February 21, 2009

Social Media Case Study?

The story of the Banff Mountain Film Festival spoof video I made a while back continues with an awesome post from the BMFF over on their world tour blog. I started thinking about how this whole thing played out and I think there are a few things that I've learned here for both fans like me and organizations like the Banff Mountain Film Festival.

  1. Mashups are easy to make. Organizations can't controll our own media any more and anyone with a relatively small amount of money and skill can take official media and mash it up. Witness my little spoof movie: as recently as a few years ago it would have been impossible or highly cumbersome to make. Now anybody with a Mac and an internet connection can do this.
  2. There is no such thing as a little engagement. If organizations want to get into the social media game and post stuff on YouTube or be on Facebook we need to understand that we are inviting participation. We might not always like the outcome but we're agreeing with the participation when we engage.
  3. Organizations have a choice. To crack try to crack down on media they didn't create, or to foster and channel it. In this case BMFF fostered it because the media was basically funny and harmless and spoke to the kind of people who go to the festival to begin with.
  4. Make yourself findable. It's pretty easy to find me through my YouTube channel. I link from there to my blog and from the blog to my online portfolio which has contact information for me and I respond to comments. This allowed us to dialog and determine the intentions of the other relatively quickly.
  5. Generosity pays. Every step of the way the BMFF has been incredibly generous. They have asked my permission to re-post the video (more than I did when I made it!), left comments, checked in and sent dozens of emails. I've responded by posting links to their work on the YouTube channel, blogging about it, FaceBooking about it and bringing a friend with me to the tour show.
  6. ROI? What's that? I'm not sure how preoccupied anyone has been here with return on investment. I made the mashup for fun in my free time and never thought about what I would get back from it other than a funny video. BMFF has spent at least some time working on this, emailing me, checking in with the composer etc, that they could have been doing something else. I'm not sure what the net gain of this is for them in terms of fans, exposure and ticket sales, I guess they will have to answer that question. For me as a professional I've gained wider exposure to me and my work and that's priceless!
Many thanks to Shannon, Meagan, wanderingscout, charlamae and everyone else for this facinating experience.


  1. Amy was having trouble commenting on this post - apparently Blogger word verification is freaking out at the moment so I'm going to try and post her comment here:

    "I wonder why there was a check with the composer, but not with the owner of the movies that you clipped?
    Are the movies in public domain/ creative commons?"

  2. Well the BMFF folks were the ones to have found the video and they were kind enough to check in with Blackstone who they have a working relationship with.

    The movies that I clipped are all owned by their respective studios.

    I've done some research into this (but not a ton so I may be completely wrong) and it is called 'Fair Use.' If you look up Fair Use on wikipedia you'll get quite a lot of information.

    I interpret this (for what that's worth) that use of copy written material for the purposes of parody is okay especially when only a very small amount of the original work is used (ie, seconds from a feature length film).

    So the clips were short and used for parody, whereas the music was used nearly in its entirety and as I wasn't parodying the music so that wouldn't have been okay.

    I'm quite sure none of this would be a prevent me from being sued if Universal Pictures wanted to, but it could form the basis of my lengthy and costly defense.

  3. Anonymous4:37 PM

    Great question about the film clips.
    Indeed, the Banff team did not check with the film producers because none of those film clips came from the Banff Mountain Film Festival. The music, however, was commissioned by the festival specifically for this use and we do not own the music. We checked in with Jacques Blackstone to ensure that he was comfortable with our enjoyment of the spoof. Had he not been, we'd have asked Hans to remove the video. Jacques Blackstone graciously gave his 'blessing' and we're thrilled that he did.
    Cheers from Banff!

  4. I thought this was an exceptionally forward thinking idea. Rather than just request that I take the music off, or report the video to YouTube the BMFF crew took the step to contact Blackstone.

    In my mind this created a win / win situation but I wonder if there was a conversation in the film festival that this video was diluting the brand - or exposing them to risk or something of the sort?