Is Howcast a Good Opportunity for Filmmakers?
How-to sites like eHow, 5min, and Instructables are crowdsourcing their video content and then making money off the submissions. It follows, then, that these sites should offer the content creators some form of remuneration. While it's difficult to discern what revenue sharing agreement some of these sites have in place, NYC-based Howcast has an Emerging Filmmakers program that lays out its terms very clearly. If you ever make tutorials or how-to videos -- for any topic, not ust filmmaking -- their program is worth a look:
- Level 1 – Start here with a stipend of $50 for every accepted video you create.
- Level 2 – Get the hang of Howcast spots. Shoot SD (DV/NTSC) or HD. Commit to five videos a month and earn $75 for every accepted video.
- Level 3 – Impress us with your creative and technical chops. Shoot HD. Commit to 10 videos a month and earn $100 for every accepted video.
- Level 4 – Knock our socks off. Shoot HD and be able to meet deadlines. Earn special assignments with rates from $150 to $300 for every accepted video.
No one's going to make a full-time living doing this, but if you're looking to build a reel and get paid a little bit along the way, Howcast could be one such opportunity. However, the "commit to X videos a month" seems a bit stringent to me, given this kind of video creation is best done opportunistically -- between jobs, during a lull, or when you've got a new technique you want to share. Getting paid a flat fee for a video is nice in that you know you'll be getting some form of payment for your work, but if your video explodes and receives hundreds of thousands (or millions) of views, it'd be nice to see a scalable form of revenue-sharing beyond the initial payment.
For reference, here is an example Howcast video about creating a DIY camcorder stabilizer along the same lines as a Manfrotto Fig Rig:
By crowdscourcing its library of how-to videos, Howcast is able to crank out 1,000 videos a month (which, as of January, were collectively garnering 25 million views/month). The NYC-based company is expected to achieve profitability by the end of the year. There are a couple of different ways of looking at such a feat: one, they're making a lot of money off the hard work of others, or two, at least they're paying content-creators from the get-go. What do you think -- is this a good opportunity for aspiring filmmakers who have a how-to itch to scratch, or is it a drastic underpayment for quality content?