What’s the key to producing successful web videos? There’s no guidebook, that’s for sure. As much as we think we know what’s funny, what’ll get shared and featured on the likes of HuffPo and Splitsider, the viewing public is highly unpredictable. Luckily, creators aren’t totally in the dark – there are some unofficial rules of web media that start to guide our path toward digital success. Many have been talked about in this very column; you know the old faithfuls like “keep it under 3 minutes,” “keep it topical,” “relatable humor is good humor,” but perhaps the most salient “rule”, one creators’ share time and time again, is “Just make stuff.” Create content, a lot of it, and don’t worry if it’s not Webby-worthy. Use the medium to get a feel for the medium.
At New York’s Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, there’s a monthly event dedicated to this very tenet and it’s called Sketch Cram. Produced by ever-industrious UCB’ers Matt Klinman, Brandon Gulya, Zack Poitras, Sketch Cram has one clear, not-so-simple goal: collect the best writers, actors, and directors in New York’s comedy ecosystem and write and produce a sketch show – complete with live and video sketches – in less than 18 hours. (Last month saw it’s first Movie Cram where this breakneck process yielded a feature length film.) Amazingly, it works. Month in and month out, this crew feeds the comedy-hungry community while honing their own skills…by doing. Even more surprising, the content is really good – insane Cram timeframe or not. Need some proof? This “Exciting New Number System” was conceived, created, and released in fewer hours than my normal Sunday sleep cycle.