Those YOOTOON Submission Requirements in Detail

So I was all set to write a post on the YOOTOON channel in general but Amid Amidi took care of that for me so instead, let’s take a closer look at those submission requirements shall we?

From the Tumblr submission page:

    1. Have fun! We want to see your style shine through your video.
    2. Make sure your video is set to UNLISTED on YouTube. Your video must be brand spanking new, not one you’ve previously uploaded.
    3. Videos should be 10 seconds to 2 minutes long.
    4. Only use licensed music or music that you’ve created. You can find free music online! If you use licensed music, we will need a copy of that license agreement.
    5. Please keep your video kid friendly to be eligible for submission. Get creative, but no nudity, swearing, bad stuff, you get the picture.
    6. Only submit your own original videos. If accepted, this video will be posted on the YOOTOON channel EXCLUSIVELY and CAN NOT be live on the internet ANYWHERE else, including your own Youtube channel.
    7. You must be over 13. If you are not over 13, please have your parent or guardian submit the video for you or have them contact us at: joinyootoon@gmail.com

Let’s break these down one by one:

1. Have fun! We want to see your style shine through your video.

Okie dokie, seems fair enough.

2. Make sure your video is set to UNLISTED on YouTube. Your video must be brand spanking new, not one you’ve previously uploaded.

So the video must not have been shown before. That’s OK too. A lot of few film festivals generally require that your film not be available online in order to be eligible to enter. In other words, it’s not a deal-breaker.

3. Videos should be 10 seconds to 2 minutes long.

Again, a straight-forward request.

4. Only use licensed music or music that you’ve created. You can find free music online! If you use licensed music, we will need a copy of that license agreement.

This is pretty much an indemnity clause. As you may well know, record companies love crawling YT looking for their unlicensed use of their content. Besides a quick DCMA takedown to YT, they also love to send legal nastygrams, sometimes extorting money in exchange for not suing you. With this, YOOTOON is basically saying that they won’t even consider a video without the proper licensing in place becaues of the potential legal pratfalls. Again, this is fairly standard.

5. Please keep your video kid friendly to be eligible for submission. Get creative, but no nudity, swearing, bad stuff, you get the picture.

OK, we get it; no boobies and F words.

6. Only submit your own original videos. If accepted, this video will be posted on the YOOTOON channel EXCLUSIVELY and CAN NOT be live on the internet ANYWHERE else, including your own Youtube channel.

OK, so this basically reiterates what was said above in addition to stating that the video can’t have been hosted anywhere else either.

7. You must be over 13. If you are not over 13, please have your parent or guardian submit the video for you or have them contact us at: joinyootoon@gmail.com

Fair enough.

Now, this is where it gets interesting because below those requirements, is another statement:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit. We want your idea to succeed! If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos. If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!

Now IANAL (I am not a lawyer) but this is most definitely an ill-drafted legal agreement if ever I’ve seen one. Let’s break this one down too:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit.

Any lawyer worth his salt could find fault with this. Who is “YOO”, he is not “you” because legal documents love specifc language. “YOO” is not specific, and could even be construed as being short for “YOOTOON”, thus making this clause a bait-n-switch kind of deal.

If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos.

In other words, if the video is good, we’ll fund the promotion of it to an extent that we think is OK. Not sure why this is in the agreement, YT has the same basic thing in their agreement because that’s how YT makes money too! Surely no reason to call it out specifically for a channel, right?

If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series!

Let’s isolate the key words here:

YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator

What is a “best effort deal”? Well, what that means in the context of YOOTOON is that they will make you an offer with the best intentions of hoping you’ll accept it. The gist is that “best intentions” can translate into “we hope you accept this offer, but if not, then we tried really hard to make it so that you would, and now that you don’t like it, we’re not going to offer you a different one”. In other words, we’ve fulfilled our side, you can take it or leave it.

That’s an awful lot of trust right there, because chances are, the agreement will be skewed in YOOTOON’s favour and there is little you can do about it.

Some of the particulars that aren’t described or mentioned include copyright. You can’t sign away your copyright unless the agreement specifically states so. I therefore find it hard to believe that the above agreement, where YOOTOON claims to own your video, would stand up very well (if at all) in court.

Secondly, it’s interesting to note about this channel is that it’s based on YouTube but accepts submissions through Tumblr. Yup, I haven’t quite figured that one out either because presumably, submitter’s videos will be on YT too. This adds an extra murky aspect to the whole scenario. Which license supersedes the others? YouTube because that’s where the videos are hosted? Tumblr because that’s where they were submitted? Or YOOTOON, because they are the channel’s owners?

It’s all a bit too much for a Tuesday morning before the first cup of coffee. So grab a cup and share your thoughts in the comments below.

And don’t forget:

Let’s be honest, this makes me think that Butch is siumply the frontman for the operation.

Do You Think Internationally When Developing A Series?

Sam Register discussing Warner Bros. animation at MIP Jr. 2011

 Via: MIPBlog

Do you think you should?

If not, why not?

Going on right now, MIPCOM is pretty much the convention/expo/gathering when it comes to selling shows to international buyers. Thousands come from all over the world to Cannes to see, hear, meet and schmooze about TV programmes. It’s also preceded each year by MIPJr. a similar event for kids shows that is ostensibly the same format as it’s big brother.

MIPCOM is an important part of the global TV ecosystem because it allows content producers to sell that content to others. It’s much cheaper (and easier) to simply sell the rights to a local player and have them handle re-dubbing, marketing, scheduling, etc. Essentially what you get is money for your show with relatively little effort.

So should you develop your show with this event in mind?

Or rather, should you have an international mindset when developing a TV show or film?

The answer is you probably should, not to the extent that you design your entire show around the international market, but you should be aware that certain things don’t play too well in the foreign markets, such as:

  • Westerns – The only place with a wild west is America, most other countries have nothing comparable so they aren’t nearly as interested
  • Military – DreamWorks discovered that as half-decent a film as Monsters Vs. Aliens is, it did relatively poorly internationally because of the heavy military theme didn’t resonate as loudly with foreigners as it did with Americans.
  • You get the picture

The important point is that if a show skews too heavily towards American culture, it might be a difficult sell abroad, resulting in the network being more reluctant to buy it given that international sales are normally necessary to make money.

Of course the opposite is true too. You shouldn’t base you’re entire show around what the international market wants but you should at least be aware that your show will likely be sold abroad at some point and adjust your development accordingly.

The most popular TV shows out there are so for a reason, and that is that they have universal appeal regardless of the culture you live in. The simple reason this is so is because they make culture irrelevant. Think of SpongeBob, where you live has nothing to do with the show, Bikini Bottom could be anywhere in the world!

Just keep an open mind, that’s all!

PS. Dave Levy wrote a great book on pitching and developing TV shows

PSS. Don’t forget to read Steve Schnier’s informative The Pitch Bible Blog

How ‘Film Rights’ Screw Everyone, Not Just The Artist

Via: Still from ‘Enrique Wrecks The World‘ and incredibly funny short film that I cannot show you.

The other evening I spent some time watching some very fine films at the Maryland Film Festival. It was an enjoyable time with some great films. So, being the animation enthusiast that I am, I thought I would share some of these films that I saw with my readers.

Surprise! The majority (but not all) are not available online. Why? If I were to hazard a guess, it is because festivals and distributors insist on certain clauses covering rights to the films which dictate when those films can and cannot be shown. Want to enter it in some festivals? Sorry, it can’t be also available online. Want to get a distribution deal? Sorry, it can’t also be available online.

How does this screw everyone? The people who want to see the film can’t see it while the person who needs it to be seen by people is SOL.

Posting one or two of the films here may not do much, but it won’t hurt either. Animation should be seen by everyone, not just the folks who made the effort and braved the rain to see them.

/rant