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July 31 at 9:48am

Theatrical: To Do… or NOT To Do.

Today’s guest post is from Orly Ravid of The Film Collaborative.

Theatrical: To Do… or NOT To Do.
(or perhaps more, HOW and WHEN To Do):

We all struggle with this, filmmakers, distributors alike. I remember giving a presentation to distributors about digital distribution and theatrical came up. I talked about the weirdness of showing a film 5 or 6 times a day to an almost always-empty house save a couple showings. This makes no sense for most films. When I released Baise Moi in 2000 we broke the boxoffice records at the time, and the “raincoat crowd” did show up at the oddest morning hours, but that is the exception, not the rule. Not every film has an 8-minute rape scene that just must be seen by post-punk-feminists and pornography-lovers alike. It’s an odd set-up for smaller films and it’s not the only means to the end we are looking for.

Recently The Film Collaborative released Eyes Wide Open in NYC, LA, Palm Beach and Palm Springs. We have a little over $10,000, all in it will be about $12,000 tops). We have made our money back and the great reviews and extra marketing / visibility will drive ancillary sales but we also did not invest or risk too much as you can see. [...]


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July 30 at 8:16am

Transmedia, me, and Braden King

I became interested in Transmedia as a way to deepen both the narrative experience and the relationship between the experience and the participant.  It frustrates me how feature films often feel disposable and not truly resonant for most viewers; I know we – as both creators and viewers — don’t have to settle for this.  This situation is partially derived from both the creators’ and the industry’s reliance on a single product as representative of the movie experience; we don’t have much other than repackaging to show for our engagement, and that engagement is too often 100% passive.

We have reductive in our expression of narrative.  I generally define the Six Pillars of Narrative as: Discovery, Process, Production, Participation, Promotion, & Presentation.  Creators limit themselves when they draw the line between art and commerce, thinking marketing techniques don’t warrant their creative hand.  We shouldn’t ignore aspects of narrative that deepen the dialogue with those who become the very community we want.

As a film producer, I have a specific (and rather limited) way of thinking about process. [...]


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July 29 at 9:15am

DIY’s Distro Numbers Vs. The Corporate Giants’

Jeremy Juuso has an interesting post on Baseline Intelligence that Phillip Lefesi tipped me to.  Jeremy analyzes the 1st & 2nd weekend returns of DIY vs other specialized releases.  The DIY films hold their own on the first weekend, but are surpassed by the corporate releases thereafter.  What is not mentioned however, is that the DIY films are not only probably more profitable, but the DIY films are still owned by the filmmakers (presumably).  If the exhibitors take 50% of the gross, the differential for rentals is only $25K between the two over the first two weeks. You have to figure that the corporate releases are spending more than $25K over the DIY films in marketing costs.  The DIY team would thus be making more money as well as owning their film and controlling their release. Check it out.

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July 28 at 7:57am

The Ever-Growing Filter Crisis (aka Is Too Much Too Much?)

Whenever I walk into a grocery store, I can’t help but wonder if people really want so many choices.  But does the same applies to tomato sauce or frozen waffles also apply to art, literature, music, and movies?  Sure Pandora can source new music for me based on my prior expressed preferences, but music also works as a background pleasure.  The same is hard to say for movies.  And man, do we sure have a lot of great stuff readily available to us.  What are we going to do to filter and search through all our choices? [...]


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July 27 at 8:24am

The Mentoring Mindset as A Key to Film Sustainability

Today’s guest post is from filmmaker Chris Ohlson.  Chris produced one of the indie films that I truly enjoyed last year, THE OVERBROOK BROTHERS.  Check it out; you won’t be disappointed.  He’s making the move into directing now.

I was recently invited to the IFP Narrative Filmmaker Labs with my directorial feature film debut Melvin. (the IFP Labs workshop and mentor 10 narrative works-in-progress that showcase ‘creative promise and vision’) To be able to participate in the Labs was a truly humbling and altogether amazing experience – and I have much to share.

But first, some quick and fast back-story. I’ve been a working producer and production manager surviving by doing commercials, web series and music videos. In recent years, I have acted as some variation of a producer on films like The Overbrook Brothers, Lovers of Hate and The Happy Poet. So that’s what I do, but not necessarily who I am. I am a filmmaker.

Back to the Labs. Early in the week Scott Macaulay (Editor of Filmmaker Magazine and producer of Gummo and Raising Victor Vargas, among many others) said something that brought the Labs to life for me. “As a producer,” he said, “I try to learn from my mistakes and I try to never make that particular mistake again on the next film, or the one after that.”

Simple enough, right? But I was thunderstruck.   [...]


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July 26 at 8:26am

“Transmedia Now” Week On In Media Res

Today’s guest post is from Elizabeth Strickler, informing us of what is going over at InMediaRes this week (and a wee bit of cross promotional activity).

In Media Res is dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship. Each weekday, a different participant curates a short (less than 3-minute) video clip accompanied by a 300-350-word impressionistic response. We use the title “curator” because, like a curator in a museum, the participant repurposes a media object that already exists and provides context through their commentary. Theme weeks are designed to generate a networked conversation between curators and the public around a particular topic.

For the week of July 26-30th, the theme is “Transmedia Now”. The curators are: Christy Dena, Marc Ruppel, Robert Pratten, Brian Newman, and Ted Hope. [...]


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July 22 at 9:12am

PMD Rising

Today’s guest post is by Jon Reiss.

As some of you may know, I coined a new crew category titled the Producer of Marketing and Distribution (or PMD) in my book Think Outside the Box Office. I came up with the idea when trying to think of a solution to the enormous amount of work that distribution and marketing can be for filmmakers without a distributor. The concept boils down to: you didn’t make your film on your own – why should you release it on your own. You can read about the concept of the PMD in one of my other posts. I am happy to report that this concept is gaining traction. I was spurred to write this post after 25% (20 out of 80) of each of my Perth and Adelaide workshops indicated that they wanted to be PMDs (this is before my upcoming classes in Sydney and Melbourne). In Adelaide, the SA Film Corporation has plans to set up an in house PMD to help support the distribution efforts of independent filmmakers in South Australia.

Also just this week Adam Daniel Mezei who in January wrote a great blog post about the responsibilities of a PMD, has set himself up as a PMD for Hire. One of the attendees of my Amsterdam workshop has another PMD site and is already working on a Dutch film as a PMD. A group of Vancouver attendees formed a PMD support group this past month.

[...]


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