Tag: Film

Artist, Filmmaker, & Renowned Disney Producer Don Hahn Comes to Cal Arts

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Hard to believe we are already halfway through the first month of 2017! So much has already happened this year. I just got back from Winnipeg where it was below -10 degrees. TALK ABOUT FREEZING. Luckily, I didn’t have to leave my hotel too much and I had a fantastic time at All Access 2017 hosted by On Screen Manitoba. I not only got to give a keynote address and take part in a fantastic panel discussion, but I also got to meet with some wonderful filmmakers. That is truly one of my favorite things. There is a lot going on in Winnipeg!

Look out for some informational blog posts coming up in the next few weeks where I will be talking about the importance of planning out the marketing of your films from inception and at various stages of the process which was the subject of my keynote.

In the meantime, I want to tell you about yesterday. As many of you know, outside of being a filmmaker and a marketing and distribution consultant, I have the pleasure of teaching some courses at Cal Arts. Yesterday, we had the fantastic Disney legend, Don Hahn, join us to give a presentation on unlocking one’s creative self. If you aren’t familiar with Don, he is best known for films like Beauty and the Beast and the Lion King. One of the things I truly like about Don is that he is also an avid fan of documentaries and has made some amazing ones himself. Those include Waking Sleeping Beauty, Earth, the incredible Tyrus (which he was the EP on) and many others.

I have to say that his presentation wasn’t only a learning experience for my students, but myself as well. (And I have to say this is always the case in our Guest Artist Workshop class).

Don touched on a lot of really interesting and important topics. He talked to the students about not letting fear hold them back, about the importance of creative collaboration, and about how many artists borrow and take from each other. But there was one message that really stood out to me and I think to my students as well.

That being, there is no such time in life when we are ready. He implored us to remember that it is a terrible thing to sit around and wait to be ready. Sometimes, you have to just get out and create. Don’t worry about the rest. Just get out and create.

What do you all think about that? How many times in life have we all let the fear of failure hold us back? How many times have we said, I’m not ready yet? Don’s message is one I think people from any industry can take heed from.

Thank you very much, Don, for coming and talking to the students at Cal Arts.

And of course, if you want to learn more about Don or check out his book Brain Storm: Unleashing Your Creative Self visit his site at http://www.donhahn.com/

Keep checking back regularly. I will be posting content from Sundance Film Festival coming up!

Launching New TOTBO Workshop Webclips

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I am kicking off a series of excerpts from my Think Outside the Box Office Master Classes today on my new YouTube Channel TheJonReiss. I am rebooting my YouTube channel because even though I had some decent views on YouTube.com/jfilm1 – it didn’t feel like that accurate or searchable. Since I am going to start releasing regular content not only from my workshops, but also interviews with filmmakers, artists and people on the cutting edge of audience engagement, I thought it was time to start fresh. On the channel you can also see excerpts from my film and music video work as well. I look forward to your thoughts on the clips as they roll out.

This week’s post concerns setting the goals for your release. I am a firm believer that it is essential for filmmakers to have a clear idea of what their goals are for their film’s release and to prioritize one or perhaps 2 specific goals because a film team will use different release strategies to achieve different goals. I see 4 main goals that most filmmakers strive for in their releases:

1. Money (Fortune)

2. A career launch, helping get another film made. (Fame – for a traditional career based on the previous film career paradigm that only exists for a small percentage of filmmakers these days).

3. Audience (some people just want their film to be seen by an audience as wide as possible.

4. Change the World – especially for documentary.

However I encourage most (if not all) filmmakers to consider a fifth goal:

5. A long-term relationship with a potentially sustainable audience/fan base. This is an essential component of any modern media release – yet most filmmakers still do not consider this a primary goal. This goal is different in objective than the old school fame based career launch (Number 2 above). It is not about press, “heat”, ego. Its about connection, engagement and a bringing your fans with you from project to project. This goal is not achievable if you sell your film outright in an all-rights scenario. In that case your distributor has access to your audience data – not you (although most don’t cultivate this data – yet).

Next week’s clip will talk about the importance of prioritizing your goals. In other words you are better off pursuing one goal. If you don’t, you are at the risk of not achieving any of your goals. Upcoming posts will concern identifying and engaging audience, creating events, merchandise, digital rights, timing as well as interviews with artists and filmmakers such as Timo Vuorensola, Molly Crabapple, Corey McAbee and many more.

I’m launching the channel today as part of my Spring Workshop Kickoff. Yesterday I gave a “Strategic Distribution Workshop 202” at Hot Docs Toronto. I will be helping lead the IFP Filmmaker Labs in NYC in May and June. I will also be giving a mini-workshop at Sheffield Doc Fest in June 15th and then in London on June 23, 24th for a newly revamped two day TOTBO Distribution Master Class.

I’ve also created some Hot Docs Specials on my store where you can get a PDF of TOTBO for $4.95 and a hard copy for $9.95.

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Indie Film Takes Lesson from Indie Music – Online Marketing at its Best

Posted on by Jon Reiss

When music downloading and the internet really hit, many thought it would be the collapse of the music industry. For similar-yet-different reasons, the indie film world finds itself in a similar position today, and in combination with our poor economy, we’ve all heard the horror stories surrounding the decline and potential collapse of indie film. My thoughts are that those who are trailblazing the way towards a new world of online and indie platforms might pull through, exactly as they did in the music industry, and apparently the LIJIT blog does as well. Read on for an example…

Indie movies taking a tip from indie music

June 25, 2009

When your industry is out of the mainstream, why would you market in a mainstream way?

On today’s sign-up report, I saw that a blog all about the making, and promoting, of an independent film was on there. The movie is called Not Forgotten and the blog is called Not Forgotten Movie. (Aptly named, I know.)

As a film major, I love independent films but know how hard it is for them to pick up widespread distribution. If they’re lucky, they’ll be shown in small theaters somewhere in L.A. or New York. If I’m lucky, I’ll have the chance to catch the film on Netflix. However, with the advent of social media, indie films can increase their chances of hitting it big by connecting with audiences before the film even arrives in theaters.

When a film is made by a major studio, millions of dollars can go into promoting it. But with small films like Not Forgotten, the only chance they have at being shown nationwide is if the audiences express an interest for it. With free tools like blogs, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, the producers of the movie can help spread the word at a much lower cost and prove that there is demand for the film to be shown. Continue reading →