Why Would You Star In An Indie Film? Giamatti & Rockwell explain it all

The other interview Christine Vachon and I did for FilmCatcher (before they changed direction) at Sundance this year is now up on YouTube. The sounds not great, but the content's still revealing. It stars two of the greatest actors of our day (and that ain't CV or me), so check it out.

Episode One:
Episode Two:
The whole 9 yards/episode is up on YouTube here:


What's It Like To Step BEHIND The Camera

Back at the beginning of the year, Christine Vachon and I sat down with Alan Cumming, Jeff Lipsky, and Lee Daniels to talk with them about what it was like to sit in the director's chair after being established in other roles within the industry.

This is part one and part two of nine.
Part Two of Nine:

You can look at all nine installments, right here:

The New Crew Positions

In a post entitled "Issues Of Sustainability" on the Filmmaker Mag Blog, Lance Weiler  talks about how we as filmmakers can produce for today's evolving audiences. In talking to filmmakers, I still find they often don't yet fully conceive what it means to adopt a "transmedia" approach to storytelling and marketing.  On the other side of the spectrum though is what made Wired's recent post on "Why Hollywood Needs a New Model For Storytelling" such a gas  -- they've got it and got it good.  Check it out.  We may not need to build the ARGs and seed the story so heavily on blogs and elsewhere as Scott Brown writes about, but we do need to give serious thought about how the hell to build audiences for our stories.  

Let's face it: it just is not enough to have a good story well told anymore.  Sure I still believe in the basics first and building out you narrative on a cross-platform basis is simply not enough to cut it. And yes, the first step towards better filmmaking is to have good material that you have given serious thought to.   
I might harp a bit on the new approaches and filmmakers' lack of thought there, but to be frank that's because there still is a great deal of nothing going on in the old school department.  As good as I found this year's Sundance batch, and as hopeful as I am for SxSW's crop, how do we drill down to the basics and make sure we have our pants riding high?  I mean: what makes a good film good?  Some folks may know how to tell their story nine ways to Sunday, but it still won't sing, if ain't got that swing.  
I've have started a new series over on Hammer To Nail on "Qualities Of Better Film" and promise to go into over twenty such qualities that at the very least makes my motor run.  It may be basic stuff, but I still find these qualities in short supply.  Check it out over the next few weeks.  Let me know what I've missed.  I know that if everyone adopted the approach that I outline, I'd find more films I would want to give prizes to.  On the other hand, since I find it hard even to do that even with my films, maybe we all just need to wake up to how damn hard it is to make good films (let alone better ones), and slow the heck down.
But while I am on the self-promotion tip:  make a trip over to Filmcatcher where Christine Vachon and I hosted a couple of conversations with filmmakers and actors during Sundance (okay so only the teaser's up now, but it tells you what you can anticipate).  But that ain't all.... there's more to come on that front, or at least one similar to it, too.  Stay tuned.

The Sundance Panic Button Panel

Todd Sklar tipped me to the video of the panel I participated on at Sundance, and now you can decide: push or ponder?  

Part One:
IndieWire has covered it and condensed it, if you prefer your news in print and not to take an hour to digest -- but me I like the whole story, warts and all.
The panel was supposed to be on the future of film, but it was a bunch of old white guys -- and that's not going to be the future.  Christine Vachon and I, with some help from IndieWire, had lunch with a much different group, that was 100% filmmakers, which IndieWire filmed and will be posted soon (so stay tuned).  
As the sole filmmaker on the Panic Button panel, I found it particularly frustrating that there was so little concern expressed about how quality film will be generated, let alone exhibited.  It is all so connected: the big films to the little films, the financing to the distribution, the exhibition to the criticism.  The dots are connected but people want only to look at their domain.  That's not self-interest, that's short-sightedness.  And that's got to change, and I'm sure it will.
I get a kick out of watching/listening to these videos.  Among other things, it shows I have to work on my public speaking compared to these pros (and the control of my hair).  And it's impressive how skilled they all are about promoting themselves and their films -- and their way of doing business.  The distribs get the word out on their accomplishments, but I neglected to mention ADVENTURELAND (and did I tell you how it just killed at the festival?).  Granted, I hope to keep making films in the top indie budget range, but watching this panel, and despite some clear articulation of the contrary, it is still easy to walk away thinking there is only one way of doing business.
The important part of part one, which has gotten NO PRESS, is that Peter Broderick speaks of a number of filmmakers who have made over $1 Million on a single film on a single website.  How exciting is that?  Get your investors to talk to Peter now!  There's hope out there for a new way.
Part Two:
It's funny to notice as I post this that part one has about 20,000 views but Part Two is still under 1,000!  That said, I don't think I got my points across until that second half.  I guess the next time, I have to write some notes down like Mark Gill did and deliver a whopper right out of the gate...
There are some simple things that could really change things.  Around 11:45 or so, on Part 2, I raise the possibility of the distribs giving the exhibs back Monday night for community screenings.  This simple idea would move mountains in terms of specialized production and is doable now.  Jonathon Sehring follows this by stating that IFC will provide filmmakers with the data their film generates.  If this becomes the dominant position, filmmakers can really start to be in control.
And if you are just looking for the John Sloss bashing part of the program, that begins around 15:35 in Part 2.