Nice Shorts – a few years ahead of its time

Back in mid 2006, Ian Gardiner (CE) Viocorp, @rabbieburns) , Carlo Ledesma (@allorange, ex Viocorp Director and now Director of The Tunnel movie) and I were brainstorming how to promote our business based on online video. This was pre YouTube. Pre-UGC, Pre Social Networking.

Carlo and I were both filmmakers and were frustrated at the repetition of burning DVD’s of our short films, posting them to film festivals and never recieving them back. Very costly and a lot of time spent.

So we came up with the idea of creating Nice Shorts.

Nice Shorts was a website dedicated to showcasing quality short films, animation, and music videos made by aspiring filmmakers and visual artists from all over the world. It aimed to help future directors, animators, and visual artists get noticed by people in the industry and help them reach an audience through the growing medium that is the internet.

We built the site ourselves using our online video platform Viostream.

Apart from screening films, we also offered exclusive interviews with respected industry professionals (Rob Carlton, Rachel Okine, Gary Eck, Tony Greirson, Jeff Purser, Tom Schutzinger) mini-documentaries on what goes on behind the scenes, featurettes on up-and-coming feature films, and a unique profile page for every filmmaker whose work is featured on the site. In addition, we gave armchair critics a chance to flex their critical muscle by rating our content and publishing their reviews, whether it’s an enthusiastic thumbs up or a disapproving thumbs down.

We launched in March 2007 and by December had obtained 15,000 unique views a month, averaging 50,000 views a month, with 5,000 subscribers to the database. Corporate sponsors included myspace, (hey they were cool then) Adobe, Johnnie Walker and more.

Sadly there was little monetisation models in those days, and Carlo and I were spending far too much time on the project, and so we decided to sell the website to the Destra organisation. We thought it would be in good hands but sadly they refused to use our online video platform, ‘Viostream’ and so of course the quality and delivery of the video streaming fell badly, and so therefotre did the viewers. Weirdly the site is still live yet with no video streaming.

However, those 12months were an amazing journey turning a problem into an idea, into a build, launching it, managing the growth and ultimately realising it had got too big than our resources would allow and selling for a profit.

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