Fred Seibert talking Frederator and more

February 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Pipeline

catbug-says-smallAs some of you may know, I am working with Frederator Studios on a digital publishing program called Frederator Books. We are experimenting in all sorts of ways, mostly doing creative new ebooks for kids of all ages. Frederator is the brainchild of long time media genius Fred Seibert. We did a video interview together in December 2013 and posted the unedited audio track to Soundclound. It’s a bit long and covers a lot of ground, but anyone interested in media and animation will find Fred’s conversation interesting and constructive. We talked about Fred’s background and experience in a long and innovative career, what Frederator is doing now and in the future, and also about what we are trying to do in digital publishing.

You can listen to the entire interview here. Sometime later in 2014, I will post an edited version of the interview at Writerscast also.

Frederator Studios and Cartoon Hangover make cartoons for television, movies and the Internet, and program the networks Channel Frederator and Cartoon Hangover.

Frederator Studios was founded by Fred Seibert in 1998. Since then the company has produced 16 series & over 200 short films including The Fairly OddParents, Fanboy & Chum Chum, and Adventure Time. Our shows are on Nickelodeon, Nick Jr, Cartoon Network, and Channel Frederator. Frederator is in producing partnership with Sony Pictures Animation and YouTube.

Cartoon Hangover is the studio’s television channel distributed on YouTube, launched in November 2012. Pendleton Ward’s Bravest Warriors (developed by Breehn Burns, Will McRobb & Chris Viscardi) was the first hit series, followed by James Kochalka’s SuperF*ckers, and the Too Cool! Cartoons.

Frederator Networks’ pioneering Internet animation channels began in 2005 with Channel Frederator, and has expanded to include The Wubbcast, ReFrederator and Cartoon Hangover.
– See more here.
Here’s the “standard” Fred biography.tumblr_mbpbt4qruX1r59fvyo1_r1_1280

Frederator logo

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Andy Doe

doe_headshotIn this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I have been talking to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  We must wonder now, how will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations can help us understand the outlines of what is happening in the publishing industry, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds.

These interviews give people in and around the book business a chance to talk openly about ideas and concerns that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends and they give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear first hand some of the most interesting and challenging thoughts, ideas and concepts being discussed by people in the book business.

I discovered Andy Doe’s writing quite by accident, and a happy accident that was.  UK based, Andy comes from the music business. Most recently, he was the COO at classical music label Naxos from 2010-2012, and was head of classical music at iTunes from 2004-2010; now he freelances to help artists, labels and other organizations on recording and marketing activity, both on and offline.  He also blogs brilliantly and with a great sense of humor at Proper Discord.

A piece he posted in November, 2012 caught my attention and is one I highly recommend to anyone interested in physical and digital media; it’s called What is Going on with the Record Industry (at New Music Box, a very cool site about new music). It’s a list of ten observations with explications of each.  The first one is called  “Almost everything you read about the state of the record industry is, at best, totally useless,” which should give you a good idea of where Andy is coming from and where this piece might be headed.

Naturally, I thought it would be fun to talk to Andy about his thinking about the record business and to draw him out on how what has happened and is happening in that industry might apply (or not apply) to the book business. We do tend to think that all entertainment media businesses, including books, music, television, radio, film, video games and even newspapers have similar enough structures and relationships between physical and digital media, as well as similar disruptive innovations as to make the experiences in one useful to the those who work in other creative industries.  So we talked about that a bit, as well as how some of what Andy has observed and learned in the music business may not be relevant to book publishing.  Overall, because he is such a smart and witty guy, I think this conversation should be of particular interest.  As has happened recently, when discussions have been going well, we have gone a bit longer than podcasts usually go. This one is 47 minutes.

Another good reference point I should mention – here’s a written interview with Andy Doe by Tom Manoff you might enjoy as well.

And oh, by the way, this is the 200th interview I have posted on Writerscast since its inception just a few years ago.  I’d like to thank all the wonderful writers, technologists and thinkers who have been willing to give me some of their valuable time to pepper them with questions and engage them in my enthusiasms and interests.  And I’d also like to thank the individuals who have helped make this project work, my daughter, Emma Wilk, for editing my often poor efforts at recording, website builder and podcast expert Rob Simon of Burst Marketing, and his web guru, Jeremy Brieske.

And in particular I owe thanks to all of you who have listened and responded to this humble effort to contribute to the cultural and intellectual good of all. andy_doe_2-540x359

Publishing Talks: David Wilk Interviews Kathy Meis of Bublish

In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I talk to book industry professionals and other smart people about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and  economics?

I hope these Publishing Talks conversations will help us better understand the outlines of what is happening in publishing, books and reading culture, and how we can ourselves both understand and influence the future of books and reading.

There has been alot of talk around the publishing business this year about “book discovery” as it is clear that the decline of bricks and mortar bookstores has lessened the opportunity for readers to discover books they want to read through the kinds of browsing and personal recommending that have been the hallmarks of physical bookselling up to now.  Online bookselling and even social media have thus far been less than perfect mechanisms for either writers or readers, with lots of frustration expressed especially by publishers and writers about the whole process.  We’re not sure we know what readers think about all this, but there is doubtless much to be inferred.

The relatively steep decline in overall sales of print books, and the increase in the concentration of sales to best sellers (witness 50 Shades of Gray, among others) suggest that readers are not finding it easy or practical to take advantage of the online availability of just about every book in print.  There are too many books and not enough connection tools for most of them.

Meanwhile, there are intelligent people out there seeking to solve these twin “problems” of too many choices for readers, and ineffective online marketing tools for authors and publishers.  One new project that is the result of some deep thinking about both issues is Bublish, which seeks to create opportunities for social discovery of books by readers.  One of the founders is Kathy Meis, whom I met briefly at this year’s IDPF summit at Book Expo in New York City.

Here is what Kathy said about Bublish in an online interview she did recently with Madison Woods:

With Bublish, authors share book bubbles, and readers get to browse through them. A book bubble consists of an excerpt and an author’s insight about that excerpt. We call this the story behind the story. Both of these elements are presented in a beautifully designed book bubble that also includes the author’s photo and bio, the book’s cover and synopsis as well as links to the author’s website. It’s about as close to the bookstore discovery experience as you can get online. And because we match writers and readers by genre and keywords, we can connect the right authors and books with the right readers without ruining the serendipity of browsing. In an age of immense content abundance, you need a few filters when you’re looking for good books.

Bublish is designed to solve a number of problems for writers and readers. For authors, Bublish will let them repurpose their best writing, the content of their books, and enrich it with the story behind the story. This creates an entirely fresh piece of content for authors to share across multiple social networks. Authors have a lot of demands on their time. We think it’s important to make it as easy and effective as possible for them to facilitate discovery of their work without feeling like salespeople. With Bublish, the social conversation starts with the voice of the author, just like it does in the bookstore. And since authors can create and share book bubbles in seconds, Bublish significantly lightens the author’s promotional content load.

For readers, Bublish recreates online all the pleasure of the bookstore discovery experience. No ads, no algorithms, no distractions…just browsing. Of course, once a reader finds a book or author they love, they’ll want to share it. Word-of-mouth continues to be the most popular way for readers to find new books. That’s why book bubbles are highly shareable across multiple social networks. Finally, Bublish will create a wonderful community for writers and readers to engage around stories. Imagine getting an invitation to chat with one of your favorite authors or being able to follow the book bubbles of an author you’ve never even heard of before.

In my interview with Kathy we talked about Bublish and also about many of the perplexing issues surrounding writing and reading, as we enter a new stage in the ways that writers, publishers and readers will relate to each other, indeed a very exciting and challenging time for us all.

Kathy Meis has been a professional writer for more than twenty years. She founded Serendipite Studios to empower those who create and enhance quality content. You can follow her on Twitter @katmeis or @BublishMe.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Joe Esposito

January 5, 2010 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks

esposito2In this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.

Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds. Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.

I hope that Publishing Talks interviews will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.

I’ve been reading Joe Esposito’s writings about the book business – past, present and future – for quite some time with a great deal of admiration.  He is smart, understands business, and cares deeply about books, ideas and people.  Here is his “official” biography:  Joseph J. Esposito is an independent consultant providing strategy assessment and interim management to the information industries.  He has served as an executive at Simon & Schuster and Random House, as President of Merriam-Webster, and CEO of Encyclopaedia Britannica, where he was responsible for the launch of the first Internet service of its kind.  Mr. Esposito has also served as CEO of Internet communications company Tribal Voice and SRI Consulting, both of which he led to successful exits.  Among Mr. Esposito’s clients have been such technology companies as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, various publishers of all stripes, and a growing number of not-for-profit organizations (e.g., JSTOR, the University of California Press, and the American Nationals Standards Institute).   You can find his writing frequently at Scholarly Kitchen.

My interview with Joe covered alot of different subjects, including his background in publishing, current trends in digital media and e-reading, how publishing will change as it adapts to a digital marketing landscape.  We spent a good deal of time talking about publishing strategy relating to e-book publishing, an issue that is important to many in the publishing industry today.  His views and ideas, and his delivery of them, makes for a great conversation.

Publishing Talks: David Wilk interviews Mac Slocum

December 19, 2009 by  
Filed under PublishingTalks

mac-slocumIn this series of interviews, called Publishing Talks, I am talking to book industry professionals who have varying perspectives and thoughts about the future of publishing, books, and culture.  This is a period of disruption and change for all media businesses.

Publishing has been a crucial part of human culture for as long as people have been writing and reading.  How will publishing evolve as our culture is affected by technology, climate change, population density, and the ebb and flow of civilization and its economics? Publishing Talks interviews help us understand the outlines of what is happening, and how we might ourselves interact with and influence the future of publishing as it unfolds. Publishing Talks interviews give people in the book business a chance to talk about ideas and concerns in a public forum that are often only talked about “around the water cooler,” at industry conventions and events, and in emails between friends.

This series of talks will give people inside and outside the book industry a chance to hear about some of the thoughts, ideas and concepts that are currently being discussed by engaged individuals within the industry.

Today’s interview is with Mac Slocum, whose experience is in a variety of different media, including newspapers, books and online media.  I know him from his work at O’Reilly’s Tools of Change and his eponymous blog which is among those I read most frequently.  He’s currently at the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard and freelancing projects in media and here’s his interesting bio from his website:

I am a Web guy. I write, edit, produce, develop, manage and code Web content.
I’ve worked as an online editor, writer and producer at a variety of outlets (publishing, film, TV, electronics, trade, tech, hyper-local, national/international … you name it). Through all of these experiences, I’ve remained committed to the Web as a platform. I love the thing, and I love working to make it better.
My areas of interest/expertise include:
* Development of Web-friendly content (writing and editing)
* Audience development via social media (blogs, Twitter, social networks)
* Web production (HTML, CSS, Movable Type and other content management systems)
* Independent publishing
* Web journalism education
* Pontificating, analyzing and consulting on the future of publishing/journalism, digital distribution, Web content, and audience aggregation (Note: If you’re in a rush, don’t ever get me started on piracy and free content …)
I have organized conferences, spoken on panels, and moderated sessions (and I actually enjoyed these activities).
I teach Web journalism courses at Emerson College and I’m a contributor on Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits blog. I also run a number of independent Web sites and I’m owner of The Fodder Network.

Mac and I had an interesting conversation, covering a range of topics under the overall rubric of media change, how consumers and producers interact, continuing disruption of business models for all traditional media forms, and how those businesses must change in the future, both near term and longer.  Mac’s view of the future for publishers is positive and worth listening to.

Douglas Gayeton – Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town

November 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Art and Photography, Non-Fiction

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978-1-59962-072-5 – Hardcover – Welcome Books – $50.00

If you love beautiful books, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town by Douglas Gayeton will be irresistible.  Gayeton is a film maker who ended up living in a small town in Tuscany that his wife (at that time) was from.  When she left him, he stayed.  He learned to speak Italian, and fell in love with the people, the place, and the pace of a community that was completely foreign to him and his American way of being.  As he told me in this interview, as a film maker, he is used to telling stories.  When he began to take photographs, thousands of them, the only way he could make sense of them was to create a narrative from them.

Which he did, by writing notes on the actual photographs, and also by layering multiple shots of the same scene over time.  The effect of the images and words here is mesmerizing.  And of course the representation of these people, their way of living, and the places they inhabit embody the stories Gayeton tells here.

This is both a personal narrative and one that – as great art must do – transcends and transforms the specific experiences portrayed.  Gayeton takes us on his journey to help us understand ourselves through an experience of others, just as he did.  I view these photographs and read the writing on them (notes, anecdotes, recipes, and many facts about Tuscany and Tuscan life), and find myself transported – beyond the “real” places he pictures to an almost spiritual state of being that is based in the imagination and soul of place.  “Slow” living is something all of us who are seeking meaning need to experience, Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town is a doorway that will help us enter that experience.  Welcome Books deserves a lot of credit for making this spectacular book.

DOUGLAS GAYETON is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer. His images are held in a number of influential museum and private collections around the world, and have been featured in numerous print and online media, such as Time Magazine. Since the early 90s he has created award-winning work at the boundaries of traditional and converging media for AOL, MSN, MTV, Yahoo, Fox, Vivendi, Sony, Viacom, Sega, Intel, National Geographic, PBS, Warner Bros., Columbia, and Virgin Records. Recent projects include LOST IN ITALY, a 26 episode interstitial TV series Gayeton created, directed, and shot for Fine Living, and A SECOND LIFE ODYSSEY for HBO, the first documentary shot inside a virtual world.

Doug Gayeton is also a terrific interviewee, who tells his story particularly well.