Hollywood and New York came together in Las Vegas this week for the largest event in technology and entertainment, the Consumer Electronics Show. The future of film has always been determined in part by what happens at CES every year. The massive industry conference helped launch VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Xbox and every other major technology used to distribute and watch movies. Canon, Avid, Sony and every other major supplier of production tech demonstrate their latest and greatest in Las Vegas too.
This year though, at least for independent producers, the most important thing happening at CES has been the IAWTV Awards show and related Entertainment Matters conference. The International Academy of Web Television joined forces with CES to create a unique track of conference programming and bring the leading web video awards show to Las Vegas. This convergence of independent producers, online distribution and Hollywood is a huge step forward for independent producers, writers and actors in every medium.
So why should this matter to independent filmmakers? Because for too long the bubble of the film world has insulated filmmakers from changes happening in their own industry. As the worlds of online and offline media converge, there is no better way to understand where the film industry is headed than to learn from the greatest innovators in film and video — the web producers.
The goal of most early web series seemed to be for the actors and producers to build a career in television or on the big screen. It’s only natural that online media has become a farm club for production talent in television and film, but the opposite is now true as well.
The tables have turned in recent years, particularly after the 2007-2008 WGA writers strike, a mass of studio talent began experimenting with new ways to create great programs outside the studio system. One of the most influential productions to come out of the writers strike was the collaboration between Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris and web celeb Felicia Day on Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, taking an online concept to full film production and creating a cult classic in the process. Since that time, Kevin Pollak, Will Ferrell and plenty of other household names discovered that cheap production and rapid distribution can liberate you creatively, while immediately building a more engaged fan base.
Technical production talent has been thriving online as well, thanks to the freedom of experimentation with new production tools. From cameras and sound gear to editing software and video players, new tools are in the hands of online innovators long before they make it to film sets. In fact you can be certain that some of the best production gear shown at CES this week will be used in online productions within days.
A few weeks back I tweeted that every independent filmmaker should find an experienced web producer, buy them lunch, and listen to everything they say. This received more of a response from web producers than it did from filmmakers, which is really a shame, because the filmmakers have the most to learn.
The shortcut to this, without having to pay for lunch, is to join the IAWTV and stay in the loop by connecting with the online production communities on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn from a bunch of web nerds.
Rob Millis is the founder of Dynamo Media and one of the creators behind the Dynamo Player, the first online pay-per-view platform freely available to independent filmmakers. Rob was an early pioneer of online video production and distribution, and has been a founder, investor or advisor with several online media and industrial technology companies. You can find Rob on Twitter at @robmillis or learn more about Dynamo at http://www.DynamoPlayer.com.
SF Film Society Blog
Watch the Angulo Brothers from #TheWolfpack in the hilarious mashup of Mrs. Doubtfire, Sister Act, and Dirty Harry commissioned by #SFFS featured on our site sffs.org
Two weeks left until the Early Deadline for the #SFFS Hearst Screenwriting Grant on July 8th! Visit our site for details on the grant and deadlines www.sffs.org
Check out the #LizGarbus documentary #WhatHappenedMissSimone? available on Netflix June 26! Learn more about the legendary singer and her tumultuous career in this festival favorite. #SFIFF
#Advantageous is now on Netflix!Check out blog.sffs.org to read all about director #JenniferPhang's filmmaking experiences behind her Sundance 2015 Grand Jury Prize Winner. #SFIFF
Fun fest fact for this Friday: #SatyajitRay's #PantherPanchali is likely the most played film at #SFIFF! And with good reason, it is often listed as one of the greatest movies ever made. Not to miss: SFFS Programmer Rod Armstrong will give a special intro to a screening of it this Sunday, June 14, 7:15 at Shattuck Cinemas.
Did y'all hear that SFFS-supported #RomeoIsBleeding just won another Audience Award at #SIFF2015!? Plus they received a Special Jury Prize. Congrats to director #JasonZeldes (pictured), subjects & crew! Their next stop is @RooftopFilms.
Photo by #PatMazzera at 58th #SFIFF
Open to apply: SFFS FilmHouse Residencies! Our residency program provides filmmakers with a creative community and FREE collaborative work space in SF's Chinatown. Be sure to read our "How To" before applying and remember Filmmaker Pro members or above pay no application fee! Application and details at http://bit.ly/FilmHouseApp
#TBT: Standing ovation for the world premiere of #RomeoIsBleeding at El Cerrito High School during #SFIFF 58. Honored that the Film Society supports this powerful film through our Documentary Film Fund. It is a truly compelling and uniquely Bay Area tale of the role of art in community healing. Such a wonderful memory from this year's Festival. See all moments (new pictures up!) on SFIFF's Facebook page. Photo by Pat Mazerra. #SFFSsupports #CinemaByTheBay
See more #SFIFF: We are thrilled to have hosted the Bay Area premieres of a number of stunning new films by emerging and established directors at the 58th Festival. However, equally exciting for us is that many of these movies make their way into the world and reach audiences beyond our two-week celebration. Landmark Theatres in particular have picked up a variety of alums from this most recent Fest. To see which flicks are showing at their Bay Area venues for the remainder of this month and through June, visit SFIFF's Facebook page. Pictured: Albert Maysles' final film #Iris, now showing at Landmark's Clay Theatre and at Shattuck Cinemas.
No need to keep on the hush hush: the San Francisco Silent Film Festival kicks off tomorrow at the #CastroTheatre! So excited to copresent two gorgeous films screening in this year's program: All Quiet on the Western Front, Lewis Milestone's cinematic version of the classic antiwar drama, which will screen with live musical accompaniment by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (May 28, 7:00), and Flesh and the Devil (pictured), an exquisitely photographed film starring John Gilbert, Lars Hanson, Barbara Kent and #GretaGarbo at her most alluring (May 30, 7:00). For full info & to buy tickets, visit silentfilm.org. #SFSFF
We are thrilled to have hosted the Bay Area premieres of a number of stunning new films by emerging and established directors at the 58th SFIFF. However, equally exciting for us is that many of these movies make their way into the world and reach audiences beyond our two-week Festival.