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Q&A with Steve Stith of TalentDiscovery.com


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French Davis: Can you tell us how the idea of TalentDiscovery.com first sprang to life?
Steve Stith: I was seeing amazing talent everywhere: On Venice Beach, the subway in New York and on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Also, the talented people who post videos online that go unnoticed. Plus, those who didn’t make the cut onto the talent shows on television. A few of them, in my opinion, were better than some of the ones that did make the cut. That’s when I thought “We will give talent a new way to be seen. We will give them a new way to be discovered. They deserve it.”

FD: I get Los Angeles, but why is Denver your other main office?
SS: L.A. makes the most sense, I agree. However, I have worked in Los Angeles, in Chicago, in Dallas and in Denver. We have partnered with some very talented graphic designers, website designers, developers, idea generators and more in Denver that are willing to do whatever it takes to make this site great. (Plus, in addition to the beach, I love going to the mountains).

FD: Is this self-financed, or are there investors? If the latter, how tough a sell was it to raise the capital to launch, especially given the economic climate today?
SS: This project is partially self-financed and partially financed with investors. The pitch to investors for any venture is tough right now. The good thing about TalentDiscovery.com is it will be a phased project creatively and financially for the next two years.

FD: Is your revenue purely advertising? What’s the pitch like to your advertisers?
SS: Revenue will come from two sources: A nominal fee to enter your video, which is only $3.99. This will help pay for the encoding of the videos, the judging, administration, etc. And the second is advertisers. The pitch to advertisers (in addition to the analytics) is first and foremost that if they become an advertiser now, they will be able to be the category-specific sponsor/advertiser when this gets big. Plus, we demonstrate to them that the length of time that they are featured on the site at our low rate is a great way to augment their other media buys.

FD: What’s your 30-second pitch to contestants?
SS: I’ll give you the 10-second one: Would you rather post your talent video on other video sites with hundreds of millions of other videos…right alongside the ones of “Dogs chasing their tails” and “Babies Laughing”? Or would you rather have your talent seen by the professionals who can make a difference in your career?

FD: How long is a “season?”
SS: Each season will be six months. The first one is a little longer because it took a while for people to hear about TalentDiscovery.com. Plus, we were getting emails asking us if we would extend the deadline a little in order for the talented individuals to get their videos shot, edited and uploaded.

FD: How did you settle on this current crop of categories? For instance, I noticed the only specific instrumental category was lead guitar… why not Trombone or Keyboard?
SS: We chose the current categories based on the types of videos on other sites and the genres of talent shows on television. To answer your second question, guitar is the most popular instrument – that’s why we added it. But, if you play the trombone, maybe next season…

FD: Do you have plans on adding or changing categories?
SS: We do plan on changing categories for next season. We will keep the most popular ones and delete some of the least popular ones. Look for more categories, prizes and new judges too.

FD: Can you tell us about your growth since launch? Web traffic, submissions, etc….
SS: Our growth since our launch has been slow and steady. We’ve spent a lot of time making sure the site worked perfectly and testing the functionality. But I can say that we do have viewers from all 50 states and other countries as well. And, after the first season ends and we announce winners and successes, we will begin promoting the site more.

FD: Do you have any success stories from your content contributors so far?
SS: We have already had some talented individuals get gigs from people who went to the site and saw their videos. The bigger successes won’t happen until the end of the first season and winners are announced (much like any other show). But, a couple of our judges have already mentioned a few individuals who they believe have real potential.

FD: How do you handle copyrights on materials submitted? Do you own them now? Or just retain some sort of license?
SS: We do not have a copyright on anyone’s original songs, original material, etc. We do have the right to use the videos to promote Talent Discovery in many ways (which also helps get exposure for the people who submit). The contestants can still put their videos on any other site or on any other contest that they want.

FD: What’s the long term vision of Talent Discovery?
SS: Our long term vision includes some very big things for our site, for the talent and for our judges. We can’t reveal what the vision is too soon . . . because we don’t want any copycats. But I can tell you – if you want us to add the trombone as a category…maybe we could work something out in the future.

Author

French Davis
Meet Dave Flomberg | Writer, musician, creative director (aka French Davis). There is so much to say about Dave aka French that we think you should read these articles: https://yellowscene.com/2020/02/29/french-davis-a-master-of-many/ ••• https://shoutoutcolorado.com/meet-dave-flomberg-writer-musician-creative-director

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