Tag: Bomb It

Jon Reiss on BYODocs with Ondi Timoner

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Had a great time with Ondi Timoner today filming for her BYODocs Show – seen here!  We spoke a little about Think Outside the Box Office – but mostly about my docs Bomb It, Bomb It 2, Better Living Through Circuitry and even going back to Survival Research Laboratories and Target Video.   Let me know what you think!

Bomb It 2 Hits Miami!

Posted on by Jon Reiss

UPDATE — the U.S. premiere of BOMB IT 2 in Miami is sold out!

Bomb It 2

It is finally time for the US premiere of BOMB IT 2! Thanks to our good friends at Bombingscience.com, Keepitclassic.com, and Tugg.com, you can catch BOMB IT 2 at the O Cinema in the Wynwood District on Wednesday, May 29th at 7:30 pm. But there is a catch. We still need to sell 33 more tickets in order to make the screening happen, so PLEASE help spread the word and reserve your tickets for the US premiere of BOMB IT 2 today.

The screening will be introduced by host Marc Ferman of www.Keepitclassic.com. There will be a live Q&A with director Jon Reiss via Skype following the movie. If you are a fan of street art, graffiti, art, or just pop culture, this is a screening you CANNOT miss! In BOMB IT 2 director Jon Reiss takes audiences to previously unexplored areas of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the United States and Australia on a hunt for innovative street art and artists.

BOMB IT 2 explores the indigenous street art scenes in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Perth, Melbourne, Copenhagen, Chicago, Austin and the Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank.

BOMB IT 2 from Jon Reiss on Vimeo.

For those of you who are not in Miami but want to see BOMB IT 2 in your town, please contact our friends at TUGG — they will help you organize a screening of BOMB IT 2 at your favorite local theater!

Between the Lines: Jon Reiss Interview

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Bomb It 1 + 2 director Jon Reiss speaks with the filmmakers behind “Between the Lines” about street art and graffiti, freedom of speech and democracy. “Between the Lines” is a documentary about a group of Toronto street artists who find new meaning in their work as they defend it against Mayor Rob Ford’s War on Graffiti.

Your Audience: Niche vs Core

Posted on by Jon Reiss

This weeks TOTBO workshop clip continues the process of audience identification and differentiates between the concepts niche versus core. They are not the same thing. The core are the most engaged members of any niche – the most likely to engage with you and potentially spread the word about your work. I use Bomb It as an example but in the new workshops will be talking Joffrey and other films. For Joffrey the core of the ballet niche was of course people who loved the joffrey and within that the supercore are the former members of the Joffrey and of course the current Joffrey Ballet. They have been incredibly supportive of the film, have spread the word, participated in events and much more.

Excerpt: Insiders Guide To Independent Film Distribution

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Excerpt from “Insiders Guide To Independent Film Distribution” (2nd Edition, Focal Press) by Stacey Parks. Available in paperback and kindle versions at www.FilmSpecific.com/Book.

Interview With Filmmaker Jon Reiss On Target Audience

Q: Tell us about Target Audience and what will happen if a filmmaker doesn’t identify this early on in the process?

A: To me a target audience is one of the niches that exist in the world that would be interested in your film (or anything that you do).   A niche is a group of people focused on a particular interest.  They are accessible.  You can afford to market to them.

For instance in the case of my film “Bomb It”, one of the niche audiences is graffiti writers and street artists.  Another niche audience is people who love graffiti and street art.  A third audience for Bomb It is underground hip hop (specifically people who argue over how many “elements” there are in hip hop – graffiti often being called one of the “4 elements of hip hop” (some people feel that there are 5, others 9, etc).  While you may think that people who love hip hop is also an audience – that is too broad of an audience for us to tackle with limited means. It is best to drill down as deep as possible to the narrowest niche, or core within a niche, in order to begin engagement.

This process takes time and the earlier you start it, the better.  Your release will be much more successful (assuming connection with audience is one of your goals) if you have started to engage your audience (or at least the core of your audience) prior to your release.  If you don’t, you will be struggling to gain audience during your release. By not laying this foundation, you are essentially shooting yourself in the foot.

Q: Once you identify your Target Audience, what’s next? Any tips on aggregating?

For me there are 3 TOTBO (Think Outside the Box Office) Steps of Audience Engagement:

1.  Who?  You must identify your audience – discussed in #1 above.  And within each niche you should identify the core audience(s) within each niche.

2.  Where?  You must determine where and how this audience(s) receives information – and it will be different for every audience.  Some audiences don’t use social networks – even today.  Others are on Facebook or Ning more than Twitter.   Each niche will have certain blogs that are important to it.  You determine this via research.

3.  How?  Does this audience consume media?  In other words – how might they watch or interact with the story of your film?   Will they go see a live event, do they still buy DVDs.  What other kinds of merchandise might they buy?  On what platforms do they watch digital content?   You need to know this in order to connect your final film (or any product) with your audience(s).

Q: I hear filmmakers say all the time how difficult it is to start any type of campaign for their film during Pre-Production because nothing is really ‘happening’ yet. In your opinion, how can filmmakers create an initial campaign for their films during Pre-Pro?

I think “campaign” is the wrong way to think about it.  I recommend that people/filmmakers think in terms of connection.  You have fans out in the world (they may not know you exist) – you need to connect with them.

Topics could include: What are you interested in?  Why are you making this film?  What are your struggles?  How might you need help? How can your audience contribute to your film, not just financially (crowd funding), but also creatively (crowdsourcing)?  Ask them questions about different concepts, techniques you are considering etc.   Crowd funding and crowdsourcing are as important for audience connection as it is for money or creative contributions.

But more importantly – don’t just talk about yourself and your film. In fact no more than 20% of what you talk about or put out through your various channels should be about your film and yourself. 80% (at least) should information valuable (or entertaining) to your audience.   Go out and listen to your community and then become an authority within that community. Talk about the film once in a while – and then when you are in release, your audience will gladly support, promote, and refer you.

Q: All this can be so overwhelming to think about doing on your own — what kind of team should filmmakers be building during Pre-Pro to facilitate the marketing of their film?

I believe that filmmaking is a two-part process.  The first part is creating the film – the second part is connecting that film with an audience.   I think the most important team member to bring on in Pre-Production is the person I call the Producer of Marketing and Distribution – or PMD.   This person is the point person for all aspects of audience engagement as outlined above.   If you recognize that it is important to connect with audiences, then you absolutely need to devote resources to this process.  Everyone with traditional film positions already has their plate full making the film.  Filmmakers need to realize that unless they themselves will take on this work, they must get someone on their crew who will, just like they have someone line produce or edit.   That is why I created the position of the PMD in Think Outside the Box Office, because unless there is a clearly defined role for these tasks, they will not get done.

Q: Tell us about “Bomb-It” – what did you if anything during Pre-Pro that set you up for a successful release of the film later?

For “Bomb It” we started shooting right away,  so our pre-production and production happened simultaneously – for about 2 years.  But all during this time we were actively engaging our audience:

1.  We set up a website and a blog.  We posted regularly to this blog, very rarely about our film.  We posted almost exclusively about our subject – graffiti and street art.  Specifically, we posted items that interested us and we felt would be interesting to our audience.  We featured artists that we interviewed as well as bloggers, journalists and influencers within our community – see #6 below.

2. On our website we incentivized people to join our email list by offering to mail them stickers (yes via snail mail). This is an early example of an Email for Media campaign.  It cost a few hundred dollars to execute but 1).  It was directed at our specific audience.  2). It gave people something in exchange for what they were giving us (their email address).   We had 1000 people on our list by our premiere.

3.  We set up a Myspace page.  Remember this is 2004/2005 when we started (Facebook wasn’t the force it is now – and our audience was not on Facebook at that time. Our audiences were on Myspace – see research above).  By the time we premiered at Tribeca Film Festival we had nearly 5000 fans on Myspace.

4.   We cut trailers as soon as we had enough footage and posted them to YouTube – and directed our audience to them.  We were on our 2nd trailer by the time we premiered.

5.  We reached out to key bloggers, journalists, galleries and influencers within the community.   We created friendships with these people that lasted beyond the release.

Stacey Parks is a film distribution expert and Producer with over 15 years experience working with independent filmmakers. As a Foreign Sales Agent for several years she secured distribution for hundreds of independent worldwide. Stacey currently specializes in coaching independent filmmakers on financing and distribution strategies for their projects, and works with them both one-on-one and through her online training site www.FilmSpecific.com The 2nd edition of her best selling film book “Insiders Guide To Independent Film Distribution” (Focal) is now available at www.FilmSpecific.com/Book.

BOMB IT 2 Screening @ Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle

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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!

Heading to the UK Next Week and Upcoming Releases

The first segment of the IFP Filmmaker Labs were very fun and exciting this year.  A great group of docs and narrative.

Next week I will be in the UK. First doing a one day TOTBO workshop at the Edinburgh Film Festival on June 22nd then I’ll be doing a Keynote for Short Sighted presented by BAFTA and Shooting People on the 23rd.   I’ll also be doing one on one consultations with films on the 23rd through Creative Scotland.

Next I’m doing a 2 day workshop at the London Film School June 25th, 26th, so if you are in London I hope to see you then.   For this workshop we have the some excellent special guests lined up:  Terry Stevens from Dogwoof,  Chris Jones, filmmaker and author of the Guerilla Filmmaker’s Handbook Series and via skype we’ll have Sheri Candler, filmmaker Gregory Bayne giving tips for a successful crowdfunding campaign and Peter Gerard of the exciting new DIY distribution tool Distrify.

And some other previews of upcoming releases:

Dogwoof will be releasing the multi language PAL version of Bomb It July 25th.

In September, The Film Collaborative, Sheri Candler and I will be releasing Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul Presented by PreScreen – Case Studies in Hybrid, DIY and P2P Independent Distribution.  This is a series of case studies that dives deep into independent film distribution.  There will be much more information on this in the coming months – if you would like to know more – check out (and like) the Facebook page for the book.  We’ll be launching at the IFP Week in NYC where I will also be for part 3 of the IFP Filmmaker Labs.

This Week on Babelgum Bomb It 2 – South East Asia

For this week’s Bomb It 2 installment on Babelgum we went back to Asia to look at Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Jakarta has a vibrant graffiti and street art scene and was my first stop after Bangkok (covered in week 1 of Bomb It 2). I was there for only six hours – but I had a chance to film and interview Darbotz who paints a giant monster squid and freely talks about street art and its relationship to semiotics!

Finding graffiti writers in Singapore was perhaps the most startling since I was familiar with the very strict laws and caning used against graffiti writers there. I was headed to Singapore to teach at the NYU campus there and planned to use that as a base to film graffiti and street art elsewhere in Asia, but I didn’t think that I was going to meet any there. But I was pleasantly surprised to be able to talk to both Killer Gerbil as well as Zero, two street artists who were very aware of the odd relationship that their country has with illegal painting on walls and how the country while clamping down on graffiti also tries to co-opt it.

Finally this week are two pieces on the Hong Kong artists Mic and Xeme. Xeme is also responsible for Invasion Magazine – about all things street and graff in Asia. In Hong Kong as with much of the rest of Asia – there are many walls to paint – and not that many artists – or anti graffiti sentiment – eg it is pretty easy to paint in Asia. Xeme finds himself bringing graffiti tourists around to the best spots. But I particularly liked that he spoke about writing in Chinese – and the difficulty communicating with an international scene when he uses his local language.

Mic talks not only about the irony of being arrested by the Chinese government for doing graffiti – while at the same time being commissioned to do murals for the same government (even the police). He also speaks eloquently about his works relationship to the public space in Hong Kong and the plethora of advertising that they are assaulted with every day.

I hope you like the pieces – and I’d love to hear your thoughts!


Loving the Webseries Form – An Intro to the Why and How of Bomb It 2

As some of you might know – Bomb It 2 launched last week on Babelgum. What is Bomb It 2? As I mentioned in the intro to Simon Pulman’s post last week on this blog, its not another feature – it’s a web series – part of a growing – dare I say – transmedia extension of the Bomb It experience.

The idea originated simply. I started travelling to a number of foreign locales introducing Think Outside the Box Office and holding workshops on the topic of distribution and marketing. Many of these places were cities that I had not travelled to for Bomb It, but still had vibrant graffiti and street art communities. Some cities were places where I had no idea what kind of graffiti culture to expect (Singapore especially). I approached Babelgum to see if they would be interested in sponsoring a new series of episodes to expand Bomb It further out into the world – and they agreed. (With the extra footage of the original Bomb It we had created a similar series of episodes for Babelgum.)
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Guest Post Simon Pulman: Transmedia for Low Budget Filmmakers

Today’s guest post is from Simon Pulman who writes an incredibly interesting and informative blog on transmedia: Transmythology.

To me transmedia is the future for independent film – and perhaps all film. It is already happening all around us – whether we realize it or not. I essentially backed into transmedia on Bomb It. We knew we were generating way more content than would fit in one feature. In 2005 – our thought was that we would ultimately make 6 features from the material! But we ended up producing a webseries for Babelgum which was became a transmedia extension of Bomb It – realized after the fact. This in turn led to Bomb It 2 which was conceived of as a webseries for Babelgum – but still ties into the Bomb It “brand”. There is no way that I would have done another graffiti feature this past year – but a web series was a much more manageable way to keep exploring the concept of Bomb It. Simon addresses these issues in his post that follows. (BTW – this is a two part post. Part 2 will run next Thursday).

Transmedia for Low Budget Filmmakers

Part I: Why Consider Transmedia?

I’m going to assume for the purposes at this article that you have read Think Outside The Box Office, and are familiar with the principles presented within.  I don’t think an artist of any kind should proceed with a project without at least reading and considering Jon’s ideas.  We’re moving towards an age where personal branding and fan engagement will become increasingly important strategies in differentiating yourself from the crowd.

Due to the difficulties inherent in financing a feature film today, an increasing number of filmmakers are going DIY – foregoing years of fundraising and investor courtship to produce something relatively cheaply using inexpensive cameras and small non-union crews.  This concept should be familiar to anybody who has read Robert Rodriguez’s Rebel Without a Crew.

The downside of this trend for filmmakers is that the proliferation of lower budget films makes it very difficult to stand out from the crowd.  Unlike in Rodriguez’s day, merely making a film cheaply is no longer an interesting enough story to ensure that people pay attention.  The result is that even well scripted and produced low budget films are not guaranteed to find an audience.
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