Tag: Graffiti

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!

The BOMB IT 2 DVD is here!

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This week marks the official release of the BOMB IT 2 DVD. To purchase, visit our BOMB IT 2 website. Don’t forget to check out this exclusive webisode with BOMB IT 2 artist Darbotz, where he explains his artistic process and the story behind the Squid Monster character featured in his work. Thank you for all of your support!

 

This Is Not a Game: An Interview With Lady Pink

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By Nijla Mu’min

 

 

***In celebration of our upcoming release of BOMB IT 2, we’re featuring this exclusive interview with BOMB IT artist Lady Pink. The interview was conducted by our social media manager and emerging writer/filmmaker, Nijla Mu’min. ***

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Graffiti/ Fine Artist Lady Pink knows her stuff. With a career spanning over 30 years, hundreds of canvasses, and walls, her knowledge of the art form is expansive, but also grounded in its tough realities. I caught up with the New York -based artist over Skype where she candidly discussed the first women of graffiti, the dangers of public work, and the current threat of the Vandal Squad (the Graffiti Police) on her life.

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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!

10 Ways in Which I Would Release Bomb It Today

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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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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!

Jon

Bomb It 2 Graffiti in the West Bank

No guest post today – instead I wanted to write about the Bomb It 2 episodes that we uploaded to Babelgum this week.

The attitudes and motivations of graffiti and street artists in the Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank is quite different than those of most writer’s I have spoken to around the world. Their work is much more politicized – it centers around the struggle that they face every day. I had the pleasure of meeting and filmming four current and former graffiti artists and street artists in the Muhnned Alazzh, Ayed Arafah, Aysar Daward and Khaled Ajainia. The results of those interviews now comprise three Bomb It 2 Webisodes on our Babelgum channel. Let me know what you think!

The key difference of West Bank writers was the subject matter that they wrote about – how they used graffiti as a means of expression. Traditionally in the camps, graffiti has been a method of communication between the Palestinian leaders and the people. Also as a means of communication between people in the camps.

From those early uses a number of artists moved into more creative uses of graffiti and street art. Muhnned and Aysar both are heavily influenced by slain Palestinian caricaturist Naji Alali – painting his work throughout the camps.

The original work painted for my by Ayed Arafah deals with the tragedy that he is so close to the sea, but because of his status, he has never been allowed to see the sea.

One of the most interesting discussions was how the artists felt about painting on the “Apartheid Wall” the gigantic separation between Israel and the West Bank. The dominant position was that by beautifying the wall with art – you make it acceptable, that instead of talking about how horrible it is, you devolve into discussions about the art. They want to retain the brutal nature of the wall, and not beautify it with art. An interesting counterpoint by Khaled Ajainia was that while life in the camps is brutal, it is important to embrace art and celebrate life.

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

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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.