Maker was founded by a group who wanted to stop pitching to traditional studios and just make stuff – so they started to put video up on YouTube (prior to Google’s purchase). This group came together with similar interests and built this studio together and reinvested in the group to create some sort of infrastructure.
It is more interesting to build up YouTube shows and have/own than vs. getting it on TV or into traditional media. You don’t have to wait for the Hollywood system to tell them it’s ok to make something. They can do anything they want.
Maker isn’t just a production company, but a full media company as well. There is merchandise and other things that the company fills.
What did YouTube (and technology) enable that didn’t exist before? The platform (YouTube) finally enabled people to watch video in an easy universal way. It really helped it to spread, and there was a community there and it provided instant feedback. Technology in filmmaking became cheaper and easier to use. It allows many more people to participate in content creation.
How do you make money on YouTube? Advertisements – Google revenue share goes to the creators. There are ad deals as well. It’s a tough balance with certain brands who micromanage and are very particular about the content.
Because this type of thing is so new, there isn’t a business plan, or a model to follow for Maker Studios.
What is the roll of the fans? They keep you authentic and call out the BS. They give ideas and in many ways direct what happens with videos. It’s an intimate relationship with the fans. The audience also helps to get other work in movies or TV. There is an audience that will come with them for other projects. The YouTube videos help to stem other projects.