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It's conference season, and this week both Zadi and I will be on a panel at NXT STAGE 09. If you're in L.A. and interested in digital entertainment, they have a nice lineup of speakers and two days worth of panels.

Tubefilter's Brady Brim-DeForest was kind enough to ask us to join a panel he is moderating called "Transforming Organic Community into a Sustainable Brand." We'll be paneling it up with two other awesome people, Kim Evey, the producer of the ridiculously popular The Guild and the hilarious Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, and Miles Beckett, Co-founder & CEO of EQAL, the studio behind the lonelygirl15 universe of shows, and the forthcoming Harper's Globe created with CBS. Nice company!

If you'll be at the conference, please stop by and say hello! Here's the info for our panel:

Transforming Organic Community into a Sustainable Brand
March 25th at 2:45pm


Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa
1755 N. Highland Ave
Hollywood, CA 90028
Phone: 800-769-4774
Fax: 310-551-3395

This an industry conference targeting specifically pre and post-production executives as well as programming executives from the film/tv production sector. The premise of the conference is that there are significant number of trade shows/conferences that address the commercial and technical aspects of the content markets yet very few that focus on the creative/production aspects. Think about Digital Hollywood and the number of panels that were dedicated to the pure logistics of ad serving! As a result, while the business models and technologies have rapidly evolved, the creative process has been left lagging behind. The writers, producers and programming executives have not been told that they, too, are stakeholders in this new digital world. This is the opportunity for the platform solution providers and the distributors to bring the creative production community into our evolving digital world.

The Streamy Awards are designed to recognize outstanding achievement for shows produced originally for broadband distribution, and we're thrilled that EPIC FU is nominated in two categories, Best Hosted Web Series, and Best Host!

This is the Streamy's inaugural year and they held an open nomination process that received over 100,000 submissions. Three of the top industry blogs that cover online video are behind the Streamy's, GigaOm's NewTeeVee, Tubefilter, and Tilzy.TV. They've done a bang-up job with the site, and the official nominees were announced on March 14.

The International Academy of Web Television is the voting body behind The Streamy Awards, and Zadi and I are extremely honored to be among the inaugural Academy Members. Our fellow members are all very accomplished and influential in their respective fields, and we are all pleased that online video is taking bold steps forward as it gains more and more notoriety in the mainstream.

Kudos to Drew Baldwin, Brady Brim-DeForest, Joshua Cohen, Marc Hustvedt, Liz Shannon Miller, and Jamison Tilsner for their tireless work to put all of this together. Join us at the ceremony and gala on March 28th at the Wadsworth Theater in Los Angeles!

We're really excited to be working with PBS this year for SXSW!

From Zadi's blog post about it:

We'll be working with PBS and partying it up at the PBS Interactive Social Media and Online Video Studio, so make sure to drop by! We'll be interviewing and hanging out with filmmakers, interactive visionaries and online producers, and generally people who are doing awesome stuff! We'll also be running around the convention floor, so if you see us, pull us over and say hi!

PBS HQ for this year's SXSW will be at 406 E. 6th Street (2 blocks from the convention center). We'll be there Saturday, March 14th - Monday, March 16th, from 12-6pm. Happy Hour starts at 6pm, and at 6:30pm we'll have Live performances by Paul Dateh, David Kitchen, and Alejandro Escovedo

If you can't make it to SXSW, don't worry, we'll be streaming it ALL Live at http://pbs.org/sxsw. We'll also be tweeting throughout our stay, so you can get updates of our adventures at http://twitter.com/pbsengage, http://twitter.com/zadi, and http://twitter.com/stevewoolf.

Zadi will also be on two panels. Friday at 3:30pm, Room 18BCD: How to Rawk SXSW: The Basics, and Saturday @ 5:00pm, Room 12AB: The Ten Worst Social Media Campaigns. We're also glad to have the help of Rick Rey to help us keep our head above water with the PBS interviews!

Hope to see you there!

Check out a new series we created for Next New Networks' WePCtv network, called Hacking Hollywood! It's sponsored by Asus and Intel, and we had a great time shooting it.

We wanted to take a look at some of the ridiculous (or awesome) tech shown in Hollywood movies and tv shows and get some savvy online peeps to sit down and give us their thoughts about it. If you've ever seen Best Week Ever or I Love the 80's on VH1, you'll quickly recognize the format. It works really well on the web, especially when you're lucky enough to have smart and funny people on camera being themselves.

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We don't post often to the Smashface blog because we're usually busy making content and staying involved with the online video community. But when we do post something, it usually has to do with a major event or announcement. This falls into that category.

Seems like we just posted the announcement about EPIC FU joining forces with Revision3 in a web licensing deal, but about a week ago Revision3 let us know that despite a year of record revenue and viewership, they are feeling the effects of the economic crunch and need to make some urgent and tough decisions. As of the end of 2008, Revision3 will no longer be the web licensing partner for EPIC FU, and we'll be leaving their network of shows. We wish Revision3 luck in the coming months and remain a fan and supporter of their shows.

There's been some well-documented contraction in the tech world lately, and the online video sector is feeling the effects. A harsh fourth quarter downturn in advertising sales combined with the decrease in licensing revenue for EPIC FU means that Smashface has also had to scale back by laying off three members of our production team. If you're looking for talented production personnel, Zadi and I heartily recommend getting in touch with Rick Rey, who produced 30+ episodes of EPIC FU and has been involved in creating the show for over a year. We will also miss Sarah Atwood, who co-produced over a dozen shows with us, and Daniel Merlot, a talented and versatile editor.

As we have since June 1, 2006, we will continue to produce the show each week and our long-term goals remain the same: find the best partners to grow and expand the EPIC FU brand across different mediums. With over 30 million views across the web since we launched, we know we've only scratched the surface of what we can do with this show. Although this economic climate is likely to stay with us for an extended period, the future of online video is too large to be permanently affected by this tough time.

On August 16 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Zadi and I are privileged to have been invited to give a keynote address for the 2008 New Media Expo, now in its fourth year.

Big thanks to Tim Bourquin and Emile Bourquin, the founders and organizers of the Expo (a.k.a. the Podcast Brothers). We've attended the past two years and watched the video community assemble from across the country and chat it up in the halls. Now that the event is being held in Vegas, it should be quite the party, and we should see tons of new faces descending into Sin City to find out more about this whole new media thing.

Our friend and colleague Sunny Gault of L.A. New Media will interview us on stage for the keynote, so it'll be more casual than a traditional address. And we'll leave time at the end of the keynote for questions from the audience. Sunny is working on setting up a live video stream of the interview, and I'll post an update here as we find out more about it.

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I'm pleased to announce that Smashface signed an agreement with Revision3 to exclusively licensing and distribute EPIC FU across the web! Wait, what -- oh -- you mean, you've already heard? And saw it here, here, and here???

Yeah, I guess you can call this blog post long overdue, but we are thrilled to be working with the folks at Revision3! They've been doing the online video thing going all the way back to 2005, and the core fans they brought with them from TechTV have built a really passionate audience.

The deal between us got finalized very quickly, and we've been so busy creating two shows a week that we've barely had time to keep up with everything else! I've had this blog post on my to-do list for 3 weeks already.

But now we're starting to scale our show, with Rick Rey as a full-time producer, Sarah Atwood co-producing, Annie Tsai as our production assistant, and a couple of freelance editors pitching in, too. We have big, big plans, and we're glad to have a company like Revision3 on the same page with us, helping us get to our mutual goals.

Ok, enough talk. Back to work!

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» epic fu, partnerships, revision3
epic_fu

Judging by the number of inquiries we get every day asking about EPIC FU from our truly amazing viewers, a lot of you have noticed that we haven't posted a new episode of the show since late March. We'll be back in about a week, but the hiatus we've taken has allowed us to refuel the creative gas tanks and think about the future of the show.

As we come up on the two-year anniversary for EPIC FU in early June, we can't help but think about how much the show has changed over the years. The early JETSET episodes were constituted as a variety and sketch show. We spent those first nine months identifying our viewers and transitioning into the format that became a resource and hangout for so many more people than we could have expected.

In March of 2007 we entered a licensing partnership with Next New Networks, and in the past year EPIC FU has come into its own. We benefitted from the advertising relationships they created and from their super-distribution strategy, which helped us bring in audiences at video hosting sites across the web. We were always on the same page about the importance of creativity, community, and interactivity as core elements of everything related to the show.

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EPIC-FU nominated for its second Webby Award!

We're really proud to be able to say that EPIC-FU is nominated for a 2008 Webby Award in the Variety category of Film & Video! It's really exciting because we won the People's Voice Webby Award in 2007 for JETSET, which would eventually evolve into EPIC-FU.

Zadi, Rick, and I have all worked very hard to make a show that strives to be consistently creative and entertaining, as well as a resource of information and a tastemaker for our audience. We have some very tough competition this year, including our friend Alex Albrecht's show The Totally Rad Show, along with Tom Green, The NY Times, and our friends at Good Magazine.

If you watch the show and you like EPIC-FU, please take a couple of minutes to vote for us for the People's Voice award. If you're registered and logged in, you can click this link to go directly to the form. Otherwise you can find us by going to pv.webbyawards.com and going to Film & Video and voting in the Variety category. Thanks!

And a special thanks to Rick Rey, our erstwhile associate producer who gets very little of the credit for his work on the show, but has a lot to do with its content and creativity. Rock on, Rick!

EPIC-FU episode with 3MM+ views on YouTube

A couple of weeks ago an EPIC-FU episode was featured on the home page of YouTube thanks to the generous selection of their editors. We expected to get a nice amount of views, but we never expected the episode to move past 3 million views when all was said and done. In fact, the episode is still compiling about 10-20,000 views per day as of the time of this writing.

We're obviously very happy that the show is resonating with the largest community of web video aficionados on the Internet. It's gives us a great sense of validation to know that we created a weekly show that can generate those kinds of numbers. Not easy to do these days.

What was especially interesting to us was to watch this video run away from all the other videos that were featured on YouTube at the same time as us. No other video crossed the million mark during the week we were featured. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about why that happened to try and understand the dynamics that affect viewership on popular video hosting sites.

For one thing, we've been producing regular content for a year and a half with JETSET and now EPIC-FU. So to some extent we can call the built-in audience a factor in the video's explosive views. But we didn't have a significantly greater number of YouTube subscribers than many other shows that have been featured and did not experience such a high number of views.

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