Could YouTube Director Spell the End for Independent Filmmakers?

Earlier this month a friend of mine asked me what I thought about YouTube Director. He’s a freelance filmmaker with many small businesses as clients. Ever since Google launched its new program, YouTube Director, he started worrying how this may affect his business.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much information about it yet. However, since I am working at Filestage, a video review tool that saves filmmakers 80% time spent in review, I decided to test the waters and write an article about YouTube Director. Is it really as disruptive as it appears? What’s the potential for filmmakers? And what pros and cons does YouTube Director bring with it?

What is YouTube Director?

YouTube Director is a service designed to help small businesses create video advertisements on a low budget. To be more precise, it provides three different services to produce video ads.

The appeal? It’s incredibly cheap and easy to use. In fact, they tailored it to fit nearly any budget or need.

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YouTube Director’s 3 Options

1. YouTube Director business app: Make a video ad straight from your phone.

This app is currently only available for the iPhone in the U.S. and Canada. However, while its range is limited, it has proved to be incredibly effective.

The app allows business owners to shoot, edit, and upload their videos to YouTube using a variety of templates.

In fact, according to YouTube, “ anyone can create a video ad for their business quickly and easily—right from their phone. No editing experience required.”

The simplicity of it all has led many business owners to engage with the new software. After combining it with a Google AdWords campaign, many have reported surges in recent revenue.

2. YouTube Director onsite: Let a filmmaker produce a video ad for you.

Camera with preview screen

Out of the three options, this one is the most impressive. If a party is willing to contribute a mere $150 to an advertising campaign, YouTube sends a director to the business who will write, film, edit, and then upload the video to YouTube for no extra charge. The only thing you have to do is review the video.

And if the business doesn’t have a YouTube channel, the site will help them set one up. To top it all off, YouTube will then set the business up with a Google Consultant who will help them create a YouTube ad campaign.

Because it involves an actual film expert and ad specialist, this option takes a bit longer than the others. It usually spans over three weeks to a month.

It’s still in the early phases of development, so it’s only available in six U.S. cities at the moment.  However, YouTube is planning on expanding into other areas.


3. YouTube Director automated video: Let the computer produce a video ad for you.

Computer Chips

The simplest of the three options, YouTube Director automated app is pretty self-explanatory.

YouTube Director automated video will create a video based on the business’ own existing features, like logos or screenshots. This is tailored to businesses that already have an ap on the App Store or Google Play. Google automatically takes this data and converts it into a video.

This option is the only one available worldwide, so feel free to take a look yourself.

YouTube Director for Filmmakers: The Pros and Cons

Pros of YouTube Director

At first glance, it appears as though this product is cutting directly into the sector where some filmmakers do most of their business: commercials and promotional videos.

So you may find yourself asking, how can there possibly be any benefits for me?

If we want to be optimistic, YouTube has created a large market for online video
advertising. The YouTube Director program raises awareness for video content like never before. Everyday, more and more people are looking to expand into this market. And therefore, even more companies are willing to spend money on video advertising.

I see a lot of potential for customized content and individual video production following YouTube Director. Sure, small business owners will start slowly and with a low budget. But once they’ve seen the positive effects of video content for their business, they will continue and increase their investment. This means more opportunities for filmmakers like yourselves. In future, the market for video content could, as a result of YouTube Director, expand to surpass anything you may have ever imagined possible.

And with some articulate and targeted branding, securing new customers would easily be a feasible goal.

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Cons of YouTube Director

If we want to be pessimistic, it’s easy so say that the odds are not stacked in your favor: YouTube is undercutting the competition and is able to do so with affordability, simplicity, and name brand recognition.

This creates an obvious challenge for filmmakers, because of the sheer cost of doing business. With the average promotional video potentially costing thousands of dollars, and YouTube offering a similar service for $150, it isn’t difficult to see how they are attracting customers.

The downside of all of this? Once business owners get used to those cheap rates for video production, it might be hard to convince them to invest in customized, high quality, and inevitably more expensive content.

This ultimately poses the question: How can filmmakers profit from YouTube Director?

How Filmmakers can Profit From YouTube Director

It’s no secret, people love a good deal.  There are few things more rewarding than knowing you came out on top.

However, good deals don’t always equate money saved bottom line. And that’s where you come in.

The best way for filmmakers to capitalize on this new competition is to demonstrate their value. To express to potential clients that, as is often true in all aspects of life, they get what they pay for.

YouTube may offer an adequate service for a low price, but you offer something better: Quality.

Sure, you could buy a suit off the rack at your local department store and look, at best, like another brick in the wall. Or, you could invest in yourself, get a tailored one, and look way more distinguished.

The same idea applies here. YouTube Director may be cheaper, but their templates mirror an off-the-rack suit: They are standard, generic, and collective.

However, you as a filmmaker, have the ability and desire to create a video tailored to your client’s desires and unique attributes. You can be a trustworthy advisor who understands both their business and their needs. And when you stress this to them, they’ll realize that the true ‘good deal’, is you.

And, all things considered, if filmmakers, such as yourselves, have the drive and charisma to distinguish themselves from the herd, YouTube Director presents a unique opportunity for you to profit.



In the end, YouTube Director and the impact it has on filmmakers, is up to you.  Whether you succeed or subsequently fail, depends on their grit and determination.

Charles R. Swindoll said it best: “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…”

So yes, at first YouTube Director may seem like a threat. But, I believe that if you  distinguish yourself and take advantage of this new situation, YouTube Director offers more opportunities for filmmakers than it takes away.

What do you think about YouTube Director? How will it affect filmmakers in your opinion?  Let us know in the comment section below.

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