Online video's a tough way for an actor to make a living

Just when the online-video bandwagon started rolling down the street, an actor who's done online work throws a stick in the spokes. Julia Stiles, the title character of YouTube's "Blue" series, said that working on an online video series is good creatively but bad financially.

"The downside of Web content--scripted Web content--is that there is no money involved. No one is earning a living. The upside is there is a lot of creative freedom," Stiles said during an interview with Reuters.

To paraphrase an old cliché, creative freedom doesn't put food on the table. It does grab attention for an actor who also craves some mainstream attention--and it doesn't take a lot of time because the Web is still the place to go for short-form content.

And even that concerns Stiles.

"Sometimes I get worried that our attention spans are getting short. We only watch content that can be downloaded," she said during the interview.

The possible solution, she said, is what Blue is trying to accomplish: "Tell a story that builds to a longer story. Each one is a brick that builds a house. A 7-minute episode is an interesting chapter in a large book (and) ultimately 12 episodes amounts to the length of a movie."

But it's not a movie, it's an online video and there's the rub.

"The people at the top have to find a way to share wealth. Nobody knows where the ad revenue is going. Once we figure out where that's going, we can spread it around with the crew," she said.

But, like anything, even the ad-supported model is less than ideal.

"There are so many ads on the Internet now you actually can't watch anything without watching an ad. People will get sick of that. They'll make you subscribe to skip all the ads," she said. "But they have to figure out a way to make a living, to pay the crew."

For more:
 - see the Reuters story

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