, but STILL made in the methods of filmmaking and consideration of quality.

Lastly, Jamison and I spoke about what advice he would give up and comers to the new industry.

Experiment! This is a new field without standard. Don’t hesistate to put up your content. Find out if it works online and let your audience help you with your stories. This is an entirely new way of looking at TV where the content creator can speak with the fans about the show and the fans can feel as if they have influenced it. Take advantage of this medium!

And remember, craftsmanship is very important, but the craft follows the concept. Your story is what you are telling, not the equipment.

Jamison is an amazingly insightful eye on this industry and I’m glad we’ve met and spoke. In the coming year we are going to see A LOT of new Web-based Television and the academics have got to embrace the coexistance of the new medium. I will most likely be keeping in contact with Jamison and I will post out meeting results here.

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