Monday, January 22, 2007

"M dot Strange" -- The Most Buzzworthy Film-Maker at Sundance and How He Used Vlogging to Build That Buzz

After a week of business on the East Coast last week, I spent the weekend with my family in Park City, Utah -- just so happens that the Sundance Film Festival is taking place there as we speak so the festival is on my mind.

Strangely, perhaps the single most "buzzworthy" person of Sundance this year is not Gwyneth Paltrow (although her expected appearance was creating quite a stir), but rather is a young new film-maker dubbing himself "M dot Strange." And, M dot Strange's new film -- "We Are The Strange" -- premiered in one of the most coveted slots at the film festival.

How did "M dot Strange" reach these peculiar heights? Certainly not via what previously have been known as conventional tactics. Rather, M dot Strange has chronicled his odd film-making journey during these past two years by posting video blogs (vlogs) regularly on YouTube, thereby in effect creating an audience for his film from the very beginning of his film-making odyssey. Two months ago, he posted his first trailer for the film and it was apparently downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

M dot Strange has done what is increasingly being done -- using online video to not only showcase new video content and virally build an audience, but also to interact directly with that audience via video (something only possible through online video). I have written about this unique power of interactive online video on many occasions.

Make no mistake -- M dot Strange's machinations are purely commercial in design -- his efforts were designed precisely to get him discovered in the most cost-effective way available to him. But, given the intimacy of his interactions with his growing online following, they strangely don't feel that way ...

Media companies take note -- this is an increasing trend that follows in the "Lonely Girl" tradition ...