In a world where a huge amount of business (particularly in the media industry) is done online, it is very useful to have a specific platform from which you can operate. On this post I will be talking about the new website ‘Cahootify’, and how it can specifically help film-makers of all ages and levels of experience.
Depending on your role in the industry, a film-maker could require many different things from a platform of this type, ranging from creative inspiration, to people for employment, to a simple place to store and present your existing work. Cahootify provides all of these. The ‘about’ page on the website describes the service as ‘an online project portfolio and team-forming platform for the creative production industries’. All of its main features are completely free, however there are plans in the future to offer a ‘premium’ account for a small fee which will offer more control over the features. While there are many other online platforms available that have been used by people/film-makers in the past, Cahootify is unique in its features primarily because it is specifically and solely designed for the media industry.
The first notable feature is the way you can create an online port-folio. When someone else in your industry visits your profile, they will be presented with all of the past projects you have uploaded in a tile presentation format. As well as being a useful way of storing and backing up your work for your own reference, this instantly shows potential employers and employees what your skills are, how much you have done in the past, and what sort of projects you might be interested in taking part in in the future. The benefit of this being online is rooted in the fact that Cahootify is in essence a social network. Where as in the traditional way a film-maker, or anyone in the industry might go to an employer or someone you need to employ and present their work in an interview environment, in an online community there is no need. Once you have uploaded your work and it is public, people looking for roles will come to you, and can freely explore what it is you do.
This brings us on to the feature of recruiting to form crews for your own productions. Firstly there is the ‘projects with needs’ section of the website. This shows projects either by country, by the skills they require, or by keywords in the title (in the same tile format as on your account page). Each tile represents a project that someone has posted with the intention of recruiting positions such as camera operators, directors, actors, technicians and so on, and this is displayed as tags in the wanted section along with a brief outline of the project. Even as a film-maker you may still be looking for work on other people’s projects, and this feature makes it easy to enquire and to make connections with people. However what you are more likely looking for is individual people offering a service to employ on your own production. For this purpose, Cahootify has the ‘people with skills’ sections. This page gives a list of people which you can refine by country, or by keywords related to name, skill, or specific project. The ‘skill’ keywords which feed into this search come from the tags displayed on the profiles listed, along with a profile picture, name and short bio. These tags which can be for roles such as directing, producing and acting can be as obscure as the person wishes and therefore can tailor to any role in the industry. This however would propose the problem of how experienced are the people in the role that they claim they can provide? Cahootify solves this by colour coding the tags. If a person has shown evidence of having performed this role in a project by uploading it onto the site, it will be highlighted green, whereas if they are unexperienced in this role and simply want to or would be willing to perform it, it will be shown as grey. This is useful to a film-maker who’s recruiting for their project because it gives an indication of not just how good they may be in this role, but also issues such as how much they will be expected to work for. For example, you may follow these tags and find out that the person is enthusiastic but unexperienced (a student for example), and therefore will likely work enthusiastically for free to gain that experience.
Compared with other platforms
As mentioned, there are several platforms that a film-maker could try to use for these functions, and considering that Cahootify is new and up and coming, they have been used in the past. Facebook is one of these possibilities. It is an excellent example of a social network, and compared with Cahootify as well as most other networks, it is far more saturated with people. However, while you may have the advantage of access to a much larger group of people, Facebook is not designed to be a social network specifically for those is the media/film-making industry. Unlike Cahootify it is full of people and pages completely unrelated to whatever it is your profile or page is concerned with. Also, a film-maker could easily create a page that explained their requirements, their projects and their roles in the industry, but Facebook would not automatically link them to people who specifically fit their needs or interests.
Another platform that may be good for actually posting the media itself is YouTube. Similarly to Facebook, YouTube has a much larger community of subscribers than Cahootify, but in this case differs from the others in that it is not a social network. Although the home page of YouTube does give the viewer suggested videos based on the subjects they have viewed in the past, it lacks the functions for conducting business. The projects on Cahootify as standard present and inquire about roles within the production process that a film-maker may find valuable, whereas YouTube is simply a place that posts and classifies videos. From a professional point of view there is also the issue that most of the videos posted are personal entertainment videos posted by amateurs who have no role or interest in the professional media industry.
Twitter could also provide some useful features to a film-maker. As well as also having a much larger community, twitter is an instant way to get a message to a large amount of people. That being said, your tweets are only visible to those who have discovered you and followed you, rather than anyone who might be useful to you as is the case on Cahootify. What you post is also very limited. There is a limit on the word characters in each ‘tweet’, and there is no way of tailoring what sort of person will be viewing the media unless you specifically tweet it to them as an individual, or if you only allow certain people to follow you (but this is difficult to tailor and maintain). The main problem however with twitter is that due to the rolling continuous ‘news feed’ format, anything you post will only be visible to your followers on the first page for around 7 minutes.
While it is still a young and unfinished network, Cahootify is a valuable platform for anyone involved in media production, particularly those in the professional media industry. The main selling points I would identify are…
- The ability to create a professional and interactive portfolio that will reach out to bring you professional possibilities and connections.
- The ability to view and hire potential production crew members.
- The ability to present yourself and your work to potential employers.
- The ability to connect with people of all levels/roles/interests within the media industry.
A question to ask may be ‘is Cahootify an online presence like YouTube, or a social network like Facebook and twitter?’ Based on the features I have just outlined, it seems that it can be both.