Could Spielberg become a video podcaster?

PARK CITY, Utah--There are filmmakers, podcasters and bloggers. But the lines between such labels are increasingly blurring, according to a Sundance Film Festival panel Sunday on "Podcasting, Vlogging and the Freedom of Speech," led by Weblogs, Inc. founder Jason Calacanis.

Take panelist Susan Buice, who has created five video podcast episodes with original content to go along with her already completed film, "Four Eyed Monsters."

"I think were are on the bleeding edge of a new distribution channel," said Buice, who plans to do video podcasts before the release of her next film to get people ready for it and build an audience. "Trailers don't cut it any more."

"Four Eyed Monsters" hasn't yet been picked up by a distributor, but with a Web following of about 50,000 downloads per podcast, she wonders if it matters anymore. She said she's not interested in going Hollywood--she just wants an established audience so she can keep creating content.

Of course, that begs the question of money, something panelist and video podcaster Anni Rudegair (aka "Soccergirl") said she is constantly running up against. Her show, while often in iTunes' top 10, features nudity and graphic content. (Calcanis referred to Rudegair as a sort of Howard Stern of video podcasting.) So potential sponsors are often wary, yet she's not willing to censor her program. A librarian by day, Rudegair has thus far been unable to make her show profitable, she said.

The women were joined on the panel by Mika Salmi, founder of online content producer Atom Entertainment, and Webcasting pioneer Ken Rutkowski.

The topics bounced around, but the discussion was a clear recognition of the converging online and film worlds, particularly with the advent of new mobile devices begging for content. Maybe one day we'll see Steven Spielberg podcasting.

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