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February 24 at 2:24pm

ATTENTION ALL Exhibitors: Now Is The Time To Go Digital

I just came across this post on Celluloid Junkie: evidently Sony’s digital 4K projectors are on sale for 50% off until March 20th.  Prices start at $34K if you happen to have that laying around.  Seems to me that should have been part of the stimulus plan for all art house theaters!

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February 24 at 11:05am

I Will Be Speaking Publicly…

Instead of typing publicly that is.  I will be one of many panelists at IFP’s upcoming SCRIPT TO SCREEN Conference March 7 & 8.  My session “Working With Producers and Production Companies” will be Sunday at 230PM.  There’s a whole bunch of folks who will be there, and many even more interesting and knowledgeable than me!  C’mon down!  I hope to see you there.

For more information, visit IFP’s Script To Screen website.


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February 23 at 11:39pm

Tribeca Film Fest Shout Out On Tax Credit Stall Out

The good folks over at Tribeca asked me to post on the NY State Film & TV Tax Credit debacle.  So I did and surprisingly I was able to come up with a few more things to say…

Read the whole post on their blog.  Let me know your thoughts.
My gist is we all have to be a hell of a lot more vigilant about the issues that may effect us if we want to be able to earn a living working in this field.  I list out a starter course, but really the question is what can we go to dinner on?  And let me know what you think I left out.
Here’s the menu:
Net Neutrality—Our ability to access and distribute work and ideas, organize around it, is dependent on this core democratic principle.

Media Consolidation—The lack of an antitrust action has created an environment that is virtually impossible to compete in.

Labor Union Stability—The unrest of this year across the guilds has helped no one.

Copyright Law Revision—The rules are antiquated, protecting corporate interests over the creators, while limiting the audience’s access to new art forms.

Copyright Protection—The blatant disregard for artists’ rights across the Internet make a bad situation even worse.

Government Funding For The Arts (or lack thereof)—The only work artists can expect to be compensated for are the most blatantly commercial endeavors.

Social Network Rules—The Draconian control different networks exert over user content does not bode well for community hopes of sharing information and content.

Data Portability—Everyone’s right to the information their work generates is a necessary principle if artists are ever going to have a direct relationship with their audiences.

Demystification of Distribution and Exhibition Practices—The last twenty years were about demystifying the production process, but there will be no true independence unless the cycle is made complete.

Exhibition Booking Policies and Practices Revision—Distributors require exhibitors to book on full weeks, restricting their ability to become true community centers, providing their audiences with what they want, when they want it.

New Blood Recruitment for Distribution and Exhibition—Since virtually all of the specialized distribution and exhibition entities are run by people who came of age in the days of pure theatrical exhibition, they yearn for a return to those days and are resistant to new practices.  Or are they?  

Ratings Structure—The current system is not applicable to the diverse work being made today.

Loss of Film Critics’ Old Media Platforms—Our critics were our curators, letting audiences know what to see when, and now most have been fired. Where will our new curators be found? We’ve started HammerToNail to help audiences find the best in true indie American narrative work, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Filmmaker Re-education for this New Media Universe—Let’s face it, we are all a bunch of Luddites. Until we recognize what tools are available and how to use them, we are depriving both ourselves and our audiences from the quality of work we all deserve.

Creation of Indie Film Promotional Portals—How can we see good work when we don’t even know it exists?

Broadband Availability and Strength—America lags behind the rest of the developed world not just in terms of broadband penetration, but also in the quality and level of that broadband service.

Digital Film Archive—As more and more filmmakers move to a digital medium to both originate and finish that work, how will this work be preserved for future generations?

Indie Film History Archive—The history and process of how this work we are now creating will be remembered will be impossible without some joint effort to preserve it.


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February 23 at 12:56pm

Marshall Herskovitz: "New Media is not a business"

From The Wrap…  Herskovitz on Lessons On Life On The Internet.

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February 16 at 11:16am

Movie Website Design Trends

Movie Marketing Madness tipped us to a very extensive article in Smashing Magazine on current trends in Movie Website design.  Although it slants heavily towards the studio pics, several specialized films (the great Waltz With Bashir, The Class, & Milk) are featured as well.  Check it out here.  It would would be great to see the same for True Indies, but I won’t hold my breath.

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February 15 at 11:15am

It Could Be Getting So Much Better All The Time #11: Throw Away The Rule Book!

Chris Monger, screenwriter, director, artist had this to answer my plea:

I started a reply which turned into a rant which morphed into my history of why Indie Film did not start, but died with sex lies and videotape – and that’s even before I’d started on why Indie Film should also forget the form of the 90 minute theatrical feature. The future is here, we are free to try anything. 
And that’s the conclusion I was working towards: There’s nothing to save. 
We can’t hang on to what was (and what was often totally imperfect) anymore than we can hang on to newspapers. Regular Film / Studio Film / Indie Film as we know them may limp along for a while, or may even exist like Opera for a long time, but stories / moving images are not going away.

Now’s the time to have fun with them. In the late 60′s early 70′s a lot of Indie Filmmakers (and I’m talking about people who processed their own film, ran their own printers – really Indie!) believed that film was at the same point that painting was at the turn of the 20th Century: Rather than being ruined by photography, painting was liberated into all the isms of the new way of seeing and looking and re-presenting.

So I say, where are the Picassos and Matisses, the people who will throw away the rule book?


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February 13 at 1:45pm

Maybe It Shouldn’t All Be Free

I find the current debate regarding micro-payments for print journalism fascinating.  Each morning, I work to talk myself out of a panic that we will soon be deprived of all the great newspapers, writers, and journalists.  A friend chimed in that after the papers fall then next up is the free internet.  The line of dominos is really easy to imagine. 

But maybe it shouldn’t all be free.  I, like all my film friends, are looking for a model of survival, no longer success.  Reading Steve Brill’s defense of micro-payments makes me wonder if there is anything that film fans and workers are really committed to paying for.  Variety & Hollywood Reporter start to feel like real luxuries these days.  Guilds and unions, like membership in IFP and Film Independent, are crucial in the same way that if you want a vaccine to work, virtually everyone has to partake — but my son still screams with every shot (maybe if vaccines had a networking attribute like these organizations my son would respond better…). 
But what will we pay for?  My Netflix subscription seems like a better value with each new film that is available for streaming, even if I still prefer DVDs.  As they just hit 10 Million subscribers it seems that everyone will pay for access to every film.  As a devourer of new international film, I need a festival diet of projected new work from around the world every two or three months.  It’s one of the reasons I can never leave NY.  Jaman may offer it online but I need to see it large in a room full of people.  And as much as I like to see it, I like to talk about it, read about it.  So what will I pay for?  I honestly don’t know.
Anyway, read Brill’s suggestion, and ponder the applicability to our world of film.  I am.


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