Wednesday, May 02, 2007

CloudCity Community Opens at

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: Adventures of Thomas Brin

After much forethought and procrastination, we have finally implemented a Thomas Brin Forum into the TB website! Now fans from around the world can meet in the CloudCity Community and discuss all aspects of the Adventures of Thomas Brin.

There's not much more to say than PLEASE JOIN! Community membership is free.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Thomas Brin Unveils New Website

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: Adventures of Thomas Brin

One of the goals when creating a website is to organize the site's features in such a way that first time viewers can quickly grasp what it's all about. Well, the original Adventures of Thomas Brin website did a poor job at that. So, we redesigned the TB website to be simpler and more to the point--a la Web 2.0 style.

Viewers can now quickly and clearly see all the features of the Thomas Brin website. They can access each of the episodes right from the homepage instead of having to navigate three pages in as in the past. They have quick access to the Thomas Brin community tools, including the wonderful Thomas Brin Store!

Finally, the menu system has been redesigned and better organized. In fact, the menu you see on the TB blog is the same menu you find on the TB website. If you have not yet toured the new TB website, please do today.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Thomas Brin Episode 3 Statistics

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: The Adventures of Thomas Brin


E3 of TB was posted on Saturday, February 10, 2007. Since almost two months have passed since the epsiode went live, I thought I would share some basic viewer statistics about Episode 3.

Before I share those data, here are the total viewership numbers for February and March across all three episodes:

February: 96,408

March: 27,822

You're probably wondering why the February numbers were lower than January's and why March had a even larger, significant drop. The answer is that we experienced server issues. Actually, the real answer is that we caused the server issues. To learn more about our feed subscriber base, we rerouted the feed files using Apache's mod_rewrite rules and that basically messed everything up. Of course, it took us a while to fix the problem. So we're sure that many potential viewers got tired of trying to access the feed files and simply gave up. However, if you are reading this then you're probably still a fan and we appreciate that!

What did we learn from this frustrating experience? In a nutshell, we learned that it is best to learn about the Apache mod_rewrite directive by practicing on a server that is not live. Going forward, we expect to see the monthly numbers go back up. So, with that long preamble, here are the E3 statistics to date:

Total Episode 3 downloads in the past two months: 62,789
Episode 3 percent of all downloads: 45.83%

So, whereas the actual download number would have been a lot higher had we not messed up the server, we still had 1,120 unique downloads per day (on average) of Episode 3.

We're still not sure if Episode 3 has lived up to or exceeded fans' wishes, but we think it is off to a good start. We haven't heard from anyone yet (which is odd), so please send us a message and tell us what you think.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Brin 2.0: Revolutionizing Video Podcasting!

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: Adventures of Thomas Brin

About two weeks ago I posted this article about TBE3 production statistics. If you have not yet read it, please do.

The obvious conclusion from that article (and not-too-subtle statement on my part) is that for the Adventures of Thomas Brin vodcast cinema series to continue, there will have to be some big changes in the overall production workflow. Clearly I cannot spend 750 hours of my time producing and post-producing each new episode. Although I have no problem with putting that much time into the series since that is what it takes in this day and age of new media to get something started and noticed by the world, I do realize that going forward, it will not be sustainable.

Fans want Thomas Brin to continue. In fact, most fans want TB to be released more frequently than twice a year. In fact in fact (yes, a double "in fact" is like saying P.P.S. at the end of a letter), for Thomas Brin to realize its full potential as an Internet movie phenomenon, future episodes will have to be released more quickly.

I mean, who wants to subscribe to a fun scifi video podcast if it only comes out once every 6 months? It's like waiting all summer for the next episode of Lost, or for the conclusion to the season-ending Stargate SG1. If fans had to wait that long between each new episode do you think Lost or Stargate SG1 would be hits? Of course not.

But, those two very successful shows have large production budgets and a large team of people helping out. That is why old media held sway in the content creation arena. But times are quickly changing. Web 2.0 technologies are providing new ways in which content can be collaboratively created. What's even more impressive is that the overall quality of new media content is improving daily. In the not too distant future, new media visionaries will be creating high-quality broadband content on par with old media studios. The big difference will be that overall production cost will be much lower thanks to the power and flexibility of the new media tools and paradigms.

Introducing Brin 2.0

Brin 2.0 is a revolutionary new paradigm in the video podcasting arena. It is an open-source-like project where viewers from around the world can get involved in the production of future episodes of the Adventures of Thomas Brin. It's a way for fans to get involved directly with production efforts.

As more people with appropriate skills get involved with Brin 2.0, more episodes can be produced (and released!) in a shorter amount of time.

Brin 2.0 may very well be the first of its kind--a new media vodcast property that is globally produced! It is new media by the people and for the people!

To learn more about Brin 2.0, visit the Brin 2.0 page.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Thomas Brin: Episode 3 Production Results

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: Adventures of Thomas Brin

All Thomas Brin fans have now had a month to experience TBE3--that's Thomas Brin Episode 3 for all new fans. I was looking at the post-production logs to see how E3 differed from E1 & E2. The most obvious difference from a production/post-production workflow viewpoint was the sheer number of hours it took to bring E3 to fruition. TBE3 took just over 750 hours to produce. Since it runs almost 9 minutes, that equates to 83.33 hours of production time per minute of finished content. Holy cow!

Okay, I know that right away something peculiar sticks out. You're probably asking, "Do you really keep production logs?" The truth is, no. I keep scribbles and cryptic notes to myself on my ever-increasing pile of legal-ruled pads. But, they serve as my style of logs and I do have a very good idea about how many hours I put into producing TB. After all, once the actors have done their thing in the 2 days of shooting, the entire post-production responsibilities fall on my shoulders. I do all the animations and background mattes, composite the scenes, create the score, edit the final sequence, encode the movies, and program and maintain the website.

The real question your asking is how one person can do all of that, how I can afford to spend 750 hours of producing something that is viewed for free?

The answer is I can't afford to put that much time into Thomas Brin. I mean, the average employee in the United States works 2,080 hours per year. So, E3 took 36% of one-person's yearly worktime!

However, as a new media visionary (yes, self adulation) who heads a new media company (yes, self promotion), putting in long hours on projects that have yet to pay off is just part of the game. Besides, I don't work a 40 hour week. It's more like 100+ hours per week, every week. So, that means for TBE3, I used about 14% of my workyear.

But, it is clear that I cannot afford to release two episodes a year if each new episode is going to personally take me 750 total hours of production time--which it certainly will take if not longer. So, what's the answer to this production dilemma? Stay tuned for exciting news on a new initiative that I'll be announcing in two weeks.

Thanks for Watching!

Jeff Sayre
CEO & President

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Thomas Brin: Episode 3 is Released!

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: The Adventures of Thomas Brin

Today is the day! Episode 3 of The Adventures of Thomas Brin, Gardens of Tomorrow is final complete and live!

For those of you who have visited the website looking for TBE3, it is there. It can take a little while before the server updates--especially the RSS feed files hosted by other companies. Although we ping the servers, we have no control over when they actually go out and update their RSS records. So, be patient. It is live and you should be able to view it shortly.

We hope you enjoy. Please take the time and let us know what you think.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Thomas Brin: 136,350 downloads in January alone!

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: The Adventures of Thomas Brin


As you now know, TBE3 will be released in 10 days. To keep all one million plus Thomas Brin fans in the loop, I looked at our server statistics for January to see how TB was doing.

Downloads slowed down a little in January. We had a total of 136,350 downloads of E1 and E2 combined. This is still very, very respectable for an Internet-based movie series (what we call vodcast cinema) that does not spend a penny on promotion or, in fact, much time in promotion. It's even more impressive of a large number when you take into account that we do not post TB on any social video sites like YouTube, Myspace, or Revver. Thomas Brin's only home is on our dedicated server.

I believe the small percentage decrease in average downloads is a result of one issue only: people are raring for episode 3. Most new viewers most likely are turned on to TB through word of mouth--either directly thru friends or podcast reviews. Since the imminent release of TB3 has been imminent for 9 months, the number of new reviews has decreased and therefore the number of new viewers.

I predict that with the imminent--no, really, this time it is imminent--release of TB3, the number of new viewers and therefore downloads will show a big uptick over the next several months. Please help do your part in promoting TB to all your friends, family, coworkers, readers of your blog, or listeners of your podcast. With your support, TB can continue its rise to Internet fame.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Thomas Brin: Episode 3 Release Date

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: The Adventures of Thomas Brin


Okay, I think in my last post I said something about January 31, 2007 as the target date for Episode 3. Well, I'm glad that date is 10 days off!

Oh, wait...I've just been informed that today is January 31. Well, once again I've missed my own self-imposed deadline.

But, Ha! It is my deadline and the fate of the world, the sales of a company, or the health of family and friends are not affected by the release date. So, the only true pressure I face is my own.

Well, I have a firm date and time for the official release of Episode 3 of Gardens of Tomorrow, The Adventures of Thomas Brin. It is practically finished! I'm taking several days off from the post production to gain some much needed perspective on the final edit. I'll hit the editing again this weekend with a refreshed (hopefully) point of view.

So, the official release date and time is:

Saturday, February 10 at noon EST

Mark your calendars, polish your iPods, wake the kids, and kick the cat, the most highly-anticipated, best episode yet of The Adventures of Thomas Brin is just around the corner!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Thomas Brin: Episode 3 Update number 2--or is it 3?

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: The Adventures of Thomas Brin


Here's an update to give all of our fans (which range somewhere between 1 and 650 thousand people) an update on several TB issues:

1. Postproduction of TBE3 (don't you hate acronyms) is in the home stretch. I still have that one, final faulty animation to correct, some editing, and music to create, but believe me that is a small, small task compared to the monumental amount of work that has already been completed.

So, I'm still shooting for an end of January release! I'll keep you posted.

2. In my last post, I detailed the amazing number of TB downloads. I wanted to share with you how that is determined.

The number of times an episode of TB has been downloaded has nothing to do with website views or pages accessed. Why? Because 99% of episode downloads are a result of someone remotely accessing one of our RSS (xml) files and then clicking on an episode link. The other 1% come to the Thomas Brin website directly, access the movie page, and download it from there.

Therefore, just about everyone who experiences The Adventures of Thomas Brin does so without initially visiting the website. The only "visit" they make is to our server where the actual episode encodes reside. Viewers have no idea, nor do they care, where the files come from. Of course, since the TB files are on our server, we know exactly how many times each episode is being downloaded.

So, that is how we know TB is growing in viewership--and we can hopefully assume--popularity.

3. As of today, January 20, 2007, TB has been downloaded just shy of 100,000 times so far this month. So, the total count for downloads of both episodes is almost 1.3 millions times!

4. As you might have figured out by now, the total download count is for both episodes. That means that out of the total download pool of 1.3 million, we have a maximum potential viewership of 650,000 people. Do the math yourself:

1.3 million downloads / 2 episodes = 650,000 possible unique downloaders.

Of course, I'm sure there are a some viewers who have downloaded each episode more than once. Also, not everyone who watches E1 chooses to watch E2. That is why the actual viewership is less than the actual number of episodes downloaded.

5. However, having said that, we know from our detailed server statistics and feed statistics, that most people who watch the first episode do go on to watch the second episode. We also know how many visit the website to watch Thomas Brin directly. Finally, we know which podcast directories generate the most user visits and downloads.

6. Although the vast majority of viewers who watch E1 go on to watch E2, the true test of the popularity of Thomas Brin comes with the imminent launch of E3. The big question is, did E2 do enough to encourage viewers to want to continue watching? We will soon know.

7. By the way, since most of you are not benefitting from the jam-packed resources available on the Thomas Brin website, I wanted to let you know that you can purchase very cool, and maybe even slightly obnoxious, TB merchandise at the Thomas Brin Store. All of your purchases benefit the continued production of The Adventures of Thomas Brin. In fact, it is the only way we have available to let our fans help us out.

We do not accept donations since there are various legal issues associated with that avenue. Instead, we create products for resale which lets you get something in return. The profit from the sale gives us money to continue our efforts.

How much have we sold to date? I'm happy to announce that it is...ZERO!

What? That's correct. Besides the $88.95 of purchases, which were all made by me and friends of the cast, we have not earned a single penny of fan-generated revenue. How can that be, you may ask. Thomas Brin is obviously very popular.

It's easy to understand when you go back up and read point two. The vast majority of viewers access Thomas Brin indirectly, without visiting our website. That, of course, is the major downfall of RSS feeds and podcasting directories when it comes to monetizing a project. The directories get all the glory and the content producers get hosed. Instead, they must monetize within their podcasts since most viewers of any podcast don't go to the content-creators website--at least not initially and usually only after being a fan for many months.

So, you can bet that with E3, we will be shameless in our monetizing efforts. It is only fair since we are putting all this time into producing great-quality, free content for all of you to enjoy. So, do your part. Visit the Thomas Brin website and look around. Then click on the Thomas Brin Store link and buy some cool TB stuff.

Finally, don't get upset at us for trying to make a buck or two--or even big, bags of bucks. We aren't charging you so don't get bent out of shape by our efforts at trying to recoup some of the costs associated with our production--and maybe, just maybe, being able to...gasp...dare I say..make a living out of entertaining you for free. Thanks!

(Sorry for the diatribe in the last paragraph. Unfortunately, many people these days expect their Internet-based entertainment to be free. That's fine. But, some of those people get ticked off when the content creator tries to make some money off of their efforts. What these clueless people (oops, diatribing again)...what these people fail to appreciate is that it cost money--lots of it sometimes-- to create content that they get to enjoy for free.

It takes servers, and software, and bandwidth costs, and all sorts of other hardware, and lots of time (which could be spent on making money at another job). So, when a content creator successfully monetizes their products, everyone should be happy because it allows them to continue offering free content. So, in a nutshell, repeat after me: Don't bitch, Buy!)

There you have it. Very honest and open discussion about TB statistics and finances. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

One Million Thomas Brin Downloads and Counting!

To see Thomas Brin in action, visit the official movie site at: The Adventures of Thomas Brin

As another composite of a clip to be used in Episode 3 renders away in Shake, I thought it was time to learn a little more about total viewrship of the Thomas Brin series. So, I went to our dedicated web server and brought up the statistics for the last 6 months. The data are nothing but compelling! It seems that our award-winning, innovative vodcast series has begun to catch on.

From July 2006 through December 2006, The Adventures of Thomas Brin was downloaded 1,007,901 times! That's 168,000 times per month on average, or about 5,500 downloads of the show each day. Can anyone say sponsorship?

Yes, our cutting-edge vodcast cinema series has reached a tipping point--the point were the next episode will either push us into the next level of Internet awarness, or simply push the series into oblivion.

Fortunately, Episode 3 is going to top the first two. All aspects of the production have increased in quality. We're no Hollywood or Madison Avenue power house production company, but then that is the entire point of the new media revolution and the beauty of the vodcast paradigm. The focus is on pioneering cheap but effective ways to produce programming that entertains.

With a budget of less than one-days' worth of craft services on a typical big-budget Hollywood movie shoot, we have created a ground breaking independent movie series. This experimental surreal science fiction series is a new, bold direction in independent movie making. Actually, it is a new, bold endeavor in the newly created realm of vodcast cinema--a term we coined to describe independent movie making for Internet-only delivery through the medium of videopodcasts.

Vodcast cinema is movie-making at its rawest. Its purpose is to use relatively simple equipment and techniques to produce entertaining content. We've done just that with a single camera (Sony HVR-Z1U), a simple garage greenscreen setup, basic lighting, and one PowerMac G5 computer to create all the animations, background mattes, composite the scenes, create the score, edit the final sequence, encode the movie, program the website, and upload it to our server. I'll say that again: once the actors have done their thing, the postproduction is accomplished on one computer by one person!

This would not have been possible as few as 5 years ago. But now the Internet has stirred up the media waters once again. All you big boys and girls of bloated-budget productions take note, vodcast cinema may be a nascent creative form, but it will improve over time, becoming a force of change in the élitist movie and network industry.

If literally a small handful of people can get together in a garage on a hot summer's day and launch an amazing series like The Adventures of Thomas Brin, then imagine what is possible with just a few more dollars and people.

So, now that our series receives over 5,500 downloads a day, I'll say once again, sponsorship anyone? If you would like to help us take vodcast cinema to that next level, how about sponsoring our production efforts. We're open to discussion. Just email me at or leave a comment on this blog post.