Tag: hybrid cinema

How I Made a Feature Film Right Out of Film School (Guest Post)

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Writer/Director Jaymes Camery on set.

I’m Jaymes Camery and I just wrapped production on my first feature film, Guys and Girls Can’t Be Friends. I graduated from California Institute of the Arts with an MFA in Film Directing in May 2013. I grew up in Virginia and have always had a special affinity for stories that take place in the South. My filming partner and long-time friend, Ben Solenberger, and I have been working on this project off and on for 5 years. We’d done about 5 or 6 test shoots, tons of re-writes, and gotten feedback from all over. Our goals for this film include making a good movie and also helping start our own careers. Our website is facebook.com/guysandgirlscantbefriends

Outside of production, we wanted to start our social media outreach early. I’d talked with Jon Reiss before I’d graduated about fundraising and getting the community involved as much as I could. Guys and Girls Can’t Be Friends is about falling in love for the first time but from the male’s point of view. It’s backbone evolved from Virginia’s state slogan of, “Virginia is for Lovers.” Although a partnership hasn’t materialized between the film and Virginia Tourism, I was able to get some help from the Virginia Film Office with a small grant as well as some production resources. In addition to showcasing the area and it’s culture, we also wanted to get local people involved as much as we could.

One of the first things I did when I came back to Winchester, VA was to reach out to the local media. I contacted the local ABC station, newspaper, and a hip, online Winchester magazine. It took some time but I finally started to get some press going before production (Even though we were pushed back to page C6 and a dog that was left in a car was on the front page).

My goal was to get a quick, widespread word out around the time I was trying to get locations, because the film is littered with unique and specific locations. We figured it’d be easier to approach local businesses if they were aware of what was going on. It turned out I underestimated the small town relationships we already had, and through Ben’s family we were able secure all the locations we wanted. Word started to get out about us and we had businesses email us and invite us in. They got free advertising and we got a great location.

set2

We knew that raising money would be very difficult. We came up with investor/donator packets which had info on the film and who was involved. We emailed and handed them out to people we knew would be able to help. Slowly everything started to come together, we started to increase our budget as well, and we had our funding, or at least what we needed for production, a month before. Most of our money came from family and friends. We considered going to businesses and offering to shoot promos/commercials, as well as going to the casino and putting everything on red in roulette, but we never made it that far.

Then, two weeks before we started shooting, we reached out to an actor we had wanted from the beginning and decided to use our contingency money on him. It was risky and dangerous but we figured we’d rather have an actor that we admired than to have the emergency money. We felt we couldn’t pass on the opportunity.

I was opposed to doing an Indiegogo campaign before production because of the amount of work and I didn’t want it to take away from the film itself. Ben was adamant it wouldn’t become a distraction. From keeping an eye on Jon’s ongoing crowd-funding campaign and what I learned in his class Reel World Survival Skills at CalArts, I preferred to do a campaign for finishing funds.

That changed when we scared ourselves into doing it before production when the thought that we might not be able to raise the money we needed, sank in. Ben said he would run it and we came up with some creative rewards: a night of dining and drinking with Ben and I, a “bootleg” copy of the film, a.k.a. an early cut, and a beer on set. I guess beer and hobo rewards really. We did a few video updates, they were a little wacky and obscure, but we wanted to stand out. In the end we never pushed enough and I wonder if people got confused by the tone of the campaign. The money we raised was still extremely helpful and I’m thankful for the people that helped.

Having two recognizable names in our film and its production value were a big deal to us so we put all our money into our actors and camera/sound. We found a group of fellas out of Frederick, MD who came as a package deal with their own equipment and crew. It saved us tons. Renting equipment and crewing up out of Washington D.C. was the last thing we wanted to do. We were able to cut costs by avoiding location fees, lodging, and a catering company. Almost all of our locations were more than willing to help free of charge. The support was amazing. Everyone welcomed us into their business and we saw true southern hospitality.

set3

We avoided hotel costs by putting everyone up in Ben’s Dad’s house. He had an open basement and bedrooms that we made very suitable for cast and crew. It was on a large chunk of land surrounded by apple orchards, so it was perfect. We were able to avoid a catering company when Ben’s Mom and sister volunteered to make all of our meals for set. We saved a huge amount this way and the food was delicious! These are a few of the perks we had by shooting in our hometown. Our friends and family came through big time for us and made it all possible.

By the time we were filming, everyone in town knew what we were doing. In pre-production we posted video updates for our followers and content similar to our story (articles on dating and love, etc.). During production we kept our Facebook updated. We’d post when we were at certain locations and we added set photos as we went. That’s one place that really connected with the community because people would say, “Hey, I know that place!” We’d get shares from that, which put more eyeballs on our page. One thing that got the biggest amount of hits was a video recapping Day 3 of production with actor Clint Howard (https://vimeo.com/73791299). We got 22 shares on it and probably 75 page likes.

We also had an Instagram that our script supervisor ran but it never really picked up a lot of followers. I guess #guysandgirlscantbefriends was having trouble catching on. Still, I want to keep getting content out there. I’m not worried about spoiling scenes or that plot, I just want to give people a taste of what’s to come. We could be a year plus from getting this film done and I worry about that wait time and what happens to that buzz we started in Winchester, VA. Yes, it’s a small audience, but we haven’t met one person there who hasn’t said, “I can’t wait to see the movie.” We’re hoping by the time the film is done we can have 1,500 likes.

Our plan is to submit to festivals for our first line of screenings. Winchester will be one of the first places we screen after that. We’re planning on doing a screening at the local drive-in movie theater as well as some out-door screenings. Jon turned me onto the Southern Circuit, which is something that I’d love the film to make it’s rounds on. Since the film is a modern romance film, we thought of doing screenings based around date nights. As Jon says, make it an event. Either a date night or a guys vs. girls screening night. Also, my friend Michelle Kim designed a logo for us (in about 7 different color schemes), that we’ve used on Facebook, T-shirts, and business cards. The logo’s great and I think it will be useful when we start to think of different pieces of merchandise we can come up with.

Logo

The production seems like a blur. We shot for 15 straight days, took 3 off, and then finished with 2 days. It wasn’t the most ideal conditions but we got it done. One of our sayings between myself and the DP was: “Get to day (so and so) with quality.” Even with the fatigue, I wanted to make sure we never settled or sacrificed anything, and we didn’t. We stretched every dollar as far as we could. And really, every dollar.

As I edit, the only thing that matters to me is that it turns into a good movie. One of my main concerns was the amount of time that social outreach could take from prep time for filming itself. Now’s the time where I need to start targeting specific groups of my audience and really introduce my core audience to the film. While editing I’ll start to get a better sense of what type of screening/distribution strategy I need to take and what some realistic goals are. But boy, it’s been a hell of a ride so far.

 

SFM documentary funded by House Parties & Kickstarter

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Today we are hosting a guest blog post written by the team behind the documentary STREET FIGHTING MAN. The documentary (twitter, FB) is due out in Spring 2013, and the production and post-production have been funded almost entirely through two Kickstarter campaigns, which raised over $30,000. Additionally, the Street Fighting Man team threw a series of old school house parties, hosted by some of their biggest Kickstarter cheerleaders, in cities across the United States to supplement their campaigns. The combination effect of the Kickstarter campaigns and the house parties is noteworthy. Not only did they raise the needed money to help complete production on the documentary, but they also managed to create an audience for STREET FIGHTING MAN months before its release in the process. The following interview features insights into their success from director/producer/cinematographer Andrew James and producers Sara Archambault and Katie Tibaldi.

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The Importance of Events in Your Career Toolkit

Posted on by Jon Reiss

This week’s TOTBO video concerns the importance of redefining the nature of theatrical. In this clip I speak about how creating a “live event” for your film can be an essential aspect of your film’s release. As I’ve said before I feel that theatrical must be redefined as live event/theatrical. Eventually I feel the term theatrical will be dropped and people will only refer to events. I emphasize live and event because I feel that those are truly the essential nature of screening your film in public – that it is a unique communal experience unavailable anywhere else. That is what is going to motivate people to see the film live – not just the fact that it is in a theater playing Fri-Thur.

Events have a multitude of benefits – they let you engage directly with your audience, they provide a way to organize publicity, they enable you to put your work out in the form it was intended (for me the form initially was a book – the workshops are now an adjunct to that – but all part of the same concept) and they are an additional revenue stream.

I feel that all artists can benefit from creating events for their work – musicians have concerts, artists have gallery openings, authors have readings and book signings etc. But there are new and exciting forms emerging such as last years theater/dance/immersive hybrid “Sleep No More”.

I’m releasing this particular clip as I prepare to go out on my own live event tour this month – hitting New York, Sheffield, Nottingham, London and Berlin (if you are in any of those cities in June – check out the dates below and I hope to see you there).

June 11-13 I’ll be one of the lab leaders again for IFP’s Narrative Filmmaking Lab in New York City.

June 14-17 The Sheffield Documentary Festival in the United Kingdom to speak about Artistic Entrepreneurship for Documentary Filmmakers.

June 20-21 Nottingham, England TOTBO 2 Day Master Class as part of Second Light Producer’s Lab in association with the Producers’ Forum.

June 23-24 A Two Day Distribution Master Class hosted at Regent’s College London which is again being organized by Chris Jones who organized my first ever workshop 2 years ago.

June 25-28 After London, I fly to Berlin, Germany to speak on Strategic Distribution at the Trans Atlantic Partners Conference.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance

Hybrid Cinema is pleased to announce the world premiere of the feature length documentary Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance at Dance On Camera Festival’s opening night in New York City on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 8:30pm. A repeat presentation will occur at Dance On Camera on the following day, Saturday, January 28th at 1:30pm. Both Dance On Camera screenings of Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance will be held at Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center. A stellar line-up of dance world panelists will be featured in Q&A sessions at both New York City screenings of the film.

Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance, the first film to chronicle how the legendary Joffrey Ballet revolutionized American ballet by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet, will also simultaneously premiere in theaters around the country via simulcast through Emerging Pictures on Saturday, January 28th. An accompanying art exhibit, featuring bold photos and posters by Herbert Migdoll (painter and official photographer for The Joffrey Ballet) will also be displayed during the month of January at the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery at Walter Reade Theater.

Dance On Camera’s opening night celebration will launch with the world premiere of Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance and include attendance by the director, Bob Hercules, and several members of the cast. The film, and associated Q&A session for the Saturday, January 28th matinee screening at 1:30pm, will simultaneously premiere for dance enthusiasts in participating theaters across the country via the Emerging Pictures network of theaters. A pioneering project, this marks the first time a film has simulcast its world premiere out of a major festival. Audiences at premiere screenings across the country will be able to participate in the New York City Q&A session on Saturday through a live Twitter feed. Walter Reade Theater and the Freida and Roy Furman Gallery are located at 165 West 65th Street, Lincoln Center, New York, NY 10023. Tickets for the screenings go on sale Thursday, January 5, 2012 at the Walter Reade Theater’s box office and online at FilmLinc.com. Continue reading →

Five Question Q+A with Jon Reiss for NAMAC

I recently did a short Q+A for Rachel Allen with the National Alliance for Media Art + Culture (NAMAC). NAMAC is an invaluable resource of independent film, video and multimedia organizations, and I recommend everyone checks them out.

Five Question Q+A with Jon Reiss by Rachel Allen

Meet Jon Reiss. Jon is a filmmaker (Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry), author (Think Outside the Box Office) and consultant whose most recent book is Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul which he co-wrote with The Film Collaborative and Sheri Candler. He works with numerous film organizations, film schools and festivals to bring a variety of distribution labs and workshops around the world. His upcoming books concern new models of artistic entrepreneurship and the concept Producer of Marketing and Distribution.

RA: What drew you to your work?

JR: I made a film called Bomb It, which is about graffiti all over the world. We frankly thought that we were going to sell the film in a traditional fashion and we didn’t. There’s a long story behind that. Basically, I ended up distributing the film mainly myself, but I had other distribution partners. I started writing about it and people liked the writing that I did. I realized that I enjoyed talking to filmmakers about this process and I decided to write a book about it. I enjoyed talking to people about new ideas and how filmmaking has changed in terms of engaging with audiences. Continue reading →

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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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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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.

Review of Think Oustide the Box Office by Content NOW

Content NOW

Here’s the pull quote: “Written in a light conversational tone and beautifully organized over 354 pages, Jon, a noted filmmaker (Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry) and CalArts teacher, passionate about connecting filmmakers to their audiences, arms filmmakers with the arsenal needed for a killer DIY direct to fan film marketing campaign. This book drills down to specifics that allows the reader to form an actionable strategy, and is destined to become required reading for all filmmakers.”

#AFM Thinking Outside The Box Office 06Nov09

We are now midway through AFM, and things are looking up from last year. Buyers are buying, but very specific in their wants. I had a chance to catch up with John Foster, CEO, of Odyssey Pictures who recently acquired 31 hours of animated children’s content from DPM, a French-based specialty distributor of entertainment and how-to programming. Having scored this superb catalogue of cartoon classics (Superman, Casper, Bugs Bunny) at Cannes, John is shopping AFM before heading on to other markets like NATPE in January. ”We are looking to acquire content libraries for the children’s market as well as for specialty markets like health, finance and education. We are in talks with ION for television distribution, Limelight to power distribution online, and working with Spelling Communications to secure US sponsors. Odyssey already has several European sponsors signed up. Backed by a $10mm acquisition fund, Odyssey is on a tear analyzing mobile marketing opportunities as well as those with connected devices. ”Odyssey soon will be launching 1-3 hours sponsored programming via satellite and on the web. We’re starting with established content but plan to showcase outstanding original programming in time.” Interested sellers can contact John at info@odysseypix.com.

For the weekend, AFI Fest has moved to the Laemmle at 1332 2nd close to the Loews. Rush Lines are still getting into screening for free so stop by. And the price of admission to AFM drops significantly as the market opens up to half-market badgers on Sunday.

There are also several excellent seminars still being offered: Sa 11/7 at USC is Distribution U with Peter Broderick, Steve Kirsner, Jon Reiss, Adam Chapnick.. and Su 11/8 at Le Merigot is Changing Indie Distribution Strategies. At both events, Jon Reiss will be signing his timely new book: Thinking Outside The Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution in the Digital Era. He sent me a copy to review earlier this week and I am still deeply immersed. Written in a light conversational tone and beautifully organized over 354 pages, Jon, a noted filmmaker (Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry) and CalArts teacher, passionate about connecting filmmakers to their audiences, arms filmmakers with the arsenal needed for a killer DIY direct to fan film marketing campaign. This book drills down to specifics that allows the reader to form an actionable strategy, and is destined to become required reading for all filmmakers. Some of his points are similar to what we’ve been covering:

- Budget as much for marketing and distribution as you do on production upfront, e.g. $100,000 production budget = $100,000 P&A budget (Jon provides detailed budgets with links to websites where assistants, publicists, bookers, sales reps/distribution consultants can be hired, and cost information to help filmmakers decide which path to take for theatrical release)

- Consider festival circuit as theatrical release, eventize screenings with cast and crew, reach out to traditional press as well as tastemaker/niche blogs for coverage, connect with fans, collect emails and zips, get venue/alcohol sponsors to throw after-parties, handout out stickers other pocketable schwag with website url, sell tees, merchandise, DVDs, CDs

The book also includes steps to create better engagement on WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube, and then in the next breath puts a call out to festival directors to see themselves as distributors, aggregators of quality indie content for traditional and new media. It seems so complete I’m still reading on hoping he addresses ways not to trip up Oscar qualification with day and date online screenings. An incredibly valuable resource. $5 off if you order through this link. Free if you’re a filmmaker who fills out the filmmaker survey (see page 17 of the book). The companion website is at www.ultimatefilmguides.com. Enjoy!

Jon Reiss at Vancouver International Film Festival Forum – Panel on Doc Distribution Strategies

I’m on a panel at the Vancouver International Film Festival Forum today talking about independent film distribution. I’ll be doing a book signing for Think Outside the Box Office right after. Look forward to seeing you then!!!

DOC TALK – Friday, October 2

1:00 – 2:15 PM
21st Century Doc Distribution Strategies (FTV20)

Let’s take stock of the current opportunities for documentary distribution. Panelists will discuss the trends in the market – positive and negative – for creative, non-fiction work: developing your doc for broadcast and Internet, targeting audiences, branded content, engaging corporate partners, on-line fundraising, new media platforms and possible new business models that can be ‘embedded’ in various types of media. Find out from these forward leaning filmmakers and distributors who are doing it for themselves and maintaining the digital rights. Film school doesn’t always teach you the ins-and-outs of the real business of new media and distribution. This panel will venture down this path.

Moderator:
Leah Mallen, Founder/President, Twofold Films

Guest Speakers:
Lindsay Nahmiache, Partner/Director of Entertainment & Lifestyle Division, Jive Communications
Jon Reiss, Director, Bomb It
Robin Smith, President, KINOSMITH