Tag: Bomb It

Bomb It 2 on Babelgum To Watch List for Fast Company Magazine

Posted on by Emy

Babelgum Actually — gasps — Pays for Users to Create Videos
By PATRICK J. SAUER

So far as I know, Babelgum is the only company paying Web-video creators money up front,” says chief revenue officer Douglas Dicconson. And not for low-brow stuff, but ambitious professional works such as British documentarian Daniel Edelstyn’s Vodka Empire, the unlikely 25-part saga of his discovery that he’s heir to a Ukrainian vodka factory, and his attempt to bring Zorokovich 1917 to the modern spirits world. […]

Dicconson says that he closed more revenue in the first quarter of 2010 than in the past three years combined. And momentum continued this past spring as Babelgum’s traffic spiked to 5.7 million visitors a month, when Vamped Out and Vodka Empire first aired. Na zdorovye!

3 to Watch

Dirty Oil
Babelgum’s first fully financed feature film, helmed by Academy Award-nominee Leslie Iwerks, will get its U.S. debut as an episodic series. Dirty Oil examines the economic and ecological impact of the oil sands in Alberta.

Vamped Out
When we last saw our vampiric out-of-work-actor hero Alowisus Hewson (Jason Antoon) in season one, he was sucking a young Hollywood starlet’s blood while formerly skeptical documentary filmmaker Elliot Finke (series writer and director Kevin Pollak) wigged out. Will the 172-year-old thespian find work in a Twilight world?

Bomb It 2
Babelgum produced the original street art/graffiti documentary, and the sequel will profile artists from locations such as Singapore (third offense is a caning!) and the Middle East. “In Israel, there’s a blossoming street-art culture with percolations of ideas,” says director Jon Reiss, “but in the Palestinian refugee camps, everything is political.”

Read more here or on the September issue of Fast Company magazine.

Screen Hub’s Lyn Norfor on Jon Reiss and Thinking Outside of the Box Office!

Jon Reiss: Thinking Outside the Box Office
by: Lyn Norfor

Screen Hub
Thursday 15 July, 2010

Jon Reiss, independent filmmaker and proselyte, wrote Thinking Outside the Box Office, and is running a series of events around Australia, including MIFF. Lyn Norfor was reminded of the 50% rule – “50% of the time and resources to make the film and 50% to connect the film to your audience..”

In 2007, Jon Reiss screened his documentary, Bomb It, about the global explosion of graffiti art and culture, at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival. He did all the right things and, with five sold-out screenings and people lined up round the block for each screening, he expected a good distribution deal plus sales. But – nothing, no deals. A week later, Bomb It was available for sale on Canal Street – as a bootleg.

This is a story that Reiss relates regularly – in his book and his workshops, as an example of how radically the film distribution market has changed and how essential it is now for filmmakers to rethink the way their films are marketed and distributed. Reiss is a big fan of Do It Yourself (DIY) as a philosophy and attitude for marketing and distributing your film and which, he says, does not mean doing it all on your own. Rather, it means not leaving the distribution of your film to others and to build a team to reach as wide an audience as possible for your film.

Reiss is a working filmmaker who walks his talk. After his experience at Tribeca, Reiss went about distributing Bomb It through a hybrid distribution model, a term coined by distribution strategist and SPAA fringe regular, Peter Broderick. Reiss organised his own theatrical release and did a no-advance deal with New Video who handled the DVD release and download-to-own digital rights.

Based on his experiences, Reiss then wrote his book “Think Outside the Box – The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Age” which he self published. He has also built a website, created a two-day workshop and is planning updates for his book. In addition, he is currently filming material, as he travels round the world delivering his workshops, for a Bomb It web series – two to three minute webisodes, for which he received an advance against an ad revenue share from Bablegum (a free-to-view internet television platform supported by advertising).

An important step for filmmakers, according to Reiss, is to know what you want from your film and who the audience is for your film. Once you know that, you can then begin designing a marketing and distribution plan specifically for your film. And ideally, before you begin making your film – or at least during production. Now, some filmmakers may shudder at this but, Reiss says, they need to remember the 50/50 rule – 50% of the time and resources to make the film and 50% to connect the film to your audience.

Reiss is also very quick to point out that, although the filmmaker needs to understand the whole process, they also need to work with other people who have skills in those areas the filmmaker does not.

He has created a new film position, the Producer of Marketing and Distribution (PMD) and Reiss reckons it is a huge growth area in our industry. With less funds available and less films being picked up by traditional broadcasters and distributors, more filmmakers are left to their own devices to distribute their films. So build your team, find people with the marketing and distribution skills and bring them into the film industry to work with you. Reiss’ enthusiasm and excitement at the opportunities being created as old structures and ways of doing things break down is tempered by the realities of being a working creative entrepreneur – which he says all artists need to be.

Karen Pearlman (Head of Screen Studies, AFTRS) first heard of his workshops last year and encouraged AFTRS to bring Reiss out to Australia. So this July AFTRS and Screen Australia, in conjunction with MIFF 37 Degrees South in Melbourne, present the workshop Think Outside the Box Office.

Reiss has designed the two-day workshops to be practical as well as providing a place for filmmakers to share and discuss their projects. The first day is about content and information, using Reiss’ own films plus those of the participants as illustrations and discussion points.

The second day is focussed on selecting a number of participant projects for which market and distribution strategies are created. Reiss asks three key questions of each project – what is the goal of the film and the filmmakers? Who is their audience? What are their resources? The question that typically takes the most time to figure out is the audience question. Opening this question up to the group can be extremely helpful to the filmmakers, Reiss reports, and one of the favourite parts of the workshop for many participants. Reiss believes the workshops can appeal to a wide range of people –to anyone who is interested in marketing and distribution but may not necessarily want to make films.

Audience development is the new buzz word and one that will be music to the ears of our funding agencies. Reiss emphasises the importance of beginning to develop an audience for your film before the film is broadcast or screened. In the US independent distribution market, Reiss says, broadcasters and distribution entities are looking for partnerships with filmmakers who are interested in sharing the work of audience development. The marketplace is changing and so are release strategies. Reiss cites as examples the shorter windows between theatrical and DVD release for films such as Avatar and Alice in Wonderland and how that helps influence independent distributors.

Reiss is very strong on split rights, where the rights to each of the various revenue streams (theatrical, DVD, VOD etc) are split apart so they can be sold individually. A split rights scenario is at the heart of a hybrid strategy to release your film and, in general Reiss claims, the filmmaker can make more money than with an overall deal (where a distributor buys all the rights for your film for a long time).

He divides rights into three groups: (i) live event/theatrical – and includes all types of theatrical, non-theatrical, alternative theatrical and grassroots screenings; (ii) consumer products/merchandise – a tactile product such as DVD (individual DVDs, boxed sets, signed sets, special editions etc), educational sales, t-shirts, CDs, books etc; (iii) digital – television and cable (including FTA and subscription TV), Pay-per-view/Video on demand; (iv) digital rights and mobile – internet channels such as download to own, download to rent and various forms of streaming. Reiss’s book, “Think Outside the Box Office”, provides loads of information on this subject.

Again, Reiss reiterates that the distribution market is changing rapidly and many independent distributors are being forced by necessity to become more flexible.

Reiss finds this a ‘super exciting time’ and says it should inspire us to think about film more expansively, with longer storytelling structures – all of which helps create a long term career in film. When filmmakers have control over their distribution contracts, over a longer period of time and across multiple outlets, then a career arc can be developed with more predictable income streams and a ‘sustainable business’ built. With filmmakers holding onto more rights, there are also more opportunities to develop cross media extensions from the film. Knowing your audience is the key to deciding which products and packages to create for your film. Reiss tells how he is currently developing an iPhone app for street and graffiti art.

Although Reiss recognises that the amount of work is increasing as the money decreases, he says this is true not just for filmmakers but for all artists and content creators. His next version of “Think Outside the Box Office” is targeted at musicians, visual artists and all media content creators. He encourages us all to embrace the new opportunities and be inspired to re-conceptualise ourselves as filmmakers!

Reiss’ workshop dates:
Sydney: Sat 24 – Sun 25 July AFTRS Melbourne : Monday 26 – Tuesday 27 July AFTRS
Lyn Norfor
Lyn Norfor is a producer with factual and drama television projects in development.

10 Solutions to Ted Hopes 38 More Ways The Film Industry Is Failing Today

Posted on by Jon Reiss

On Truly Free Film today Ted Hope writes about 38 More Ways The Film Industry Is Failing Today.

My response is to propose 10 Solutions that Filmmakers Can engage in to work against these failings:

1. Consider marketing and distribution of your films as part of the entire filmmaking process. If you do this it will be easier and more organic.

2. Hire a distribution and marketing crew – just as you would a production crew. Hire a Producer of Marketing and Distribution or PMD to run this crew. As a producer/line producer run production crew.

3. If you are interested in film, business, marketing, social media – train to become a PMD so that you can be hired by filmmakers. This is a growth field – if you want a new career.

4. Budget for and raise money for distribution and marketing at the initial raise. That way you can promise your investors a release of the film. This way there will be some assured path to monetization and all share the risk in the costs of that monetization.

5. Put the money for marketing and distribution in escrow – you know what I mean.

6. Consider the audience for your film, the specific audinece(s) that exist for your film. Reach out to them as early as possible. They will help you.

7. Think of how and what that audience consumes. Make products that they want related to your film. Eg Shepard Fairey designed posters printed on linen paper signed by the director of the film Bomb It – 🙂

8. Think of interesting Live Events that you can create that appeal to your audience and are relevent to your film. Steinway brought pianos and pianists to the screenings of Ben Nile’s “Note by Note”

9. Think of interesting ways to reach out to audiences that might engage with the content of your film, but don’t want to watch a feature film (yes transmedia). Check out “The Way We Get By” and their Returning Home community site. Check out Bomb It’s Babelgum webisode site.

10. Remember that you are creating a film or media project for an audience. Creation is one part of the whole, connecting with the audience is the other part to that whole.

Jon

Jon Reiss Interview with Nat Mundel

Posted on by Emy

This was published on voyagemedia.com today.

Author Jon Reiss on the Death of the Film Festival AND HIS BEST KEPT SECRETS THAT COULD MAKE YOUR NEXT INDIE FILM A SUCCESS!!

In his interview with Nat Mundel, independent filmmaker, author, and educator Jon Reiss unabashedly confirms one thing: the film festival acquisition model is dead or dying.

But Reiss hasn’t sat idly, waiting for his films to get picked up. Instead, he throws up his middle finger to would-be buyers. Taking matters into his own hands, Reiss has booked his own theater screenings for his film Bomb It across 27 cities, and has even sold bootleg DVDs of his film along the way (yes, he bootlegged his own film; in so many words, badass.)

Since 2007, Reiss has become one of the go-to experts on Do It Yourself (DIY) film distribution, publishing the DIY Bible Think Outside the Box Office in November of ’09. We got Reiss to open up about his book, his DIY workshops, and his predictions about the future of independent film.

Watch and listen for 4 major tips to get your next indie film project an audience before you even lens up.

TOTBO Tip of the Day 10 Blog

Posted on by Emy

Blogging helps in two ways: First, it drives traffic to your site as you link to new and interesting stories that are related to the subject of your film (For Bomb It, we post news about graffiti around the world.) And second, your blogging activity will help your site’s SEO (search engine optimization). This will result in higher search rankings for your film in relevant categories. What to blog about? Of course you should blog about your film, your filmmaking experiences and your screenings, but you should also consider blogging about subjects that relate to your film and your film’s audience. This will make your project relevant to them on a broader level and keep them coming back to your site. One simple way to come up with information to blog about is to use Google Alerts. We received a weekly Google Alert about “graffiti” and “street art” and select a few top articles to blog about.

My live workshops are coming to London on May 8th-9th and Amsterdam on May 12th-13th. Hope to see you there!

I want to know what you think! Comment here or on my blog, or @Jon_Reiss on twitter, or on the TOTBO Facebook page. Check out the book Think Outside the Box Office. I look forward to hearing from you.

Interview With Cassidy At SXSW

Posted on by Emy

This was published today on Living Proof Magazine.

SXSW INTERVIEW | FILMMAKER JON REISS
By CASSIDY

Jon Reiss has spent the last 30 years making badass documentary films about punk rock, the rave scene, and graffiti. You have almost certainly seen his film Bomb It, a feature length documentary about global graffiti culture. The film has basically become the seminal graffiti film of our generation.

Usually when a filmmaker has that kind of O.G. status you can expect an old-school hollywood mentality, and a shitty attitude. Jon has neither of those. He is chill and down to earth. And when it comes to filmmaking, Jon is on the cutting edge. His book, Think Outside The Box Office, is a bible for D.I.Y. film distribution and marketing. Jon became somewhat of a guru of this (surprisingly) new field after he self-distributed Bomb It.

These days Jon is a tough cat to get a hold of. He splits his time between traveling to film festivals and conferences to educate filmmakers about how they can self-distribute their films, and filming for his new project: Bomb It 2. Keeping with Jon’s focus on the future of filmmaking, Bomb It 2 is a web-series that will be released through Babbelgum.com.

The End of the World Entertainment crew tracked Jon down in a freight yard in Austin, TX where he was filming a piece for Bomb It 2. Jon spoke on his career, the future of filmmaking, and why making movies is still fun. The interview is embedded, and the trailer for Bomb It is below. You can follow Jon’s adventures on his site and on twitter.

Note: check out Jon’s gear setup. Yes, one of the most important graffiti films of all time was made with about $3,000 worth of equipment. Dope.

Jon Reiss on Huffington Post A Christmas (and Hanukah) List to Help Save Independent Film

Here is my piece for the Huffington Post that ran on December 17, 2009 Click Here for the Original List with Links

A Christmas (and Hanukah) List to Help Save Independent Film

By Jon Reiss

Much has been written about the current crises in independent film. Studios run by corporations increasingly view their specialty divisions as a hobby, and have been eliminating them one by one. DVD sales are down. The internet is struggling to monetize.

However, it is an exciting time because it is more possible than ever now for audiences to connect directly with independent filmmakers and help support them with the films that they have made, and are making. This list is to introduce 10 gifts that you can give for Christmas (and the last two days of Hanukah) to help support independent film.

1. Buy a DVD directly from a filmmaker’s website. I know it is easier, and cheaper to buy a film from Amazon. But a filmmaker will get more than twice the amount of money from a direct sale, at least 80% of the sale as opposed to approximately as low as 30% of the sale if on Amazon. In addition the filmmaker will get your email address so they can tell you about future projects – the first step in creating a closer bond between filmmaker and audience (you can always opt out). Finally – you can buy additional gifts from savvy filmmakers as well as exclusive packages. Check out the film Ink who are a great example of this. For a catalogue of filmmaker websites go to Neoflix

2. Buy a DVD that is not widely available yet. Many filmmakers have begun to sell their DVDs while on the festival circuit. They are not waiting for a distributor, who may not come. These DVDs are usually only available from a filmmaker’s website or at screenings. Children of Invention will even explain why they are selling their film on the festival circuit.

3. Support a film that is still in production. Many films are now “crowdfunding” e.g. using the Internet to raise money via donations. The filmmakers will give you gifts (from advance copies of the DVD to a producer credit to an actual role in the film!) Check out Indiegogo’s site and Xmas list to see what is available. I feel that crowdfunding is one of the most incredible ways to connect directly with filmmakers and create a lasting relationship with them. Check out Can Bush Be Prosecuted I love the personal appeal for the comedy Love and Taxes.

4. Go See Movies Part 1: Alternative Venues
Of course seeing films supports independent film. But how do you gift it? An AMC card doesn’t help independent film. There is a new wave of alternative screening venues sweeping the country in its infant stages. They need your support. Buy some tickets for a friend at one of these venues and in your card tell them why you did it (heck print out this post and include it to save you time). Brave New Theaters is a guide to films (usually social action oriented) and alternative venues (some are people’s living rooms, many are not). Range Life is a group of 4 films touring the country. You can donate to the Rooftop Films project which needs support for their 2010 summer season.

5. Go See Movies Part 2: Traditional Art Houses
Most cities will have some kind of art house nearly all will have a Film Club or Support link. Go to the Art House Project for a list. You need to scroll down to the “Community Based, Mission Driven Art House Theaters.” Click on a theater in your city, click on the Film Club, or Support link, or Ticket Package link, purchase, print the receipt, put in envelope.

6. Go See Movies Part 3: Give a Hosting Package This is for the true film lover or activist. Many films such as Robert Bahar’s Made in LA will sell you screening packages for as low as $100. In this way you (or your friend who you are gifting) invites friends over to their house/home theater to view the film (preserving the social nature of film) and you can sell the extra DVDs to your guests or give them away. (The gift that keeps on giving.) If you or your friend really like this experience – you can list yourselves on Brave New Theaters and become your own screening venue for independent film.

7. Go See Movies Part 4: Support Indie Films on Video On Demand An emerging distribution outlet for many indies is day and date VOD, in which the film is available in a few theaters across the US and simultaneously available on VOD. Unfortunately many VOD menus favor studio films and make it difficult to find independents. However if you look, you can find them, check out IFC, Film Buff and other new independently oriented VOD channels. When you find a new film, invite your friends over and watch it together one night this holiday season. By initiating yourself and your friends into the VOD experience, hopefully you will continue to use it as a way to watch independent movies which will in turn support them.

8. Buy A Digital Download or DVD from a Site that Supports Independent Film At Indieflix you can not only buy DVDs from a huge catalogue, but you can stream them as well. iTunes has been great for independent film, providing access to broad markets, etc. But whereas your iTunes card might be used to download Transformers, if you gift Indieflix not only are you solely supporting independent films, but the filmmakers get a much larger share of the pie, 70%. B-Side is another new innovative company that focuses on community screenings and DVDs. For LGBT content go to Wolfevideo.

9. Buy a Roku Box While not directly supporting independent film (you are buying a product from a corporation to view products distributed by corporations), a Roku box will enable you to watch your Amazon VOD and Netflix choices on your television. Amazon is still the largest catalogue of media and lists many independent films. By giving a Roku box you make it easier for them, hence helping independent filmmakers.

10. Give Your Filmmaker Friends A Book If you know an independent filmmaker, (or if you know someone who is interested in the changing film distribution landscape) and they don’t know how to engage their audience or sell their films, give them one of two books (or both) that will tell them how. Scott Kirsner’s Fans Friends and Followers or my book Think Outside the Box Office which comes with bonus gifts from free tickets to screening venues to free chapter updates when you buy it from my website (currently the only place it is available).

11. Buy Other Merchandise from Filmmakers Perhaps you’ve already seen a film, or don’t want to collect a bunch of DVDs. You can still buy products that support independent filmmakers. For Bomb It we created a variety of t-shirts, posters, stickers, hats, hoodies. Check out the RoosterTeeth store as well. Would love to hear what other filmmakers are doing as well.

12. Pay for a Pirated Film The next wave of monetization for filmmakers is to monetize piracy. Ink had 5,000,000 views but it didn’t translate into paying back their film much. James King created VODO to address this issue in a systematic way. If you can’t beat them join em. Give a gift to Vodo to support their efforts. Or tip a film, print the receipt and give it to a friend – with the suggestion that they watch the film on torrent. I hope that this starts to shift the mindset that all content should be free. For if no one pays for content, how will we as creators have the resources to continue creating?

The Value: While one of these gifts will not buy a goat for a poor farmer in Chile (those kinds of gifts are great too), they will help preserve the independence of vision and independent voices that shine a light not only on important issues of the day, but entertain us in new and innovative ways. If independent film dies, so will these independent voices in our media landscape (god forbid we are left with FOX). In addition, by giving the gift of independent film you show others how they can support filmmakers as well.

Let me know what you think by commenting here or on Twitter.

Jon Reiss at IFC this Tuesday, November 17th!

Posted on by Mark

Just out from an amazing weekend at DOX:FORUM in Cophenhagen, I’ll be in New York this week at the IFC Center speaking about my new book Think Outside the Box Office (released on the 16th!).  Come check it out!  Call (212) 924-7771 for tickets!

Thinking Outside the Box Office

In a presentation full of practical advice and hard information, filmmaker Jon Reiss (Bomb It), the author of the recently released “Think Outside the Box (Office): The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era” will teach how to create unique distribution and marketing plans for independent films, explaining both do-it-yourself and hybrid approaches. He will outline what filmmakers need to do to prepare for distribution while making their films. Finally he will lay out ways in which filmmakers can take back and redefine the theatrical release by playing a combination of conventional theaters, community screenings and festivals.

Indieflix Comments on My Blog

Posted on by Mark

In today’s changing Indie distribution markets, we must engage with strong marketing strategies from a project’s inception.  Find your audience.  Get to know them.  Understand their needs and how they will gain access to your art!

Check out this great article from IndieFlix!

Finding What Works in Film Marketing & Distribution

Submitted by lauren on Thursday, 15 October 2009

Filmmaker Jon Reiss has spent a lot of time working the indie film market and has accepted, if not embraced, the marriage of filmmaking and marketing. He has written a much-anticipated book on the subject, called “Think Outside The Box (Office): The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era,” which chronicles the lessons he learned while promoting his film “Bomb It,” a documentary about graffiti on five continents. The book is, he describes, a “360 page nuts and bolts guide to distribution and marketing for filmmakers,” which basically goes over all the things filmmakers have to think about when all the hard work of creating their art is over.

He deals with these subjects at length on his blog. His latest post answers a lot of questions about the state of distribution and marketing indie films and the steps filmmakers must take Continue reading →

Jon Reiss joins BAFTA panel at this year’s AFM Conference

Posted on by Mark

I’ll be sitting on the BAFTA panel at AFM discussing changes in Indie Distribution on Sunday, November 8th from 11:00am – 12:30pm.   Come on out to hear the most cutting-edge discussion of indie distribution and marketing!

Sunday November 8th

11:00am-12:30pm

No Direction Home – Changing Indie Distribution Strategies
Programmed by: British Academy of Film & Television Arts, Los Angeles
BAFTA
These are confusing times for indie filmmakers. Just as revolutionary production choices are opening up, traditional distribution models are collapsing. How cost-effective is U.S. theatrical release? Does it still impact foreign sales? What kind of income streams can be generated from such new sources as on-demand, internet download, and direct website DVD sales? Our panel of experts may not have all the answers, but will attempt to provide producers with a compass to navigate the rocky shoals of a challenging and still-evolving marketplace.

Location: Le Merigot Hotel (1740 Ocean Avenue)
Cost: $40 per person

Moderator:
John Alan Simon, Writer-Director, Radio Free Albemuth; Producer, The Getaway; Former Staff Writer, New Orleans Times Picayune; Member, BAFTA/LA Education and Outreach Committee

Panelists:
Chris Hyams, Founder and CEO, B-Side Entertainment
Ted Mundorff, CEO, Landmark Theatres
Jon Reiss, Director/Producer, Bomb It; Author, Think Outside the Box (Office) – The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era
David Shultz, Founder and President, Vitagraph Films
Leslie Urdang, President, Olympus Pictures; Producer, Adam, Rabbit Hole
2:00pm – 3:30pm
THE ENTIRE CONFERENCE SCHEDULE IS BELOW:
Continue reading →