Hey NYC & LA Filmmakers!! Your Personal Invite (& DISCOUNT) To Distribution U!

Today's guest post is letter to YOU from Peter Broderick. Okay, it is to me, but only so I can forward it to you.  This is a can't-miss-event.

Dear Ted,

We would like to invite your colleagues and readers  to Distribution U and offer them a special discount (see end of post).  It is a unique event that will give them the latest information about new distribution models and connect them to many of the people who are pioneering cutting edge strategies. The event is being presented by me,  Peter Broderick, a leading strategist and pioneer of new distribution models, and cutting-edge author and tech analyst Scott Kirsner.

This one-day crash course on the New Rules of Crowd Funding, Audience Building & Distribution is being held Saturday, November 13th in New York at NYU and the following Saturday, November 20th in Los Angeles, where it is co-sponsored by UCLA's School of Film, Theater, and Television.

We are very excited about the stellar roster of resource people who have already committed to participate. They are pioneers who are creating and implementing the latest distribution models and strategies.

Richard Abramowitz (who organized the successful theatrical rollout of "Anvil: the Story of Anvil") and Marc Schiller (the digital marketing expert who heads Electric Artists) will present a case study revealing how they guided the release and marketing of "Exit through the Gift Shop" so effectively, without a director to promote it.

So far our other resource people include:

Caitlin Boyle (semi-theatrical maven and head of Film Sprout)

Jim Browne (theatrical booker and founder of Argot Pictures)

Adam Chapnick (founder of Distribber, the innovative company that works with filmmakers to maximize their digital revenues)

Brian Chirls (the tech guru who developed much of the Internet strategy for "Four Eyed Monsters")

Jonathan Dana (producer and producers rep "Road to Nowhere")

Ira Deutchman (producer and Emerging Pictures CEO)

Sandi DuBowski (producer/director "Trembling Before G-d" and outreach director for The Good Pitch)

Madelyn Hammond (marketing guru and former Chief Marketing Officer at Variety)

Justine Jacob (director of "Ready, Set, Bag!" and an attorney at the law firm Lee & Lawless)

Scott Macaulay (producer and editor of Filmmaker Magazine)

Slava Rubin(CEO and co-founder IndieGoGo)

Jill Sobule(singer/songwriter "California Days" and crowdfunding pioneer)

Anne Thompson (journalist and blogger "Thompson on Hollywood")

Other directors and producers include:

Robert Bahar and Almudena Carracedo ("Made In LA")

Jennifer Dubin and Cora Olson ("Good Dick")

Roberta Grossman ("Blessed Is The Match")

Joel Heller ("Winnebago Man")

Meg McLagan ("Lioness")

Vladan Nikolic ("Zenith")

Ben Niles ("Note by Note")

Jim Tusty ("The Singing Revolution")

Our resource people will lead off-the-record discussion groups in their areas of unique expertise and will be available to participants during networking opportunities throughout the day.

The experience of these resource people will be complemented by that of participants, many of whom have also been working on the frontiers of distribution. Scott and I have designed the event to give everyone a chance to connect and potentially collaborate in the future.

Here are discount links:

Distribution U. New York, November 13th

http://distributionu-nyc.eventbrite.com/?discount=friend

Distribution U. Los Angeles, November 20th

http://distributionu-la.eventbrite.com/?discount=friend

There is also a small group rate if two or more people sign up at the same time. For 2 it is $185 a piece and for 3 or more it is $175 per person.

We hope many of your readers and colleagues will be able to attend.

Onwards and upwards,

Peter

P.S.  From Scott:

Here's what Manohla Dargis wrote about last year's event, at USC: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/movies/17dargis.html

We're also giving away a pass to one lucky person who tweets the URL (http://distributionu-nyc.eventbrite.com) along with the hashtag #distribu. (We'll pick the winner Wednesday at 5.)

There's also some MP3 audio of one of the case study sessions last year, featuring the director of "Anvil" and the producer of "Good Dick," both of which were at Sundance 2008.

http://scottkirsner.com/DistributionU2009-casestudies.mp3

Woodstock Fest Distro Panel: A New Paradigm?

"Pair of dimes, I would be happy with two nickels," so joked moderator Bingham Ray, but perhaps one of the bigger truths for all of us. If you have an hour to spare, give us a listen:

Distribution Panel, Woodstock Film Festival 2010 from BEA Submitter on Vimeo.

Panel Speaking Today: Woodstock Film Festival

Today, Saturday October 2nd at 2P, I will be participating in the NEW DISTRIBUTION PARADIGM panel at the Woodstock Film Festival.

The 21st century brought with it extraordinary advances in the way that films are distributed. The advent of the Internet, cable and satellite television and on-demand services now allows a viewer to choose exactly how and when they watch a film. This change in dynamic between the work and the audience has allowed many films a chance to shine that would have otherwise been denied. In turn this has opened up a whole new world of cinema for the public to enjoy, making such changes incredibly valuable and worthwhile. This panel will discuss the remarkable leaps forward that have been made in the world of film distribution and look ahead to what the future may hold.

My fellow panelists are an esteemed crew: Richard Abramowitz, Bob Berney, Edward Burns, and John Sloss.  I hope you can join us.

Order tickets here: http://www.woodstockfilmfestival.com/festival2010/panels.php?cat=Panel

Is Art Sabotaged By Thinking About An Audience From The Start?

I have been falling behind on my blogging; I admit it.  Luckily, information never goes away. Nor is there anything like a shortage of things that need to be said.  We have so many hurdles to jump in the indie film world.  Or is it walls to break down?  Even after we made it through once, the same challenges face us again.  Even when one or two lead the way, the path gets overgrown immediately, and the rest seem to be lost all over again.  So here's to the better late, than never camp, a post on some old but still relevant news...

There is a good post from several weeks back on Spout "Five Thoughts on Independent Filmmaking from SXSW".  There's a lot in it that merits further discussion, but one thing said by indie distrib Richard Abramowitz leapt out at me: “It’s always a delicate situation to talk to filmmakers about finding their audience beforehand,” Abramowitz said on a panel about self-distribution. “Presumably, you’re making art. To think about the end user in that particular way is kind of a corruption of the process. It’s the producer’s responsibility to work off the director and understand who the audience may be.”
This could be considered a nicely condensed version of Brent Chesanek's post(s) here several months back, and certainly captures the thoughts and attitudes of many I know and have heard. I get it.  It makes some sense to leave art to the artists, business to the business types, marketing and distribution to the relevant experts, right?
I don't feel this attitude captures the realities of the time.  In my humble opinion, and particularly for the independent filmmaker, you are not being responsible or realistic if you keep thinking your job is simply to build it (and then to trust that they will come).  You need to build the paths and bridges to get the people there.  You need to have the pen to keep them there once they have entered the field.  You need to have the apparatus to help them tell their friends and family to join them.
You don't need to do it alone though.  You just need to find the right people to collaborate with and a plan on how to get them to work with you (money helps).  Sure it would be great to find a producer who knows all of this already (and yes this is what they should be teaching in producing programs at the "film schools"), but I have always found there to be far fewer producers than there are writers and directors who are looking for the help.  Presumably all filmmakers work a very long time prepping their films.  Unless they are working in the studio world, all filmmakers invest a tremendous amount of time without any promise of financial return.  With all that energy and effort, doesn't it make sense to figure out how the work may actually reach an audience?
I am not a marketing expert, but my thoughts on marketing have helped get many of my films made.  Before pitching the financiers, we try to come up with the different handles on how we will get an audience in to see our film.  This effort is for naught if they don't respond to the script in the first place, but once they want to meet, I better have an answer to those standard questions of who is the audience and how do we reach them.  If I can come up with ten or fifteen decent approaches, the financiers assume their marketing team can up with a host of even better strategies.  
Every step in filmmaking and marketing is a collaborative effort; it is our responsibility to help our collaborators do their jobs better.