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Old 12-12-01, 05:28 PM   #1
Thom
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Lightbulb Interactive CD-ROM Test 1.0

There have been a few performers lately who've wondered if CD-ROM formats for promotion are ready for the mainstream.

Well, let's find out.

I've just created such a CD-ROM and I've sent it to 50 of the colleges on my list.

What percentage of that 50 will book me? How does that compare to the other 100 VHS tapes percentages? I have no idea.... yet.

Place your bets kids! Will the CD-ROMS get me the bookings I so richly deserve (read: need)? Have I lost my mind? Do you care?

It's like playing survivor only it involves my career.

I'll report here as things get going (could be a month or more) and I'll let you know by the spring the percentages of each and I'll pronounce judgement as to whether or not the cd's succeeded.

Bye-Bye and Buy Bonds!

Thom Britain, Entertainer
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Old 12-12-01, 06:20 PM   #2
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Excellent idea, Thom!

I can't wait to hear results. I actually just bought a spanking new CD burner and I'm learning how to edit video onto it. This test of yours is sure to be helpful.

Keep us posted.

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Old 12-13-01, 11:17 AM   #3
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ooh, i've been wanting to do this for a long time. there's a place near here that sells orange cdrs in the shape of buisiness cards. i think they would be pretty cool promo material. let me know how it works!
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Old 12-13-01, 11:39 PM   #4
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Here's a bit of background on the process I used to decide to do this:

I'm only sending this type of promo to colleges. As you read, you'll see why....

I called 12 colleges with whom I had worked often (more than 3 times in 3 years) and 1 college that I'd worked only once, but hit it off well with a girl in the Student Programs.

I explained my Cd-Rom concept to each of them and asked if it would be something they could run, in others words, "do you have a computer within 3 feet of you RIGHT NOW (that's why they are only in Windows format, none had a MAC).

All 13 responded favorably to the idea and said that they felt 'computer literate' enough to operate such a thing (intimidation factor was a concern).

Try to call 13 cruise ship agents or 13 casino agents and talk to them for 20 minutes or more and you'll see why only colleges are getting this promo.

I had no one say that it was a bad idea (and that was literally a question). I had no one say that they would put me "on the bottom of the stack" and I think only 2 said it would make no difference. Everyone else indicated that the Cd-ROM format would peak their curiosity and they'd probably give me a chance quicker.

I had to risk it.....

The experiment continues.....

If you'd like to see what the Cd-ROM I used looks like, check out the FLASH version of my site. It's a little different, but not much.

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Old 12-14-01, 07:17 AM   #5
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Hey Guys.

Just a quick note. As an agent I have to interject that a CDROM will not get you more work. A killer PR video will get you more work. The CDROMS are nice (as everything is on digital format) and they save on mailing costs, BUT you won't get more gigs using a CDROM than a video. It's just a different format.

Although it does look very professional to ask a client - would you prefer a video on CDROM or VHS?

Thom - how much are you saving on mailing costs for those 13 kits?

There's my two cents.

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Old 12-14-01, 09:43 AM   #6
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VHS tape w/ case: 1.60
Postage: 2.50
Labels and cover: 1.00

Cd-ROM w/ case: .61
Label and cover: .85
Postage: .32

With a VHS I send paper brochures, the Cd-rom has a digital version of all the information, plus some. Cost: 3.5

Bri,

I am saving a considerable amount. I also think that a CD might just get me more or less work than a VHS.

Here's my thought process:

Cd-ROMs are still a novelty. Some types of people are MORE likely to look at my CD than a video because it's a cool toy. Or less likely because they "know nothing about them damned boxes."

It's sort of like the quality of the box issue with a VHS. A good box means more work.

I'm counting the CD as "interesting packaging" of my tape.

I hope that leads to more gigs, it could backfire. I feel pretty good about it. Knock on wood.

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Old 12-14-01, 09:47 AM   #7
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Bri,

I should clarify that this is not a video slapped onto a Cd.

It's an interactive flash file. That means pictures, sounds, video and animation. There is ALSO just a video file and picture file seperately.

The professionalism of the CD should also score points. God, I hope this works.

Thom
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Old 12-15-01, 12:02 PM   #8
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Thom,

How much of the CD-Rom work did you do yourself and how much did you hire someone else to do?


étienne
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Old 12-16-01, 12:32 AM   #9
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I had the video edited then converted it myself to AVI and Quicktime formats. The Cd-ROM (FLASH) coding and Autorun coding were done by me. I also wrote the promotional letter and edited the jpeg files.

You can find students who can code this stuff all day for 15 to 20 bucks an hour. Figure on paying them for 40 - 50 hours. You just have to tell them EXACTLY what you want. They generally can't market for crap.

Look around enough (or advertise on bulletin boards on campus enough) and you'll find a kid to do it for free.

Hope that answers your question.

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Old 12-16-01, 05:15 AM   #10
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Thom,

Yeah I've actually used students also and as long as I'm sitting right there with them, telling them what to do and making sure they don't just faff off it works out fine. I paid $16 an hour once, but got better results when I paid nothing but gave them a bottle of tequilla.


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Old 12-16-01, 03:53 PM   #11
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Old 12-19-01, 03:32 PM   #12
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Thom,

I checked out your web site. Why have separate Flash and HTML versions if they are going to support the same functionality? Is the CD that you are distributing simply a copy of your web site, or does it offer some additional information?

I do multimedia development distributed primarily on CD-ROM and have often wondered what sort of content could, and should, be included in a variety act promotion. I've never done one for myself, just because I don't see that there is much to say. The medium is great for interactivity, but apart from superfluous games or clever graphics, I haven't seen any sort of promotional perspective that presents material in a context that is more straight forward, or more clear than a VHS video. It might make sense if you were to include information that extends what is on your web site.

Of course, editing digital media gives a greater control over the look and gloss of the package. One could more easily create the illusion of being professional with a digital format. Heck, even the development process, although seemingly expensive, is cheaper than hiring someone to produce a promotional video. I would also surmise that the tools, namely a PC or Mac, are far more accessible that those needed to produce good raw video footage.

Let us know how it goes and what sort of response you get.

Steve
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Old 12-20-01, 07:50 AM   #13
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Steve,

You have hit the nail on the head!
The cd isn't better. It just attracts your attention. And I make it all in house.
The seperate flash and HTML versions online are for the exact same reason. It just looks better.
The physical cost on the cd, the production cost on the cd and the postage on a cd are the main reasons I'd like to see this format work.
I also believe that for a few months (years?) Cds will be a slightly more impressive format. If you can get users to not fear them.

To answer the other question: The Flash portion of the cd is VERY similiar to the site. The only difference is that their are video clips (bitmap sequences with music).

I believe: This is marketing. It's ALL about what it looks like. Not about logical functionality. Anything that gets me a phone call is wonderful.
I just want to get onstage. That means I've got to look a little better than most right from the beginning. I've got the get to the 'top of the pile' and then get that call.

Hope that helps.


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Old 12-20-01, 07:56 AM   #14
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Well kids I just booked the workplay theater in Birmingham for April.
My cost: one dollar.
I took a CD to them, dropped it off and yesterday (Dec. 20th) I booked the date.
So the Cds just paid for themselves.
The manager was a 'tech guy' and really loved the idea. He also gave me some great thoughts on future projects (as did Steve a couple of posts down).
A VHS video would have gotten this gig. So the CDs just saved me money, but I really don't think they 'made the pitch' for me.

Maybe this is just another way to cut overhead and not a marketing idea? hmmmm, I may have to rethink this whole thing.....

What do you guys think? Cost or marketing?

Thom
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Old 12-20-01, 06:53 PM   #15
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Hi Thom,

I checked out your site too, and when you say "the flash looks better", do you mean you think it is perceived you are "more professional" because you have flash as opposed to someone who doesn't?

I was actually a bit disappointed that the flash looked almost identical to the non-flash, especially after it took longer to connect and it played annoying music.

MOST IMPORTANT, there was info about your college shows in the non-flash site that wasn't in your flash site.

This is an essential selling point and if I were looking to book an act I am far more likely to be impressed by this than a bunch of flashy graphics.

I agree with Bri when he says it's the content that counts. You're a working pro 'cause you've got a good show, not because you have flash graphics.


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Old 12-21-01, 02:23 AM   #16
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étienne,

You make some very good points about the content of the flash site. Thanks for the feedback. In my defense, the site is 3 weeks old and I'm still fine tuning. Please feel free to e-mail or post anything else you don't like about any of the site.

To clarify: I think FLASH looks better. Not my flash site, just having a flash option. It's a MARKETING tool. Not a show. They are different.

Does it make a difference? You bet your life!

As to: "You're a working pro 'cause you've got a good show"
Have a great show! Have a PERFECT show! Now have a really horrible video box. Just a box. Just 18 - 36 cents worth of material. Watch that box put your wonderful show out of business or at least deny you what you deserve. The bottom of the pile of videos. By time they get to yours (if they get to it) all the top spots are filled.

Is it fair? Hell no!
Is it show BUSINESS? Only if you want to do it professionally.
Do I like it? Not really. But I want to work. That's the business I chose.

Do most agents know these points? Yes, the occasional agent will rise above it and look past the crap you put on paper and see the potential beneath. The ones who told me how to do better promo are proof. Several of them opened my eyes. I started with (I thought) a fun show, some thought it was really good. My promo SUCKED!

Most of these people I send this stuff to have never seen me onstage. This is ALL they know of me. It has to look good. It has to stand out. It has to be the best I know how to do. Why? Because that is part of my work ethic when doing a show. I want a good show that stands out and is my best work. My promo is the closest thing I can get to that at this time.

I hope I've made myself a little better understood on this point. It's an unfortunate evil we HAVE to deal with. At least, I've never seen a way around it.

I do tend to type very fast and am occasionally not very clear on posts. Please feel free to ask direct questions about anything I write here or e-mail me directly: Thombritain@aol.com

Thanks for the feedback and the tough love.

Thom
www.thombritain.com

Ps - I really liked the funky music. Sorry.
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Old 01-07-02, 07:12 PM   #17
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Re Marketing: anybody offer a money back guarentee? What kind of responce did you get?

Walking tall and wondering!

Bill "Stretch" Coleman
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Old 06-26-02, 04:36 PM   #18
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I keep putting off making a promo CD-Rom for all the technical compatibility reasons although I too am yearning for the day when I can put all printed,photo and video clip material on one CD/DVD.

On the topic of investment:
last September I bought a digital camcorder and a G4 Macintosh with the main purpose of putting together a new promo video. I have already received the 3 or 4 extra gigs that were necessary to cover the costs incurred. So you could say I got a free video camera and computer because they paid for themselves. What a bargain. And to top it off, because I put a lot of time, thought and effort into making the video (on iMovie by the way) I think the final product is better than what I have gotten for past videos by hiring a professional editor to do it for me over a couple of days in a studio.

Oh and it was fun to do as well.

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