Tag: “Indie film”

DIY Days Workshop

I will be at DIY Days on Friday, October 28th, presenting my Artistic Entrepreneurship workshop from 3:45 to 4:25 pm.  I will be speaking about how to create long term relationships with fans through engagement, live events, merchandise and digital releases. Half the time will be allotted for presentation, and half the time will be devoted to workshopping audience projects/artistic brands.

Some of the other great speakers at DIY Days include Joel Arquillos, Hunter Weeks, Henry Jenkins, Jim Babb, Yomi Ayeni, Adam Chapnick and Christy Dena, among others. At 5:30 pm I will be at UCLA’s Young Research Library for the L.A. launch party of my new book Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul cowritten with The Film Collaborative and Sheri Candler. Hope to see you there.

Putting Chilean Film on the Map

On Thursday and Friday of this week (Oct 20-21) I will be at the Flyway Film Festival, presenting my two-day Think Outside the Box Office workshop on the ever-changing world of hybrid distribution and marketing. Today, though, I am thrilled to share a guest post from Chilean filmmaker Bernardo Palau whose first feature film ‘Saving You’ had a small theatrical release in Chile in November 2010 and is now available on iTunes.  Here is his post:

PUTTING CHILEAN FILM ON THE MAP

By Bernardo Palau

I live in Chile — a long and thin land at the end of the world — at the southernmost point of South America. Chile is a country mainly known for its wines, the variety of its landscapes and its writers and poets like Isabel Allende, Pablo Neruda and Vicente Huidobro.

I say “mainly” because every day Chile is getting more and more known for a different kind of poet/storyteller: its filmmakers. Over the last few years many Chilean films have navigated the A-class film festival circuit, which has placed Chile on the map of world cinema in the eyes of the press.

Leaving aside the recently deceased Raoul Ruiz and his prolific filmography, many directors, including Sebastian Silva (‘The Maid’), Matias Bize (‘The life of the fish’), Pablo Larraín (‘Tony Manero’), Gonzalo Justiniano (‘B-Happy’), Sebastian Lelio (‘Christmas’), and others have created a lot of buzz at various international film festivals. But is that all there is to Chilean cinema?

No, actually. There are still a lot of Chilean films out there that the world doesn’t know about yet.

Allow me to explain: In Chile we have two major kind of films, the Public (or State) co-finance films, which have big budgets for our industry (normally between $500,000 and $2,000,000), enabling them to have a great festival presence around the world. On the other hand, we also have micro-budget guerrilla / garage films that work with small budgets, small crews and a lot of good will.


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BOMB IT 2 Screening @ Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle

Posted on by Emy

BOMB IT 2 is screening at 6 p.m. at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on Thursday, October 6th as part of the Can Film Festival, sponsored by the Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle.

“The Can Film Fest” is organized by nonprofit arts organization The Estria Foundation as part of their week long Graffiti Arts Festival taking place October 6-8 in San Francisco.

BOMB IT 2 goes where no graffiti doc has gone before, including the West Bank, Tel Aviv, Jakarta, Copenhagen, and Singapore, among other places. It shows the incredible range of styles and ideas that surround graffiti and street art culture throughout the world and especially in places where most people probably don’t even think it exists.

Graffiti and street art is not a monolithic force around the world – it is different for every individual and every culture – and that is evident in the broad range of practitioners in the film. We are happy to partner with The Estria Graffiti Arts Festival this year and be part of celebrating one of the most vibrant art movements happening in the world today. A lot of misunderstanding and miscommunication exists surrounding this world, and the more outreach by organizations such as the Estria Foundation, the better!

10 Ways in Which I Would Release Bomb It Today

Posted on by Emy

Chris Horton asked me to write this post for the new Artist Services website that Sundance has set up. However, many filmmakers don’t have access to that site, and so I am posting it here on my blog for anyone to be able to read. Here is the post:

In 2005 I started a documentary project that became Bomb It which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2007, was released on DVD, iTunes and Netflix via New Video and has had an extended life on VOD (Gravitas), Web series (Babelgum), various foreign sales (PAL DVD this month on Dogwoof) etc. As many of you know, my experience releasing Bomb It inspired me to write a manual for other filmmakers to release their films in this new distribution landscape: Think Outside the Box Office. Chris Horton approached me to write a post on how I would release Bomb It in today’s distribution landscape (and knowing what I know now). I’ve actually thought about this a lot (mostly kicking my self for what I could have done better!)
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Update to Jeremy Juuso’s DIY Film Releasing Article

Posted on by Emy

This was published yesterday on jeremyjuuso.blogspot.com.

UPDATE TO BASELINE JULY 2010 DIY POSTING

During the course of research, I found a film from 2009 that initially appeared to be a DIY release, but upon further inspection had to be relabeled as a non-DIY release. As a result, this has slightly shifted the numbers that initially appeared in my Baseline posting. Here is the revised table:

Turns out, DIY was on top opening weekend. Click here for the original posting (and some context).

Independent Opportunities on CloudCraft Television

Posted on by Emy

Ryan Sloan’s CloudCraft Television is currently offering channels for Independents and Students and well as Collaborations. They are able to stream uncompressed video at better than DVD quality, including up to 7.1 DTS Surround Sound, and Home Media Magazine has recently reviewed their technology deeming it the best on the Internet in an upcoming article.

For more info, visit www.cloudcraft.tv.

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Perplexing Problems

Posted on by Jon Reiss

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Perplexing Problems
My thoughts on educating filmmakers about distribution and marketing.

Proper Prior Planning Prevent Perplexing Problems
By Jon Reiss

Over the last several months an argument has arisen within the independent film community as to how much (and whether) filmmakers should focus on the distribution and marketing of their films.

I am rather surprised that there is an argument. I am very surprised that lines have been drawn in the sand, armies joined and deployed. I feel that the discussion to date misses two very important points. First – there is no one kind of independent filmmaker. There is no one kind of filmmaker. Never has, never will be. Thank god. Each person who is involved in independent film has his or her own desires, interests, passions, loves, hates. Each filmmaker has different motivations for making a film. Some want to make a statement, change the world – whether it is social or artistic. Some want to make money. Some want to express an idea or emotion to as many people as possible. Most filmmakers want it all. However if push comes to shove, filmmakers will prioritize what they want from their films. And these desires are different for different filmmakers.

Similarly not everyone in independent film wants to be a director, or a writer-director, or a writer-producer-director. Some filmmakers just want to direct and prefer to collaborate with scriptwriters and producers. Some filmmakers don’t want to direct, but want to be producers, DPs, editors etc.

Second, the debate implies that directors or multi hyphenate writer-director-producers should be primarily responsible for these new tasks. I will always be among those that think directors should not be solely charged with the distribution and marketing of their films. As a filmmaker, I know how incredibly difficult this is (especially while making a film) – Frankly one of the reasons this blog post is perhaps a bit late to the debate is that I have been involved with shooting Bomb It 2.

However, I do believe that distribution and marketing should be woven into the filmmaking process just as preproduction planning, casting, scriptwriting, editing, sound mixing are all a part of the filmmaking process. Just as you don’t consider the sound for your film when you are about to mix or even when you are editing dialogue. If good sound is important to you as a filmmaker, usually you are considering the sound for your film no later than the tech scout, and often from the script stage. Similarly I feel that filmmakers will be helped both logistically and creatively to incorporate distribution and marketing into the entire process of making their films.

It should be understood by our community that distribution and marketing are not about tailoring your film to an audience that you feel you can capitalize on (however if the sole goal for your film is to make money – perhaps this might be a path for you).

A better way to view this process is that distribution and marketing are about finding the audience that already exists for your film, your vision. (I credit Marc Rosenbush with this keen perspective).

This process of audience engagement takes either a lot of money or a lot of time. Most independents do not have much of the former, and so must rely on the latter. It also takes knowledge.

Knowledge can either be learned through experience or through education or a combination.

A year ago, I felt compelled to write a book about distribution and marketing for my fellow filmmakers as a guidebook to this process. I did this so that they could learn from my experience and the experiences of others and so that they wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel each time anew. (How awful would it be that every time we shot a film we had to relearn how different lenses, different lighting, different editing affected the emotional quality of a scene). It is time to compile our knowledge and share it with each other so that each new filmmaker does not have to waste his or her time to relearn tools and techniques that have been tried by others before them.

I have begun a number of other educational initiatives to which I will devote most of the next twelve months.

I do this not to load more work onto the backs of my fellow filmmakers. The work frankly exists even if you are one of the lucky few to have a distributor swoop down with a check to relieve you of this burden.

I do this for five reasons:

1. To provide a systematic way to train a new cadre of crew people to be responsible for the distribution and marketing tasks on a film. I call these new crew people Producers of Marketing and Distribution.

I gave this crew position a name because only with a proper name will the work be recognized, rewarded and most importantly trained for.

Few directors want to do every job on their films. Many don’t want to be multi-hyphenates. They are happy to find a brilliant script to bring to the screen. They are happy to work with a brilliant DP or Production Designer. They are happy to collaborate with a creative producer who will help them realize their vision. God knows I am.

Just as filmmakers are eager to collaborate on what has been previously thought of as the work of film, directors and producers should be eager to collaborate with additional crew people who will carry out the numerous tasks of distribution and marketing.

I hope by the time I make my next project, I can put out a call for a Producer of Marketing and Distribution on Shooting People, or Mandy and I will receive a flood of emails. I hope this for all filmmakers.

In order to create these new crew people, we must provide a way to educate them. Toward this end, I am now working with film organizations around the world to create a variety of educational opportunities to teach this material in the form of classes, labs and workshops. I am also in the process of creating an online tools website so that filmmakers can share information about distributors, screening networks and the like (kind of a marketing and distribution yelp for filmmakers). This website will eventually grow into an online academy to teach these tools to filmmakers (especially to create a cadre of PMDs for filmmakers).

I applaud the others who are engaged in this teaching – Peter Broderick, Lance Weiler, Ted Hope, Scott Macaulay, Sheri Candler, Scott Kirsner, Tiffany Shlain, Marc Rosenbush, Thomas Mai, Sandy Dubowsky, Caitlin Boyle, Stacey Parks, IFP, FIND etc. We should embrace this education as a community – not eschew it. (I do agree that panels are a poor way to educate. Go to any university (or any school) and you find very little education being done via panels. )

2. Filmmakers who have no intention of shooting their films still take classes in (or read books about) cinematography so as to understand the art. Similarly, I feel that filmmakers should at least have a sense of what is entailed in distribution and marketing a film so that they can understand that process. This does not mean that they have to devote their life to this education (or to the work). But with knowledge comes power. I advise my film directing students at Cal Arts to learn the basics of budgeting and scheduling, even if they never intend to produce, AD, UPM or line produce. I believe by learning the process, they will however acquire the tools to look at a budget and schedule and understand where resources are being allocated so that they can have an informed discussion with their line producer about said resource allocation.

3. As independent filmmakers, we need to be prepared to take on any task in the filmmaking process, because we are never sure if we will have someone else to do that task for us. You might not be lucky enough to have someone shoot your film, edit your film, help you with the distribution of the film. Hence any of these roles might fall to you. I can’t afford to take a DP with me around the world to film Bomb It 2 (or a producer or sound person) – so I am doing it myself. Independent filmmakers have always been Jacks and Jills of all trades. Distribution and marketing is one of the trades we thought we could hand over to others. We know now that this (fortunately or unfortunately) is not always the case. As I learned from my odd 7th grade math teacher: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Perplexing Problems.

4. Maybe, just maybe, in learning about distribution and marketing you might discover some new creative way to express your vision that you did not previously know existed. I love feature films. I love great shorts. I even love great television of either conventional length. But these are four forms that have become ossified in the filmmaking world for too long as the only forms. I feel that great creativity will come from expanding filmmaking – nay media creating – forms. Why slaughter your babies in the editing room? Find new life for them. Why not create multiple babies in the script stage to express your thoughts in a myriad of new directions? And still make a feature film if that is your passion. Why not collaborate with other filmmakers to help you create these new forms of content and reach those audiences, if your goal is to focus solely on making the feature?

5. Maybe, if you are interested, you might create a long-term relationship with a core audience, that might help to sustain you as an artist.

The central point is this: Don’t limit yourself. Open up your arms to the vast amount of creative potential that awaits you, and do so with the collaboration of others who are eager to help you. I believe this should be the model for us as a community to face the new financial realities of our world. There is too much work to be done for those in our community to vilify others. It is a time ripe for great opportunity to create and engage with audiences as we have been doing as a species since we first sat around fires telling stories. The form will change, the meaning to us, as human beings will not.

I am doing a workshop in conjunction with IFP on June 5th and 6th. Instead of panels, we are having a cocktail party for participants to meet with distributors and other distribution and marketing service providers.

I will be doing another workshop in Vancouver on June 12 – 13th.

Finally for June I have collaborated with the LA Film Festival and Film Independent to create a three-day distribution and marketing symposium. A day and a half boot camp for the competition filmmakers, and a day and a half open to the public focused on 1. Tools instruction 2. Exploring the potential available to us all.

For more information: www.thinkoutsidetheboxoffice.com
Or www.jonreiss.com/blog

TOTBO Tip of the Day 16 Producer’s Reps Pt 1

Posted on by Jon Reiss

In honor of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival – I will take this opportunity to explore other crew people that you might want to engage on your film and whether or not they are right for your project. There are several types of sales representatives/sales agents. Today the topic is Producer’s Representatives. A classic sales representative or producer’s representative, as has been known to the independent film world for the past 20-30 years, is someone who will broker your film to the various distribution entities, generally in search of an overall deal. The main advantage of sales reps is their relationships with the various companies that buy films, from full-service distributors to DVD companies to cable companies, etc. In the old model, it was almost taken for granted that an unsold independent film would engage a sales rep. Not anymore. Whether or not to engage a sales rep is one of the first decisions you need to make in the execution of your overall distribution strategy.

The London TOTBO Workshop went amazingly well. Onto Amsterdam this week. Then to Cannes. Check out the TOTBO site for more information. Comment here or @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. I look forward to hearing from you.

Innovative Theatrical Release for “Trash Humpers” – Reminds me of my Target Video Experiences

Another indie is expanding their distribution vision to get their film out into the world: Record label Drag City has announced that they will handle U.S. distribution for Harmony Korine’s “Trash Humpers” as reported in Indiewire today.

When I was booking tours of Target Video back in 81/82 (I know I’m a dinosaur) in the US and Europe, I would not just use a record label, but I worked with musical tour bookers who were used to booking bands throughout Europe – this was especially true of the incredible tours we did of Scandinavia and Germany. They handled everything – the gig, payment etc – just like they did for bands. We just showed up town to town. Of course we supplemented this with bookings of our own in other countries. A good idea if you have a music oriented project like we did (Target Video was a documentary project in which we filmed west coast punk bands and compiled them into 2 hour shows and took them on tour).

NEW BREED PARK CITY – Discovering the Questions Jon Reiss, Ira Deutchman,

In Park City From Sabi Pictures and Filmmaker Magazine and Workbook Project

SOLUTION-BASED: NEW BREED AT PARK CITY PART 2

Here’s the second of the New Breed videos discussing the current and future states of distribution. From the makers:

Filmmakers Zak Forsman and Kevin K. Shah of Sabi Pictures arrive at Park City with an intent to define the questions most relevant to independent distribution options. Insights from Brian Newman, Dan Mirvish, Jon Reiss and Ira Deutchman open a path toward discovering some real solutions.

NEW BREED PARK CITY – Discovering the Questions from Sabi Pictures on Vimeo.