Lost In Life

New Dinz advice! Do you ever feel lost in life? What do you do when you feel it's time to take off, but you don't know where to go?

Too Sexually Confident? - Dinz Advice

Too Sexually Confident?

New Dinz advice! Frida is a virgin but likes when people are surprised to find out that out... is she being dishonest?

Limited-Edition Linzer Dinzer T-Shirt Now On Sale!

Linzer Dinzer "No Rules" Limited Edition T-Shirt
CLICK HERE! Shirt is on sale NOW!!
When you conceptualize a situation in your life as a choice you made against less desirable options, you approach life proactively and not as a caged bird. If you don't like where you're at - then leave, all you need is to be aware of the consequences that may follow. The key to a fulfilling life is knowing your priorities and what trade-offs make sense for you. This is a sentiment that means a lot to me, and I feel has contributed greatly to my happiness.

When I decided I needed to raise funds for my video production work, I didn't want to just beg for hand outs. I wanted to put a lot of work into something special that I could offer you guys. This artwork was hand-drawn and took many hours to create.

Funds raised from this T-shirt will be used to build a new and better computer for the video production efforts of Linzer Dinzer and team.

I hope you enjoy this shirt and share this link with your friends!

You Are 90% Normal

!ogan-paig3(:, Flickr

When I was a teenager, I believed I was weird. A Weirdy McWeirdo. My friends had more friends than I did and they liked to go out and do things that friends do. I liked to write fan fiction and build websites for whatever my fandom du jour happened to be. The other girls were kissing boys when I was writing about kissing boys I had never met.

But I wasn't weird. Just like you, I was about 90% normal and 10% weird. Just like your mom, your friends, your dentist, and your garbage man - 90% normal, 10% weird. This isn't optimism talking - this is just a matter of pure, cold, hard math. By definition "normal" encapsulates the traits that are most common amongst a group people, therefore you are more likely to have normal qualities than not have them because that's what makes them normal.

But naturally, you're gonna shine a spotlight on your 10% weird. People are fixers, we gotta fix the things we think are broken. We gotta plug the holes in the dams and clip off the hangnails. If we paid as much attention to the things that were fixed as the things that needed fixing, we would never get anything done. Unfortunately that can lead to a rather neurotic, pessimistic life experience.

First of all it's perfectly normal to think your friends are more normal than you are. For one thing, they're the ones who are teaching you what normal is. Secondly, your friends are more popular than you are. Most of them, anyway. No, that's not a sassy joke - prepare for more math.

There are more than 7 billion people in the world. 2 billion of those people are on the Internet, which gives even an 60 year old in Papua New Guinea a shot at being your friend. But you are one in 2 billion people, so someone would have a better chance of winning the lottery than having happened to come through all the perfect circumstances to end up being your friend. It's all a matter of being at the right place at the right time with all the right qualities.

So, if you're the rare winning lottery ticket, doesn't it stand to reason that someone has a better chance of winning you if they purchase a lot of lottery tickets? A person is more likely to have you as a friend if they have a crap ton of friends, therefore you are more likely to have friends with a crap ton of friends. It has nothing to do with you being weird or them being normal. In fact one could argue that it's a lot more normal to have a small group of friends, and having five thousand friends is kind of weird.

So what is your weird? Let's say you're gay. Well, that is weird. The LGBT community only takes up about 4% of the US population, so I guess it's a done deal. You're a Weirdy McWeirdo.

But are you really? I'm sure being gay isn't the only quality that describes you. You probably like music and movies. You probably have two eyeballs. You probably don't like it when people say mean things to you. You're probably embarrassed when you fart. You're 90% normal and 10% weird. You're a combination of weird and normal pieces-parts.

Everyone has a 10% weird. Some people stay awake all night and sleep all day. Some people have phobias of kittens. And some people have amazing talents in their 10% weird - artists, singers, physicists, contortionists - they use their weird to make a special contribution to this world, but they still have all that normal to connect with the people they share their talent with.

In fact, I think it would be abnormal to not be 10% weird, so looking at it that way, you are 100% normal. Congratulations, normal human. Now go out there and make the most of your 10% weird.


At the End of Full Sail

Nearing the end of my program at Full Sail University, after having spent a year studying how to make a living from Entertainment Web content, my views and expectations of this industry has changed a great deal.

Current news stories exemplify the overall reality. Phillip DeFranco, one of the most iconic figures of online entertainment, has sold all of his assets to Revision3 and become an executive in the company. Season 2 of web series Continuum is going to be available through subscription on JTS.TV before it is ever available for free on YouTube. Even the biggest online acts need the support of bigger companies to monetize their endeavors. It’s not as simple as “go viral, get advertising, and you’re set.”

Developing my business plan for Linzer Dinzer was a sobering experience. Even if my videos went viral, even if we sold 60 T-shirts a month, even if I moved my show to a subscription-based model, and even if I sold private advice sessions, I would still not generate enough revenue to hire my team. To put it bluntly, I learned that business is hard.

On a personal note, I think my fascination with YouTube celebrity may have come from a sense of fear. Fear of competition, fear of those who are more advanced than myself in the industry, fear of being seen as a “child” or a “newbie” to traditional media companies. YouTube gave me hope that I could bypass all of that, to avoid the scrutiny of harsh criticism for a slim chance to be being chosen. I could just sit back, make videos, and watch the numbers rise.

But like my mom used to tell me, “the long way is the shortcut.” I have to put myself out there – and not just out there in terms of uploading videos. I have to network within the industry. I have to form partnerships. I have to compete. I have to work so hard at perfecting the content that I create that I can rub elbows with the big boys.

I entered this program with one question on my mind – is YouTube the end goal, or is YouTube a training ground? Now I know. YouTube is a training ground.

My journey at Full Sail is coming to a close, but the real adventure is just beginning.

Reflections on Crowdfunding

It’s a month until I graduate with a Master’s in Entertainment Business, and it’s a month until my IndieGoGo fundraising campaign ends. Yes, I timed it that way on purpose.

My team and I have produced our YouTube show, The Dinz, for the past 9 months. In those 9 months, our subscribers have more than doubled, but our average view count hasn’t shown a measurable upward trend. We’re treading water, and not making nearly enough ad revenue to buy the crew lunch, much less pay a fraction of our deserved wages. We turned to IndieGoGo as our last hope to turn this thing into a job as we figure out how to turn our work into actual profits.

Despite all our greatest efforts, and the incredible generosity of more than 50 friends and fans, we have barely made a dent in our goal. However, sometimes things can be learned from not-so-successes just as well as successes. Here’s a list of the things I’ve learned, and how I would advise other YouTubers attempting crowdfunding to run a successful campaign.

1.     Do not set a goal that is higher than your subscriber count. If you need more than that, too bad so sad. If you can’t get 80,000 people to hit a “subscribe” button, you won’t get 80,000 people to give you a dollar. One dollar per subscriber is already an ambitious estimate. 2/3 of your subscriber count is an attainable goal.
2.     Never depend on solo funders to spend more than $100. If you want to offer a perk that is extremely resource intensive, like a custom video, crowdfund the perk. I.e., “If 200 people claim this perk, we will do xyz!” Offer some sort of small, free prize to the donors if that capacity wasn’t reached – like  a shout-out or digital photo.
3.     Limit the physical objects – like photos and T-shirts – that you include as perks. You’ll have to sell more than 100 of them to even afford to offer the perk at all. Focus on perks that cost nothing and are personalized – like  a shout-out or digital photo.
4.     BE REAL. I tried to be chipper, positive, and bubbly for the first two weeks of the campaign and barely made a dent. As soon as I made a blunt and honest video explaining what was at stake, how much we needed the money, why we needed so much, and how sorry I was that we had to ask for donations, the amount of donors exploded. People tell you not to do this in fear that you’ll sound like you’re “begging,” but I find that people respond empathetically when you’re just being honest. You can state your need without guilt-tripping people.

I wish all the best to anyone attempting crowdfunding. Some people think that it’s begging, but frankly – they are wrong. We are working for our money. Crowdfunding is a full time job, and I believe that with that attitude, crowdfunders are more likely to be successful. Maybe we won’t be this time, but next time, I’ll be armed and dangerous!

Business Plan Experts and My Business Plan

Andrea Cockerton’s wisdom about business plans has made me very critical about my own business’s ability to address a needed market. She also points out that a business plan should address the innovativeness of the company’s ideas along with its abilities to execute those ideas, but my company already has those qualities in spades. It’s the need in the market we appear to currently be lacking. Doing amazing and incredible things has little meaning if the market doesn’t have any legitimate need for what the company is creating. It doesn’t seem like there’s a very high demand for motivational/inspirational web-based video that has a biting edge to it.

Kevin Geiger and Chuck Blakeman both addressed the issue of committing to the execution of your plan. Geiger was more in favor of it, Blakeman was less so. This makes me think about the relationship between my own business plan and how it will be executed, and the more I am honest with myself about it, the more it feels like I couldn’t expect myself to be completely loyal to the original plan. Mostly, this is because of lack of experience. The brutal reality is I will never have experience executing a business plan until I get that investor’s approval the first time. Therefore, while completing my first business plan, I won’t have the capacity to be completely realistic. It’s hard to picture obstacles I have not yet faced or witnessed. My first business plan is going to be a good old-fashioned educated guess.

All three of these experts have confronted me with the reality that I am currently poorly-equipped to join the gap between the work I want to do and the realities of putting that work on the market. What I may need to do is go back to the drawing board, give serious thought to everything I have learned about the market I want to compete within, and use my current experience and creativity to build a project and a business that the market actually wants rather than what I want it to want.

Pitching Businesses to Investors

Andrea Cockerton is a UK-based independent pitch expert who has worked with over 350 entrepreneurs. Cockerton suggests three vital components in a business pitch - evidence that your business represents a growing market in need of your product or service, evidence that your team has the ability and talent to provide this product or service, and evidence that there is innovativeness to your product or service. Cockerton also stresses the importance of having long-term strategy when approaching investors, because seeking funding at the last penny is risky behavior.

Kevin Geiger has a similar idea. Geiger is an entertainment industry veteran who has worked as a producer, computer animator, and digital artist since 2009. In his four-part lecture, Geiger stresses the importance of committing your plan, and that deviating from that plan has consequences. If you don't commit to the plan as described in your business plan, you are not doing the work promised to your investor. It's important to be prepared and be careful not to deviate from your plan for the sake of communication with whom you are reporting to, though it's natural that some reasonable adjustments need to be made throughout the process.

Chuck Blakeman, however, looks at it from a different angle. Blakeman is a Colorado-based business success mentor who speaks at more than a hundred workshops a year and has been quoted in major news articles all over the world. He believes that doing is far more important than planning, and that time invested in the plan should be invested in the business because situations change and can't be accurately predicted.

I think there is value in both these point of views and that it relies completely on the perspective of the individual planner. A business plan serves to entice investors, but when it comes to actually operating the business, it is wise to be adaptable to changing conditions. Have a plan, but be prepared for the unexpected.

Who Wants Web Series?

Leap Year on YouTube
Eliza Dushku appeared in 3 episodes of the web series Leap Year in 2012. Dushku was excited to be a part of the project and loves web series “because that’s where more people are. The internet has clearly exploded in the last few years—you can access whatever you want to watch on your iPhones or your Androids. It’s definitely more user friendly and instantly accessible, and there is really creative, cool stuff going on. You get to really play, to really explore, and to have creative license and freedom."

The thing is, Leap Year has 1014 subscribers on YouTube. Season 1 episodes don't break 5 digit view counts, and season 2 episodes don't break 6 digits - despite celebrity appearances from Dushku and Emma Caulfield. Were I not researching web series online, I would not even know Leap Year existed, and even then, I got the news a year late.

Granted, this series is intended for Hulu. Often times, when I surf the web for information about web series, I hear tales of the original content on Hulu, and yet I don't know a single person who watches a Hulu show. I've never seen a Hulu show shared or discussed on my Facebook feed. Even going to the Hulu web site, I can't find original content even if I wanted to. The Genres page doesn't have an "original" or "web series" category. It's been six years since "The Guild," and yet, web series still isn't "a thing."

That is, it isn't "a thing" for audiences. It's a thing for content creators and filmmakers. It's a thing for creatives to experiment, sure, but that experimentation costs money. Thus, it's a thing for creatives to spin their wheels, and infect each other with false hope and to sweet-talk cash out of investors who salivate over the sexy, ever-growing web content consumption numbers. Yes, people are watching video online. Yes, more and more people are flocking to YouTube. But they are not watching long-form narrative content, no matter how badly we want them to.

If we're going to present series to web audiences we have to stop lying to each other about the way the web is now. We know that people will watch long-form content online - I just consumed the entire first four Seasons of SyFy's Eureka on Netflix without so much as glancing at a single second of it on television. Web series needs a portal of legitimacy. We need to point people to a home for web series where audiences know they will find quality content, so we can watch the numbers rise.

Come on, Hulu. Come on, YouTube. Us dreamers are counting on you.

Fox Television signs WIGS

This week, apparently, Fox Television signed a deal with the YouTube channel WIGS. WIGS, a drama channel geared toward female viewers, was launched during the YouTube Original Channel initiative last year along with projects like SourceFed and MyMusic. WIGS was unusual being that it had appearances from mainstream celebrities like Julia Stiles and Jennifer Garner, and had a format much more like what you might find on HBO than on YouTube. Right now, it's unclear whether or not Google is continuing to fund WIGS, but apparently Fox is going to be contributing to programming, marketing, ad sales, and distribution.

I have no idea what this deal means. Kevin Reilly, Chairman of Entertainment for Fox says, “Our overarching goal is to create an ecosystem where creative people and ideas can find expression independently in the online environment, but benefit from the resources that the larger platform of the network affords." This makes it sound like he is interested in developing the web as a platform because of it is a less expensive means of distribution. However, he continues to say, "[WIGS has] spent a year building a novel production process and a vibrant alternative pipeline, and we're excited to help them take those tremendous stories and talent and develop them into long-term digital or on-air assets." What intrigues me is the idea of using WIGS to develop long-term content for television instead of just for the web. It almost seems ominous.

Does Fox want to use WIGS and YouTube as a cheap playground to test out TV content, because the potential for new content to fail on TV is so expensive? Is the web going to become a "pilot" portal? Or will it be a final destination for premium drama content? WIGS has already become the number one spot for drama on YouTube, but it's only boasting 100 thousand subscribers, making it seem less viable for long-term growth. In my opinion, for something like WIGS to survive, it can't just be a cheaper alternative to TV. It has to offer something TV can't by utilizing the interactivity of the web platform. We'll have to see what happens.

Good content or good luck?

The internet is saturated in stories of the guys who "made it." At all times I am merely a few clicks away from the success stories of the Ray William Johnsons, Philip DeFrancos, and the Freddie Wongs. Freddie Wong just completed the most successful Kickstarter campaign in the history of the website for his project Video Game High School, and Michael Gallagher of YouTube's "Totally Sketch" recently released his feature film, Smiley.

They could tell us all about their trials and tribulations, and how they eventually made it by working hard, sticking out the hard times, and creating quality content. But as a desperate content creator, how can I be sure they aren't just the lucky chickens who crossed the road?

Freddie Wong once argued that it isn't all about luck. He said that it was all about the content, and he had never seen a video that was truly spectacular that didn't get success (unable to find source). That statement always hung low in my head because I started pondering the logic of this. For one thing, we have to consider of the limited real estate of Wong's YouTube viewing time. By the time the video even reached his eyes, it's likely it had already reached a certain level of exposure and success. Also, we have to consider the logical fallacy of confirmation bias. If he was watching a video with a low amount of views, it's possible he may have spotted flaws to justify such low views. If the video had millions of views, he was probably more likely to identify it's strengths.

The point is, there is a lot of content out there. Freddie Wong hit the nail on the head when he said "if there’s something that a lot of people are fighting to do, you can join the fray, but it’s often easier for you to go somewhere else." If you create completely unique, original content, there are no internet pathways to direct people to you. However, if you follow a trend to point people toward you, you will get swallowed by the competition. With the dire nature of these two options, it's hard to believe that luck is not involved when the cream rises to the top.

I don't know the answer to this riddle. All I know is, after three years on YouTube, it's hard to keep myself from getting jaded.

Interview with Jamie Wright

Jamie Wright
This afternoon I had a chance to chat over Skype with attorney Jamie Wright. Jamie is a general practitioner with an emphasis on entertainment and personal injury.

She initially got involved in entertainment because her LA-based firm had an entertainment practice, and friends kept asking her questions about entertainment contracts. They often asked questions like "does this provision sound fair?" or "am I giving too much of a percentage to this manager?" From there, she took the initiative to research entertainment law on her own. She told me Google is a great starting point to find out if you're being taken advantage of, but she also filled me in on a couple industry standards - managers get 20%, agents shouldn't get more than 15%.

I asked Jamie about common mistakes made by artists and content creators who post stuff online. She brought up copyright infringement, which was to be expected. She warned against reviewing music videos and including footage from the music video without written consent from the copyright owner, or reproducing information that someone else already owns. If I find that I want to use images or video that are not open domain for my channel, she encouraged me to use Google and web resources like Legal Zoom to find documents and advice on how to get permission to use someone else's content for commercial purposes.

But, much to my surprise, she said the biggest problem is defamation. It's one thing to state a negative opinion on the Internet, but if you make a statement that affects the individual's economic value or income, the blogger is likely to be considered legally liable. She advised me to always be mindful of the money – it’s all about the money, and if you’re making money you shouldn’t be or imposing on someone else’s rightful earnings, your more likely to leave yourself open to legal consequences.

Jamie Wright graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in Political Science, and is currently licensed to practice law in the State of California. She can be reached on her official website.

Jamie Wright’s Official Website.

The Importance of Contracts

I don’t think any aspect of the entertainment industry scares me more than the legal part. It’s simple enough to create work and then sell it, but in order to make the best work possible, you have to work with other people. And naturally, if you’re working with other people, you have to make agreements, and expect the other parties to stay true to those agreements. Unfortunately, it seems whenever I look up, I see such agreements falling apart.

Near the end of 2012, YouTube’s most famous star, Ray William Johnson announced he was leaving his network, Maker Studios. Eight months before his contract expiration, he was asked to renegotiate the terms of his contract. Maker wanted 40% of his Google Adsense revenue and 50% of the show’s intellectual property indefinitely. Eventually Maker said they would shut down the production of his album, leading to his decision to leave the company.

In 2009, three members of Korean pop group TVXQ began a feud with their label, SM Entertainment, and the lawsuit didn’t end until the end of 2012. The three members, now under a different label as JYJ, filed their case against SM because they felt their thirteen-year contract was a “slave contract.” Though Korean court allowed the three to continue activities, the Korean entertainment industry banned JYJ from public media appearances. As of November 2012, the two parties have reached a settlement and the JYJ ban is over.

It would appear that contract disputes in Korean pop are not unusual. Just this month, Block B filed a request to terminate their exclusive contract with their label, Stardom. Apparently, they’ve faced troubles similar to TVXQ’s. It’s reported that Stardom has failed to meet the obligations outlined in their contract, including but not limited to denying the group their fair pay. Since this story is brand new, hot off the press, there has not yet been anything close to a resolution.

Stories like the above are not unusual. Contracts must be taken very seriously and written very carefully. I plan to take very special care of the human relationships within my YouTube channel by preparing very structured, fair, clear, and sensitive contracts.