interviews
Interview
Digital

Guillaume Hidrot

We quickly realised that we could help all profiles of video makers by offering them new perspectives at a national level.

Director of the Guilde des Vidéastes, Fédération des Métiers de la Création Audiovisuelle Diffusée sur Internet (professional federation of creators of audiovisual content broadcast online), Guillaume Hidrot defends web creation and the work of video makers, which has benefited from a fast-growing audience in recent years. He explains the origins of the industry, the Guild's activities and future challenges in the sector with conviction. 

Published on 07/12/2021

5 min

Image
Guillaume Hidrot
Crédits
Guillaume © Thomas O’Brien

As the current director of the Guilde des Vidéastes, you have also been a co-author and producer of online content. Can you tell us a little about your history? 

In 2007, when YouTube arrived in France, I had recently resumed my studies in communication and culture. I am very interested in new technologies, and I trained myself on web issues at the same time as gaining experience in a business creation support structure. In the middle of the 2010s, I was planning a thesis for which I carried out field observations. All the data collected showed a clear desire on the part of video makers to federate professionally, and in the end I helped to write a report on the subject, presented in Avignon in 2018 at the Rencontres Professionnelles at Frames, a festival dedicated to web video that has supported this project from the start. 

Browsing through the catalogues of SCAM (Société Civile des Auteurs Multimédia) and SACD (Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques) and other actors in the sector, I noticed that video makers are mostly located outside the Île-de-France region. The idea was to create an association with a national scope that would be able to support all of these creators across the country in a simple way. I have acted as director of this association from the start, first on a voluntary basis and then as a full-time employee in 2020. 

 

How did the Guilde des Vidéastes project come about? What was your primary motivation when you started? 

The Guilde des Vidéastes project was born in 2017 when the Frames festival in Avignon brought several dozen video makers together over several days. By meeting and solving problems, they realised that they could build a system of mutual aid. The idea of a professional federation emerged from this notion. In the same year, the arrival of the CNC talent scheme highlighted a form of legitimacy for web videos as a true cultural object; at the same time, institutions expressed the need to consult with a single organisation on this subject. After discussions with many players in the sector, the presentation of the report at Frames 2018, and the search for funding to make this ambition a reality, the Guilde des Vidéastes was born in 2019. 

 

In concrete terms, what assistance do you offer video makers through this organisation? How do you support them on a daily basis? 

On a day-to-day basis, we have established a service based on two main areas of support. On the one hand, socio-economic support is required, with management, business development or creation, and resource monitoring. One of the peculiarities of video makers remains their multiple incomes from advertising, platforms or even participatory financing, so some fiscal organisation is necessary. On the other hand, management of the legal aspects of the contracts they sign with brands, producers and their partners is needed. This is why we have recruited a full-time lawyer. We mainly assist with these two aspects, but we can also support them on more sensitive issues such as harassment or equality issues. 

 

Given the great diversity of content, how do you manage to bring video makers together, while providing them with a tailored solution? 

Each video maker has his or her own way of working, so it's no easy task to synthesise economic models that can help them. Our job is to help them with their administrative and legal procedures so that they can concentrate on their work. We quickly realised that we could help all profiles of video makers by offering new perspectives for the sector at a national level. By offering more detailed knowledge of these economic models and online audiovisual production from the field, we obtained data that could be heard by the Council of State. The more time passes, the more we feel a commitment to the existence of this federation. 

L'histoire de la Guilde
L'histoire de la Guilde

After several years of existence, how do you view the actions you have carried out? Do you feel that videos produced for the web now have greater legitimacy? 

I don't think that the Guild can help them be more legitimate in terms of content: everything has been democratised by force of circumstance, particularly thanks to recognition from the CNC. The profession and the relevance of video makers' content have established themselves. Even without the Guild, we would have come to feel that this is an industry. Nevertheless, we have accelerated things in terms of professionalisation by allowing video makers and the various stakeholders in the industry to meet, with the Council of State for example, to discuss issues of copyright. Thanks to this activity across the whole sector, the various public and private bodies have realised the complexity of these issues and the need for a body that gives the industry legitimacy. 

 

It was not until 2019 that the Fédération des Métiers de la Création Audiovisuelle was created. Why did this venture take so long, in your opinion, when the use and creation of online content has been exploding for many years? 

On the contrary, I would say we are making rapid progress. If we look at the evolution since the arrival of YouTube in France, things have accelerated rapidly since the social phenomenon appeared, with creators like Natoo, Cyprien or Norman. We have the impression that it took time because the sector is very diverse and does not fit into pre-established boxes. In the audiovisual sector, we are used to distinguishing between producers and directors, whereas here, the directors and producers are the same people. We didn't have the right boxes at the beginning, and that's why the Federation was born: creating a suitable professional framework always takes a long time and we are helping to build it. It seems like a long time because content creation on the Internet is ubiquitous today, but in terms of the sociological scale of a profession, it has been rather quick. 

 

From your point of view, what are the real challenges for the future of web creation today? 

The real challenge is still reinforcing professionalism. It's a job you can do on your own with a smartphone, so there's a lot of room for innovation. We can also consider the industry's structure, especially as we have achieved things we could not have imagined two years ago. There is also the challenge of making this sector better known to public institutions so that regulations can be adapted and video makers can play a part in their activities. Let us not forget the economic challenge posed by the big groups and advertisers: in our opinion, they have not finished seizing the opportunities that this creative medium represents to reach audiences.  Finally, there are the educational issues, as web creation makes it possible to disseminate educational and cultural content to young audiences who are massively active on online content platforms. 

 

How do you intend to develop the Guilde des Vidéastes? What are your future projects? 

We want to strengthen support and access to professional training by working with universities and schools. We don't necessarily need to create video makers' diplomas, we can adapt existing training courses. Territorial decentralisation is also a major issue, as some regions are creating specific funds for web creation. 

We are seeking primarily to consolidate our action at a national level, but we also wish to federate all the video makers of the French-speaking world. We are currently working on a project launched by Belgian video artists, and we are also considering expanding to Switzerland and Quebec. 

The Institut français

The Institut français launched IFdigital, the new website dedicated to French digital creation (digital art, immersive experience, video games, innovative books, cultural education and web creation) on 24 November 2021. 

Discover IFdigital 

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