Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Don't be a martyr. Learn to sell and buy yourself a sandwich. [3 Must-read articles on DIY marketing]


  1. The standard for crowd-funding has raised.
  2. You have to plan for pre and post production with the same level of focus as production.
  3. Observing VHX landing pages can give you insight on design and functionality.
  4. Think of your movie in in terms of videos, and pictures. Use everything (and create more).
  5. The deliverables coincide with everything you get on a standard blu-ray.  Think ahead.
  6. Professional set photography is key.
  7. Most importantly, you need a long term holistic approach to storytelling to maximize your chances of success.  There are no shortcuts but if you hit most of these points with due diligence you'll be head and shoulders above the rest. You gotta be obsessive to tame DIY.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The inherent struggle of success in film

Read. Read. Read.
  1. Herzog's accent makes him way more artistically credible.
  2. Get $10k and make a film.  Don't wait.
  3. Would Refn have benefited from the reminder that storytelling should be its own reward?
  4. If the ends are all about reputation, you'll end up reputed to be an asshole.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Independent Film Week = headslap

For more information, visit IndieWire for all their reports on what I've been rattling the cages on for a year.

I'm sore.  I'll admit it.  I didn't have the right amount of drive and wasn't born in the right town and don't have legacy film blood in me to start me off with a fighting chance.

But damn it!  The self-distribution game is wide open and hot and any chance to make a killing is getting swamped by all the press and institutional support of what the folks at Killer Films and Seed & Spark and many other companies and individuals are putting together to change the face of the industry.

It's very much the rallying us creators need.  But I feel like once more the strongest resources are going in the safest directions.  All this accessibility should have been a boon to level the playing field but there's a whole new tier of competition rising into the fray: technologists.

http://www.bcorporation.net/sites/default/files/blog/California-Gold-Rush.jpgPeople who got into graphic design or web design or programming have a path into storytelling much like indie game programmers.  The harder learning curve is in the tech and while there are a lot of resources online to get things moving (primarily Youtube and Google), there is now a gatekeeper that hadn't been there before and that's singular capacity.  Every group endeavor is going to be affected by its weakest link and only the most committed and capable individuals will rise into the light.  Just because you understand the mythic structure doesn't mean you'll be able to breakdown wordpress or basic accounting, SEO or distribution deals and you need it all.

That may mean those eligible are people who don't have to worry about survival or are in fact crazies.  But those in between - the moderates and mild-mannered, the average joe storyteller looking for enough stability to pursue his dream - still doesn't have a shot.  You've got to flex money or you've gotta go crazy.  There's no other way to handle a campaign and that scares me.  The real commitment of competing filmmakers is involves a do-or-die approach that requires a complete personal sacrifice.

I'm jabbering and you get the picture.  The tips I pulled from a stream of articles were to
  1. not forget about grants and fiscal sponsorship when moving from short to feature
  2. build your audience on the way to your kickstarter, not after
  3. appreciate that story and character are still the highest priority above post production and gadgetry.
  4. know that at a certain point your content might be ripe for branding, be open to the opportunity and sit down with advertisers before you make a decision
  5. learn how to study your competition
  6. study the competition (it may be other production companies or just similar productions)
  7. accept that content begets everything and the more visual the better.  Create things for people to look at and then post it everywhere your audience might find it.

There really is too much more and you're just going to have to do some digging.  But I've experienced the self-repeating message and know that at some point you've got to take off the learning hat and put on the doing hat and it's going to take a certain amount of hours to build your story for the fans to take on.  I'm both thrilled and terrified to be moved into pursuing a transmedia project.  But quite honestly I really just want to play Destiny on an XBOX ONE.

For me, between the live subscription, game, console and a new TV, it's like a $1500 investment and I'm a destitute wannabe creator.  Well...for all of you out there that share my inertia, carpe diem bitches.  It's never too late.  For the sake of the glorious fantasy realms we may not have access to or the time for, we might as well be building our own for others to come and play.

wow... Inner child freaking.  Why's life gotta bust balls for?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

No I didn't sneeze. It's YEKRA!

Distribution & Curation's Love Child: Yekra Becomes the First 'DIY Digital Movie Theater'

We should all be feeling this arrival.  For the horde of middle-class artists (not just filmmakers, but musicians, painters, writers, anyone with a story to tell), there is a widening avenue to breed thought and passion co-mingled with new technology and people with a mind for the expansion of expression.

There are a lot of questions to be answered regarding the money flow and certainly the discussion is underway.  Will the available funds trickle into too many separate pockets?  The better question for us is "will artists seeking sustainability be able to afford their rent bridging their inspirations in this new era of direct distribution?"

We're not worried about the giants unable to fill their mouths.  We're talking about an aggressive middle-economy where the fundamentals will really matter.  Insofar as the gatekeepers are forced to reposition themselves into aiding the most ambitious of this wave, rather than keeping the swelling mob out, we have incredible potential now freely accessible at an increasing rate.

Before it implodes, lets go back to why we got started:

Monsters, Heroes, Aliens, Detectives, Love, Lust, Despair, Hope.  I feel like Silicon Valley is really burning the midnight oil here but what happens if the people their technology supports became so distracted by figuring out a new model for themselves that they forgot to stay on their artistic grind?  What a gamble the last 20 years have been.  I'm so confused!

But now that's changing and what started with youtube and crowd-sourcing is now rapidly morphing into a whole new economy.  Thank you Micah Van Hove at NoFilmSchool for your diligence in putting together a solid picture for those of us still in film school getting only a quarter of the education needed to be competitive.