Tag: “los angeles film festival”

Tip of the Week: How to Cope With Symposium Brain Fry

I heard a number of comments after this weekend’s LAFF Seize the Power Symposium that people where overwhelmed – that their brain’s had been fried by so many ideas and so much information. To me that’s a sign that we succeeded. When Film Independent and the Los Angeles Film Festival asked me to help them devise the Symposium (and accompanying Distribution Boot Camp for competition filmmakers) we were in immediate agreement that the event would focus on: 1. Nuts and bolts practical information for filmmakers. 2. Forward thinking thought leaders indicating what the future might be. 3. Practical case studies of filmmakers who were using the new tools of distribution and marketing. We wanted to avoid people sitting on a panel rehashing how we got here. I also get the same brain-fry feedback when I give my weekend workshops – and I’m delighted. This is what I suggest to people:

1. Focus on the Inspiration and Creative Potential One of the best uber-takeaways is how a symposium or workshop can inspire filmmakers to new creative opportunities. Allow these ideas to run through you and don’t get caught up with any of the specifics just yet – you can delve into those when the time comes for you to act.

2. Identify on What Resonates With You. Many ideas and concepts are presented – but no two filmmakers are alike and no two films are alike. Take a moment to check in with your gut and see what resonates most with you, what makes sense for your current project, what makes sense for your artistic trajectory.

3. One Step at a Time. Don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. Do one thing first. See how it feels – works for you. The world of distribution and marketing can seem overwhelming – they each comprise an entire division at every studio. You are one person – reread item 1.

4. Connect and Collaborate. Further the connection with the people that you meet at these events. Create study groups and film cooperatives. Film distribution and marketing does take a village. I was really excited to hear that some of the attendees of my Vancouver workshop formed a PMD discussion group to process the information and more importantly to work with each other in order to act on it. I still feel that cooperatives among filmmakers is one of the ways to handle all the new work and potential.

5. Revisit the information. You can be sure that any of the speakers have written about the ideas that they have presented. The day after the symposium Henry Jenkins posted the basics of his talk on his blog. Subscribe to Peter Broderick’s newsletter. Check out The Film Collaborative’s site. Read Truly Free Film. Keep up with Film Independent’s ongoing educational program. Heck – even check out my blog or my book Think Outside the Box Office – I wrote it so that all filmmakers could have a companion to this process. And of course – if you are inclined, follow all of the above on Twitter – and then engage.

10 Insights to the Indie Film World (as shared at this year’s LA Film Fest)

Posted on by Jon Reiss

Ok, so I already spoke about James D. Stern’s talk a few days ago, but wanted to share the broader message as so eloquently reported by Indie Wire last week. Great, great stuff.

The World As We Know It Is Over? 10 Insights on the Movie Biz
by Andy Lauer (June 23, 2009)

“The way we operate is being dissected and reassembled in front of our eyes,” noted Endgame’s James D. Stern in a keynote speech at the Los Angeles Film Festival over the weekend (which was published in its entirety by indieWIRE). Later that day, a panel of key industry players gathered at the fest’s Film Financing Conference to, as moderator and industry blogger Anne Thompson put it, “parse the desperate stage of the indie economy” right now. The panel, titled “The World As We Know It: Is It Over?,” included “Che” producer Laura Bickford, Christian Gaines of Withoutabox, Ted Mundorff from Landmark Theatres, “Notorious” producer Bob Teitel, and Beastie Boy Adam Yauch from Oscilloscope Laboratories.

The discussion touched on how to profit from Internet and VOD distribution plans, the increasingly uncertain fate of traditional media, the financial limitations of producing independent film in the current economic climate, and the recent formation of DF Indie Studios. Though realistic about the challenges facing the industry, all the panel members offered valuable insights on how to make the financing, marketing and distribution of independent films come together during tough times.

Here are 10 insights shared this weekend in Los Angeles:

1. Christian Gaines on the changing role of film festivals.

Insight: Festivals may be returning to their roots as a showcase for filmmaker’s work and become less of a platform for corporate sponsors and the industry to promote themselves. Continue reading →