Film Making on the Web
There is lack of networking web services for European film makers. They can be made more competitive by using ICT/online networking and promotion as an online production environment in creating films. Project 2Cast is aimed at film production professionals and free-lancers with various appropriate services, tools and databases.
2Cast will facilitate making culture in the field of film production. By innovative creation and usage of online platform and mobile application, it will connect movie producers, casting agencies and various film professionals and freelancers, thus strengthening the competitiveness of the European audiovisual sector. Web sites are global by nature, but 2Cast will have a distinct European dimension. It will primarily follow the needs and models of film production in Europe, or by European film makers (from actors, composers and cutters to directors). The service will take into account specifics of European film production practices, work-flow, customs, heritage and funding. It will be geared and “pushed” especially toward independent actors/actresses and extras from EU countries and languages. It will provide them with possibility to include their video-portfolios free of charge. Online marketing strategy will aim to penetrate casting agencies, film producers and other stakeholders. After 2Cast is up and running, the service will be sustainable and capable to provide employment opportunities to quite a number of film makers from different parts of Europe/world. Certain amount of video-portfolios will be produced free of charge for end-users, for promotional purposes. The applicant will start using the 2Cast service in test period for their particular film-production needs - at the beginning with limited number of test end-users, while promoting the service for extensive use.
The service will be technologically based on online ICT standards (for an example HTML5, SQL, SSL, etc.) in order to remain open for exchange or merging of data/services, with outside/other databases and services. It will be scalable and modular for easier and faster upgrades or/and growth. The system will act as a central depository of profiles of film-making job seekers and those offering jobs or gigs, so it will allow automated workflows specific for audiovisual industry (for an example, pitching a scenario, or participation in an online audition, in one-stop-shop casting workflow/resource), even for so called “crowdsourcing” and micro-fundraising. Interoperability will be both internal and external. Depending on copyright issues and willingness for cooperation of other film-cantered European web sites and services, the site will be open for aggregation modules, too. The most important functions of the service will be adjusted to mobile usage, and the design will be so called “responsive design”, so that it functions on computer screens, tablets and smartphones. Collaborative process will be facilitated by specialized interest groups or forums, open discussions, newsletters, triggers, and online production tools - for casting, for planning resources, gantt-charting, tasks distribution, etc.) Instructions and modules will be provided for sharing contents and re-distribution. The advertising will also use online technologies (for an example, AdWords Google).
Individual film workers and film making SMEs and CSOs (any stage of production), especially from EU: actors, composers, script writers, editors, directors, extras, stunt-men, and film production houses, casting agencies, national and regional film making chambers, associations and commissions, etc. They are quite diversified group, composed of people of different ages, races, genders. Highest number are actors/actresses and extras. Their needs are: to get jobs nationally or globally, to promote themselves, to improve their skills. For organisations: to become economically self-sustainable and independent, to gain knowledge and new skills in video production and new technologies; to operate profitable business. 2Cast will address all the above needs quite directly, for example by providing opportunity to get a casting call. 2Cast will provide target groups with cheap resources, networking and business opportunities. Capacity of EU film industry will be reinforced. Skills and competence in creating, producing, marketing, pitching and managing film production are enhanced. Activities in the film sector expand and increase income for artists and film workers through provision of new online services to target groups. The service for casting will provide the actors/actresses and extras with a place to promote themselves free of charge, and the action will provide them with possibility to prepare their portfolios in professional way including videos shot by professionals.
Steps necessary to implement 2Cast are contained in works packages: 1) Project management: partners and developers meetings and teleconferencing; coordination; project monitoring and evaluation; 2) Multilingual web service development: development of web wireframe, design, production of elements (2D, 3D artwork, video clips), programming, hosting, translation of interface(s) and initial content, testing; 3) Web portal/service maintenance and promotion: European (and worldwide) promotion to potential users; uploading of initial profiles of actors/actresses and extras; 4) Strategic marketing for new online services: development of strategic marketing plans and implementation, including launch of AdWords Google and/or similar campaigns; 5) Visibility actions: video material collecting, additional shooting, directing, cutting, postproduction, translation to European languages, presentation at the major film makers fair, press-conferences. Next steps also require fund-raising and revision of the business plan. Multiplier effect and transferability: The idea launches simultaneously for ALL European Union countries, and the only limiting factor will be the speed and quantity of translations needed, because the site will be produced/programmed with support and easy technical maintenance for different languages. It does have potential to scale to quite a number of other (cultural and non-cultural) sectors because the engine (what is “under the hood”) can be applied with versatility.
The goal is to achieve self-sustainability, with no support from public funds. It will be achieved in two years after the completion of the project. Free version for basic services will always remain on disposal, but there will be paid “pro” and “premium” services as well. At the moment there is no such web site, nor network, which has been explored by desktop research, so it means that it will open a completely new market niche with decent potential to grow rapidly. The service is a web-based tool, so it will naturally aim at global market, but as described above, special attention will be given to what European film makers need and how they work, so promotion will be done for EU in the first place. The market share in the particular market niche might be very steep because the niche is very well defined and it can be segmented efficiently. If the 2Cast web services awareness reaches in the targeted niche only one-figure percent yearly (on the average), there would be hundreds of thousands film makers aware of the tools within three years. Providing that the conversion rate to paid services is very modest 1-2%, there would be enough paying customers for sustainability (with large database of prospects!). The market size for 2CAST web is only limited globally by number of film workers and companies, and the right choice of sales model and ranges (so that the offer gives acceptable ratio of money spent and service received) and possibly competition when and if it arises.