A panel filled with comedy legends showed how online video is changing the way products are developed and marketed. It's cheap, traditional gatekeepers don't limit it, and it can lead to film and television deals.

Their use of digital video echoes how unsigned artists use YouTube to gain followers and grab the eye of record labels. The video may not be well produced, but it's good enough to get eyeballs and help the creator build a story that may lead to a film or television deal.

These veterans wholly embrace these new platforms and did away with any stereotypes of old Hollywood being out of touch with today's digital reality. David Tochterman, head of digital for Innovative Artists, agreed.

"There's more control in the hands of artists because there are more platforms," he said. The barrier to entry is so low, he pointed out, that a couple thousand dollars can bring an idea to life and circulate it online. "The access it provides to artists is amazing," he said.

Moderator Barry Katz, executive product of "Last Comic Standing," likes comedians' new ability to reach directly to views. "The audience is the arbitrator of what's funny," he said.

Producer/director/screenwriter David Zucker ("Kentucky Fried Movie," "Police Squad," Ruthless People") is using an inexpensive digital short to for an idea he's working on called "The Secret Secret Service." He expected the movie's idea would be difficult to explain to the studios (he had a similar problem explaining to studios how "Airplane!" would be a comedy that would cast no comedians).

To help the studios visualize the final product, he filmed a funny, inexpensive video short to help make the pitch. Zucker added that he might create additional shorts during pre-production to help build awareness of the movie.

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