Recently we had an opportunity to speak with
, the Founder and developer at
Please share with us the backstory of what motivated you to create this app.
Outside of digital media, I have a background in Film and Theatre. I have worked on many short films, and have attended a lot of screening nights over the years. What I noticed was that there were so many great short films out there, that were able to completely captivate audiences in just a couple of minutes. Yet these films often would only get seen by a handful of viewers. The films would get screened once or twice at a film festival or a screening night, and then the cast and crew would move on to other projects. Sometimes film makers would put their films on YouTube or Vimeo, but these platforms have so many videos that it is difficult to stand out. So even then, audiences remained limited.
Another thing I noticed, when talking to audience members after a screening, is that often people would say they had never seen a 'short' film before. They loved what they had just seen, and weren't aware that there were thousands of such 'quality' short films out there. They just didn't know where to view them. Often these films get made as experiments or for people to prove their skills to others in the film industry. They're not assumed to have a general audience purely for viewing. I believed that there could actually be a market for people that just want to watch quality short-form content, especially as 'time-fillers', when on the go. That's when I decided to create Snoovies. I built the app from scratch myself, and released multiple iterations with different features and designs.
How did you decide which platforms to release your app on and do you plan on releasing your app to other platforms?
We initially started on iOS only, as we found those users at the time were more engaged with mobile apps and consuming video content on their device. I don't believe that this is still the case as much as when we started, and we released an Android app last year. In the future we would like to have a presence on Smart TV, game console and streaming boxes. But our core focus remains mobile.
How is your app different than the rest of the market? Which unique need does it fill?
Snoovies tries to fill 2 different needs at the same time.
On the one hand, it is a 'time-filler' app. Whenever people are using public transport, are stuck at an airport or waiting for someone, there is a need to 'do something' to fill the time. These moments of 'boredom' are often short lived, no longer than 20-30 minutes. Many people love to watch movies, but these moments do not offer enough time to watch a feature film. Snoovies offers these people a complete 'movie' experience, but one that is short enough to enjoy any time or anywhere.
On the other hand, Snoovies is a platform for actors and film makers to gain exposure. Beginning film makers and actors can have all the talent of the world, but may still find it quite difficult to 'make it' in this industry. You need to 'be seen' by the right people. Whenever we feature a short film on Snoovies, we do an interview with the cast and crew, where they can tell their story. We also offer ways for audiences to get in touch with them directly if they like their film. The idea here is that if a producer/director/investor sees something they like on Snoovies, they can instantly get in touch with the talent to work together. We want Snoovies to open doors to future work and opportunities.
What features do you hope to roll out to your app in the future?
I would like to add more spontaneity to the discovery of films, as mentioned earlier with the 'Video Time Machine' example. I want to take the 'burden' away for people having to pick what they want to watch, and instead serve them content they will probably like. I also want the app to be more social, where users can tip other users on what to watch and discuss films and production techniques amongst each other.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of the creation of this app?
Getting to know the film makers! Their stories are so inspiring and interesting, and we love it when they end up getting new opportunities through our app. We're also inspired when some of the actors or film makers reach out to us afterwards and tell us about newer projects they're working on.
What is the coolest or most innovative feature of your app?
For every film we feature, we do an in-depth interview with the cast and crew. When you watch something on Snoovies, you really get to know the people 'behind' the film. You learn about film making and the creative process behind the production. Many films even feature live footage of the actual production process. For film professionals, it is the ideal platform to discover people you want to work with.
We're not like YouTube or Vimeo, where anyone can post videos about pretty much anything. We carefully curate our content, to only offer well-produced short films with strong storylines. But we remain completely free. Other video apps are often either subscription-based, or overloaded with random content.
What surprised you most in your journey to create this app?
How difficult it is to get the User Experience right. You want to keep things simple, but at the same time you want to differentiate your app, and offer advanced features that can elevate your app to the next level. These two can often feel like trade-offs, and it requires a lot of experimentation to get the balance between the two right.
Which other mobile apps or technology have inspired you?
I like video apps that 'surprise' users, where they don't have to 'choose' what they want to watch but are instead being inspired to try something new. On iOS, I was quite impressed by 'Video Time Machine'. You would just pick a year, and see random videos that were from that year. Made me quite nostalgic and was really lots of fun.
In terms of technology, I'm really excited about VR. I think there will be huge developments in terms of 'immersive' content, where you can watch films that you truly feel part of. I can also see that work in terms of interactivity, where users can decide how a film should progress while being 'part' of the scene. This content is however very expensive to make, and the audience is still not large enough to be profitable.
Do you have any recommendations or advice for others wanting to create a mobile app?
Iterate, iterate and iterate. It's highly unlikely you will get everything right on the first release. Keep listening to users, analyze how people use your app and make improvements. Keep things simple, but ensure there is some 'edge' to your app that makes it stand out.
Don't limit yourself to having an 'idea', try to execute it. Even if you can't code yourself, try to at least create a functional prototype/click-through app, there are many tools for that. This will help bring your idea to life and can help you secure investment or a partnership with a developer that may be willing to invest time and effort to bring your idea to life.
You can view Snoovies here
For more information, visit: http://www.snoovies.com