With more than 240 million monthly viewers, Vimeo has grown into one of the best online platforms for filmmakers to share their work with the world and discover other talented artists. The site’s flagship channel, Vimeo Staff Picks, features the best videos on Vimeo, and is billed as a “never-ending film festival” that runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
The benefit of a Staff Pick can be getting your short film, music video or other short form work seen by production companies, advertising agencies and brands looking for emerging talent. Filmmaker Patrick Jean’s short film “Pixels” was chosen as a Staff Pick, went viral, and attracted the attention of Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, which hired Patrick to direct the feature-length version. Though Happy Madison ultimately brought Chris Columbus on board to direct, Patrick stayed on as an executive producer and co-writer of the script.
Timelapse cinematographer Drew Geraci’s “District Nights” similarly landed him a job shooting the opening credits sequence for Netflix’s “House of Cards,” while Daniel Mercadante’s two-minute short “Laughs” led to Volkswagen hiring him to shoot a second version for a TV commercial. Other Staff Picks alumni who have gained critical exposure through Vimeo include “Swiss Army Man” co-directors the Daniels (12 Staff Picks), animated film director Kisrten Lepore (6 Staff Picks) and “Kong: Skull Island” filmmaker Jordan Vogt-Roberts (2 Staff Picks). New Staff Picks added in the last week include Kristine Stolakis’ short documentary “The Typist” and Hannah Jacobs’ music video for Tom Rosenthal, “Take Over.”
Curated by a five-person in-house team, Staff Picks is comprised of the core verticals of Drama, Comedy, Action Sports and Documentary, and also includes Music Video, Animation, Travel and Eye Candy. Vimeo selects around four Staff Picks per day and features the videos on its homepage. Out of the tens of millions of videos uploaded to Vimeo on a yearly basis, roughly 1,000 are chosen as Staff Picks. The site also selects around 10 “Best of the Month” videos per month.
Though Staff Picks are free to watch, Vimeo on Demand offers filmmakers a way to monetize their work via a 90/10 split, with 90 percent of revenue going to the creators. Launched in 2013, the site’s VOD content features more than 50,000 videos with more than 1 million paying customers. If a filmmaker wants to earn revenue off of his or her Vimeo Staff Pick, the film can be moved to the subscription-only platform.
So how can you secure a coveted Vimeo Staff Picks badge for your film? Here are five key factors paraphrased from a presentation by Meghan Oretsky, one of the company’s five curators, during an event at the company’s New York office.
Staff Picks should look good and sound amazing, but filmmakers should also ask themselves whether their work innovates and pushes the medium to a new level. Check out “Analogue Loaders” by from Raphael Vangelis.
To get people talking about a short film, it should present provocative ideas and visuals that ideally appeal to a millennial audience. Vimeo knows a video is a winner when the curators anticipate it being shared and sparking conversations amongst friends. Check out “Black Holes” by Noodles.
Stories should draw the viewer in, elicit an emotional response and ultimately be something that people want to the share with their friends. A good example is the short film “Con Amor” by Cole Webley.
Vimeo creators should have a unique style and story. A good question to ask is, have we seen this story told time and time again? If so, are they bringing any new ideas or a new voice to the genre? Check out Ilya Naishuller’s music video for Leningrad’s “Kolshick.”
Vimeo’s curators attend niche festivals in order to find content from female filmmakers, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, the indigenous community and more. Check out David M. Helman’s music video for Michael Kiwanuka “Cold Little Heart.”