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.