We've been curating a regular screening series in conjunction with our friends at Goldcrest all year. It's free and every screening has been filled to capacity. We send out 800 emails to "influential media types" here in NYC and have 60 seats. Makers Mark Bourbon gives us some fine sippin' whiskey to share afterwards. The filmmakers always come and we do a Q&A afterwards. It's a lot of fun, the films have been great, and the filmmakers have made important connections from it. Most importantly it builds word of mouth for these films that deserve more. My dream is to get some form of sponsorship so we could give the filmmakers a speaking fee and fly folks in from out of town.
Today's suggestion is from filmmaker and blogger Pericles Lewnes:
Today's suggestion from filmmaker and blogger Pericles Lewnes:
An idea of the virtual run life of the movie could be determined by how many virtual ticket sales can be calculated.
Say for instance, you have sold 200 seats and 150 more people try to buy tickets. Well, after judging from the reviews and reaction of the first screening a second screening may be in order. After the movie has had it's "run" it can be made available through DL or DVD sale in a bside style set-up if the filmmaker wants that. Again, I am still trying to formulate the concept and it is only half baked - but there is plenty of room for the DIY filmmaker to get excitement built for their movie and to immediately act to create that important relationship with the audience immediately after. Everything can monitored.
The other day we had Pericles' first five "Reasons To Be Cheerful". Now we chime in with the balance of the ten. (Ted)
6. LED Lighting - The TorchLED TL - 50 is a daylight balanced compact LED light fixture for under $350. It has an intergrated rechargable battery that will give you 2.5 hours of operating time. The light output can be controlled with an onboard dimmer. As LED lighting technology advances, lighting panels and fixtures will drop and so will the gross weight of your gear. Lightweight and less heat make LED lighting a 'good get' for the DIY filmmaker.
7. CurrentTV - Current TV is an Emmy award winning independent media company led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. current TV is both a web-based and a 24 hour cable channel available on most cable systems. Most all of Current's programming is Viewer Created. There are several ways to get on television. You can submit a story which you have found on the internet and submit it under a profile you create for yourself. If that story is voted to the top in a given time period (Every hour or two) Curret TV news editors will edit a news "pod" package crediting you with your avatar at the top of during the broadcast's news segment. You do that for free. However, Current also pays! If you submit a non-fiction piece in the 7 minute range, you can specify whether or not want it to be qualified for broadcast. Each month, one non-fiction peice is chosen and the filmmaker gets $1000. (One Thousand Dollars). But that's not all... Most all of the commercials are also viewer created. Current will list several clients such as Nikon and L'Oreal and if you want to participate, you are free to upload an ad and compete. If it airs only on Current, you get $2,500. If it gets airplay elsewhere, you can get up to $60,000. Uploaded video quality is pristine and can be either linked or embedded. You can see my 5 minute short Freedom Plaza with a "plug" for Truly Free Film on the current website and then you can see an embed example of the file at my blog Pericles Shrugged. But be forewarned, comments are not moderated and current can be a "tough room," but all in all I find it to be a great site with many users who will pass along your work to their connections if they like it.
8. The Portamic 5.1 Holophone - You can have the prettiest movie ever and if your sound is bad, it doesn't matter. It's always best to have a dedicated sound person with booms, lavs, and mixers. But there may be scheduling problems, or your sound person might get a last minute paying gig. Then there's always the shotgun... However, I think this is an interesting on-board mic solution for the 'one man band.' I would love to test it myself, but it seems that the holophone with six separate mic elements set-up in a 5.1 suuround configuration sounds promising. I haven't been able to wrap my mind around it yet, but it appears that you can send it all to two channels or use a decoder to bring it back to six. What will they think of next?
9, ikan Camera Cradle - This is a "beanbag" type camera support. It wraps around your camera and will give you lots of love when you are mid-zoom in a "no tripod" zone or you are trying to nail some shots from a car. The microbeads in the cradle buffer movement and can conform to just about any situation holding the top of a chain link fence or the headrest of a compact car. For less than $90, this can turn into your best friend in a tight spot.
10. Building the New Infrastructure to Film Freedom - I think as artists, we are finding ourselves at a crossroad. The concept of building our own infrastructure for the production, distribution and exhibition of our work is an incredible opportunity and available for the first time ever. The concept of preserving Net Neutrality and creating alternate venues and distribution models for each other, instead of against each other, is the reason I have any hope at all. If we stick together and work together we can literally help bring independent filmmaking back in from the cold. Iron Sharpens Iron.
I knew it wasn't just me. I knew there was a plethora of silver linings out there. One of the pleasures of all this blogging and social networking is finding and getting in touch with friends from the past. Peri and I crewed together back in the day. He recently made a DIY feature called LOOP and we have been corresponding. He had no problem coming up with 10 things to add to the list. I think that puts the grand total up to 63 (Ted).
Ten Things That Make me Hopeful for the Future (Pt. 1 of 2)
courtesy of Pericles Lewnes:
1. Filmmakers can collaborate virtually. On my DIY feature LOOP, I was fortunate enough to meet a talented animator named Courtney Hoskins when we submited entries to the same contest. I saw on her contest profile that she used Maya and After Effects and began to tell her about some FX needs I had for my movie. She got into the concept and decided to help me. Without ever meeting her or talking to her over the phone, she was able to create a scene LOOP that everyone talks about. When you see LOOP, I think you will know which one it is. The collaboration was kind of like Four Eyed Monsters with all of the love being heaped on the movie.
However, there are many ways to collaborate, the simplest being screenwriting which has probably been going on now since the internet began. But what about stock footage? Do you know anyone in DC who can grab a shot of the Capitol dome? New York Exteriors? Colorado Rockie Mountains? I do. A director friend of mine in California watches his editor in Minnesota work on their project. They use a sharing program that lets the director see the editor's desktop as he edits while they chat on the phone. As technology advances, more opportunities will develop that Indy filmmakers can take advantage of.
2. File Transfer Services - The are different ones out there. Yousendit, Sendspace and Sendthisfile are but a few. You can send up to 100 mb of material free on Yousendit and up to 300 mb on Sendspace. I pay for a plan at $9.99 a month on Yousendit which allows me to upload up to 2GB of data which will be available for up to 500 downloads for 14 days. This is really good for Artwork, EPKs and just plain old back and forth video tweaking. For shorts, it is great if you need to get one somewhere fast. Most can be compressed well under 2GB. Features are trickier, but possible. I might put LOOP out there if I can get my compression settings right.
3. Pocket Projection - I was looking through a magazine and found this: The Optoma PK 101 This is a DLP(!) projector that is the size of a pack of cigarettes and is listed at $399. It can project a picture up to 60" from a variety of devices like iphones, PSP's and DVD players. On the bottom of the projector is a tripod mount that will let you mount it on a basic tripod to allow for leveling. Why am I excited about this? Because if I had one I could have micro cinema screenings! Being the infamous director of Redneck Zombies, I have been known to hang around a convention or two. With this projector, a dark hotel room, and a little speaker rig, I can theoretically screen LOOP on a piece of foam-core to a small invited audience. I'm sure there are limitations to this projector and that this technology will improve, but I am also sure that this projector has a "sweet spot" that will be suitable to project LOOP. A tripod+pocket projector+mico mini stereo+DVD player+foamcore in a dark room= micro-cinema screenings on the fly. THAT'S CRAZY! Which is why I am exploring it.
4. Magic Bullet Suite: This is a great all multi-purpose application that allows you to color correct, deinterlace, and create different looks for your project. It plugs into Adobe After Effects CS3, 7, 6.5, Adobe Premiere Pro CS3, 2.0, Apple Final Cut Pro 6, 5.1.4, Apple Motion 3.02, Avid Xpress Pro/Media Composer 5.6+,2.6+. BUT - it needs horsepower and it is always wise to check on the hardware requirements before taking the plunge. MBS includes five programs which can be bought individually. My opinion is that this set of tools is worthy in every respect. It is user friendly and the results are over the top. If you are a DIY filmmaker like me, sometimes it's just you, your computer, and your editing software. An easy to use and powerful set of tools can give you options that you might think are out of reach. It can be pricey, but it can be bought one component at a time and they run a lot of specials if you get the newsletter. I don't work for these guys, but I love the software. Download their Magic Bullet Looks demo and give it a test drive.
5. Toolfarm - Toolfarm is an excellent resource for the DIY filmmaker. Not only will you be able to find the perfect plug-in you need for software, but there are experts and tutorials of every flavor. The forums are legion and active. Boris? Final Cut? Trapcode? After Effects? Expert help is only a few clicks away. They have excellent podcasts, mailing list, and an all around helpful bunch experts. Say hello to Michele Yamazaki for me.