Tag: “Indie film”

Review: DIY Filmmaking | Think Outside the Box Office and Tips from Bomb It!’s Jon Reiss

From Adam David Mezei (Thanks Adam for the nice words!)

DIY Filmmaking | Think Outside the Box Office and Tips from Bomb It!’s Jon Reiss

I spent Sunday evening flipping through Winter 2010’s edition of Filmmaker Magazine, fresh off the press for January. I stumbled across two excellent DIY articles, one called REMIND (p84) penned by its aspiring editor, the filmmaker Scott Macaulay that reported on several hot do-it-yourself trends from 2009, some of which set to become the norm for the coming decade and beyond. The second was by the excellent guest editor Alicia Van Couvering (“SLUMPDAYS,” p90), who gave a clever summary of five Sundance-entry films that recently shattered the independent funding sound barrier using innovative crowdsourced fundraising approaches which helped catapult these titles all the way to Park City.

For all you indie filmmakers out there, these are less ironclad stepwise prescriptions to follow rather than helpful departure points to jog your memory and inspire you as you go about your own filmmaking odyssey.

That dude pictured above is none other than Jon Reiss, director of the documentary Bomb It and the man most well-known among indie circles as “the DIY guy,” having recently penned the book Think Outside the Box Office in what’s become a key resource for indie filmmakers presently the road to landing traction (read: distribution) for their film. Yes, folks, this is filmmaking’s dirty little secret.

Normally, I’ll blow through a book’s pages in just a couple of sittings. Sure, I’ll take notes and reflect on things as I do so, but T.O.T.B.O. isn’t the sort of work you want to plough through like quicksilver. Instead, and on Jon’s advice in the book which he gets to rather early on, I’ve opted for a more considered approach this time, chapter by chapter with ample breaks in between to put several of the tips Jon suggests in into play. I can safely say that some of Jon’s suggestions have reaped already dividends for us. I’ve plucked out gems about how to better leverage my Facebook and YouTube presences, with nifty ideas on how to gain increased video views and tips on how to better leverage my use of Facebook Groups (better) and FB Fan Pages (not so good) for keeping fans in the loop. Most of all, I admire what Jon repeatedly counsels about conceiving your film’s marketing plan months in advance of your shoot. Jon supplies helpful approaches on compiling your mailing list, your film’s credit list (for when the film locks), and makes available unheard-of indie marketing strategies for geo-locating your fans through such innocuous things like US zip codes to more accurately pinpoint fans when passing through various parts of the country on road shows or for film festivals.

Jon also talks about the appointment of a new position called the “PMD” – Producer of Marketing and Distribution – someone who has production-level authority yet who isn’t directly related to the actual shooting and production of the film because then the P&A (prints and advertising) duties won’t ever be completed. This individual is your point person on the following items in your marketing arsenal, among others, and this position will scale closer to your film’s post-production:

* keeping on top of all Facebook posts, FB Groups and their management, and replying to all comments in a very timely manner. The PMD posts clips, links, and other relevant items of interest to your film’s FB Wall as you go through the production cycle.
* maintaining sole login access to your film’s twitter account, so that the film stays on message and all “@” mentions are responded to on time.
* establishing strategic relationships across various social media spheres as your picture picks up speed.
* moderating and responding to all comments off your blog and keeping content current and tasty off your homepage.
* gaining media exposure for the film, managing your interview schedule, taking phone calls, and various other line responsibilities that have a PA-feel to them, but which aren’t the sole purview of the officially-designated Production Assistant.
* collecting email addresses at festivals.
* shooting DVD Bonus Feature material or organizing spare bits of festival Q&A and other odds and ends for your film’s Special Features.

With social media and Web2.0 taking center stage in the new indie filmmaking cycle, Facebook-ing, MySpace-ing, tweeting, and blog commenting are here to stay. They are the bane of filmmakers, given how it tends to detract from the creative process, but Reiss clearly emphasizes how the new distribution realities in the filmmaking world now compel filmmakers to elevate these daily chores to a higher priority position given how notions like crowdsourcing and “the cloud” and such similar concepts have gained prominence over the past three years.

I’ve been enjoying the read, and I’m sure you will as well.

Filmmaker Magazine article: Choosing a Fulfillment Company for Film Distribution

I’m back in Filmmaker Magazine – this time with a grind down to the details article on fulfillment companies:

DIY NUTS AND BOLTS:CHOOSING A FULFILLMENT COMPANY
By Jon Reiss

As you may know I recently released a book, Think Outside the Box Office, a practical guide to distributing and marketing a film in today’s economically challenging marketplace. Because of the similar state of the publishing industry, and because I wanted to get the book out for filmmakers ASAP, I decided to publish and distribute it myself, similar to how I had released my film Bomb It. Due to my compressed publication schedule, however, there was one topic I wasn’t able to fully explore: fulfillment. No, not the joy you get from finishing a film but the mechanism by which you will actually make sure that DVDs from your online store will make it to your eager fans.

I’ve recently set up my own store to sell my films and, of course, the book, and I’ve researched most of the major companies out there. Here is an overview and summary of my findings that should help you if you plan to get into the retail business with your latest film. The related charts are here and here. I will assume that you have also read either my DVD distribution articles for Filmmaker (also available at Filmmakermagazine.com) or the relevant chapters in Think Outside the Box Office.

Elements of the Fulfillment Process

There are five main components to the order fulfillment process, which is how you sell and ship physical consumer products if you don’t have your own brick-and-mortar store.

The Shopping Cart: This is what the customer sees when they place the order. The software behind the cart is what tracks the order, provides you with customer data, contains your affiliate program, allows you to have coupon specials, etc.

Payment Gateway: The payment gateway is the equivalent to a credit card processor at a retail store. For a fee, it takes the credit card information, organizes it and encrypts it for the merchant bank.

Merchant Bank/Account: The merchant account collects the money from the customers’ credit cards or checks and then places that money in your bank account, also for a fee.

Fulfillment Company: This is the company that then takes the paid orders and pulls the items from inventory, puts them into envelopes, addresses them, and gives them to a shipping company or post office and pays for the shipping.

Customer Service: If something goes wrong with an order, somebody must deal with it, and you probably don’t want that to be you.

Full-service fulfillment is what I generally recommend for filmmakers. One company handles every step of the process. Hiring out different companies, while it can be less expensive for high quantities, requires you to coordinate the orders between the shopping cart and fulfillment company.
Basis for Comparison

Setup charges. The total setup charges include shopping cart setup, account setup and basic receiving. All the companies I investigated had basic shopping carts included.

Monthly charges include accounting, reporting, inventory, storage fees, and, in most cases, basic customer service.

For this survey, I compared two items of data: costs per order and costs as a percentage of sales.

Costs per Order: These include Order Processing Fees (OPF) that range from 4 to 20 percent. Also includes order processing, payment gateway and merchant account fees.

Shipping and Handling (SH) Fees. This includes pick, pack, bubble wrap and firstclass postage (although it was unclear how Amazon sent their packages).

Cost as a Percentage of Sales: This figure takes all of the costs, setup, monthly and order charges and then calculates them as a percentage of total sales. It also takes into consideration the disparity of “Pick, Pack and Ship” fees from the different companies. For the article I ran four different sales scenarios for the first two years of sales. The full results are broken down at the Filmmaker Web site.
Company Comparisons

Top Choice for the No-Frills Filmmaker: NeoFlix. I have had good luck using this company for Bomb It. NeoFlix is a cost-effective one-stop shop for filmmakers who don’t need or want to get too adventurous in their online marketing. While they have an affiliate program (which I used for Bomb It), however, it isn’t as easy to use as the one used by another company, 4th Way. They do have e-mail list management with a nifty Box Office Widget, though, which allows you to collect e-mail addresses, put your trailer in the widget and allows it to be moderately viral. The widget also has a built-in screening “Demand It” function. NeoFlix also has a “Backstage” component in which you can give members or contributors access to exclusive digital content — useful for crowdsourced funding.

NeoFlix has low monthly fees and low setup charges but they take 12 percent of the sale. They have two pricing tiers. Option B is for filmmakers grossing more than $600 a month and it provides monthly accounting. Option A is for the filmmakers selling less and provides quarterly accounting.

In comparing their cost as a percentage of sales they range from 14 percent and drop down to 10 percent of sales. I don’t feel that their slightly higher cost compared to Amazon compensates for the lack of having someone you can talk to directly about your account. NeoFlix can also get you on Amazon and save you the $40 a month merchant account fee. 4th Way will do this as well.

Top Choice For the E-Marketer: 4th Way Fulfillment. I chose 4th Way Fulfillment to be the fulfillment company for Think Outside the Box Office for the following reasons: I wanted to experiment with more robust e-mail marketing strategies, affiliate marketing, e-mail auto responders and ad tracking. 4th Way is the only company that works with a sophisticated enough (though expensive) shopping cart to do all of this.

The pricing structure indicated on the chart at Filmmakermagazine.com and used for this article illustrates a new structure that 4th Way created as an additional option for filmmakers.

4th Way can also set up a phone order line and a dedicated customer service phone number for an additional cost. In addition, 4th Way gives you more control over the shipping and handling options you offer your customers.

The extra services are more expensive. They only start to make financial sense if you are going to sell 2,500 units the first year when their cost of percentage of sales drops to 13 percent. If you sell less than 2,500 units, they become more expensive than most of the other options.

If you are going to pursue a robust e-commerce sale strategy, you should strongly consider using 4th Way. They are the bridge between NeoFlix and a fully segmented approach to fulfillment.

(Disclosure on 4th Way and NeoFlix: The reason I chose them for my work is because I have enjoyed my experience with them, they have paid me and I believe they are the best value for what they offer. Because of my relationship with them, I asked each of these companies to provide discounts as part of the bonus gifts. So that is both a plug and a disclosure.)

Bteakthrough/Transmit. Breakthrough Distribution has recently set up a relationship and new pricing plan using Transit Media, which New Day Films Educational cooperative have used for a number of years. Breakthrough also works with NeoFlix but set up this relationship with Transmit so that filmmakers would have an alternative. Transmit has been around for many years, mainly fulfilling educational sales. Transmit is also based on the east coast, so that might help you with initial freight charges and convenience if you like to be close to your fulfillment house, like I do.

At first glance their 4 percent OPF is very attractive. But when you factor in their higher shipping costs and deduct that difference from their OPF, their cost as a percentage of sales is the same or even potentially higher than NeoFlix and 4th Way (the latter under certain sales scenarios). Their higher S&H makes a lot of sense if you are mostly doing fewer, higher price-per-unit educational sales, which I did not run figures on. For a $200 sale the 4 percent OPF (as opposed to NeoFlix’s 8 percent for a similar high-per-unit sale) is a significant difference.

Now you may think, the S&H is passed onto the consumer, so why do I care? I feel that high S&H is a barrier to sales — think about how you buy products online.

But from my research, Breakthrough/Transmit is a reliable company and makes sense if you have a low volume of sales or have expensive products in your product line.

The Connextion. I found out about these folks from Ted Hope’s Truly Free Film blog. They have an interesting model that could be useful for some filmmakers. I like that they are easy to access, friendly and consider themselves a people company who use the Internet as a tool. They mostly work with bands and a lot of their added features reflect this: an ability to take credit card sales on the road (e.g. for filmmakers at screenings), aggregating to digital sites, manufacture of DVDs and t-shirts. Also their percentage only, everything included, no monthly fee is a simple attractive solution. However if you are doing any sort of volume, they are a bit expensive. Even at high volumes their cost as a percentage of sales is still 20 percent, which, since it’s a flat fee, is much higher than the alternatives above.

Amazon Merchant Account and Fulfillment by Amazon

While fulfillment by Amazon is relatively cheap and seems to be a good alternative, you need to hook up a shopping cart and merchant account of your own to take advantage of those rates. Otherwise you need to set up a merchant account to make your sales on Amazon. Amazon then is your shopping cart, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering it is the biggest in the world. In addition, people are used to buying from them and they have their own customer service.

However as far as I know they don’t provide e-commerce marketing solutions that you have control over as you would in a stand-alone shopping cart. Another downside is that they don’t support international shipping; you would need to handle that through Amazon’s international stores. They also do not have someone you can call to deal with your problems — merchant service (you) is all e-mail.

When you factor in the OPF of 15 percent, their cost as a percentage of sales is competitive with NeoFlix and even better than NeoFlix for certain volumes. However I don’t think it is a significant enough difference to give up the various e-commerce solutions that NeoFlix and 4th Way offer, as well as the filmmaker service that both of those outlets provide.

If you like this nuts-and-bolts approach to film distribution and marketing please check out my book Think Outside the Box Office. There are another 350 pages of similar information on every aspect of a film’s release. And check out the extended version of this article and the comparative data charts at Filmmakermagazine.com.

Declaration of Indies – Reiss and Broderick in the NYT Today

Manohla Dargis interviewed me for an article on self distribution for the New York Times – it came out today. Proud to be in the company of the esteemed Peter Broderick!

Declaration of Indies: Just Sell It Yourself!
By MANOHLA DARGIS
Published: January 14, 2010

LAST November inside a conference room at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, a film consultant named Peter Broderick was doing his best to foment a revolution. Mr. Broderick, who helps filmmakers find their way into the marketplace, was spreading the word on an Internet-era approach to releasing movies that he believes empowers filmmakers without impoverishing them economically or emotionally. Mr. Broderick divides distribution into the Old World and New, infusing his PowerPoint presentation with insurgent rhetoric. He has written a “declaration of independence” for filmmakers that — as he did that afternoon — he reads while wearing a tricorn hat.

In the Old World of distribution, filmmakers hand over all the rights to their work, ceding control to companies that might soon lose interest in their new purchase for various reasons, including a weak opening weekend. (“After the first show,” Mr. Broderick said, repeating an Old World maxim, “we know.”) In the New World, filmmakers maintain full control over their work from beginning to end: they hold on to their rights and, as important, find people who are interested in their projects and can become patrons, even mentors. The Old World has ticket buyers. The New World has ticket buyers who are also Facebook friends. The Old World has commercials, newspapers ads and the mass audience. The New World has social media, YouTube, iTunes and niche audiences. “Newspaper ads,” Mr. Broderick said, “are mostly a waste of money.”

The 200 filmmakers inside the conference room laughed, soaking up Mr. Broderick’s pitch as if their careers depended upon it, which perhaps they do. Independent filmmaking has never been for the faint of heart. But the consensus is that the past few years have been especially brutal. Sales have slowed, deal prices have dropped, and most of the major studios have retreated from the independent scene, closing or scaling back divisions like Warner Independent Pictures and Paramount Vantage, which released the kinds of movies that win critical hearts and awards. And good films are going unsold. Given the changes and downsizing, these might seem like worrisome times for movie lovers as well. After all, if these companies disappear, how do we find the next great American independent filmmaker, the new Jim Jarmusch, Wes Anderson 2.0?

For consultants like Mr. Broderick and filmmakers like Jon Reiss (the documentary “Bomb It”) the answer lies in self-distribution, in filmmakers doing it themselves or, more accurately, doing it themselves with a little or a lot of help from other people, including consultants like Mr. Broderick and Richard Abramowitz. Last year Mr. Abramowitz, a film-industry veteran who runs an outfit in Armonk, N.Y., called Abramorama with one full-time employee (him), helped shepherd Sacha Gervasi’s documentary “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” about a 1970s metal band and its rebirth, into a success, with almost $700,000 at the North American box office. Consultants guide filmmakers on every angle of distribution. They can simply offer advice, but can also develop a marketing strategy, book theaters and collect the money.

If the D.I.Y. drumbeat has grown louder in recent years, it’s not only because the major studios have backed away from the independent sector. That’s a factor, but there are other issues involved, among them that the economic barriers to filmmaking have never been lower. Martin Scorsese once said that John Cassavetes’s first feature, “Shadows,” shot in the late 1950s with a 16-millimeter camera, proved to filmmakers that there were “no more excuses,” adding, “If he could do it, so could we!” Still, even in the glory years of the new American cinema movement, from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, when the major studios appeared more open to original voices, Cassavetes had to self-distribute his 1974 masterpiece “A Woman Under the Influence,” which he did successfully, pulling in $6 million domestically.

Inexpensive digital cameras and editing software have lowered the barrier for filmmakers even further. Yet even as the means of production have entered into more hands, companies — large and small — continue to dominate distribution. Hollywood’s historical hold on resources and the terms of the conversation have made it difficult for an authentic alternative system to take root in America. The festival circuit has emerged as a de facto distribution stream for many filmmakers, yet the ad hoc world of festivals is not a substitute for real distribution. And then there’s the simple fact that there are independent filmmakers who do not fit inside the Hollywood (and Hollywood-style) distribution model and do not want to. For some stubborn independents D.I.Y. distribution has at times been either the best or only option.

In 1992, the year before Disney bought Miramax Films, thereby initiating the indie gold rush, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky became a model for true independence when they distributed their own documentary “Brother’s Keeper” (1992) to substantial critical and commercial success. In the years since, those entering self-distribution have included emerging talent like Andrew Bujalski (who initially sold DVDs of his 2005 film “Mutual Appreciation” online) and established filmmakers like David Lynch (who released his 2006 movie “Inland Empire” in theaters himself). As self-distributed movies have found levels of critical or commercial success or even both, others have followed, including “The Talent Given Us,” “Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037,” “Ballast,” “Helvetica” and “Good Dick.”

Some self-distributed titles find their audiences with help from consultants, while others make their way into the marketplace with the help of consultants and companies that take a fee, rather than a percentage of the profits and all the distribution rights. Innovative strategies abound. Mr. Broderick is an advocate of what he calls hybrid distribution, which, as he has put it, “combines direct sales by filmmakers with distribution by third parties.” Thus filmmakers hold on to their sales rights and sell the DVD retail rights to one buyer and the video-on-demand rights to another and so on — rather than handing them all over to one distributor, as has been traditional. This allows filmmakers to reach audiences directly while controlling their own work and destinies, at least in theory.

The new D.I.Y. world is open-source in vibe and often execution. Participants refer to one another in conversation and on their Web sites and blogs, pushing other people’s ideas and projects. (On his Web site, peterbroderick.com, Mr. Broderick even posts discount codes for other people’s books.) But these new-era distribution participants are not engaging in blog-rolling. By sharing information and building on one another’s ideas, they are in effect creating a virtual infrastructure. This infrastructure doesn’t compete with Hollywood; this isn’t about vying with products released by multinational corporations. It is instead about the creation and sustenance of a viable, artist-based alternative — one that, at this stage, looks markedly different from what has often been passed off as independent cinema over the past 20 years.

Although D.I.Y. has become shorthand for this new movement, a more complex idea of the filmmaker-audience dynamic is emerging (Mr. Reiss calls it “a sea change”), partly as a response to the shifts in the industry, though also in reaction to the changes in the audience or more specifically audiences. Although some viewers still enjoy the ritual of going out to see movies, others don’t want to experience their entertainment in a theater, preferring to immerse themselves in a media-saturated world across a variety of platforms. “My son,” Mr. Reiss said, speaking by phone from Los Angeles, “consumes media on his computer and his iPod, and he will occasionally go out to a movie theater.” He tries to encourage his son, who’s 13, to go to the movies, but finds it tough. “He would rather interact with media on his computer than anywhere else.”

One of the buzzy ideas in D.I.Y. is transmedia, a word borrowed from academia, in which stories — think of the “Star Wars” and “Matrix” franchises — unfold across different platforms. “Star Wars” helped expand the very idea of a movie, because it involved a constellation of movie-related products, from videogames to action figures, all of which become part of the understanding and experience of the original, originating work. This isn’t just about slapping a movie logo on a lunchbox or a screensaver: it’s about creating an entertainment gestalt. As the theorist Henry Jenkins writes, “Reading across the media sustains a depth of experience that motivates more consumption.” In other words, you can sell one ticket to a moviegoer or enlist fans into media feedback loops that they in turn help create and sustain.

It might seem counterintuitive that D.I.Y. independents are borrowing a page from the George Lucas playbook. But only if you forget that Mr. Lucas is the most successful independent filmmaker in history. 20th Century Fox distributed the first “Star Wars,” yet Mr. Lucas kept the sequel and merchandising rights. “If I make money,” he said when the movie was released, “it will be from the toys.” The new generation of D.I.Y. filmmakers might not be pushing toys on their Web sites (though I’d like to see an Andrew Bujalski action figure), but they do peddle DVDs, posters, CDs, books and — much as Spike Lee did before them — are getting hip to selling themselves alongside their art.

The downside to this new D.I.Y. world is that filmmakers, who already tend to expend tremendous time and effort raising money, might end up spending more hours hawking their wares than creating new work. “I struggle with this all the time,” Mr. Reiss said. But artists who want to reach an audience are rarely if ever really free of the marketplace, and filmmakers working in the commercial arena tend to be even less so. For Mr. Reiss and other do-it-yourselfers, the most important thing is to reach their audiences, any which way, niche by niche, pixel by pixel, in theaters or online. “This is the other voice of film,” Mr. Reiss said with urgency, “and if this dies, all we’re left with is the monopoly.”

Jon Reiss Consulting at Slamdance & Offering free Consulting to 10 Sundance/Slamdance Filmmakers

As some of you might know, one of the reasons that I wrote Think Outside the Box Office was after those first Filmmaker articles I wrote in Fall ‘08 about my experiences distributing my graffiti doc Bomb It, many filmmakers contacted me to help them with their films. However they were all broke, as most filmmakers are. The book started as a brain dump so that I could share my experiences with others. I figured people could at least afford $20-$25. (After many requests the book is now available as a PDF from my site for $14.95)

But filmmakers still need individual advice; how to apply the new distribution and marketing models and landscape to their specific films. And unfortunately since filmmakers in general are not saving money for distribution and marketing, they are still broke.

So I wanted to do some kind of community consulting “event” at Park City this year. I thought about sitting in a coffee shop for 2 hours a day and having online sign ups for 20 minute sessions (I still might do this if enough people request it).

However, Lance Weiler asked me to do a live consulting session at the Slamdance Filmmaker Summit (Saturday January 23rd) with two filmmaking teams one narrative/one doc. Anyone in Park City can attend and it can also be live streamed (along with the rest of the Summit that I recommend you all check out).

I’ve decided to expand this to 10 more feature filmmakers from either Sundance or Slamdance. I will provide 45 minutes of consultation by phone or Skype before the festival begins and 45 minutes during the festival. This can be used in any way the filmmakers want, from helping to devise a complete DIY scenario, to getting my opinion on any deals being offered.

For selection any interested film should email me by Thursday January 14th by noon at reiss.jon@gmail.com. Send me what you have eg synopsis, trailer, website, plans you have in mind etc.

I will pick the films and announce them by Friday January 15th.

For any other Sundance/Slamdance filmmaker not chosen I will be reducing my consulting rate before and during the festival from $75 an hour to $50 an hour. This rate will apply even for the chosen films if they want to go beyond the first hour and a half.

25 Points to Consider in Approaching Your Festival Premiere: Part 2

25 Points to Consider in Approaching Your Festival Premiere: Part 2
Ted Hope posted this today on his Truly Free Film blog. Its Part 2 of the film fest strategy post I wrote for him in December. All together now there are 25 points total!

The first part of this article concerned how to approach festivals if you want to still pursue a more conventional sales oriented strategy within the new landscape of distribution for independent film.

This second part will address what you should consider if you are going to use your premiere festival (or one of your festivals) to launch the actual distribution and marketing of your film. Linas Phillips, Thomas Woodrow and company are doing this for Bass Ackwards at Sundance in conjunction with New Video. Sundance just announced today that three more films will at least be releasing their VODs day and date with this year’s festival. While these three films are being released by the Sundance Select series on Rainbow, it is actually run by IFC who has been pioneering festival/VOD day and date (this and more about revising filmmaker’s approach to festivals is covered extensively in Chapter 14 of Think Outside the Box Office.)

I am writing this piece for 2 reasons: 1. To aid any filmmaker who is considering launching the release of their film at their premiere festival aka Sundance/Slamdance (even though I lay out a lot of challenges to this strategy, I am still a huge fan of this approach) and 2. To assuage the guilt of many filmmakers who have been kicking themselves for not utilizing this strategy in previous years. I spoke to a number of filmmakers who were mad at themselves because they saw the amount of exposure their festival premiere generated, and they never reclaimed that exposure with the theatrical release of their film. Hence they reasoned, “if only I had released my film day and date with my _______ festival premiere”. They realized, smartly, that it is best to have all guns blazing in your release to penetrate the media landscape and that top festivals are very good at creating audience awareness. Hence why not monetize that audience awareness with the release.

However it does take a fair amount of advance work and planning in order to enact this strategy. So this year you should not kick yourself for not doing it. (Later this year or next year when filmmakers should know better – they should kick themselves!) If you are premiering at Park City and aren’t ready for this strategy now, I have a suggestion at the end of this piece about how to engage this strategy at a later date.

So here are some points to consider for a festival launch of your film’s release.

1. You should create a thought out distribution and marketing strategy that will guide you and your team through this release. Have you analyzed your goals for your film, your potential audience, and your resources? (I know this was the first point to consider for the last post – it is that important)

2. Very important in this strategy is what rights are you releasing and when. What is your sequence of rights release? Is everything day and date with the fest or only VOD or DVD? If all rights are not day and date, when are the other rights being released and how will those rights be promoted?

3. Of particular concern is theatrical. Are you launching what I term a live event/theatrical release at the festival (Section 3 of the book)? Conventional theatrical usually requires at least 3 months. But perhaps you will have alternative theatrical after the festival and then ramp up conventional theatrical. How long is your theatrical window? How does this integrate with your other rights?

4. Consider if your film is the kind of film that will generate a lot of interest and press at Park City? Perhaps do some research into the types of films (particularly those that reviewers and film writers will respond to) and see if that makes sense for your film. Even though Park City shines a great spotlight on films, it does not do so for all films, and many films get lost in the shuffle.

Perhaps there is an alternative time of the year that might shine a brighter light on your film – e.g. if there is a national month or date dealing with your film’s subject.

5. Do you have all of your materials ready to go for a release whether DIY or through a distribution partner? Are all your deliverables ready to go? Have you authored your DVD? Do you have key art? Have you printed your key art?

6. Is there a distribution partner who is interested in your film who will help you launch your film at the festival? Note that all of the films mentioned above are partnering with a larger company to help enable the release. You don’t need one company, perhaps it is a group of companies. Perhaps you have one company for DVDs and another for VOD. Many distributors need a long lead time to prepare a film for release, so chances are that this option will be difficult unless you already have it in play. However you can begin discussions with potential partners at Park City or after for such a release later down the line. More on this later.

7. If you don’t have a distribution partner in any particular rights category, do you have a DIY approach to monetizing said rights category? Do you have replication and a fulfillment company lined up? Do you have digital distribution in place for download to own, download to rent?

8. Do you have a marketing and publicity campaign that you have been developing for a couple of months? Do you have a publicist who has been talking to journalists to lay the ground work for your release?

9. Many filmmakers at Park City will just have been finishing their films to get them ready to screen. Many or most will have been so absorbed with the completion of their films that they will not be ready to release their films at Park City. In that case it is probably wise to hold off on your release for when you are more prepared. Use Park City to lay the groundwork for that later release. Don’t just think about the overall deal, actively court distribution partners who will work with you on a split rights or hybrid scenario. Find out what press is a fan of your film so that you can book live events/theatrical releases in those cities. (Have them hold the review!)

10. If you are at Park City – chances are you will be invited to other fests. Use one of those festivals (or a combination of festivals) to launch your release when you are ready. Weather Girl premiered at Slamdance last year, didn’t sell, regrouped and then launched their theatrical at LA Film Fest 6 months later. Two of the IFC releases premiered last year at Berlin and Cannes.

If you are following both posts of this two-parter, you will see that there are actually 25 total points to consider instead of the promised 20. My apologies. BTW – I am preparing a distribution and marketing tools website which is approaching its beta launch – keep posted.

Also – I will be doing a live consultation session at the Filmmaker Summit at Slamdance this year Saturday January 23rd. Projects are being submitted on line if you want to be considered. Go to: http://slamdance.com/summit/

Changing the Life Model of a Release – Response to Brian Newman

Brian Newman has been tearing it up lately on his blog Springboard Media. While I don’t always agree with him, he is very thoughtful and has great insights into what is going on these days in the indie film world. I just tweeted his post from today Filmmaking and Releasing – Changing From the Male Climax Model.

While I agree with much of what Brian says, I do still feel that a big push at the beginning does help a film “penetrate” the media landscape. Its hard to create a splash in this world filled with media noise. That is why I am a fan of live events, festivals for launches etc. Tomorrow or Monday on Ted Hope’s blog I’ll be publishing part 2 of my film fest considerations list – this time focusing on using festivals for launches adn what is neccessary to prepare.

BUT films still have a long tail life – if you are fortunate. Almost 2 years after the theatrical/dvd release of Bomb It – I am working with Babelgum to film more Bomb It episodes – Bomb It 2 as it were, still making TV sales etc. But this all was helped immensely by my initial big push.

More on this subject later.

Microcinema Reviews Think Outside the Box Office

Think Outside the Box Office was just reviewed in Microfilmmaker Magazine.

Here a few nice pulls;
“The premiere book on film distribution in the modern digital era. . . . Because Jon’s writing style is both engaging and informative, even the “candy” chapters are packed with useful information that will get you motivated and even excited about putting these ideas into practice.”

The full review:

If you ask filmmakers to describe the things that they’re passionate about, two things will almost never be mentioned: legal concerns and marketing/distribution of their films. Instead, most filmmakers have a blind belief that these two things will magically resolve themselves if they just follow a utopian “Field of Dreams”- mentality which states that if “they make it, people will come” and it will be distributed, audiences will see it, and there will be no legal difficulties to ensnare them. (Hey, I know where they’re coming from, because when I made my first film, Commissioned, I was riding that same cloud of euphoria-inducing optimism.)

However, the real world is a bit of a ball-breaker and it has a tendency to attack and torture filmmakers who didn’t plan for the future. It often does this by sidetracking films due to lack of proper paperwork or drying up any possibility of compensatory distribution because necessary marketing decisions were simply not chosen early enough. While Think OUTSIDE the BOX Office isn’t a comprehensive book on legal advice for filmmakers (for that you should read Kari Ann’s review of The Independent Filmmaker’s Law and Business Guide), it is the premiere book on film distribution in the modern digital era.

With that said, let’s break down what makes it so.

Comprehension
Jon’s writing style is quite easy to understand. (Especially if you follow his start-up reading plan for the book, which I discuss in more detail in the Interest Level.) Even complicated topics were pretty simple to get the gist of, although some of the less immediate and more detailed topics will make more sense when you’re actually in a situation that necessitates you having the information.

The only thing that distracted from comprehension is the fact that the book has a decent number of typos, which can throw you in certain situations. Fortunately, 90% of these are quite minor. (And the reader is pretty inclined to overlook these issues because Jon is very up front in saying that this book is a work in progress with regular updates, not unlike software. For buyers who pick up a copy of the book from Jon’s site, they get the next upgrade at a deep discount.)

Depth of Information
This book is absolutely jam-packed with information. Everything from how to separate artistic and commercial tendencies, to understanding what Digital Rights are, to how to create merchandise that can engage your audience in the way that Trent Reznor has managed to engage NIN fans, to how to launch your film from a film festival in order to build maximum buzz is covered in this book. In addition to general concepts, he talks specifically about companies out there that will help you in your pursuits and what recent costs or percentages have been for their use. (And because this book is to be updated more regularly than normal books, information on these companies will change in a more timely manner than in most books.)

Interest Level
Jon Reiss is a bloody genius. He wisely realized that there was no way to present all the information he intended to share without causing people’s eyes to glaze over. So, acknowledging this fact, he provides a streamlined “crib” sheet at the beginning of the book. Essentially, he gives you a map of seven essential chapters that he suggests you read entirely and then encourages you to skim the other chapter intros during the initial read. This causes you to be able to get a massive amount of this book’s content in only about two to three hours of steady reading, which is amazing. Of course, because you’re checking the intros of different chapters, you’ll invariably stumble across ones that’ll pique your interest enough to read through in their entirety before moving on.

Essentially, this methodology creates a trail of mental “candy” for you to munch through, returning to the heavier “foods” (like the specific negotiating points for Digital Rights) only when you’re in a situation where you need to really understand them. And because Jon’s writing style is both engaging and informative, even the “candy” chapters are packed with useful information that will get you motivated and even excited about putting these ideas into practice.

Reusability
This book is extremely reusable, as it works to inspire you to get out there and start marketing your film way into preproduction, but then has lots of more in-depth chapters for sticky points that might arise as you proceed. (And, as I mentioned before, if you purchase the book from Jon’s site, you get a free update when the new version of the book is released.)

Value vs. Cost
For all that you get, $24.95 is an amazingly good price, especially if you purchase it from Jon’s site, especially since, as I found out recently, some completely new chapters that won’t be available anyplace else will be available for free if you do so. Plus, as a New Year special, Jon is offering MFM readers a 12% discount, making it an even better deal. (And, as we mentioned before, you get a big discount on future versions of the book, so it will make it much easier to have the most up-to-date copy of the book!)

Overall Comment
I first found out about Jon Reiss and this book when our marketing and publicity writer, Sheri Candler, touched base with me after an overall underwhelming experience at AFM (American Film Market). The market was full of people who were fervently installed in the old mindset of distribution that absolutely required films with substantial budgets, stars, and a slew of other old Hollywood carryovers. However, like a ray of sunshine for low-budget filmmakers, Jon Reiss showed up at one of the panels Sheri attended, waging verbal war on the status quo. His argument essentially promoted the power of the low-budget filmmaker who makes films at a stripped down budget, while staying actively involved in the marketing and promotions of their film. In one of these, he actually suggested that, if you had to choose, it would be a better idea to fire your DP (or, at least, your AD) and get a marketing director, as marketing was literally THAT crucial.

I was impressed by what I heard, but I really wanted to read Jon’s own words. After reading through his book, I was shocked. Even though I have always believed that marketing, promotion, and distribution are necessary, I had never thought of it with any sort of enthusiasm. However, as I finished the book, I found myself thinking to a future film that I’ve been toying with in an entirely new light. Rather than dreading the concepts of social media, market research, and even merchandising, I began to allow these sorts of questions to feed into my own creativity. I began to realize that figuring out your market (and thinking of how to get them excited about your film) actually can help channel the creativity necessary to write the script and carry it through to completion. (Most of us want a muse. A specific type of person that will really enjoy our film is far more compelling than the faceless masses we too often imagine.) Crazy as it may sound, with this sort of mindset, filmmaking is not as exhausting from a psychological perspective, because when you understand that the entire filmmaking process is literally only half of the overall “film” process, the human mind adjusts to compensate to this world view. (I know; the human mind is a strange thing.)

If you want to build an audience for your short films, then this book is a smart read. However, if you want to create a feature film and have something to show for it when you’re done, then this book is a must read! And with the limited-time 12% off discount for MFM readers, the extra exclusive content, and discounted future editions, you might as well make the purchasing and reading of this book part of your New Year’s resolution!

Comprehension
9.0
Depth of Information
10.0
Interest Level
9.0
Reusability
10.0
Value vs. Cost
9.5
Overall Score
9.5

Think Outside the Box Office one of Brian Newman’s Recommended Reads

Recommended Reads

from Brian Newman’s Blog Springboard Media
There’s been a lot of great writing both in print and online (and at times, both) for filmmakers this year. It’s late in the year, but I thought I’d give my quick summary of some great titles that I think are required reading for any filmmaker – or any person in the film business, really – and most are good for other artists as well. These are in no particular order, and while I know some of the authors and am quoted in some of these, I tried to be unbiased and stand to make no financial gain. Most were written this year, but some came out earlier (even much earlier) but I just got around to reading them, and near the end are a few that aren’t even film/media books but that I still highly recommend.

The Reel Truth: Everything you didn’t know you need to know about making an independent film. By Reed Martin. Like the title, this book is long, and probably could have benefited from a better editor, but it’s definitely a book every filmmaker should read. Reed does a great job of covering everything from first-timer mistakes to new paths in distribution. He gets some really great advice from leading producers, distributors, writers – pretty much everyone.

Shaking the Money Tree: The art of getting grants and donations for film and video projects. By Morrie Warshawski. (link is to all of his books) Morrie has been the leading expert on this subject, and this book isn’t new, but it is a new (3rd) edition now, and he’s added lots of great new material. But even the old material was great – Morrie tells you everything you need to know to raise grants and donations – an especially useful skill for doc makers. His other books are great too, and I recommend everyone read his book on throwing a fundraising house party – more filmmakers should use this strategy.

Fans, Friends & Followers: Building an audience and a creative career in the digital age. By Scott Kirsner. Scott writes a great blog and lectures all over, and this book is a great summation of the new ways artists are using the new tools available through digital to build a fan base that can support their career. He’s packed lots of interviews into this book, not just with filmmakers, but with authors, musicians and other artists who are doing creative things to build and audience and make a living. Read the book and the blog.

Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era. By Jon Reiss. Jon is the filmmaker who made Bomb It! (among other films), and he learned a lot about releasing a film from his own experience building a hybrid distribution plan for that film. He combines that real-world knowledge with great advice from others in the industry. What’s great about this book is that he doesn’t advocate for just one way of doing things. He presents the arguments for multiple ways of thinking about distribution and then gives his experience and his suggestions for how to combine these ideas into something that works. He provides lots of case studies, a great breakdown of different budgets for distribution and goes into every step, in detail, for distribution and marketing your film. Detailed, and long, but worth reading, and worth making everyone on your film’s team read it as well.

Film Festival Secrets: A handbook for independent filmmakers. By Christopher Holland. Ok, this may be my favorite book of the year, no offense to the others, because I used to run a film fest. Chris lays out, in simple language, everything you need to know about your film fest experience as a filmmaker. From devising a strategy to getting people to show up for your film and what to do when you’re done. He doesn’t go far into the realm of new models, but doesn’t ignore these. What he does is teach filmmakers the little do’s and don’ts that every festival director wishes they had time to tell filmmakers. Literally, to send a film to a fest or to attend one without reading this book is the dumbest thing you could possibly do. It won’t arm you for everything, but combine this with Reel Truth, Fans… and Think Outside the Box Office and you’ll pretty much know everything you need to know about the life of your film after production. You can get the book here, and also some cool podcasts.

Truly Free Film. A blog by Ted Hope. Prolific producer, blogger (of multiple blogs), tweeter, indie film community builder, speaker….the list doesn’t end there, Ted Hope has been on a roll this year. He blogs every second, while producing cool films, and every post is a gem. Disclaimer: Ted has said some nice things about me in his blog so I may be biased, but that’s the other thing I love – he posts nearly nothing that is negative. All positive thoughts for the future of real (truly free) indie film.

TechDirt. A blog by Mike Masnick (and others). Mike has been doing some excellent writing on new business models. My favorite is his post “The Grand Unified Theory on the Economics of Free.” That’s something I talk a lot about, and Mike has done some great thinking on the subject. Check out his blog and learn why CwF + RtB = $$$ (which is also a great presentation).

Declaration of Independence: The ten principles of hybrid distribution. A manifesto of sorts by Peter Broderick. Peter’s writings are always good, and this particular article was great. The title says it all. Read it at IndieWire (another great resource) and read his own blog for more.

The Workbook Project. A website by Lance Weiler and other filmmakers. The Workbook Project is essentially a great bet that filmmaker Lance Weiler made with himself – that he could make more money by giving away advice to filmmakers online than an advance he was offered to write such a book. According to Lance, it has worked. The site is a collaborative effort, and has great advice on everything from making your film to working in transmedia, often (if not always) from working filmmakers. I could explain more, but go there and read, listen and watch because it’s not just writing, but podcasts, videos, etc.

Lapham’s Quarterly. The best quarterly ever, by Lewis Lapham. Ok, this isn’t a film book, but you can’t be a good filmmaker unless you remain a good student of the world, and no one is a better guide than the curator/editor Lewis Lapham. Lapham was the editor of Harper’s for years, and is one of the best public intellectuals we have. If you’ve ever read his “Notebook” in Harpers, then you know the singularly distressing feeling of learning that you are completely uneducated. I mean, you thought you were smart before reading him, and by sentence two you’re wondering why you can’t quote Diderot, Descartes, Stanley Fish and Thomas Jefferson to make your point. How did you get an education and not know any of this stuff, you wonder? Well, the LQ does you a favor – after Lewis riffs on a single subject (like Money, Travel or Education) for a few pages, he then curates writings on the subject from an assortment of the best thinkers on the subject. Most of the work is in the public domain (free), but having a curator bring it to your attention really helps. Stretch your brain. Disclaimer – I’ve briefly served on a publisher advisory committee for the LQ.

Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation is Changing Your World. By Don Tapscott. Also not technically a film book, but how the “net generation” is different than others is something filmmakers should know about. Most of the insights are things that pretty much anyone spending time online knows now, but it’s great to have real research to back up your hunches, and to get a take on why this matters and how we should approach creative work given these changes.

Intellectual Value – A radical new way of looking at compensation for owners and creators in the Net-based economy. A 1997 article in Wired by Esther Dyson. It was also a longer article in Release 2.0 magazine before that, but all the links I’ve found are to PDFs. Way back when Esther wrote this article that preceeded all the talk about Free this year, and she not only saw it all coming, she nailed what it means precisely.

Arts, Inc.: How Greed and Neglect Have Destroyed Our Cultural Rights. By Bill Ivey. Again, not a strictly film book, but one which I think has many arguments relevant to film. I wrote about it here, but he also makes strong arguments about copyright issues and other issues central to filmmakers.
One last note – I linked to a couple of blogs, but my plan had been to link to my favorite blog posts of the year. Then I realized I have about one per day and this would take forever, so perhaps that is another post, or perhaps I just give up now….not sure yet.

Jon Reiss on Huffington Post A Christmas (and Hanukah) List to Help Save Independent Film

Here is my piece for the Huffington Post that ran on December 17, 2009 Click Here for the Original List with Links

A Christmas (and Hanukah) List to Help Save Independent Film

By Jon Reiss

Much has been written about the current crises in independent film. Studios run by corporations increasingly view their specialty divisions as a hobby, and have been eliminating them one by one. DVD sales are down. The internet is struggling to monetize.

However, it is an exciting time because it is more possible than ever now for audiences to connect directly with independent filmmakers and help support them with the films that they have made, and are making. This list is to introduce 10 gifts that you can give for Christmas (and the last two days of Hanukah) to help support independent film.

1. Buy a DVD directly from a filmmaker’s website. I know it is easier, and cheaper to buy a film from Amazon. But a filmmaker will get more than twice the amount of money from a direct sale, at least 80% of the sale as opposed to approximately as low as 30% of the sale if on Amazon. In addition the filmmaker will get your email address so they can tell you about future projects – the first step in creating a closer bond between filmmaker and audience (you can always opt out). Finally – you can buy additional gifts from savvy filmmakers as well as exclusive packages. Check out the film Ink who are a great example of this. For a catalogue of filmmaker websites go to Neoflix

2. Buy a DVD that is not widely available yet. Many filmmakers have begun to sell their DVDs while on the festival circuit. They are not waiting for a distributor, who may not come. These DVDs are usually only available from a filmmaker’s website or at screenings. Children of Invention will even explain why they are selling their film on the festival circuit.

3. Support a film that is still in production. Many films are now “crowdfunding” e.g. using the Internet to raise money via donations. The filmmakers will give you gifts (from advance copies of the DVD to a producer credit to an actual role in the film!) Check out Indiegogo’s site and Xmas list to see what is available. I feel that crowdfunding is one of the most incredible ways to connect directly with filmmakers and create a lasting relationship with them. Check out Can Bush Be Prosecuted I love the personal appeal for the comedy Love and Taxes.

4. Go See Movies Part 1: Alternative Venues
Of course seeing films supports independent film. But how do you gift it? An AMC card doesn’t help independent film. There is a new wave of alternative screening venues sweeping the country in its infant stages. They need your support. Buy some tickets for a friend at one of these venues and in your card tell them why you did it (heck print out this post and include it to save you time). Brave New Theaters is a guide to films (usually social action oriented) and alternative venues (some are people’s living rooms, many are not). Range Life is a group of 4 films touring the country. You can donate to the Rooftop Films project which needs support for their 2010 summer season.

5. Go See Movies Part 2: Traditional Art Houses
Most cities will have some kind of art house nearly all will have a Film Club or Support link. Go to the Art House Project for a list. You need to scroll down to the “Community Based, Mission Driven Art House Theaters.” Click on a theater in your city, click on the Film Club, or Support link, or Ticket Package link, purchase, print the receipt, put in envelope.

6. Go See Movies Part 3: Give a Hosting Package This is for the true film lover or activist. Many films such as Robert Bahar’s Made in LA will sell you screening packages for as low as $100. In this way you (or your friend who you are gifting) invites friends over to their house/home theater to view the film (preserving the social nature of film) and you can sell the extra DVDs to your guests or give them away. (The gift that keeps on giving.) If you or your friend really like this experience – you can list yourselves on Brave New Theaters and become your own screening venue for independent film.

7. Go See Movies Part 4: Support Indie Films on Video On Demand An emerging distribution outlet for many indies is day and date VOD, in which the film is available in a few theaters across the US and simultaneously available on VOD. Unfortunately many VOD menus favor studio films and make it difficult to find independents. However if you look, you can find them, check out IFC, Film Buff and other new independently oriented VOD channels. When you find a new film, invite your friends over and watch it together one night this holiday season. By initiating yourself and your friends into the VOD experience, hopefully you will continue to use it as a way to watch independent movies which will in turn support them.

8. Buy A Digital Download or DVD from a Site that Supports Independent Film At Indieflix you can not only buy DVDs from a huge catalogue, but you can stream them as well. iTunes has been great for independent film, providing access to broad markets, etc. But whereas your iTunes card might be used to download Transformers, if you gift Indieflix not only are you solely supporting independent films, but the filmmakers get a much larger share of the pie, 70%. B-Side is another new innovative company that focuses on community screenings and DVDs. For LGBT content go to Wolfevideo.

9. Buy a Roku Box While not directly supporting independent film (you are buying a product from a corporation to view products distributed by corporations), a Roku box will enable you to watch your Amazon VOD and Netflix choices on your television. Amazon is still the largest catalogue of media and lists many independent films. By giving a Roku box you make it easier for them, hence helping independent filmmakers.

10. Give Your Filmmaker Friends A Book If you know an independent filmmaker, (or if you know someone who is interested in the changing film distribution landscape) and they don’t know how to engage their audience or sell their films, give them one of two books (or both) that will tell them how. Scott Kirsner’s Fans Friends and Followers or my book Think Outside the Box Office which comes with bonus gifts from free tickets to screening venues to free chapter updates when you buy it from my website (currently the only place it is available).

11. Buy Other Merchandise from Filmmakers Perhaps you’ve already seen a film, or don’t want to collect a bunch of DVDs. You can still buy products that support independent filmmakers. For Bomb It we created a variety of t-shirts, posters, stickers, hats, hoodies. Check out the RoosterTeeth store as well. Would love to hear what other filmmakers are doing as well.

12. Pay for a Pirated Film The next wave of monetization for filmmakers is to monetize piracy. Ink had 5,000,000 views but it didn’t translate into paying back their film much. James King created VODO to address this issue in a systematic way. If you can’t beat them join em. Give a gift to Vodo to support their efforts. Or tip a film, print the receipt and give it to a friend – with the suggestion that they watch the film on torrent. I hope that this starts to shift the mindset that all content should be free. For if no one pays for content, how will we as creators have the resources to continue creating?

The Value: While one of these gifts will not buy a goat for a poor farmer in Chile (those kinds of gifts are great too), they will help preserve the independence of vision and independent voices that shine a light not only on important issues of the day, but entertain us in new and innovative ways. If independent film dies, so will these independent voices in our media landscape (god forbid we are left with FOX). In addition, by giving the gift of independent film you show others how they can support filmmakers as well.

Let me know what you think by commenting here or on Twitter.

Blog Review for Think Outside the Box Office –

Here’s a review posted in the MN Dialogue blog.

Think Outside the Box Office
Jeremy Wilker MN Dialogue

Have you heard that the “Hollywood” film system is broken? That indies are having a tough time getting their films bought/distributed/shown? That if you want something done right you better do it yourself? Well, for indie filmmakers, if you want something done, period, you really had better do it yourself and Jon Reiss (”Bomb It”, “Better Living Through Circuitry”) aims to give you all the help and advice you need with his new book “Think Outside the Box Office.”

Subtitled “The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era,” Reiss covers everything you need to know (and recommends knowing it before you start shooting!) from assembling your team, building up your website and social networks, doing live events and theatrical (it doesn’t stop once it shows in a theater!), marketing and publicity and merchandising, to digital rights and foreign sales. Whew. It is a jam-packed treasure trove of how-to DIY advice and real world examples. There is even a well-done chapter on how to use WordPress (free) for your website.

TOTBO is a dense tome with step-by-step info and it doesn’t sugar-coat the reality that the current world of indie filmmaking is lots of really hard work. You may not be able to do it all yourself, but at least you’ll know what needs to be done. And you’ll be armed with knowledge from inside the trenches when it comes time to do a distribution deal.

Reiss delivers a timely, up-to-date and impressively useful book for indie filmmakers that is worth far more than the list price. In fact, I’d grab your copy now before Reiss figures out what an enormous value this is and starts charging the big bucks for weekend-long seminars!