Tag: reel world survival skills for filmmakers

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!)
Continue reading →

Back to NYC: OVC and Raindance

Headed back to NY today – after a few days back in LA. First up tomorrow I will be at the Open Video Conference on a panel: “Future of Exhibition: Opening the Box Office” Friday, 3-3:45PM. This panel will look at how producers are bypassing traditional gatekeepers to reach out to their audience while exploring the tools that are shaping this process.

Then on Sunday October 3rd I’ll be speaking at Raindance NYC giving a quick class: “Real World Survival Skills for Independent Filmmakers” Sunday, 4-6PM. This workshop will be a survey and introduction to a fresh approach at film distribution and marketing. I will walk you through his modern, practical and unique game plan for efficiently connecting you and your film with the audience it deserves.

Hope to see you there!!

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 →

Palm Springs Shortfest Speaking Event – Come see me in Palm Springs.

Hey everybody – I’m speaking about DIY Distribution at the Palm Springs Shortfest next Friday as part of a festival panelist discussion. Details below!

Copied from the PS Shortfest page:

Friday, June 26, 1:30 PM @ Hilton Palm Springs – DIY Distribution Event

DIY Distribution
Showing: Friday, June 26, 1:30 PM
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Theater: Hilton Palm Springs
Ticket Code: ZUZU141Q
Continue reading →

Reducing Your Film’s Budget – Saving on Music Liscense Rights and Music Costs with KUSSU!

If you’re a music lover like me as well as a DIY/Independent filmmaker, you are all too familiar with the music-picking, music-clearing, music-scoring ordeals that come along when making your work. Well, word is getting out about KUSSU – your new favorite resource for free/cheap film music.

The Article is from PRLog.com, published last week:

Is it already Christmas time? Apparently NO, but for film production companies YES Santa is here…
Free License Use Program “FLUP” aim to help reduce film production budget by licensing music from established and indie artists free of charge.

Kussu Music Licensing Network
PRLog (Press Release) – Jun 08, 2009 – Los Angeles

Exclusive: Didier Kussu interviewed by Film Music Magazine

FMM: Who founded Kussu Music Publishing in 1994?

DK: Kussu Music Publishing was founded in 1994 as a publishing arm of Kussu Productions Inc. a music content company with global businesses in music publishing and recorded music, includes artist development, management and music library as specialties.

FMM: What services do you provide?

DK: For Music Users:
Since we own or control both the masters and publishing rights from several catalogues, we are in a unique position to provide Pre-cleared music for any project. This makes our company more attractive to clients, because we are fast and our Sync and Master Use Licensing process is simple and easy.
We also work closely with agents and partners in many countries including the US, such as Crucial Music, Noma Music among others. These partners license portion of our music catalogue to third party users.

For Music Creators and Copyright Holders/Owners:
With our deep relationships, experience and knowledge in music and film industries, we of course offer many avenues of exposure to songwriters, artists, indie labels and publishers for their songs through television shows, motion pictures, soundtracks, multimedia, commercials etc. as well as global administration incl. worldwide registration of songs, making royalty payments to songwriters and composers in respect of the usage of their music, tracking the use of the music they own and ensuring that proper payment is made for all licensed uses, sub-publishing worldwide and other music rights management activities.

FMM: How large is your database of artists?

Actually, we have over thousands artists and songwriters from around the globe, that’s including both exclusive and non-exclusive roster. And over hundreds of music producers and indie labels.

FMM: When was KMLN launched?

DK: Kussu Music Licensing Network was officially launched on May 4, 2009, and we are still adding new music everyday.

FMM: What is FLUP?

DK: FLUP simply means, “Free License Use Program”, this program is designed to help reduce film production budget by
licensing music from established and indie artists “free of charge”.

Listen, dear Robyn, it is just the fact that nearly every sector of the economy has been affected one
way or another by recession. But the music and film industry have already been
hit so hard by internet piracy over Peer?to?Peer (P2P) networks prior the
economic slowdown. However, the digital revolution does also present new
opportunities for the entertainment industry. With the introduction of new
media technologies, greater opportunities for film producers emerge as well as
for the distribution etc.

But lets face the reality, the 62nd annual Cannes Film Festival was not what it
used to be. The market isn’t booming and overall prices for movies have
remained low. New research form NPD and Nielsens reveal that 63 percent of
Americans have played video games within the past six months, while only 43
percent admitted to having gone to see a movie in the theater.
The new strategy of “FLUP”, Free License Use Program introduced by Kussu
Music Publishing, through Kussu Music Licensing Network’s website
(KUSSU.NET) is a natural reaction to help both our larger community of affiliated
songwriters, labels and publishers as well as the film industry to cut production
costs of TV Shows, Series, Movies etc.
It is a win?win situation, songwriters and publishers will receive performance
royalties, artists get promoted and the production companies save money and
have less headaches.

FMM: How does one qualify for FLUP?

DK: Any project that will help promote the artist through the placement of his or her song. And when it airs the writer and publisher will get their performance royalties. As I’ve already mentioned, it is a win-win situation, the industry is not in a good shape now. Therefore such concept is needed.
To be concrete about how does one qualify for FLUP, it is mostly made for established projects such as Grey’s Anatomy, One Tree Hill, CSI, Ugly Betty, WEEDS, Valentine, Sex And The City, Saturday Night Live, Dexter, Brothers and Sisters, Supernatural etc. but also new independent or major projects, shows, films with good concept. It is not about how successful a project is or will be you know, we are very flexible and open and every License under FLUP will be decided on case by case basis. However, we are focusing on project that will help our artists and writers get more exposure and generate future royalties.

FMM: What kind of technology are you using for your work process?

DK: The technology behind KUSSU.NET has been implemented by “YOULICENSE”, we are grateful to be working with them, they have an excellent team of experts. The song search engine has been built like “GOOGLE”, Music users will be able to search by Genre, Mood, Subject, Language, Instruments, Style, Lyrics, Similar Artist, Vocal Type, Writer, Composer or any other individual
Keyword(s) of their choices. Full track preview available for all songs and clients will be able to
license and download (wav files), CD quality tracks online.

All tracks are Pre-cleared and ready for use in your project. Beside indie and
established artists and genres such as Pop, Hip Hop, Dance, R&R and Rock, Kussu
Music Licensing Network offers “Hard To Find Specific Music”; such as
Oriental/Middle Eastern music, different types of African, Eastern European music, French Pop, Hip Hop, Russian Pop, Hip Hop, Rock, German Pop,
Rock, Hip Hop, Electro as well as a variety of Latin music.

DK: Are there any specific film or TV productions that you would like to quote as “successfully licensed to”?
The songs from our music catalogues are used by different production companies, advertising agencies etc. on a regular basis worldwide including TV productions such as My Boys/Sony Pictures, Ugly Betty/ABC Family, WEEDS/Lionsgate, Dexter/Showtime, Lincoln Heights/ABC Family, Fat Girls/FOX Searchlight, Greek/ABC Family just to name a few.

About Didier Kussu
Didier, is a low profile business consultant, entrepreneur and music
executive. He is the founder of companies such as United Entertainment & Media
Limited (UEM, London), Kussu Productions Inc., Indie Songs Publishing Scandinavia and Indie Songs Publishing UK, African Music Publishing, the world largest African music publisher, Indie Distribution, Latin Music Publishing Group USA and Latin Music Publishing Group Europe, Universoul Vibes, Murder Riddims Records and Murder Riddims Publishing, among others.

For further information, please contact:
Email: flup(at)Kussu.net

For other licensing inquiries, please send email to:

For press inquiries, please contact:
Fax: +49 208 6942 240
Email: press(at)Kussuproductions.com

For more information about Film Music Magazine, please visit:

Contact Information:
Global Media Online, Inc.
8605 Sunset Boulevard
Suite 14625
Los Angeles, CA 90069

# # #

About Kussu Music Publishing
Founded in 1994 as a publishing arm of Kussu Productions Inc., KUSSU MUSIC
PUBLISHING is a leading independent company with catalogues of highly selected
songwriters, composers and producers from across the globe.
KUSSU MUSIC PUBLISHING offers an easy and affordable music licensing solution
for music supervisors, film directors, advertising agencies and other users through
Kussu Music Licensing Network (KUSSU.NET) and its 24/7 online service.

DIY-ing Your Film’s Trailer: Do’s and Dont’s for Filmmakers

In the new digital film age and the world of DIY marketing and distribution, we film makers will no longer be handing our dailies off to a marketing agency to cut us the dream trailer. While in the writing, shooting and editing stages, we must think as artists; but after that period, we must become marketing gurus. Check out this entertaining article from Film.com on marketing your film appropriately, starting with the trailer:

Good Trailers vs. Bad Trailers: Where Movie Marketers Go Wrong
Don’t ruin all the good jokes, don’t tell us the entire plot, and whatever you do, don’t spoil the ending!

MaryAnn Johanson, Jun 16, 2009

I feel like Gollum and the One Ring when it comes to film trailers: I loveses them and I hateses them. I’m always eager for a look at the movies I’ll be seeing in a few months, but I’m always terrified that the trailers will ruin the experience of watching those movies. One of the first things I learned as a film critic was how much more enjoyable it is to see a movie with no preconceptions whatsoever about it, and more than once I’ve seen a trailer for the first time after I saw the movie and knew to a certainty that if I’d seen the trailer first, it would have greatly lessened my enjoyment of that movie.

Movie fans know why: Because trailers give away far too much. All the best jokes. (That’s such a standard that when the jokes in the trailer are terrible, it’s a guarantee that the movie will be awful, because if those are the best attempts at humor the film can make … so maybe even bad trailers do offer a valuable service in this respect.) The resolution of the sexual tension between the protagonists. The most surprising of the plot twists. And often, the ending of the film itself … or hints enough that you can guess.

So why bother even seeing the movie at all? Continue reading →

Clue Train Manifesto for Filmmakers

Posted on by Jon Reiss

The Oliver Marks post from yesterday pointed me to the Clue Train Manifesto that I had never heard of. I’ve taken the liberty to repost it here (you can click on the link and sign the manifesto):

if you only have time for one clue this year, this is the one to get…

Online Markets…
Networked markets are beginning to self-organize faster than the companies that have traditionally served them. Thanks to the web, markets are becoming better informed, smarter, and more demanding of qualities missing from most business organizations.

…People of Earth
The sky is open to the stars. Clouds roll over us night and day. Oceans rise and fall. Whatever you may have heard, this is our world, our place to be. Whatever you’ve been told, our flags fly free. Our heart goes on forever. People of Earth, remember.
95 Theses
Signers & Comments

1. Markets are conversations.

2. Markets consist of human beings, not demographic sectors.

3. Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice.

4. Whether delivering information, opinions, perspectives, dissenting arguments or humorous asides, the human voice is typically open, natural, uncontrived.

5. People recognize each other as such from the sound of this voice.

6. The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.

7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
Continue reading →

Jon Reiss DV Magazine Column: Top 10 Subjects They Should be Teaching in Film Schools

Posted on by Jon Reiss

I wrote a column for DV Magazine on what film schools should be teaching students besides how to make films: Top 10 Subjects They Should Be Teaching in Film School.

Here it is – let me know what you think:

Top 10 Subjects They Should Be Teaching in Film School
May 18, 2009 By Jon Reiss

Film schools are normally quite good at teaching students how to make films. But they generally have not seen it as their mandate to help students actually learn how to survive in the modern media landscape. Because of this, I developed a class at Cal Arts — where I teach — entitled “Reel World Survival Skills: Everything I Wish I Had Been Taught in Film School.”

To succeed, it’s no longer enough to have a body of work and a script in hand for what you want to do next. You instead need to develop a range of entrepreneurial skills in order to develop, pitch, fund and distribute your work. Filmmakers need to be the architects of their own career and create a wider and wider network of relationships to help them on their path.

What follows are the Top 10 subject that should be taught in film schools (and by film organizations around the country/world), broken equally into “Old School” and “New School” categories.

Old School Techniques That Are Still Essential:

1. Building Relationships
Filmmaking is a business based upon personal relationships, but, unfortunately, most filmmakers are intellectual wallflowers. You need to come out of your skin, go to as many events as possible and learn how to create lasting relationships. Hint: People like to talk about themselves instead of exclusively listening to you. Continue reading →

NY Times Introduces “What Now?” Jon Reiss’s Book on DIY, Web and Hybrid Distribution

Posted on by Jon Reiss

Brooks Barnes wrote about the book that I am writing about DIY, Web and hybrid distribution for his NY Times blog Carpetbagger – The Hollywood Blog of The New York Times

Here’s the relevent section: “The DIY-route in general is one that more filmmakers are pursuing as the specialty business shrinks.
Publishers have noticed and are releasing at least two new books on the subject: “The Reel Truth” by Reed Martin and the tentatively titled “A Practical Guide to the New World of DIY, Web and Hybrid Distribution for Filmmakers” by Jon Reiss.”

Reel World Class Discusses Web Finance

I’m sitting in my Reel World Class at Cal Arts showing the class how to blog and how easy it is. We got here by being sidetracked by a Web 2.0 vs Web 1.0 discussion. More later. Check out fundable.org