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Who's in the Video
Amanda Congdon (born 1981 in New York City) was the co-producer and host of a weekly vidcast for ABC. She has an independent videoblog, Starring Amanda Congdon. She is co-president[…]

Amanda Congdon discusses sharing her life with the Internet.

Question: How did you start video blogging?

Amanda Congdon: I was a struggling actress in New York and I had a couple of agents working with me but no one was getting me auditions for big parts. I was always looking around for my own way of getting out there and I had an acting coach tell me once, “Make your own vehicle. You’re not going to get out there just by going to auditions and working for someone else. Try to be a producer or get out there on your own, do your own thing and make your own project.” So, I was always looking for a way to do that and I came across an advertisement on Craigslist for a writer/actress for Rocketboom and I thought, “Hmm, this is very interesting.” This was in 2004 and I remembered telling my mom about it and she was like, “The Internet? Video on the Internet? Is that porn?” and I was like “No. No mom are you kidding me? No, obviously not.” Not that she thought I would do porn but that was what people thought about video on the Internet. There was no video on the Internet other than that. So it was a completely new idea to me, a new concept entirely and I applied for the job. I didn’t hear back forever though and I had been applying for so many different jobs. I had no idea really what I was doing and I ended up going in for an interview. I had to write my own script for the pilot episode of Rocketboom and I ended up getting the job.

After Rocketboom did Amanda Across America, which led me to ABC, I actually traveled across America to go to LA for ABC. While I was there I thought, you know, I’m learning a lot that I would never have known if I hadn’t tried old media but I took what was from new media I took some things from old media and I started my own business and that was really the goal. My grandfather once told me that you’ll never make money unless you start your own business. You’ll never make any money working for somebody else. So I thought, “Well, that’s got to be the end of the game.” That’s kind of how I ended up with

Question: What appeals to you about the video blog as a medium?

Amanda Congdon: In terms of how I started using video, I’ve always been more interested in film than, say, theater and so, as a performer, it was kind of a natural way of merging into this new medium. But I think the real reason that people decide to do video is because they want to connect eye to eye with whoever it is on the other end.

I know that when I’m looking into the camera it’s almost like a magic feeling because I can feel the pulsating eyes on the other end listening already. There’s something about the camera that is almost immediate, even if it’s not live—and that’s exciting and compelling to me. And then of course, as they say a picture is a thousand words. How many pictures are in every minute of footage? And you can show so much more with b-roll and voice over. It paints such a different picture than, say, an article or a blog—not to say those aren’t excellent and valid medium, but they’re not just not for me.

Question: Do you feel overexposed by social media?

Amanda Congdon: I don’t mind that I’m all over the Internet and that my personal life is out there along with my professional life. When I go on a vacation I feel so compelled to put pictures up. I can’t not document everywhere I go because then where is it? It doesn’t live anymore. It’s in my memory, but I need to document things so that I can remember them. Then I think, “How can I go to this beautiful place and not share it?” I always think when I go off on a vacation or something that I’ll just sit back and not worry about documenting things. But then I always end up doing it anyway, so it’s almost as if it’s second nature and I don’t know if that’s because I grew up with the Internet. I’m probably the first generation that grew up, starting in middle school, with the Internet so I think that it’s something just ingrained in who I am rather than something that I have to do out of necessity.

Question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Amanda Congdon: I think in the next five years I would love to see branch out onto as many platforms as fits the content, whether that be something like TiVo or Hulu. We’re just getting started. We just officially launched out of beta two months ago so as many platforms as we can be on would be great. We would love to be on many different platforms and I honestly would really like to see branch out into other different types of shows. We have some projects in the works.

Actually our larger company is called Oxmour Entertainment Inc. is a show that is within that company and so we have a couple other shows that are in very much of a pre, pre, pre, pre-production so we’d like those to expand, but the focus is on right now. We’re not going to spread ourselves thin and work on too many projects until we feel very confident, and comfortable and we feel has spread into the little areas that we want to distribute it. I see myself doing for a long time. I see myself working with a small three-person team or maybe we’ll go to a five-person team. Thinking small is really taking lifestyle back. It’s taking the idea of how you really want to live a good and healthy life setting your own rules, setting your own hours, working with people that you really like and really connect with creatively. That’s important and I think video blogging and a lot of new professions that are emerging through Web 2.0 and 3.0 are on the horizon. I think that they are really allowing people to create lifestyles that are individual and customized and that allows them to work harder and longer because they actually love what they are doing.