Online platforms are creating more opportunities for filmmakers to break into the industry, reach large audiences and make money as traditional gatekeepers are disintermediated.

In the latest example, last week Screen Australia and Snapchat launched a new initiative that will initially provide up to two teams with $15,000 and flights to the Snapchat HQ in Los Angeles to workshop a vertical mobile series.

The new partnership with Snapchat is seeking short-form fictional projects that “are creatively outstanding” and able to be told in 10 episodes of up to 5 minutes per episode.

“This is a remarkable opportunity for Australian content creators to make a project that has the ability to reach a massive global audience. We’re looking forward to receiving applications from creators with compelling scripted narratives that will take advantage of Snapchat’s format and present a bold concept suitable for 18 to 24-year-olds,” said Lee Naimo, Online Investment Manager at Screen Australia.

Naimo said there are “countless opportunities” for filmmakers in the online space and last year Screen Australia committed $4.3 million to 36 new projects through its Online Production fund and initiatives.

“One of the biggest changes in online content creation is there’s no longer as much of a need for ‘gatekeepers’,” he said.

According to Naimo easily accessible platforms with advanced editing tools, for instance, TikTok, allow creators to film content from their mobiles, edit it and immediately publish online.

“So what we are seeing is people building a huge audience for their content without needing to rely on the permission or support of a broadcaster or network.”

Immediate scale

Online channels allow filmmakers to showcase their work in front of mass audiences, for example Snapchat has 210 million daily users.

“These social media platforms are facilitating opportunities for creatives by providing them with a platform to screen their content and an existing audience ready to view it,” Naimo said.

“In relation to this [latest] initiative we are working on with Snapchat, through this collaboration we are able to support the creation of scripted narrative content that is relevant and appealing to younger audiences. One of the ways they are reaching this audience is by integrating new technology into their stories.”

The platforms also provide an opportunity for creators to monetise their content through advertising.

“Like YouTube or Facebook, Snapchat Originals contain advertising during episodes. So creators are able to leverage revenue through exposure to millions of viewers and a percentage of the advertising revenue as a result,” Naimo said.

Building fan bases through the platform also helps performers and creatives promote their live shows, Naimo said.

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