Digital Hollywood NYC 2011 - Part 2

By Jacques Thelemaque

Jacques Thelemaque returns today to complete the download of his lessons learned from Digi Hwood knowledge fest. What's the future? Does anyone know? This much I DO know: I would love to have one person cover for our HopeForFilm community all the film related seminars over the course of the year, be they in NYC or LA, and compare what can be gained from these conferences and how they vary. I wonder if we can find a sponsor... I wonder more if we could find one person who can endure -- even with the enticement of tasty sandwiches!

The second day of Digital Hollywood started earlier, but I was there on time, excited by the film-specific panels and those bagels, croissants, muffins and pastries with my name on them.

The first panel I went to was "Film Festivals In The Digital Age" presented by IndieWire, moderated by IndieWire staff writer & chief film critic Eric Kohn and including Sebastien Perioche - CEO/President/Founder of Eurocinema On Demand, Amy Dotson - Deputy Director of IFP, Geoff Gilmore - Chief Creative Officer Tribeca Film Festival and Terence Gray - Founder and Executive Director of the New York Television Festival (NYTVF)

Luckily, the panel didn't speak solely about festival issues, but broadened the discussion to address a number of issues swirling around independent film. The panelists all agreed that festivals are more important than ever as curators. But in these challenging times, they also need to be a bit more of a partner for films and filmmakers. After the panel, I asked Amy Dotson how active in the distribution process festivals are willing to be (given that festivals are commonly the only meaningful theatrical distribution a film will get and that the larger festivals often demand a "premiere" to screen your feature). She said that's the million-dollar - but still unanswered - question since it generates so many internal arguments at festivals. In essence, the answer defines the role of the festival - and there does not seem to be a unified perspective on what that role should or could be. Certainly, festivals are still not talking too much about how they can help monetize a filmmakers' work. Sebastien tried to put forth the idea that Eurocinema On Demand can provide exposure and royalties (for European filmmakers only). But many of us filmmakers have heard that promise before. Geoff Gilmore, however, seems to be taking the filmmakers financial interests very seriously. He rightly argued that advertising driven platforms suck. Transactional models work better, but thinks the split with filmmakers is typically underwhelming. He claims Tribeca is trying to create a model that provides guarantees as well as meaningful ancillary cash. Sebastien asked what he means by real cash. But that was never answered. Gilmore feels it is the festival's responsibility to embrace and provide a central platform for new media story-telling (gaming, transmedia, etc.). Amy Dotson said commercial agents for filmmakers is a good idea, if you can find one - not just to make commercials but to generate commercial endorsements for films or new media. Over-all, the panel suggested festivals can best support filmmakers if they have clear goals - whether it be to generate exposure or cold, hard cash.

The next panel - in the very same room (I took a break to pee and lost my really great seat) - was "The Future of Content Distribution". This was the panel I was definitely MOST excited about. On the panel were Daniel Laikind - Founder of Stickfigure Productions (Moderator), Rick Allen - CEO of SnagFilms, Gary Delfiner - SVP Digital Distribution at Screen Media Ventures, Erick Opeka - VP VOD and Digital at New Video, Debra Fisher from Oscilloscope Laboratories, Matt Dentler - Head of Content at Cinetic Rights Management and FilmBuff.

When I got back from the bathroom, the panel was already deep in discussion and were busily listing a few of the interesting new video content sites out there: - Machinima, Vuguru. FilmBuff. SnagFilms. Also, some discussion of YouTube, Netflix and Hulu. That led to a discussion about deal models for filmmakers and the importance of separating rights so that you don't give them all up to a single entity. Non-exclusivity is apparently now more accepted - especially with these new companies/sites - allowing filmmakers to negotiate their rights separately with various companies whose core competency allows them to adequately manage the rights they acquire. They went on to say that Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube are making deals with individual producers. But not up-n-comers. They tend to be fairly established filmmakers or name talent. Deals don't bring as much money as broadcast, but, again, you can negotiate to limit the rights they hold. Matt Dentler said content creators (filmmakers, naturally) need to be a lot smarter. And they have to work with companies that have a true digital strategy. Debra Fisher says we must educate ourselves (filmmakers, naturally) on the various platforms and the "metrics" of each. Afterward, I asked Matt if he can provide a case-study that illustrates how a digital strategy is created. He simply said that digital strategy is broken down into two primary approaches based on whether a filmmaker is trying to make money or trying to build exposure (didn't we hear this at the film festival panel?). They can both feed back into each other, but it is incumbent upon the filmmaker to make that decision. He also said his company (FilmBuff) likes to get involved at the rough cut stage - and not any earlier - to begin devising a strategy. Sadly, never got to hear what a typical strategy might sound/look like.

Then I had lunch. Contemplated going somewhere else to eat. But between being a cheap-ass filmmaker and not wanting to leave the event (it was kinda cold last Friday), I dove back into the potpourri of mini-sandwiches, but was sad to find no tuna sandwiches left. Damn, this conference-going can be so challenging at times.

Next up was the HBO panel - which I knew would be one giant commercial for HBO. I didn't mind. I LOVE HBO and I'm not ashamed to admit it!! It started with a tour of HBO Go. When it was finished, and despite my love for HBO, I had to ask myself "What am I doing here?" But I realized that how HBO crafts it's web presence, apps, interactive experiences and over-all social experience around their shows is a sometimes very applicable model for indie filmmakers. Of course, the social experience for HBO shows cannot be replicated exactly by indie filmmakers because they build them around shows that have already reached a certain level of cultural identity. But here are just a few things to consider:

•Keep on point. Do not create social tools/apps whose relevance to your film/show is a big reach.
•"Seed" your social activity with friends/family/crew/etc. - those with only no degrees of separation from you or the project.
•Every social tool used on the web should have a smartphone/tablet app analogy. And every app should be able to talk to the website.
•Tweeting is a bad experience for direct conversations with audience.
•Don't forget the lurkers - people watching the social interactivity, but not participating.
•HBO connect is a new tool that allows audience to connect with what other HBO fans are buzzing about and even connect with stars. "The water cooler re-imagined" is the tagline for HBO connect. Very clever. And this connectivity with filmmakers and important members of the cast of any film (even the smallest) can be truly meaningful.

I finished the day torn between a "Branded Entertainment" (web ads and short ad-sponsored films) panel vs. an "Oscar Campaign" panel. I think I made the wrong choice. "What did I care about Oscar campaigning?", I thought. And I figured the branded entertainment panel would be good information for filmmakers looking to make some cash for their filmmaking. But, of course, the branded entertainment panel was another mind-numbing onslaught of corporate-speak with no clear treasure map for filmmakers and other content creators to follow. So, I left and came in on the tail end of the oscar panel and they seemed to be saying some very interesting things about marketing in general. And the featured film was a doc - which are always indie and more analogous to indie narrative filmmakers than other forms of "content". But I, sadly, got there too late to fully grasp the whole arc of the discussion.

So, here's just a few takeaways from the second day, and from the conference over-all.

•DVD is dead. Or at least that's what everybody was saying. Don't know if I buy that quite yet for nobody filmmakers.
•A new site called was ubiquitous It offers it's users a "fame spot". It made me depressed.
•Know what your goals are as a filmmaker and work backward from than in your digital strategy. Heck, work backward from that in figuring out what you even want to make.
•Stick to your core competency. Stop pretending you'r a filmmaker, a fundraising genius, tech wizard, a marketing guru and a business wunderkind. Surround yourself with people who are much better at things than you are.
•Nobody has a model for consistent, repeatable money-making in the Digital Universe, yet. But all agree, that's where the money will be. I do, too.
•Engagement is all the rage. But some form of engagement is indeed key, even for us shoe-string indies. It's incumbent upon us to create reasons for people to care about our work.
•In the end, it's clear that content is indeed king. Even though few seemed able to talk specifically about content, it's obvious that every success had a really good story behind it or in it. It's just that there is no easy, repeatable formula for "good". But that shouldn't stop us from trying. And good work will find its way into any platform.
•Fresh baked goods are always pleasant to have around.

At the end, no party. No dinner. Just over. Exchanged a few business cards with some interesting peeps and I was gone. Was I glad I went? Absolutely. Was I totally satisfied. Not completely. I got some great info, but I was a bit frustrated by the dearth of clarity and specifics - and the lack of substantive discussion of content. I guess my recommend for the future is that they use moderators who truly reflect the audience (instead of industry peers) who will dig in there and get the kind of specifics we need. But there's no doubt we're all - including the panelists - still on a big learning curve. Which means the future is wide open and full of possibilities….

Digital Hollywood NYC 2011 -- Part 1

By Jacques Thelemaque Conferences abound in the US Film Biz and sometimes seems like another example of industries that still financially prosper in a field that has regularly been headed downwards.  Yet, as corporate focused as they often are, they do point to a tendency to continued education.  Perhaps most hopefully they point to a willingness for our industry to evolve and embrace some aspect of change.  We sent Filmmakers Alliance founder and past HopeForFilm contributor  Jacques Thelemaque to Digital Hollywood NYC to get the perspective for the truly free film community.

-- Ted

I don't go to seminars and conferences as often as I used to. Mostly because getting anything beyond a sales pitch out of them is like panning for gold. I've lost patience with sitting through hours of presentations to get a single nugget of new/good information. There are exceptions, however (such as Ted and Christine Vachon's excellent master class which I will post a blog about soon), so I was genuinely excited for the opportunity to attend Digital Hollywood NYC last week.

Frankly, I'm excited by anything that will help me try to understand the new media landscape, which I find frustratingly inscrutable. And given that the two-day conference is titled "Digital Hollywood" (with a subtitle of "Content is King") the natural assumption is that it is looking at the digital landscape from a filmmaking/entertainment/story-telling perspective, which is right in my wheelhouse.

So, I hopped a couple of trains and made it up to the McGraw-Hill building in mid-town Manhattan to see what I could learn. No signage, but lots of helpful people led me to the second floor balcony and suite of classrooms. I got there a bit early and was immediately encouraged by the fresh coffee and buffet of baked goods. No matter what happened, I wouldn't have to experience it on an empty stomach.

I also was happy to learn they offered wifi access, so I pulled up the conference schedule on my computer. Since they always had at least three panels going on simultaneously, you would have to choose one - or hop around getting bits and pieces, which they encourage you to do. It was tough choosing as they were able to get a number of impressive speakers - many CEO's and V.P.'s of both emerging and established companies working, in various ways, at the convergence of digital entertainment and social media.

For the first panel of the conference, I chose one on Social TV. There was also one on philanthropy in the digital age sponsored by Huffington Post that was tugging at me, but I chose Social TV because I felt I really needed to understand what the hell it was. The minute it started, however, I realized I'd be playing catch-up. The audience was clearly expected to already understand the term "Social TV" as well as the buzz-words that flew around the discussion. Here were the four most common buzzwords I heard there, and actually, throughout the conference:

Second screen (even third screen, sometimes) - The computer, tablet or smartphone you are looking at even while you are primarily engaged in some other screen (presumably the television).

Ecosystem - The digital world created by a specific film, tv/internet show, game or product.

Engagement - The connection between an audience and a specific film, tv/internet show, game or product created or enhanced through digital tools and websites.

Metrics - The data related to a specific film, tv/internet show, game, or product. How many eyeballs is it getting? How much activity is it generating? How much money is it making? Etc., etc….

As I sat through the discussion, it became clear to me that, at least in the context of this conference, Social TV seems to be a catch-all term for any tools/technologies that generate social interactions based upon media creation and consumption. It's all the stuff companies are devising to get and keep audiences engaged.

Now, none of this is all that sexy for an old-school film buff like me. But I felt like a six year-old eating my vegetables. It was necessary information I had to swallow. We need to learn about all this stuff and see if it will lead us filmmaking dinosaurs anywhere other than extinction. It turned out, however, that to swallow it, I also needed to interpret it. At this first seminar, as would be the case with nearly all the seminars throughout the conference, there was precious little specific discussion about content. Most speakers spoke in vague generalities about "content" and rarely did anyone discuss Social tools in direct relation to independent film - aside from a specific case-study panel on an Academy Award-nominated doc. The conference, over-all, was heavily slanted toward the television and advertising industries. That doesn't automatically mean there weren't meaningful analogies contained therein for independent filmmakers. But they weren't always obvious. And sometimes, the industry focus was far too tedious to sift through in hopes of finding that small nugget of informational gold. 

So, getting back to the Social TV panel, the combination of buzzwords, vagaries, and corporate agendas finally overwhelmed me and I skipped over to the philanthropy panel before it ended. It was mostly doc filmmakers talking about the globally-impacting work they were doing…and it felt like a breath of fresh air. But the disconnect between what they were discussing and the Social TV panel was striking. Yes, what these doc filmmakers were discussing was far more meaningful and interesting, but they did not seem to even consider employing the kind of audience engagement arsenal that the corporate types were obsessed with just down the hall. I asked filmmaker Laura Pohl how much she integrates transmedia concepts and strategies into her work. She said not at all. At least not on the project she was discussing.

But that is not too surprising because filmmakers in general are still pretty old-school. And, after sitting through most of the Social TV panel, I still had no real idea what the Social TV arsenal is comprised of. So, I returned to the Social TV panel just in time for Q&A and asked some specific questions.

Question: "What tools and techniques do you employ in your Social TV strategies"? Answer: "Well, we use Twitter and Facebook. We invite commentary. We create apps and games and other interactive content. We sometimes run contests. In general, we invest heavily in second, and sometimes third, screen activity…." Uh, okay. Nothing too cutting-edge here, obviously, but I get the idea. Just create as much stuff as possible that will broaden your audience base and/or keep it engaged. What that is specifically is clearly still evolving, and will necessarily be different for different kinds of shows. But between the two panels I came away feeling that all of the things these corporations are doing to sell shows and products can be used extremely effectively by the documentary world to engage people in causes, guide them to action-steps and effect global change.

I also asked Sara Passe of CAA (who works with new media creators and producers): "What kind of projects should indie filmmakers be thinking about in terms of new media/Social TV?" Answer: "The short answer is that it must be globally monetizable and easy to market. It should also provide some clear mechanism for audience engagement. I know it may be counter to what indie filmmakers want to do, but they should focus on creating films that can be cut up into bite-sized pieces - essentially serialized. Does that help? I hope so." Well, sorta.

I wondered why a representative from Sharp (the television manufacturer) was on the panel so I asked her what kind of relationship her company was looking to have with content creators. Her answer: none. She just thinks this Social TV space is really important and we should all be working to understand it. So, we're essentially in the same boat.

From there, I skipped around from "Merging Content with new Technologies" To "Video Across Platforms" to "The Social Experience: Personalized communication" to "Digital Media Investing" to "Transmedia Showcase" to "Cable TV and Broadband: New Content" to "Video on Smartphone and Tablet". Of course, I took a small break in between all this to chow down on the nice sandwiches and cookies they provided. So, here's what I took away from the rest of the day:

Nobody knows anything. Or, at least, nobody has any certainty about where all of this digital potential is leading.

Nobody has yet to hit on a great, consistent model for monetizing new media other than to start a "digital media" venture, get some VC to fund it and pay yourself a lot of money. There are people making small bits of money with web/tablet/smartphone-specific content, but no clear formula for how they've done it.

Nobody seems to talk specifically about content. Content did not seem like King. More like an indentured servant.

The killer spin-off "app" of all time is fantasy football in that it brings in a secondary, but very compelling level of engagement with the main show. Is there a film analogy to that? 

If given the opportunity, audiences will sometimes create their own, often surprising ways to engage with content. Give audiences opportunities to respond to your work and then pay attention to those responses.

Although the Investment panel was just for tech/media entrepreneurs, the key ingredients investors want is also applicable to film - What is the product (what is the film and is the script/concept any good)? What is the market (who will want to buy/see the film)? And what is the team (who are the filmmakers)?

The transmedia panel actually had filmmakers (content creators, as they were called) successfully creating alternative work. But none had an economic formula for what they do. None had a repeatable business model of any kind. They just created work (ALL short form) and were found by audiences (or media companies). 

The day finished with a very nice wine reception that allowed me to connect with a couple of interesting attendees, especially one guy from Germany working on a very cool next generation collaborative filter that could work incredibly well for films. Few of the panelists were anywhere to be found. Neither was dinner, even though it was listed in the program. But there were yummy leftover cookies. I pocketed a few on the way out so that I would end Day

Day Two had a bit more film-related stuff. I'll give you the lowdown and wrap-up in Part 2.

Guest Post: Jacques Thelemaque "Independent Film (Dis)Integration Part 2"

Perhaps you read today's earlier guest post from Jacques.  But did you realize that The Filmmakers' Alliance fundraising campaign closes today?!  I hadn't, so I hadn't given until this morning.  Jacques explains below some of the great needs that are within our reach to solve: curation, aggregation, & organization.  Shall we seize the time?

Independent Film has been challenged of late. Perhaps it has always been challenged….and challenging. And perhaps that is a necessary aspect of the undoubtedly risky nature of Independent Film. But perhaps not. Perhaps those challenges could be alleviated somewhat if education was better integrated with experience, if funding was better integrated with worthy projects, if productions were better integrated with crews and resources, if good films were better integrated with distribution options and if, at the outset, potentially strong films were better integrated with fresh ideas and unique perspectives. I truly believe that can happen on the web with a single site employing a bit of curation, aggregation and organization.

First of all, curation. The stuff floating around the web that is really valuable to filmmakers needs to be found and selected - the best tools, apps, education and more. What is it that filmmakers need and what's the best incarnation of it? Communal editing space? Scroome. Film Festival submissions? Withoutabox. Virtual producer? Yet to be created. But something more than tools, apps and education needs to be found. We also need to find things that wrap all of that generic stuff into an ideological perspective that not only facilitates indie film viability but also the highest levels of creative ambition. What are the best blogs and forums? What kind of interface allows filmmakers to share ideas and perspectives? Someone or some group needs to act as a "trusted guide" for filmmakers - and not just a gatekeeper. Of course, there will also have to be community curation. Meaning, anything that exists on the site as a tool or resource should be open to review and feedback by users.


Secondly, aggregation. Once found and selected, all of this great stuff needs to be brought together. No one could possibly build from scratch or even recreate all of the great tools, apps and resources that exist for filmmakers out on the web. Instead, partnerships need to be created, which may also demand technological bridges to be built. The whole point is to avoid the needless hopping around from site to site, multiple logins and resource incompatibility that plagues filmmaking life on the internet at the current moment. But this is no easy task. Many sites charge fees for their tools/resources and/or jealously guard them for other reasons. They tend not to think holistically and instead stubbornly insist on trying to build communities around their single-purpose resource. So far, unless it is a indispensable resource without competition, such as Withoutabox, that approach has not served them. Hopefully, they can be made to see the wisdom in being part of a larger whole.

Thirdly, there is organization. You can't just throw stuff up on the internet randomly, although many sites seem to do it all the time, making finding things very difficult and efficient usage almost impossible. Ideally, resources, tools and apps can be organized intuitively for filmmakers - mirroring the process of production and/or film management. That means it all needs to be put together by  a group that understands the way filmmakers - especially indie filmmakers - think and work.

Fortunately, there is an organization that can do all of that. Not only can do it, but will do it. Filmmakers Alliance has been hatching a plan to for years to create just such a space for filmmakers. We've met with all manner of resistance and challenge, and the plan has been scrapped and rebuilt several times over, but we're still surging forward. We currently have a Crowdfunding Campaign underway to help us push it through to a first stage launch. From there, it will evolve organically, driven by the participation of filmmakers/users.  Our goal is to integrate the ongoing discussion about the state of indie film with the actual work. As discussed, we are building a site that is not just a tool, but a home for filmmakers - allowing them to not only access filmmaking and film management resources, but also exchange ideas and perspectives on filmmaking - all infused with a demand for creative ambition. We really want the community to challenge each other to take their films - and, subsequently, all of independent film - to the next level. The plan we have will facilitate it nicely with a lot of key partnerships and collaborative tools.

But why is any of this important? Simple. It will make filmmaking easier. There are many filmmaking orgs out there (along with various filmmaking sites), and they are there for a reason. Filmmakers need help. Lots of it. To this day, I get tons of calls and emails daily asking me for everything under the filmmaking sun. Clearly, filmmakers still need help educating themselves and accessing resources - anything from securing grants, to getting production insurance to finding good crews, to utilizing web marketing tools, to finding health insurance, etc. The easier we can make the filmmaking process, the faster we can move on to a conversation about the kinds of films we're making and how they can have a social and/or aesthetic impact on the world. And that conversation, too, will happen on the site.

 A website is NOT going to save Independent Film, I'm told. Perhaps not in and of itself. Great independent filmmaking that is well-distributed will do that. But education, intelligent discourse, access to funding and resources, shared creativity and inspiration are all tools to help create those great, well-distributed independent films. And a site that provides and/or facilitates all of that will indeed do it's part to create an Independent Film renaissance. It can, at the very least, facilitate some necessary integration on all levels and bring a sense of cohesion to a very disintegrated community. 

To see the crowdfunding campaign page, go HERE.

If you want a bit more detail about Filmmakers Alliance's new website, go HERE.

If you want to donate to the project, go HERE.

You can spread the word by going HERE.



Jacques Thelemaque is founder and president of Filmmakers Alliance - a filmmaking support collective in existence since 1993 through which hundreds of films have been made. He also makes films, his own and other people's, and is not ashamed of any of them.


Guest Post: Jacques Thelemaque "Independent Film (Dis)Integration Part 1"

When I first started blogging, one of the first people I encountered was Jacques Thelamaque. His blog "A Filmmaker's Life" had a similar POV as a lot of what I was writing, albeit from a more personal approach. It is always great to encounter a kindred spirit, particularly one who doesn't seek to just advance their own work, but that of a larger community.

When Jacques later suggested that The Filmmakers' Alliance wanted to honor my contribution to Indie Film, I was thrilled. It allowed not only he and I to meet, but I also got to see the positive results, and many of the films and filmmakers, that FA helped push forward. The greatest pleasure though was learning how committed Jacques and the FA was to solving the riddle of how best to increase the opportunity and advance the work of the diversity of voices that make up the indie community. Jacques guest blogs today on that vision...

Like Ted, I often look at Independent Film at a macro level seeking trends and ideas that might make my job of supporting it much easier. And from that perspective, it's not hard to find issues to address - 70 or so of which Ted has eloquently and succinctly delineated. However, that macro perspective does not preclude us from appreciating the micro - the little victories that keep us passionately invested in the success of Independent Film….and ever hopeful. But are those little victories just anomalies with no relationship the "the big picture?" When an indie film is compellingly made and/or earns revenue that benefits its investors, is its success repeatable or always a kind of accident - the result of a numbers game where so many indie films get made that one or two are bound to be well-realized and/or profitable? 

[caption id="attachment_6958" align="aligncenter" width="550"] FA Member Screening and Meeting[/caption]


The answer is sorta both. For me, it is not a question with a clear answer. And because there isn't a clear answer, the fact that indie film success is, statistically anyway, unrepeatable becomes a multi-faceted problem with a number of possible solutions. And although people like me will continue to blog relentlessly about it and offer up all kinds of solutions, I believe there is a core concept at the root of this problem and that, for me, is integration - or rather, the lack thereof. 


I don't just mean cultural or ethnic integration, although Independent Film is certainly still principally the domain of the young, privileged, white male. That's just one manifestation of the issue. Independent film suffers from disintegration and disconnection in nearly every way. Education is disconnected from experience, talent is disconnected from resources, aesthetics are disconnected from technology, filmmakers are disconnected from investors, films are disconnected from their audiences, etc., etc. There's no irony, then, that a well-realized and successfully distributed indie film is almost always a gorgeous miracle of integration. All the various, sometimes disparate talents and disciplines that make up the filmmaking jigsaw puzzle come together seamlessly to create the film and then the film itself folds nicely into a marketing/distribution/delivery strategy that hits the mark with audiences. It doesn't happen often, but it happens. And when it does, there are always things to be learned by the process of integration that made success possible.


Now, I realize Independent Film is called Independent Film partly because it can't be systematized. It pulls itself in many different directions at the same time with a certain cowboy mentality that gives Independent Film its energy and charm. Filmmakers can burst onto the scene from seemingly nowhere using creative or entrepreneurial chutzpah, tearing up the festival circuit before fading away, striking gold in "the system" or becoming revered, if somewhat mysterious, iconoclasts. And the fact that such discoveries are so rare might be part of a necessary cinematic Darwinism, ensuring that the cream always rises to the top. I could accept all of that if there weren't so many easily correctable issues that could be addressed or if there weren't so many potentially strong and/or strong-performing films undone by simple ignorance or negligence. Precisely because Independent Film is so disintegrated that it can benefit hugely from a communal trough from which filmmakers can gain what they need. And that communal trough is the internet.

What? The interment? If anything suffers from disintegration, it's the internet itself. There are so many disparate sites, social networks, tools and apps splattered across the web that before you can figure out how best to use them all, one or more of them are obsolete. Even the mighty Facebook, judging from it's recent downturn in membership and the example of MySpace, may not be around forever. And, anyway, you can't make movies on the internet, can you?


Well, first of all, you can indeed make a movie on the web. Not any kind of movie, of course, but that's beside the point. What's more important to keep in mind is that not matter what any one site may offer filmmakers, the web is, and will always be, a giant repository of education, information, tools and resources - many of which can greatly enhance the filmmaking process if organized and used intelligently. More than that, it can be a powerful communal gathering point for people sharing a common goal. Especially if that goal is to make and distribute great independent films. But aren't there currently lots of great sites, tools and apps for filmmakers? Why isn't it galvanizing and rescuing Independent Film right now? Because it is, of course, missing one key ingredient: integration…along with the three most important elements of successful integration -  curation, aggregation,and organization.


I realize none of those terms sounds even the list bit sexy, nor do they seem to have anything to do with the art of filmmaking. But I'll break it down for you in Part 2 of this post. Suffice it to say, for now, that these elements are not just important for a website or in filmmaking. They are important to anything you want to create for yourself, including all aspects of your life. Obviously, you must always curate - make choices. Then, you must acquire the things you want. Then you must put those things where they do you the most good. It's a simple formula, but surprisingly ignored all too often in life and art. But, in Part 2, I'll spell out how it can be applied to the internet and to the benefit of all filmmakers.


Jacques Thelemaque is founder and president of Filmmakers Alliance - a filmmaking support collective in existence since 1993 through which hundreds of films have been made. He also makes films, his own and other people's, and is not ashamed of any of them.