Welcome to #FemaleFilmmakerFriday! Today I’m going to talk about how Facebook is killing comedy — this is a big topic and one I may branch into other posts because it does get pretty unwieldy.
First, check out this link — splitsider.com/2018/02/how-facebook-is-killing-comedy/
The crux of this argument is basically that Facebook has squeezed out other website distribution for (specifically) comedy videos. Here’s why it’s particularly troublesome for women:
Women aren’t brought in to play with the Hollywood Big Boys, so we elbow our way into the industry by finding backdoors and loopholes. We access the jobs we want via creative avenues, and one of those ways is and has been indie digital series. You saw it with me, it’s actually probably how you FOUND me. This very Patreon is exactly that: it’s a backdoor to help someone without the leg up.
So it concerns me when those avenues are squeezed out. This isn’t specific to Facebook; YouTube has also become a closed door for indie producers. Amazon just fucked us over. Since the Dawn of Digital Series, indie producers have struggled to find a way to even just break even while getting their work distributed and seen. This is the part of this discussion that is a MASSIVE topic for another time.
Pulling it back to Facebook and comedy specifically…
I think this move (Facebook requiring native videos & not paying the producers of those videos AND requiring you to PAY to get those very videos seen) is a (large) drop in a big bucket. Facebook has a lot of power; if you do well there, it CAN transition you to something bigger. But you can’t do well unless you pay them and it seems to be one of the only options. But. It is not the one single thing that has hurt comedy distribution online because if it were, creators would just go elsewhere. Instead, we’re seeing kind of a perfect storm — YouTube is not a viable option, Amazon is not a viable option, Vimeo isn’t really “sketchy comedy” based & doesn’t have the reach… so where the fuck do we upload? What do we DO with things after we make them?
I put Not a Plan on Funny or Die and it did fine. I didn’t make a dime.
I put it on Amazon, where it did fine and I made a few bucks.
Our goals in indie creation are twofold: first, don’t lose money. Big goal. Second, get this nonsense in front of the right peopleso they can, hopefully, start to become fans of our work. Maybe we get a mentor. Maybe we get a traditional job. But if Facebook is the only avenue for that, and we have to pay in order to promote our content, that just became infinitely harder and though I have no actual evidence for this, I wouldn’t be surprised at ALL if it disproportionately hurts women and minorities.
Sounds hopeless, I guess, and the question becomes: well, what can I do?
First, just by being here on Patreon you’re helping provide an alternative avenue for creation that actually gives people who aren’t riding along in the current system real capital, so thank you. Second, I think voice this concern — voice it ON Facebook, voice it TO Facebook, but know that it isn’t JUST this one single platform.
And beyond that? Maybe you guys have some ideas because I am fresh out of ways to fight these giant companies who make money off the sweat & labor of underrepresented talent.