Posts Tagged ‘Infinicine’

Eugene Hernandez Digitizes FilmLinc

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Eugene Hernandez might need to clone himself. The indieWIRE chief, already known for his ability to be nearly everywhere at the right time in independent and arthouse film, will now take over the newly created role of Director of Digital Strategy for the Film Society of Lincoln Center and will give up his editorial duties, while maintaining “a link” to the online indie trade.

This can only be a good thing for FSLC, who have been refining their digital presence over the last year but face a challenge to reconcile an old school audience with new tools of engagement.

Fun! at Independent Film Week

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

While it’s clear at this point that the conference model can just seem like a useless bore to some, IFP’s Independent Film Week and Filmmaker Conference still draw decent numbers of emerging and experienced filmmakers looking for information on the next trends in funding, filming and distribution. If that sounds potentially fun to you, panels in the new distribution realm you may enjoy include this afternoon’s
Outreach and Audience Building” with Ingrid Kopp from Shooting People, Diana Barrett of Fledgling Fund, Katy Chevigny from Arts Engine, Aron Gaudet, Director of THE WAY WE GET BY and Joel Heller, Producer of WINNEBAGO MAN.

Later this week there are a couple other newdistro panels of interest:
Wednesday 9/22 at 3:30: Marketing Without A Cause
Thursday 9/23 at 4:30: Cage Match: Am I a Filmmaker or a Brand?

Also at IFW are the screenings of new and in-progress work that can be illuminating. (Or you can just go to the parties).

Online Viewing Can Be Social

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The chance you will watch an independent ‘film’ in a theatre has decreased significantly just in the last 10 years. The sheer volume of titles available on Netflix Watch Instantly, not to mention VOD IFC, HBO, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon and countless other streaming and on-demand services means viewers no longer need advance planning to watch at home (or anywhere they have a laptop or iPhone).

Filmmakers can find this a bit depressing. Watching a film in a theatre is exciting. It’s big! It’s usually calibrated to look as good as it can. And most importantly, there are a bunch of people—strangers!—watching it together.

Creating this sense of spirit is a challenge for independents and perhaps the main opportunity to compete with the mainstream industry. We don’t have studio-size spends, but we can understand our audiences more precisely and have a more personal relationship.

For live settings, event screenings work very well. But can we make digital screenings social? We generally have little to no control over when people watch the films online, their physical circumstances, who, if anyone, they are with, or even if they watch the whole film.

Still, filmmakers have come up with some innovative ways of bringing the audience for digital screenings together. Transmedia, expressing your story in a different context, can play a great role. Lance Weiler’s Head Trauma featured a game that embedded clues in flash frames of the film itself, so viewers had to watch the film repeatedly to play and engaged with each other on the film’s site. You could offer live events to viewers of the movie during a digital rollout, such as a Skype-based Q&A. Using a technology like CrowdControls, viewers could identify their location and you could plan post-screening events in popular places.

Do you have other examples of ways to make online screenings exciting or social? Or are we doomed to living in a room with a virtual helmet?

Do you need a Producer of Distribution?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

There is a new job in the film world (relatively new; I held the position in 2006 and I was not alone). A production hires a Producer of Distribution & Marketing to substitute for or in some cases enhance a distributor’s marketing team.

As championed by theatrical marketing wiz Jon Reiss, the PDM starts early in production, building an audience through viral marketing and establishing relationships with potential fans and supporters.

A PDM may sound like a blessing or a redundancy depending on where your strengths and interests lie as filmmaker. If you hate the very idea of marketing, tweeting, or going to networking events, a good PDM can be a godsend. They will shape your marketing strategy and perhaps even give you clarity on your film’s overall message and direction by asking good questions about what audience it will serve.

If you actually enjoy thinking about the marketing strategy for your film and have a handle on who its core audience may be, a PDM may be an expensive option when a few hours with a consultant and a few well-chosen interns could serve as an effective alternative.

Creative and individualized marketing does take experience, work, and inspiration, but there is no boilerplate solution, in new distribution or old.

Here’s Jon advocating the position:

People with Answers: Human Resources for Filmmakers

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Google is a great resource, but often more useful answers come from asking a real individual. This is even more the case in creative work, since the question one asks is often not exactly what one needs to find out.

Some of the best ways of getting information are networking-oriented, such as having conversations at film-related events, festivals and conferences. But when you are unable to make it to a face-to-face meeting place or you are just starting out, there are some excellent online resources that can help you start building relationships and getting the help you need.

The D-Word: This documentary-oriented site, started by filmmakers Doug Block and Ben Kampas, is a forum for documentarians of all kinds, with a welcoming and active population of participants.

- Funtional if basic forums for low-budget filmmakers

DV Creators- Primarily tech-related discussions about HD-production and post

Creative Cow Final Cut Pro Discussions
- Newbie to uber-geeky FCP info

Filmmaker Magazine Forums- Not heavily used but could be useful

Celtx Forums: The excellent free scriptwriting software maintains forums on a variety of film topics

Vimeo Forums
- The online video site has forums that can assist with online video issues

Do you frequent other online discussions? Let us know in the comments.

SXSW Panels for your consideration

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

As filmmakers face all kinds of challenges, I have two very different panels in the SXSW Panel Picker hoping for your vote.

Broadband Issues for Content Makers helps film and video makers understand some of the issues around Broadband and ‘Net Neutrality’ and how they specifically impact independent producers.

Live! Nude! Audience!
takes YOUR submission to be instantly reviewed by our crack team of experts and evaluated for marketing and outreach opportunities. You’ll get to see the process in action for your own film or discover the best ideas to use for future projects. And of course, we’ll be naked.

Oprah's Documentary Club- much better than free cars

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Oprah Winfrey has started a documentary club. To some observers, this is cause for alarm. After all, look at what she’s done to books! Mysterious, important things like books are now being manhandled by the great unwashed, with big decals on them no less.

I’m fond of old fashioned things, but the attitude that some things should be above the mass market is beyond stodgy. It’s simply unrealistic to suggest that certain things should be kept in box A or B when the way we access most cultural information is boundless. Any way to help certain films or books or conceptual art projects reach an audience has value.

Boundless access also means that no matter how many resources go into OWN, it does not “hurt” other films. It’s much more likely that increasing documentary awareness among Oprah’s audience will allow other filmmakers with subjects or styles appropriate for the OWN audience to take advantage of the marketing going into the general programming.

And filmmakers who are seeing the license fees OWN is paying are likely not unhappy, either.

When new things come along, try exploring how the new thing can be useful before trying to put the cat back in the bag. Pet the cat a little.

The infinite future of film

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Today I began reading two entertaining books, Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity by David Foster Wallace and The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Quite coincidentally, the books share the thematic point that there is a great deal of value in what is unpredictable, or as DFW puts it, “our only real justification for the Principle of Induction is the Principle of Induction, which seems shaky and question-begging in the extreme.”

In film, a technology that in its “old fashioned” celluloid form is only a little over a century old, the future is unpredictable— but it is fairly certain that the future is significantly different than it is now. There is no reason to believe the medium (celluloid) will survive, no reason to believe there will be a tangible product associated with motion picture, no reason to believe running times will continue to hover in the 74-130 minutes range. That a business once existed for something is not a reason it will continue. If there is a demand, there will be ways to meet it. If the barriers are low and there are benefits for the producers, films will be made and disseminated regardless of business models.

Most importantly, we can’t predict how people will find ways to make things that are very good and not end up on welfare- unless welfare turns out to be very comfortable. But I would put my money (if I had any) on quality continuing to be something that will be supported somehow in whatever improbable future we may encounter.