#ThinkpieceThursday – Other Internet Success Stories
This is from Patrick Goldstein’s column The Big Picture in the Los Angeles Times. It’s the story of an unknown director from Uruguay who made a $30 million dollar deal based on his $500 budget YouTube short film.
When Federico “Fede” Alvarez came to Hollywood two weeks ago, he was a total unknown. But in a matter of days after arriving in Los Angeles, the young Uruguayan filmmaker had the kind of amazing movie deal that would seem far-fetched, even by “Entourage” standards.
After seeing his short film, which depicts an invasion of Montevideo by a battalion of giant robots, Mandate Pictures agreed to bankroll a $30-million upcoming film for Alvarez, with the filmmaker getting a cool $1 million director’s fee. Alvarez also made the rounds of the talent agencies and ended up leaving town with a CAA agent team as well as a deal with Anonymous Content to represent him for commercials. Most important, Alvarez also came away with an A-list Hollywood godfather, “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi, who will serve as a mentor and producer, through his Ghost House Pictures, on Alvarez’s first American film…
…Alvarez’s sudden ascension also speaks volumes about a continuing power shift in the movie business. What’s especially noteworthy about the flurry of interest in the filmmaker is that it unfolded almost entirely outside the studio system. Alvarez didn’t bother to meet with any top studio executives, in large part because today’s creatively cautious studios, who’ve been spending much of their energy reining in talent costs, are increasingly out of the loop when it comes to discovering new talent.
Full article is here http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/the_big_picture/
This next success story is a 15 year old Nebraska boy pulling down a six figure salary and a movie deal based on a character he created on YouTube over the last three years. That’s right, he started the series when he was 13 years old! He shoots and edits the video episodes himself at home. The amazing thing is that at the time his channel hit a million subscribers he was barely a teenager with little understanding of marketing or promotion and very unsophisticated production values. He just created a compelling character that a million viewers wanted to watch.
WebTVWire reports that Fred is the six-year-old alter-ego of a 15-year-old kid from Nebraska… Lucas Cruikshank is already reported to be making a six-figure salary from playing Fred. And he’s now set to star in a movie based on the character he lovingly crafted and has nurtured for the last three years…
Cruikshank will be starring as the titular Fred, with other recurring characters such as Judy, Bertha, and Kevin currently being cast…
Filming on Fred: The Movie (working title) is set to begin on November 20, with Fred chasing his would-be girlfriend Judy across the States in what sounds like a road movie of sorts. The full story is here: http://www.webtvwire.com/filmmaker-federico-alvarez-secures-30-million-deal-for-panic-attack-youtube-short/
Fred Figglehorn’s Wikipedia Page says this about the character: Cruikshank introduced the Fred Figglehorn character in videos on the JKL Productions channel he started on YouTube with his cousins, Jon and Katie. He set up the Fred channel in October 2005. By April 2009, the channel had over 1,000,000 subscribers, making it the first YouTube channel to hit one million subscribers and the most subscribed channel at that time.
The character lives with his recovering drug-addicted and alcoholic mother, whose voice is heard often in episodes. (Fred usually communicates with all characters off-screen unless it is an animal). But Fred’s Mum has been seen in one episode, called “Fred on Halloween”. It is implied that Fred has been the victim of child abuse (like being locked in a dog cage for three days), but he frequently speaks of his love for his mother, particularly after she was at rehab. He also has a crush on a girl in his Kindergarten class, named Judy. Fred has described Judy as, “so mean… yet so attractive.” Full write-up is here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Figglehorn