5 Questions With…Agent Brandon Martinez

If it’s Sunday, it must be Five Questions time! Hooray!

Today we have Brandon Martinez, a new media agent working with Abrams Artists Agency in Los Angeles. Martinez created Abrams’ new media division, and his clients include The Crew‘s Brett Register, Compulsions creator Bernie Su, and Scotty “Got An Office Job” Iseri. Below, he talks about the problems plaguing online content creators and his crush on Glee‘s Dianna Agron.

1. What’s the one big issue/law/attitude/restriction that you think is holding back the industry?

There’s still a big disconnect between traditional and new media, obviously. A large part of that is the state of flux entertainment has been in these past couple of years. While box office numbers continue to skyrocket, the movies that do well are primarily sequels and reboots or other established brands (i.e. comic book movies). TV audiences are significantly smaller than in previous years. And we haven’t really seen another original web series take off the way Dr. Horrible did. Every aspect of entertainment is trying to find its footing and understand its place in America’s viewing schedule.

The problems that plague independent films are the same issues that online content creators face:

  • Where can I get money for my project?
  • How do I get a known actor to appear in my series/film?
  • Who will distribute this when it’s done?
  • How does someone, other than my mom, tell me how much they love or hate what I’ve done?

There is a great opportunity for investors who have typically funded festival films to see bigger returns when factoring in an online distribution plan. Films typically screened in limited availability now have a potential worldwide audience. And with money comes better talent, bigger crews, and industry recognition to the web space. Online content creators already know how to turn in a beautiful and engaging series on a minuscule budget, but I’d love to see what happens when real money is invested in a script written by Bernie Su and directed by Brett Register.

2. What industry buzzword do you never want to hear again?

“Webisodes.” That term needs to die.

Web content is not repurposed television. If anything, a “webisode” can refer to ancillary content from a pre-existing television show, a “web-episode.”

3. If someone gave you 50 million to invest in a company in this space, which one would it be? (Mentioning your own doesn’t count.)

Personally, I’d start a new kind of production company, allowing me to hire from the online world and friends in development at traditional places. I’d finance pilots and possibly deficit finance a feature that could be broken into chapters, like The Bannen Way did. I’d experiment with interactive storytelling, multiplatform releases, and online marketing. Basically, I’d put my money where my mouth is.

If I had to choose a company that exists already, Blip.tv. Dina and her team have built a solid platform that is the number one destination for independent content creators. Their content is fantastic and their analytics really empower their creators. I think that if I gave them a significant portion of that $50 million, they’d use the money similarly to how I would.

4. What was the last video (that you weren’t personally involved with) that you liked enough to spread to others?

Hmm, I send around a lot of videos. They typically tend to be things that interest me, like indie rock, indie films, and indie girls. Let’s check my Twitter feed

Morgan M. Morgansen’s Date With Destiny: A short Joseph Gordon-Levitt created with members of his online community.

Body by Thao Nguyen and the Get Down Stay Downs: My roommate forces me to watch Glee and I’ve grown to love Dianna Agron, who directed this video by one of my favorite bands.

5. WILD-CARD: Many of your clients focus on creating scripted series. But is this the most profitable format for web content right now?

Is there a profitable format of web content right now? I kid, of course.

Scripted content is still finding its voice. It’s providing an opportunity for actors, assistant directors, editors and numerous others to share their stories. Some choose to make it a vehicle to showcase their talents, while others are demonstrating dynamic storytelling. Those are the projects that interest me the most. Miles mentioned quality in his recent 5 Questions post. As quality continues to rise (in writing, acting, basic premise, etc.), so will scripted content. It’s only a matter of time before we’re all lamenting the finale of an online hit akin to Lost. We need to see more second and third seasons funded before we get there, though.

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