Sunday, November 29, 2009

Streaming Media West 2009 Red Carpet Interview - Brent Friedman, Electric Farm Entertainment

I'm pleased to present this Streaming Media West 2009 Red Carpet Interview, which I interview Brent Friedman, Co-Founder and President, Electric Farm Entertainment, a leading digital media company specializing in the development of intellectual properties across multiple platforms. At EFE, Brent works on the bleeding edge of online storytelling producing high-end webseries that are distributed globally on broadcast, broadband and mobile. These unique "entertainment experiences" offer audience full immersion and interactivity. Brent created, wrote and produced EFE’s first two groundbreaking webseries, Afterwold and Gemini Division distributed by Sony and NBC respectively. Brent is presently serving as Executive Producer on EFE's next webseries, Woke Up Dead, a "zomedy" done in conjunction with Sony and Kodak. He is also the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of Valemont, EFE's collaboration with MTV. Upcoming is Prophet, another webseries Brent created and will produce for Disney.

Brent spoke as a panelist on the Streaming Media West session Web Television Comes of Age which was moderated by Marc Hustvedt, Co-Founder, Tubefilter & Editor-in-Chief, Tubefilter News and also featured Zadi Diaz, Creative Director, Co-Founder, Smashface Productions, Jenni Powell, New Media Consultant and Thom Woodley, Partner, Chief Creative Officer, Dinosaur Diorama.

Electric Farm Entertainment recently made NewTeeVee’s Next Big Thing List for 2009, which recognized 10 companies that are rapidly gaining traction in emerging aspects of the online video business. Brent also spoke at NewTeeVee Live 09 and shared his prediction on where he sees online entertainment going which he also discussed on the Streaming Media West web television panel session and in this Red Carpet interview.

Brent says,
"My prediction moving forward, is there's going to be a greater stratification of web content. You're going to see more professional content come in with higher budgets and become more ambitious. And the user gen and amateur content isn't going to go away. I just think you're going see a little more disparity between the haves and the have nots in terms of budgets. And what I think you're going to see with the bigger budget projects is it's not just going to be about the webisodes anymore. It's going to be creating much more of an integrated entertainment experience."

Brent sees fully immersive destination sites evolving out of big media companies looking to create a much deeper level of engagement to the point that he calls, "universes worthy of devotion." This takes the notion of fan sites to a new level, where fans can interact with an existing narrative but add to it, much like the social entertainment experience first pioneered by the creators of LonelyGirl15.

Brent described that with the current project, Valemont University, the story has bled over into other platforms. Users can register for the student community through the web site, join the Facebook group, follow Twitter updates from the main characters, see photos on Flickr, watch the webisodes on MTV and get extra dirt and mobile content from the product integration with Verizon. He noted that the community has grown organically, with tens of thousands already registered on the web site playing along as part of story. EFE is currently working on securing a second season of Valemont on MTV.

Brent thinks that we're in the dawn of the web television era. As companies like Verizon, MTV, Sony and others partner with content creators he sees more opportunity for experimentation in non-linear or transmedia storytelling across platforms (mobile, TV and computer).

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