From Rob Long, professional Hollywood screenwriter and producer:
When I started paying more attention to the web, and to on-line media in general, I decided to jump in myself. My business partner, Tim Fall, and I created a site called Yurth, which is a (we hope) developing place for people to share, communicate, and link up on a global, video basis. We didn’t want too much text; we wanted it to appeal to people worldwide, people with phone cams and web cams and something to say.
We want people who don’t read or write English – people who have phones with video, access to webcams, but maybe Arabic keyboards – to be able to reach out and connect with people somewhere else.
What if we could connect Open Mike nights worldwide? What if we could let people without $6000 MacBookPro’s create simple, video-based social networks with other people across the world? And keep it all simple – I really, really like simple – so that if you don’t write English, or type it, you can still reach out?
It’s not there yet. It’s got a long way to go. Tim and I are not engineers. But we’ve made some pretty large dollar investments in the site, have a vision for where to take it, and believe passionately in the idea of a simple, global, video beehive. And so we did what you do in that situation.
We met with a lot of VCs.
And had a lot of long, interesting conversations – no money, but that was okay; we were unknowns, and not engineers. Pretty much everyone we met was thoughtful and smart and enthusiastic about the future of web-based entertainment. Everyone we met spent at least 90 minutes with us, talking, musing, thinking out loud.
No one does that in Hollywood.
No one in Hollywood thinks out loud. Not like Fred Wilson, or Brad Feld, or Mike Hirshland or… I could go on.
We don’t think about the machine. We only think about feeding the machine.
And right now we’re all standing around a machine that’s making alarming noises and emitting a funny smell and we’re all arguing about whose fault it is, rather than trying to figure out how to fix it.
Or whether to throw it away.
Now, Rob’s a smart guy. But, I don’t know exactly how good his idea is, and I don’t know how well he and his partner can execute on it, and maybe it will succeed and maybe it will fail — just like any startup — but this is exactly the kind of fresh, entrepreneurial thinking that can reenergize and transform the entertainment industry. And there is no reason on earth that people like Rob shouldn’t be the ones to do it.
p.s. As a side note, Rob is also the author of two of the funniest books ever written on the entertainment industry — Conversations with My Agent and Set up, Joke, Set Up, Joke — both highly recommended.