Local Filmmaker Sees Bleak Future For Immensely Popular YouTube

It's a place where anyone can show the world everything from their home movies to their attempt at a Hollywood feature.

YouTube.com has become incredibly popular in just the past year with hundreds of millions of hits.  We speak with a local filmmaker who has YouTube success, and he feels the site's days are numbered.

"It's a real joy to get to share my film with people who are excited about it," says filmmaker Travis Boles of Fanboys Productions.  The title of the film is Three in the Afternoon, and right now, it's playing on YouTube.

Admission is free.

"It explodes my movie. There was a time when nobody cared," Boles says of YouTube's ability to increase his film's exposure.  Today, the film is being viewed around the world.   Filmmakers like Boles used to be only able to send films to a few people or to festivals.

"There's a ceiling on that type of thing. On the Internet, there's finally a place where you can put your ten-minute film and [for fans,] it's at their fingertips," he says.

A quick search of YouTube finds not only short films, but home videos of war such as the conflict in the Middle East all the way to Friday Night Football in East Texas.

With countless videos on YouTube and more going on every day, the critical question is what happens when someone's copyrighted material is put online without their consent?

An example: pirated skits from Saturday Night Live have drawn complaints from NBC.

"The clock is completely ticking on YouTube"

Boles feels movie and TV companies should see the thousands who have interest as a fan base to be cultivated, but that immediate payoff is the pressure.

"There are 50,000 people who saw it and didn't give me money," Boles believes is the attitude of media companies.

So long as companies see YouTube as stealing profits, Boles says its existence is threatened.

"A clip of a new movie is going to come up and YouTube is going to get the pants sued off of it and we're going to turn around and it's going to be gone," he says.

Boles says that would put the brakes on the now-raging creativity of filmmakers and normal folks alike.

YouTube.com is free, and doesn't require you to enter private personal information other than your e-mail address. As for the popularity, the number of page views on YouTube increased from 117 million in January to more than 700 million last month.

Reported by Morgan Palmer, morganpalmer@kltv.com