May 17, 2024

How Mid-Form Content is Redefining Storytelling with Georgia Rippin

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Welcome back to On production presented by Wrapbook. Today I'm thrilled to have Georgia Rippin, the co-founder and CEO of Kold Open joining us. Kold Open distributes mid form content providing a platform for over 270 shows from more than 1000 creators. With a career that spans across giants like Netflix, HBO and Showtime. Georgia brings a wealth of experience and insight into the future of content creation distribution. I want to dive into the world of mid form content and learn more about the vision behind Kold Open, Georgia. Welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me again. Well, can you start by telling me about your journey into the entertainment industry? And what led you to co-found Kold Open?


Yeah, I'd be excited to. So I originally grew up in New Zealand, and I trained to be a lawyer, but desperately wanted to work in film and television. So the way that I go about that was making a web series or a mid form show that got national attention. And are you familiar with what a mid form show is? Cameron?


I honestly have no idea. Tell me about it. Okay,


so mid form sets between short bomb, which is a tick tock, or a real and long form, which is a 30 Minute Netflix episode. So mid form is an episode, which is around five to 15 minutes long, usually episodic in nature. So there's around two to 10 episodes in a series. It's effectively a mini TV show made by an independent content creator.


Now, Georgia, I've been really curious about this. So you know, for many of our listeners, we are an independent film, we're in short form commercials, where in unscripted reality kind of longer form content. And suddenly that kind of amazes me is like going on air flights and watching people in the media that they're watching. And it is, within this kind of area that you're describing this mid form. I mean, as you've been kind of pursuing and building out Kold Open, do you have any metrics or like data that articulates what the future of media consumption is, and why you see this opportunity in mid content,


it definitely is the future in terms of consumption. I think part of that is because people's attention spans are shortening so much. And they're not necessarily able to focus for that 30 minute Netflix episode. But they still want a story, which a Tiktok or a Reel isn't necessarily able to sustain. Because it's so short in nature, it gives you a moment, as opposed to a beginning, middle and end, which really can be sustained, and around that like five to 15 minute format. There. So that's kind of that's kind of why it's interesting to the consumer. In terms of the studio system, it's always been really interesting to the major Hollywood Studios. And the reason for that is because the most successful shows that we've had on television actually started off as mid form shows. So it started off with The Simpsons and the 1970s, which was a mid form show that was cut off between The Tracey Ullman Show and ultimately scaled to be the longest running animation that we have. And also was the genesis for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the longest running live action comedy that we've had. And so many other heads like Ted Lasso, Broad City workaholics, the list goes


on. Fascinating, that really, I had never really considered that. So, you know, you have had some experience at large networks and at large studios like Netflix, HBO and Showtime. How did those roles influence your approach to Kold Open? And can you help us just better understand what the vision is for Kold Open?


Yeah. When working at these studios, one of the major issues that we were constantly running into is that it's really difficult to find mid form IP on the current video platforms that we have on the internet. So YouTube, Tik Tok and Vimeo, they're pretty much unsearchable for this vertical of IP. That's, that's really, really valuable to consumers, because they love to watch it. And secondly, because Hollywood Studios wants IP. And there's no way to really go through the entirety of the search engine to pull out this kind of IP. So I essentially wanted to create a solution so that executives would be able to find this kind of content, identify it quickly, and then license it to make into a long form TV show.


And then how does Kold Open kind of help the creators that you work with or what's kind of your process of, you know, cultivating and curating this sort of mid form content? So


right now, there's not really a home for a creator that's making a mid form show. That is gonna benefit, then YouTube is really orientated towards blogging or kind of educational style, live action content, because it was essentially the first place on the internet where we put video. So it means it's not really made for everything, and specifically this kind of mid form IP. And then Vimeo is also not the home for this, it is and makes money through cloud based software. And it's essentially impossible to be able to try and search the videos that filmmakers are putting up there. What called Open does is it brings together a home for this kind of IP on, firstly, our streaming platform online, but also the iOS app that we have, so that humans are able to watch it and enjoy it. And studios are able to find a certain show that they are looking for based on genre locale or any other kind of development bucket they're interested in. The reason that Kold Open is also going to be really important to the Creator going forward is that the supply side of really great mid form content is increasing exponentially right now. And the reason for that is we're getting vastly amazing you generative AI video tools that the crowd is on called open and other new creators coming into the fold are experimenting with to tell these kinds of narrative mid form shows. But we're actually also getting an increased quality of the live action mid form shows, because we're getting these epic new tools that are involved in coloring, captioning, different animation. So the quality is just increasing exponentially. And the need to have a platform that is dedicated to this kind of IP is becoming more important.


That's fascinating. I mean, so I've not been a big consumer myself of mid form content, although maybe you're you've kind of challenged my perception because definitely like, I totally hear what you're saying with The Simpsons, or it's always sunny, like, I've probably been exposed to hilarious sketches that are mid form. And in couple of years, maybe they get fully flushed on something else. But right now like what kind of mid form content are you seeing as being really popular? What kind of mid form content do you watch? For those listening, that are curious to kind of explore this as an opportunity worth producing or engaging with like, what a sort of tools and resources or direction should we be going in? Because first, I think people be very curious to see great examples of this. And then to with our production audience here, if there is an opportunity to produce this type of content in a profitable and unique way. I'm sure folks would be very curious about it.


Yeah, for sure. Intended what I love watching a really great creative driven story where you can really hear the voice of the creatives. A really cool one to check out would be Memorabilia which is an amazing story about America's real life Addams Family. So it's essentially a reality show about Chad and Chelsea Shepard who buy and sell True Crime artifacts. So this could be Marilyn Manson's had sneakers, someone was electrocuted then on death row. South Pole and trade is done by a cannibal really embraces the gamut. And it's an incredible watch. There's such good storytellers. And they really take you across America, criss crossing at different destinations, showing you what it's like to be able to barter with the Salah, get the item trade with another customer. It's a really great flipping show with a really unusual bent on that, and has grown a huge audience on cold open and the sides get really awesome press all around the other place like soft white underbelly, which is a YouTube show with around 5 million subscribers chatting. Chelsea just went on that, because this story really resonated with people. In terms of production companies making mid form content, yes, yes, yes, I think it is an incredible idea to prove out your proof of concepts. Because a pilot doesn't really give you that ability to show episodic storytelling in the same way that a mid form show does. Because television is essentially about character. So by having multiple episodes, you're able to show to whoever that you want to partner with, that you can show that character growing over multiple episodes. A pilot to me feels a bit more stunted, because you're you're mainly breaking story and you're not showing how the character can develop when you had that extra episodes. So I think it's an incredible investment to be able to do it. You can also do it for such low budget in terms of the filmmaking tools that are on offer. And even if you film something on your iPhone with the full capacity that we have right now I'll that would still be incredible.


Georgia talk to me about IP, what's the IP landscape in this kind of mid form world? Do creators get to kind of hold on to their IP? Does this give them a better like bargaining chip? When they come to the table? If they have a hit and they want to, like, produce something greater? Like what's what's kind of landscape? How do things get split out? What are the economics behind this? And, and why do you think that there's an opportunity there.


So the Creator, that position on cordovan definitely gets to hold on to their IP, that's really important that the creator of the show show, for sure should get to benefit from that vision. And the way that cold open, it helps the creator is essentially brokering it to the studio. And then taking a percentage of the budget from getting it from the mid form show to then the full length television show. This is actually an established model and film and TV for anyone who takes a piece of IP and then scales it to a longer form version. And there are a couple of companies who are also doing this in the new media landscape. We've had Wattpad, which did this with independent publishing a really great Canadian company, just set to IPO this year, very exciting. Top is media, which does this with web comics. And then obviously Kold Open, which we see as the next kind of iteration in terms of where creators and moving with the tools, like a lot of people started off with writing the next generation was with comics. Now a whole generation is growing up using video natively. So of course, that's going to be the next platform for storytelling, and mining the GGC stories to make into law information.


Really fascinating. I think you also mentioned something I'd love to get your your thoughts on, which is that, you know, with the proliferation of these generative AI models, it has been kind of my own intuition that at least in the short term, these tools will be very powerful for mid form versus long for. And I'm just curious, like you had mentioned that creators have been kind of playing with these already. But you're kind of expanding kind of my my mind on this related to being really useful for these kind of mid form concepts, and really just driving to see what sort of things are, are particularly novel to audiences today. Have you seen any great examples of the use of these tools? Or what are you excited about with generative AI? Does it kind of freak you out as somebody who's worked in the real long time? Or does it excite you or somewhere in between just what are your thoughts on this being that you interact with creators constantly. And these tools are really just coming out. Now.


I'm very excited about the future of generative AI. At the moment, I think we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of what creators can make, and a little bit of that as Chip processing power. So the length of the shots are a little bit shorter now, in terms of what creators can make. So it's around the three to five seconds. And so working with creators, that's definitely been some feedback that we've talked about, as there's been discussions with generative AI is really the software of being able to sustain these longer shots to really realize the vision of the stories that we want to tell, but I have no doubt it's going to get there. As software people looking to like jump in and try stuff right now. Pika is one that a lot of our creators really, like really awesome all female team, great community, in terms of prompts and being able to teach you things if you join the discord, it will be a really interesting opportunity for you to learn more. I think what I definitely want to have more discussion about how generative AI fits into the Hollywood landscape in terms of the mid form model. I think a lot of the industry discussion has been around. Oh, it's like as you said, Cameron is going to replace a long form movie, like there was a Tyler Perry article about how he was not investing in his Hollywood studio, because he had just seen Sora and was very freaked out about it. But I think we were always going to have long form, I think how it will definitely slot into the existing studio system is allowing these UGC creators to really bridge to those Hollywood TV shows by giving them tools to realize their vision that they didn't have before. And then someone like a Netflix or a Max identifying like an amazing mid form show and saying, Hey, we want to partner with you. We want to give you more resources, we want to offer more talent to go into the show to then put on a longer streaming service because I think that partnership and distribution is always going to be really important to the streamers or studios and I don't think that's gonna go away. Really


interesting take I appreciate your thoughts on it. Georgia, just a few more questions but you know, for aspiring creators or for producers, currently interested in mid form content, what advice would you give them based on your experience with Kold Open and where do you point them off? Usually they should check out Kold Open if they have a show that's been distributed. But do you actually suggest creative as well based off of metrics or just kind of help us understand where we should be pointing producers and creators?


Yeah. And the advice, I would say, really thinking about building out an ensemble of characters. I think one of the mistakes that sometimes we see mid form creators making is creating an epic mid form show, but it only has two characters. Right now in the development landscape, a lot of studios are giving feedback to us that the two hander is less popular in terms of programming, and they really want to see a whole cast of characters who can then scale mid form graders should be making them old really different contrasting to create a lot of different energy within the show. And just show that you can expand your mid form show to a long form show very effectively because you built out the universe and won't require such a big lifts when you then go to long form. Um, I would also suggest really focusing on your logline. So a lot of feedback that happens from the studios to Kold Open then is that reading a logline, a studio executive might not necessarily understand the hook and the show is like it is a meta mystery. But there's a romance elements and getting that across and a two liner to a really busy studio executive who no kidding will will probably make a decision in that 30 seconds if your show fits within the development mandate is so important. So I think spending time on that even after you finish the show is really going to pay off in dividends.


That's some really good advice. Lastly, Georgia looking at the future, how do you see Kold Open evolving? And what are your goals for the platform in the next few years?


Yeah, we want to 5x Our viewer base, and continues to foster a lot of engagement around all of the shows with had some shows that have really taken a crawl taken off. And now we want to spread that across the entire ecosystem of Kold Open the craters and found the feedback on their individual shows to be so valuable as they make more so continuing to improve that feedback loop for creators and also studios so they can have beds into where people like characters what kind of storylines that picking up on because that kind of information is so important for investment from the studio to know as it scales to long form. What pieces of this mid form show should they keep or leave out


Georgia. Thank you so much for joining me on production. Such a pleasure. I've learned a lot. Where can listeners find you and learn more about the work that you're doing?


They can find us on Kold Open on Tik Tok and this is Kold Open with the K and also Instagram and we also have a subset which is GA subset for call open creators if you want to be finding out more about the different mandates that we're getting in and tips on being a mid form creator. Awesome.


Thanks so much.


Thanks, Cameron.

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