Sometimes a big risk is necessary to find the spark in life.
That’s what Texas filmmaker and entrepreneur Katherine Lents found when she left a stable and steady job in the pharmaceutical industry. She liked the work, but it didn’t feed her passion. So she founded ShowUp Media, a new web platform which aims to be a secure showcase for video content. Hosting web series, short films, and TV pilots, ShowUp connects filmmakers with viewers directly, creating a better experience for both consumers of shows and the filmmakers who make them.
In addition to creating a platform featuring the work of other filmmakers, Lents seized the opportunity to produce work of her own, a process she embraces.
“I love the collaborative nature of filmmaking,” she told me, “It starts with something as simple as a script but takes the interpretation of your director, actors, crew, everyone right down to the production assistant.”
“It’s something that feeds that creativity spark.”
Lents hopes that attention to creativity and to the filmmakers who channel it will set ShowUp Media apart from its enormous competitor, YouTube. The huge platform poses a couple of problems for filmmakers. First, she says, viewers have to wade through an endless stream of cat videos and fractured content to get to things they want to watch. Creators end up losing the opportunity to build their brand with so much static in the way.
Secondly, it’s relatively easy for users to pull down the video content using readily available software and repost it at will. This piracy erodes both the filmmaker’s brand and revenue.
Combatting piracy is a huge motivating factor for ShowUp. Together with a tech company called Notion Theory, Lents has developed a platform that takes into account piracy concerns. Constantly adapting as piracy software emerges, ShowUp will ensure that the filmmakers get the benefit of users’ views, not some infringer in Russia. She hopes that creating a secure site will allow filmmakers to focus on what is most important: Creating their art and finding an audience for it.
Preserving copyright is extremely important in this context. A space where filmmakers feel confident will draw good content. If they control and profit from their work rather than being at the mercy of a world of infringers, Lents hopes the site will thrive. As filmmakers present quality product and viewers find content they like, the effect will multiply. Protecting copyright directly effects ShowUp’s bottom line.
She hopes to host content exclusively and have the site operate not only as a platform for consumer viewing but as a broker for larger deals and bigger distribution.
But that’s not the only goal. Ultimately, Lents wants the copyright and business to fade into the background so that the art can shine.
“The goal is to get viewers and filmmakers to work together,” says Lents. To that end, viewers can up vote videos they like and even weigh in on what pilots they think should be made into full series.
In a full-circle kind of happening, content from ShowUp may find its way back to the small screen. Lents is in talks with local cable companies to broadcast ShowUp’s content to TVs in the Austin area. This would get even more eyeballs on the filmmakers’ work and more oomph for their brands.
Katherine’s big leap is just one way that innovation and free market competition works in conjunction with copyright to serve everyone – both the creators and viewers win. Good luck!
About the Author: Rebecca Cusey is a writer and law student. She writes about movies and other things as a Senior Contributor for The Federalist and as a Policy Fellow at the American Conservative Union. She studies law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason as a third-year student focusing on Intellectual Property. She lives near Washington, DC with her adorable husband and dashing children.
Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @Rebecca_Cusey