Five years ago I was making a triweekly web series (known at the time as a video podcast or video blog) called Galacticast. Though I had made a web series prior to it called Kitkast, I hadn't been as involved in the web video community. Once Rudy and I launched Galacticast, we started to share a lot of our experience with the community, especially helping people with encoding issues and visual effects. Still, most of that was done through the burgeoning Yahoo Videoblogging Group, and we still hadn't met any of our peers face-to-face.
That changed dramatically in June 2006 when I flew to San Francisco (from my hometown of Montreal) to attend Vloggercon. I was so unbelievably excited... a feeling I rarely get anymore with all the networking events I've been to.
The beginning of our weekend started on Friday, June 9th with "Meet the Vloggers" at the Apple Store in San Francisco. I spoke about Galacticast and about just going out and "doing it." Then, I spent a good hour hugging my way through the crowd... meeting people I looked up to and loved from afar; Amanda Congdon, Steve Garfield, Michael Verdi, Jay Dedman, Ryanne Hodson, Josh Leo, Bekah Havens, and many more. Although I didn't know him at the time, this was also the first time I (probably) met Vu Bui... I then met his brother Lan Bui and Bonny Pierzina a couple of days later when they interviewed me for Noodlescar.
Above: Meet the Vloggers Apple Store event, June 9, 2006 (Photo courtesy of Josh Leo)
Vloggercon started on Saturday, June 10th with a bang at the Swedish American Hall with panels held in three rooms. Hundreds of video bloggers came from far and wide across the United States, Canada, and Europe. The event had a live audio stream with live chat, so people all over the world could participate in the conference. A video archive of each panel was posted here afterwards. Technology, eff yeah!
Above: Vloggercon attendees in Freya Hall, as seen from the balcony (Photo courtesy of Laughing Squid/Scott Beale)
The panels were riveting, especially a panel called Character Building where most of the audience teamed up against (our now beloved) Tim Street who was on the panel talking about his show French Maid TV. The issue at the time was about the sexist nature of the characters, but what we didn't know was that the panel was a setup... and a good one at that. Ask A Ninja rock star Kent Nichols was also on the panel.
Another important panel at the conference was Net Neutrality... sadly, the battle continues even today.
There was one panel (I can't remember the name) that showed the most AMAZING video. Big Screen Version by Aaron Valdez - the best video I saw at Vloggercon, and a video that I believe paved the way for modern day musical mashup stars like Auto-Tune the News!
The conference ended on Sunday, June 11th with some much needed vloggeraoke. The highlight of the night had Blip.tv's Mike Hudack and Josh Kinsberg singing "New York, New York" (video 1 & 2)! I was really looking forward to singing "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles to represent how video podcasts were taking over the audio podcast world, but unfortunately had to get to bed since I had an early flight back to Montreal the next morning.
The faces in web video have changed considerably over the past five years, but the more things change the more they stay the same.
To today's web series professionals Vloggercon may have seemed like a small amateur event... but to me it was the most profound web video conference in history. The people at this event were true pioneers; using technology to its' fullest and working to make original, non-derivative content that caused the world to take notice. We were all punk rock media makers... we were the reason Time named "You" Person of the Year in 2006... and I believe we all still carry that indie DIY spirit with us today.
And now... some old photos from Vloggercon that I love very very much:
(Disclaimer: My hair does NOT agree with San Francisco weather)
Above: Hooray for awkward photos! (Photo courtesy of Ted Tagami)
I also highly suggest checking out the following videos, that are sure to make you smile: Who is your secret Vlogger Crush? by Geek Entertainment TV (GETV), and; Ukraine Romance Tour with Chris Weagel by Richard Show.