Monthly Archives: February 2010

TOTBO Review by Library Journal’s Xpress Reviews

Posted on by Emy

Guess the guy didn’t appreciate the design style of the book – glad he liked the content!

Library Journal/Xpress Reviews

Reiss, Jon. Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era. Hybrid Cinema, dist. by SCB. Mar. 2010. 354p. ISBN 978-0-9825762-0-5. pap. $24.95.
Reiss, who has produced and directed films and music videos for nearly 30 years, shares his intricately considered strategy in this organizational guide to distributing, marketing, publicizing, selling, and merchandizing your film. In an attempt to establish a multidimensional networking experience, he has exhausted virtual supplements (e.g., web site, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, video, wiki) and cannot be accused of not practicing what he preaches in the promotion of his book about promoting. His underlying theme is cover all your bases and exploit them to their maximum potential. The much-mentioned “rethinking” and “redefining” of marketing or various processes are more explanations of methodology than opportunities for transcendence.

Verdict This is a successful conceptual tool and checklist, full of cases in point, interviews, tables, links, and sample documents, but multiple fonts and sizes, white characters on black backgrounds, bullet points, and different formats are used to the point of distraction, undermining the author’s passion and effective presentation of the information. Still, there is value here to filmmakers.—Ben Malczewski, Ypsilanti Dist. Lib., MI

Jon Reiss in SF Gate: What today’s indie filmmakers need to have

Posted on by Emy

From Hugh Hart



It’s a matter of brute math, the way documentary maker-turned author Jon Reiss sees it. Only a fraction of movies submitted to top film festivals are accepted, and of those, only a handful get picked up for distribution by major Hollywood studios. That means the majority of independent filmmakers are left hanging when it comes to getting their work in front of paying audiences. Reiss aims to address that quandary in his new book “Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era.”

“Filmmakers have to start thinking like entrepreneurs,” he says, “and not just say, ‘I’m this little filmmaker in my cubbyhole creating a work of art and someone else is going to take it and show it to people.’ That’s old school. It does not exist anymore. My book deals with the notion that making the film is half the process and finding an audience is the other half.”

Reiss, who made the graffiti documentary “Bomb It” in 2007, argues that artists need to become creative and circumvent conventional distribution and marketing models. Merchandise, for example, spreads awareness while producing revenue, Reiss says.

“Filmmakers can sell T-shirts and other products to their fans,” he says. “One of the people I talked to at Sundance made a movie with a lot of alcohol in it so he could merchandise shot glasses and pot paraphernalia branded with the name of his film.”

Filmmakers should also be open-minded about venues, Reiss says.

“A theatrical release does not have to be in a building with its own projection and sound systems. Churches, clubs, parking lots, even living rooms with big home entertainment displays – wherever audiences congregate and watch a film as a communal experience from beginning to end, in the dark – in my book, that’s a theatrical screening.”

I’m off to SE Asia to Teach and Shoot Bomb It 2

So some of you know that I’m about to leave for South East Asia. I was invited to teach at NYU/Tisch Singapore for a week. But when I mentioned this to the folks at Babelgum (and mentioned all the other traveling I was doing this year) they proposed I start shooting Bomb It 2 for them. Instead of being a feature (although it might eventually become one) Bomb It 2 will begin as a series of episodes. So Thursday night the 11th I fly to Bangkok where I’m scheduled to meet up with Beejoir, Bon, Alex Face, Kimes, Foner, Dillon, Mau Mau, AMP (all in 3 days!). Then on the 16th I head to Jakarta to find Darbotz. On the 17th I head to Singapore to teach. But while there I am scheduled to meet up with Killer Gerbil. On the 25th I head to Hong Kong – we’ll see what happens there.

In May I’ll be heading to Israel and Palestine to film artists/writers there. Have to see about setting up a teaching gig there! Open to suggestions!

Other cities to be included in Bomb It 2 are: Copenhagen (filmed there during CPH:DOX) Great&Bates, Husk Mit Navn, Ash. San Jose: King 157 San Francisco: Chor Boogie. Austin, TX (while I’m there for SXSW this coming March) : Sloke (and perhaps a couple of more)

This is an example of how cross platform/transmedia storytelling can be creatively liberating. I don’t need to conceptualize yet how it might gel into a feature. But the episodes are part of an ongoing Bomb It project and who knows where that might go.

My plan is to tweet while I’m on the road at

If I can find the time I will also try to do some blog posts!

Let me know if you have suggestions of what I should see/do/people to meet in any of these places.