Monthly Archives: December 2008

Theatrical Mapping Project

Ted Hope has added a new “tools” section to the Truly Free Film site. I have suggested that he add the theatrical mapping project from the Workbook Project. This map was my first step in the theaters that I contacted for our theatrical release of Bomb It and as such was hugely instrumental in our release. We found other theaters that were not on the map and have since added them. The map was set up by the wonderful Lance Weiler – and it only expands if you contribute – so if you have a theater (or college campus) please add it – its very easy. I like Ted’s idea of potentially having another list or map of college campuses that screen independent film. We are working on booking Bomb It currently into colleges – so if you have any suggestions – send them along!

A Nice Way to Thank Your Crew and Supporters

In the spirit of the holidays I thought I would share a thank you that one of my students from Cal Arts, Michelle Manas, sent out after completing the principal photography of her thesis film. I thought it was a nice way to use You Tube and to create a more personal thank you than the standard email thanks I am always sending out!:

Web Marketing For Filmmakers

Here’s a great blog about the very very basics of marketing your webiste. I’m sure you know a lot of this – but a lot was news to me:

This was written by one of the co-founders of Neoflix. Neoflix themselves have set up a number of marketing tools for filmmakers – they are going to give me a tutorial in the coming weeks and I’ll be passing that information along.

And this DIY Flix sites seems pretty amazing at first glance as well.

But back to marketing. I think marketing does not come easy for most filmmakers. Even filmmakers who pitch well – when it comes to the nuts and bolts business aspects of DIY filmmaking – they blanch. Its quite different from being creative. Very different. Doesn’t feel right and doesn’t feel fun. I have an extra handicap of coming from the punk era where this kind of straight business had a certain smell. But its time to get over that – web marketing necessary if you are going to create an audience for yourself and survive as an “independent” filmmaker in these changing times. My mission for then next couple of months is to become immersed in all manners of web marketing for filmmakers – I’m going to use Bomb It as a case study and I’ll keep you posted.

Bomb It Xmas Specials – DVD & Other fun stuff!

We are running a number of Xmas specials we are running at the Bomb It Store.

Bomb It Xmas Package: DVD, Bomb It Tshirt, Poster, and 4 Stickers for $34.95 (Retail Value $53.85)

Buy 2 Get 1 Free – 3 Bomb It DVDs for $34.95. That’s $11.65 Each – Keep one and give the rest to friends – or give them all away!

Jon Reiss Doc Pak 1 Each of Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry and Survival Research Laboratories: 10 Years of Robotic Mayhem for the crazy low price of $29.95 – That’s less than $10 each.

Find all of these deals at our Bomb It Store.

Today is the last day for normal shipping – but you have until Dec 22nd for Expedited Shipping to reach your destination by Xmas.


Robert Bahar and Made in LA

At the recent FIND conference on the state of independent film, I had the pleasure to meet Robert Bahar who made the wonderful Emmy Winning documentary Made in L.A. We were discussing the problem of releasing a film on DVD prior to or simultaneously with an educational release. I have learned since the release of Bomb It that it is traditionally difficult to have an educational release after or concurrent with a DVD release. This is because educational institutions will eagerly buy your dvd from Amazon for 19.95 rather than pay the educational rate of $195. Robert told me about his ingeneous solution which was to put a notice at the beginning of the film – similar to the FBI warning – that the film was for home use only and not for educational or public performance. In the authoring they disabled the ability for people to pause for a few minutes after this message or fast forward through it. Eg any teacher would have to play this warning – indicating to students that it was being shown illegally. Pretty smart!

Robert is smart in another way in terms of his film. He has set up with his fulfillment company (the wonderful Neoflix) to provide various community screening packages for sale on his site for various size screenings. Check out his site to see how he has set this up. Make sure to check out his amazing “Event Planning Toolkit”.

Let me know what you think of what he is doing:

Reel World Survival Skills for Filmmakers

This post is a response to Ted Hopes post on the Truly Free Film Blog today: “I am committed to destroying the myth of the starving artist”

I developed and teach a class at Cal Arts that addresses Ted’s concerns about making a living as a filmmaker. It’s called “Reel World Survival Skills: Everything I Wish I Had been Taught in Film School”. I developed the class because I as the title suggests, I would have been greatly served at the beginning of my film career had I been taught some very practical skills while I was attending the UCLA film school -at that time in my case – pitching.

While teaching for the past 8 years at LMU and I Cal Arts I noticed that the curriculums were still not teaching skills to prepare students for making a film career once they left school. So I developed this class – in addition to pitching it covers literary rights optioning and development, basic film contracts, financing, LLCs and web fund raising, grants, getting a job out of film school, writing resume’s and cover letters (which most people are shockingly deficient in), music videos, commercials and webisodes and then of course the fun wide world of film distribution – making a career from the films you make. The distribution component includes an overview of old distribution models but then leaves those behind for the new hybrid approach to distribution including: new film festival strategies, DIY theatrical and non theatrical distribution, DVD distribution, digital rights, traditional and non traditional marketing, Web 2.0, and most importantly new strategies for developing audiences – for your film and the film community at large.

I am currently in the process of writing a book based on this class – which I hope will be out next year. I am also preparing a weeklong crash course to offer to film schools based on the class and weekend seminars to offer to non film school folks. For the class I have assembled a ton of documents, contracts and articles that I give out on CD Rom. I am actually going to start posting these to my website by the time my 2nd article comes out in the next issue of Filmmaker Magazine. You will be able to sign up and download these documents for yourself. If you have any interest in any of this drop me an email at You can also sign up for the mailing list on my website to be notified of when the documents will be loaded, when the book is coming out or any seminars.