Carlo Sansonetti is the President of CGCircuit LLC and one of the founders. His career extends from Character TD and Rigging to Instructor and Graphic Designer. Born and raised in Italy, at a young age Carlo developed a dream to work in Hollywood. Pursuing his dream, Carlo moved to the USA to finish his studies. He graduated with honors at the Art Institute of California Los Angeles, wrote and directed the award winning short The Auction and worked in the field of Film, Video Games and TV Animation. He lead a team of riggers at Lucas film Animation for the TV series Star Wars The Clone Wars.
Cinema Without Borders: Can you describe what CGCircuit is?
Carlo Sansonetti : CGCircuit is an online platform that allows animators, designers, photographers, directors and other people revolving the production side of TV, Visual FX, Animation and Video Games to market their knowledge by share or sell instructional videos using the cgcircuit marketplace.
CWB: What made you create CGCircuit?
CS: Well, first of all we love to teach and we love to share our knowledge. This is probably the first reason. The second reason is because we feel that there are so many other people out there sharing our passion for teaching, but we lack a place dedicated to that. Yes, of course there is YouTube and Vimeo which are fantastic platforms, but since they are not tailored to a specific niche, it makes it difficult to create that sense of community. If you publish content on CGCircuit you can be certain that people who look at your instructional video are people from the industry. This helps you getting exposure and makes you money in the process if you decide to sell your content.
CWB: How does an instructor get paid for their sales?
CS: When you create a free account on the site, you can start purchasing content using our marketplace. If you decide to post and sell your content, using the same account you can upload your course and using our proprietary content creation process and then post it on the marketplace for a price of your choosing. When the course is then purchased you get 70% of the sales, which is really good for the user. At the end of every month you will get a Paypal transfer for the amount of sales done during that month.
CWB: How do you maintain the quality of your content?
CS: At the moment all the content published, needs to go through an approval process before it goes live. We work with the users to improve some of the wording of their course description, we give suggestions about the price they choose and of course we watch all videos in order to make sure everything is looking good and that the information is correct.
CWB: Can people steal the precious content?
CS: We personally think nothing is completely protected (unfortunately), but our streaming technology makes much more difficult to do so.
CWB: How much are instructors making on average selling on the cgcircuit’s marketplace?
CS: Think about the fact that the content is viewed and purchased from all over the world and you will soon realize how huge our audience size is! Now think of how many animation schools and fresh students hungry for information are out there.
We are slowly channeling all this potential into our site and we are seeing some instructors make in the thousands of dollars every month. This is very impressive when you think that we haven’t made a big marketing push yet.
CWB: How do you see cgcircuit evolving?
CS: Well, we want to do so much with cgcircuit. We have a really big list of features that we are slowly implementing. Right now we want to make sure the site is as stable as possible and that users like the experience. As soon as we get out of the beta phase, we will start implementing new features for students to market their content and other features tailored to our user base.
CWB: Who do you think should teach on cgcircuit?
CS: CGCircuit is open to anybody who has the passion for sharing their knowledge.
We feel there are a lot of people out there who are really passionate about what they do and they are just waiting for the opportunity to share what they know with the industry.
I and Federico Bolla (the other co-founder of CGCircuit) had the opportunity to move from Italy and come to Los Angeles; not a lot of people have that opportunity. I was also very lucky to have the opportunity to work as an instructor at Gnomon the visual FX school.
There are a lot of people back home (Italy) who are fantastic 3D artists, but the industry never really took off there, and most people there do not have the opportunity Federico and I had. I hope CGCircuit can be that opportunity for people who want to get exposure by sharing what they know.
CWB: Who owns the content?
CS: The content is owned by the users. We are much like YouTube in that sense. The users decide to post their content on CGCircuit and the users decide to remove it. CGCircuit from time to time uses the content to promote the site.
CWB: How long does it take to create a course?
CS: There are 3 main stages to create a course and the time varies quite significantly.
The first step is to produce the content, i.e. record it and edit it. This process is what takes the longest. I timed myself producing my courses and I came up with my little formula (yes we are just a bunch of nerds): producing time = course length * 5 so in other words, if the duration of my course is 3 hours, it takes me 15 hours to produce it.
The second step is to post it on CGCircuit and that takes just few minutes. The third step is to promote your course. We are currently ramping up to start a much bigger marketing for the site, for the instructors and for the courses, but it always helps if the users spread the word on their social network about their courses.