Cross Video Days gets off to a flying start
by Ernesto Leotta
- Audience engagement, international co-production and virtual reality were the hot topics on the first jam-packed day of Cross Video Days 2015
The 2015 edition of Cross Video Days has just kicked off on a very hot morning, in terms of both the weather and the myriad conferences, workshops and individual meetings taking place at Les Docks de Paris.
Founder Bruno Smadja welcomed the audience and introduced some of the main partners of the event: Denis Bortot, general director at Pôle Media Grand Paris; Vincent Leclercq, head of audiovisual and digital creation at the CNC; and Fort McMoney creator David Dufresne.
Dufresne was also a speaker at the first conference of the day, entitled “Best Practices in Digital Audience Engagement”. "I often hear that audiences are lazy – I don't think so. Maybe we, as content creators, are lazy, as it's our task to recreate the cinema room," began the French journalist. "Nowadays, audiences are constantly distracted, so we must be proactive and start targeting them at least one year ahead of the release date of our project, with teasers or behind-the-scenes content."
Cineuropa’s very own Domenico La Porta, who was moderating the round-table, then asked what to do when audiences don't react to our project in the way we expected. "Failing quickly and often is part of the learning process," stated Dotsub founder and CEO Michael Smolens, who has dedicated his life to language-enabling media. "At Dotsub, we create subtitles and captions for videos in multiple languages, across all platforms, as we firmly believe that speaking to people in their own language is the best way to engage an audience."
When La Porta moved on to highlight the importance of instant rewards to secure the audience's attention, Ankama's Bastien Carpier added, "A reward is necessary, but it's not the main thing. For Dofus [+see also:
film profile], we offered our players the opportunity to help us improve the game through a series of contests, rewarding our community afterwards." Demotivateur founder Michal Sikora then wrapped up the conference by reminding his listeners, "Adapting to the audience's desires is the first duty of a content creator. That's why our team is always on the lookout for what's trending online, in order to delight our audience with new experiences."
A mid-morning coffee break was the perfect way for the attendees to link up with the many experts at the event, as well as recharging their batteries in order to dive into the world of international digital co-productions in the second panel of the day, moderated by Power to the Pixel CEO Liz Rosenthal.
"Co-production is when a producer is also the co-owner of the rights of a project," began producer Margaux Missika. "At Upian, we differentiate between co-producers and pre-buyers. We're a studio specialised in web design for media and also a production company boasting such titles as Do Not Track, our first big international co-production, and Generation What?, a sociology questionnaire with videos and documentaries." The other speakers were Rebecca Smit, deputy managing director at Bayerischer RundFunk; Malika Ait Gherbi Palmer, general director at Pictanovo; and once again Domenico La Porta, this time as head of transmedia at Wallimage. "We're an economic audiovisual film fund, and we created Wallimage Crossmedia in 2011 to help projects to involve different platforms and build their own story world," explained La Porta. "But that wasn't enough to compete with the big titles, so we joined forces with Pictanovo, for €200,000 worth of transregional co-productions, and also with the Canada Media Fund, for $600,000 worth of transatlantic co-productions. We now have three calls per year (€100,000) in Wallonia, where we have managed to establish an interregional co-production system."
The last session of the first half of Cross Video Days 2015 saw interactive storyteller Michel Reilhac step into the uncontaminated land of virtual reality, along with his fellow "explorers": Deep Inc CEO Thomas Wallner, Emissive CEO Fabien Barati, Canadian Film Centre chief digital officer Ana Serrano and Emblematic Group CEO Nonny de la Pena. "I see virtual reality as a true sea change in the experience of how we perceive the world," concluded Reilhac. "Presence comes with immersion, and they both create empathy. So presence, immersion and empathy are what VR is made of."