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October 29 at 8:30am

I’d Like To Talk You About MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE, Okay?


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October 28 at 8:30am

6 Tips on How to Finish Your Micro-Budget Film

We don’t want to repeat each other’s mistakes. We have to learn to admit what we’ve done wrong. And we have to share the lessons we’ve learned. We learn what to do better the next time, by fucking up famously the first time. Second films are rich terrain precisely for this reason. I would love to be in a room of filmmakers who just finished their second film just to harvest the sweet tidbits from the conversation.

Fortunately, recent sophomore feature grad, Preston Miller, shares today some of the morsels of knowledge he gathered his second time out.

by Preston Miller

GOD’s LAND, my second feature film, is an epic saga about a group of Taiwanese missionaries who travel to Texas to meet God as the world comes to an end. When I first came up with this project 8 years ago, my dream was to shoot the film in Taiwan and Texas with an all-star Asian cast and crew. But I had a limited budget and no real prospects but a dream. Through hell, high water and child rearin’, we got the film made. It has played at festivals in the US and screened by invitation in Europe. And this Friday it makes its premiere theatrically at the Quad Cinema in New York and online exclusively on Fandor.

Below are five or so principles that I used to make GOD’s LAND. As every experience is different these are what applied to mine. Take it for what you will.

Be original, DON’T do what you know. I believe the filmmaker Julie Dash said something to this effect. I was raised on National Geographic magazines growing up and personally I’m more interested and inspired by stories that are new to me, or at the very least a familiar story told in a unique way. I like to see people and locations that I’m not overly familiar with. In GOD’s LAND, we ‘experimented’ with a number of visual and story devices. I’m a huge cinephile and whenever I begin a new project, I think to myself, how can I create a film that no one has conceived of before, and also make it worthwhile to watch?

Also I try to come up with 5 – 10 visual ideas that I’ve never seen before. In GOD’s LAND there is a scene of eight-year-old Ollie (Matthew Chiu) watching live footage of a helicopter camera shooting his neighborhood on the TV news. When he recognizes his house he runs out to wave at the chopper and we see his tiny figure appear on the TV. He runs back inside to see if he can see himself and then tries again and again, a variation on the refrigerator door/light paradigm.

Use your assets. This is kind of a no-brainer but it’s easy to let your heart run away and get too intertwined with certain creative ideas. I wanted to fly the actors I have loved from Hou Hsiao-Hsien and Wong Kar Wai’s movies to Texas and have Christopher Doyle shoot our art-film, but that faded after investigating the cost of such an endeavor. So I mined the rich and underexposed talent of NYC based Asian and Asian-American actors for the cast and shot a good chunk of the film at my house on Long Island. It even looks like the actual neighborhood where the real story took place in Garland, Texas (minus the Levitt-houses.)

Stealing shots at the Jamaica train station and on the Newark Airport monorail also negated having to pay a local airport tens of thousands of dollars to shoot our airport scenes. Many other locations were simply asked for and due to our very small crew, access was granted. I used $15,000 of our own money to make this movie. I would have made it for ten million but I didn’t have it. I would have made it for $100,000 but I didn’t have that. If I only had $2000 to make this film, it would be made. It would most certainly be different. But it would be made!

Try to learn as much as you can about each position on the set. This way on micro-budget shoots, you can step in and work knowledgeably if a crew member is absent. I remember once working as a PA and asking an experienced crew member who was the best filmmaker he had ever worked for. He replied John Sayles because he could perform every function of every position on a set. As the captain of the ship he was able to communicate with his crew in a way that clearly got his ideas across because he knew what they had to do to make it happen. Also he writes and edits. This always stuck with me.

Many shooting days, due to lack of budget or scheduling conflicts, there were only one or two folks behind the camera on God’s Land. Over the last 15 years I can’t claim to be the best audio mixer or dolly grip, but I have asked enough questions and learned the tools of the trade to serve when called.

Create a productive and creative set environment. We accomplished this by keeping our 12-plus hour shooting days down to a minimum. By keeping our shooting schedule to 8 hrs or less we were able to approach each scene without feeling rushed and just trying to ‘get it in the can.’ Now, this wasn’t always the case (like shooting guerilla style in two Target stores) but generally my thoughts were to keep everyone fresh, supple and in a creative frame of mind.
Plus, working on a micro-budget we were free to take our time, not a luxury on a more well-moneyed film. We did have a shooting schedule and Jeremiah Kipp, our producer, kept us on track. Everyone was free to input their ideas and at least 5 crucial scenes were created on the set. We shot for a total of 25 days with 10 of those days as pick ups. We didn’t finish our scheduled day only twice. When shooting at my house, I barbequed on the grill for our meals. It was actually… fun!

Have a J-O-B that’s not dependent on the success of your micro-budget film. I am very fortunate to have a job that helps to feed, clothe and shelter my family that has nothing to do with my film. We squeak by OK and are by no means wealthy. I mirthlessly joke with my wife that making films is a second job, and it certainly is. I actually put more time into working on cinema than at my 9 to 5. The burdens it sometimes places on my family are not always kind or fair on my part. I am very lucky to have them as collaborators in these journeys.

Finish what you’ve started. Another filmmaker I met many years ago told me that you’re not a filmmaker until you’ve completed a film. Shoot and edit as long as you need but until you finish and screen, you’re still just ‘working on it.’ Don’t ever let the lack of money prevent you from finishing your film. Granted, good planning from pre- to post-production will certainly improve your chances.

Make your movie! Let nothing stop you! As of now, I create for the love of it. I do hope to make a living with this one day. I know I’m not going to get rich with this film. But it will allow me to make the next one and hopefully many more.
Watch GOD’s LAND October 28-30 online exclusively at Fandor (Note: Ted is on Fandor’s advisory board ) and at the Quad Cinema in New York City, opening October 28th.

Question for Preston?

Preston is giving a web-wide Q&A and YOU are the interviewer. Through Sunday, October 30, post questions for him on Fandor and he will attempt to answer you in a personal video post.

Preston Miller’s first feature JONES (2007) was critically praised by the likes of Amy Taubin in Film Comment. His second feature GOD’s LAND has been invited to play in Buffalo, Denver, Berlin and now opens in NYC. He lives with his family on Long Island though he proudly hails from NC.


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October 27 at 8:30am

How A Film Festival Can Truly Help The Indie Film Community

Film festivals must do more these days than just bring films to the public. The filmmakers need far more support than just that if they are going to be able to sustain a life of making ambitious and diverse work. Fortunately SOME festivals are doing something to help. The Lone Star International Film Festival is one, and so when they asked me to help, I agreed, as did some other truly brave thinkers in the field.

Read their press release below…

Lone Star International Film Festival in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square Announces 2011 Distribution Forum

FORT WORTH, Texas – Oct. 11, 2011 – The Lone Star Film Society (LSFS) announces members of the distribution forum that will offer their insight and expertise at the 2011 Lone Star International Film Festival Fort Worth in Sundance Square Nov. 9 – 13.

Filmmakers accepted into the exclusive LSIFF Feature Film Competition program will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one mentorship from these leading industry professionals who specialize in new methods of film distribution and marketing. Group discussions will also be organized and a report on the forum’s activities and findings will be published following the festival.

“This new element of the festival furthers our mission to support filmmakers and the film industry. As part of an ongoing effort to foster stability and sustainability in independent film, we intend to further the development of best practices for filmmakers working primarily with new methods of distribution and marketing,” Alec Jhangiani, Lone Star Director, said.

This year’s forum will include one public session on Friday, November 11 at Texas Christian University. The panel will discuss the films included in the competition as well as take questions from the audience. Please visit the website www.lonestarfilmsociety.com for time and other details of the public discussion.

Members of the 2011 Lone Star Distribution Forum will include:

Joshua Green, VP, Distribution, Emerging Pictures (EP) – EP has a network of arts institutions, media arts centers and independent art house theaters tied together through digital technology that enables them all to cost effectively exhibit art films, independent cinema and cultural programming. Green is responsible for securing new exhibition venues for Emerging’s digital cinema network and managing marketing efforts for the network. He also associate produced Sona Jain’s For Real and Ann Hu’s Beauty Remains. He recently executive produced Kief Davidson’s acclaimed IFC Films documentary Kassim the Dream released in 2009 and is currently executive producing documentaries on the rock band Journey, rap pioneers, the Sugarhill Gang, and filmmaking icon Sidney Lumet, all set to release in 2012. He holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and an undergraduate degree from Cornell University.

Dana Harris, Editor-in-Chief and general manager, indieWIRE (iW) – Prior to joining iW, Harris spent nearly 11 years at Variety in roles that included film reporter, creating lifestyle section Variety Weekend, serving as editor of Variety.com and developing new products for the publication’s website. She was also the managing editor for the Independent Film and Video Monthly and a film reporter at the Hollywood Reporter. She has covered virtually all of the world’s major film festivals, contributed to publications that include the Los Angeles Times Magazine, the Star-Ledger, the UTNE Reader, FILMMAKER and Premiere and has participated as a moderator and panelist at festivals and conferences including the Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival, SXSW and the International Documentary Association, among others.

Eugene Hernandez, Director of Digital Strategy at Film Society of Lincoln Center – Eugene co-founded indieWIRE and served as the Editor-in-Chief. Eugene served as an instructor at The New School in Manhattan and participated as a juror and panelist at international film festivals including Sundance, the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival and many others. As a reporter he has contributed to The Wall Street Journal Online, Variety, Screen International, FILMMAKER Magazine and The Hollywood Reporter. Additionally, Eugene spent 5 years at ABC-TV, ultimately working in its emerging Multimedia division as a producer of websites for ABC News and the annual Academy Awards.

Ted Hope, Producer, 21 Grams, American Splendor, Happiness, The Ice Storm, In the Bedroom — Ted Hope, co-founder of Good Machine, This is that and, most recently, Double Hope Films, has produced over sixty films, including three Sundance Grand Prize winners and the first features of Alan Ball, Michel Gondry, Hal Hartley, Nicole Holofcener, and Ang Lee,among others. He co-founded the Indie Film review site HammerToNail.com, and his blog, Hope For Film, is on IndieWIRE, making Hope the only working filmmaker with a daily column in one of the “Trades”. Ted’s most recent production, Collaborator, written and directed by Martin Donovan won the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2011 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Martha Marcy May Marlene, written and directed by Sean Durkin won the Directing Award at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was featured in Un Certain Regard at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.Ted’s most recent release, Super, written and directed by James Gunn, was the first sale of this year’s Toronto Film Festival and is one of IFC’s most successful VOD titles. His most recent production, Dark Horse, written and directed by Todd Solondz, premiered at the Venice & Toronto Film Festivals. Ted teaches “The Future Of Film” at NYU Graduate Film School, in conjunction with the think tank he helped found there, The Cinema Research Institute. (217 words)

Amanda Micallef, Producer – Micallef has been working in the film business since 1995. Her first feature film as a producer, Grand Champion boasts an all-star cast that includes Emma Roberts and Joey Lauren Adams, as well as cameo appearances by Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts. In April 2009, under their mutual production banner The Fort, Amanda and fellow Fort Worth native Chad Feehan completed principal photography on Beneath the Dark, a psychological thriller starring Josh Stewart and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Beneath the Dark premiered at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival. Shortly thereafter, IFC Films acquired North American rights. Most recently, the team acquired rights to William Gay’s novel, Twilight, which Stephen King named #1 on his top books of 2007 in Entertainment Weekly. The project has been set up at Vendome Pictures, the production and financing entity behind Source Code and is eyeing a 2012 start date. Amanda is a member of the Director’s Guild of America and the Producer’s Guild of America.

Orly Ravid, Founder, The Film Collaborative (TFC) – TFC is the first non-profit organization devoted to the distribution-education and distribution of art house and documentary cinema. Since its launch TFC has consulted for films that include the Sundance winner GasLand and SXSW winner Weekend. TFC created the first ever Digital Distribution Guide™ utilized by filmmakers and industry alike. TFC also released a book entitled Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul that is now available in multiple digital platforms and paperback. Ravid has more than 12 years experience in the film industry working with companies such as Maxmedia and Senator Entertaiment. Orly received a B.A. in English Literature and Film Studies at Columbia University and graduated with honors.

Jonathan Reiss, Filmmaker, Author, Consultant – Named one of “10 Digital Directors to Watch” by Daily Variety, Reiss is filmmaker (Bomb It, Better Living Through Circuitry), author (Think Outside the Box Office) and consultant whose most recent book is Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul which he co-wrote with The Film Collaborative and Sheri Candler. Reiss has worked with IFP, the Sundance Institute, Screen Australia, Film Independent, Creative Scotland, The South Australian Film Corporation and numerous film schools and festivals to devise ways to educate and help independent filmmakers in the new economic landscape. He is also a regular contributor to Indiewire, Tribeca Future of Film, Sundance Artists Services, Hope for Film and other publications.

Basil Tsiokos, Film and Film Festival Consultant – In addition to Consulting for filmmakers & film festivals, Tsiokos is also a Documentary Programming Associate for the Sundance Film Festival. He is a regular contributor to indieWIRE and curates Hulu’s documentaries page. As a visiting professor at Pratt, he oversees the student organizers of the Wallabout student short film festival. He is the Co-Producer of Cameron Yates’ feature documentary The Canal Street Madam (World Premiere, SXSW Competition 2010). Between 1996-2008, Basil was the Artistic & Executive Director of NewFest: The NY LGBT Film Festival. He has served on numerous US and international film festival juries and panels. He holds a Masters degree from New York University in Cinema Studies and completed his undergraduate degrees at Stanford University.

Lone Star will host more than 60 screenings of more than 40 films from around the world. For more information and to purchase tickets visit http://lonestarfilmsociety.com/box-office-2/.

Stay up to date with The Lone Star 2011 festival by liking Lone Star on Facebook and following Lone Star on Twitter @LoneStarFilmSoc.

-30-
About Lone Star International Film Festival:
In its fifth season, the Lone Star International Film Festival (LSIFF) Fort Worth in Sundance Square is an annual event hosted by the Lone Star Film Society. The festival seeks to uncover and amass emerging films, talent, trends, production methods and distribution channels that will shape the future of the independent film industry. With a core focus on supporting and accelerating the new paradigm of alternative distribution, LSIFF brings together undiscovered and experimental talent and thought leaders to serve as a forum for ideas in the changing landscape of film production and distribution. LSIFF has honored filmmakers that include Martin Sheen, T Bone Burnett, Jeff Bridges, Bill Paxton, Sidney Lumet, Melonie Diaz and Fred Durst. For more information visit, lonestarfilmsociety.com

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October 26 at 8:30am

Can Brands & Indie Films Collaborate Without Sacrificing Integrity Or Goals?

Several weeks back, I joined Steve Wax of Campfire at the MIXX conference for a discussion about the potential of collaboration between Indies & Brands on feature films. Often conflicting agendas mess every thing up, but does it have to?

Our Proposition: Brands can associate themselves with films, particularly independent films, without relying on product placement or other forced connections. There are new ways both sides benefit from the marketing association offered in our new connected culture.

Ted: Product Placement has always been a bad phrase with filmmakers of all sorts, particularly indies. It can mean sacrificing their audience’s trust and their relationship with their fans. Whenever it’s proposed, filmmakers’ balk.

Steve: Many of us in the interactive marketing business never bought product placement either – we believe in transparency and authentic messaging. Instead, I’m interested in how certain brands and most independent films lean on strong cultural themes to attract attention from their respective audiences. By finding films whose themes and values line up with brands’, both can gain a marketing lift from a more authentic approach.

Ted: There are common themes that both filmmakers & brands return to time and time again:
1. Triumph over adversity; you can do it; (Juno, 21 Grams/Nike)
2. Family is where you find it; (Kids Are All Right/Benetton)
3. Difference is universal (The Help, Take Shelter, Weekend, Boys Don’t Cry/)
4. Tolerance/Forgiveness will teach us all; aka Open your heart (Precious, Bellflower, Wedding Banquet, Towelhead, /Coke];
5. Be yourself, Find Yourself, Don’t compromise your integrity (Napoleon Dynamite, American Splendor/Apple)
6. Take action; move on; just do it; don’t sit on the fence; make a tough choice; don’t wait until tomorrow. (Super, Erin Brokovich/*)
7. Don’t settle; Raise the bar; Aim higher; dream the dream; (Adventureland)
8. Build it and they will come; dream the dream; (Moneyball, Field Of Dreams)
9. Life is hard but our family & friends get us through it; (Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Savages, The Kid With The Bike)
10. Don’t mess with Mother Nature. (via
11. ‎”There’s hope, but it’s not where you think it is.” (via Mindi White)
12. “Love Hurts” (via @flixfixer). Love saves. Love transforms. (Eternal Sunshine)
13. “Revenge is all-consuming” (via @flixfixer) (The Skin I Live In, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Inglorius Bastards)
14. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” (via @flixfixer)

*I stopped thinking of brands here – we really need to work with a brand to develop their positioning

Steve : Yes, more and more brands are utilizing cause related marketing campaigns. For instance, Pepsi Refresh (http://www.refresheverything.com/) and Tom’s Shoes (http://www.toms.com/our-movement ) are good examples. (BP and ecological responsibility may not be…)

Ted: The challenge is first how to spot the film if you are the brand, or how to spot the brand if you are the filmmaker – and then to do it far enough in advance so that both sides can utilize the relationship to truly grow their audience. Marketing of movies often only becomes audience facing the six weeks prior to release, but all the elements are in place two years prior to release. We have to change the practice for the world we are currently living in.

Steve: Well, what’s attractive here about the “Digital/Social Marketing” is the seeding of brand content is essential over time.

Independent films appeal to key audience segments by identifying serious issues, having embedded them in entertaining stories with strong characters. If the values associated with these same issues are essential to a brand strategy, they can be mutually discussed, debated and spread over time, supporting both the film release and the brand platform.

Let’s take Hallmark Cards as an example. They have a new line of cards for the unemployed. (http://perezhilton.com/2011-09-30-hallmark-launches-unemployment-sympathy-cards).

What if Hallmark created a campaign that highlighted unemployment and the dilemmas that result for the families? And the themed content behind the George Clooney film, Up In The Air, and shared that content — created by the brand — on behalf of the film? Might be a bit racy for Hallmark, but a campaign like this would certainly give them a lot of cred among people who are struggling.

Or, say, the theme of the new American family? The shared content was created and hosted by someone as large as McDonalds debating the makeup of the “new American family” and including the story of making of The Kids Are All Right? Some of the best and most popular American independents, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, and Kids, focus on this same theme.

The brand would devote a significant amount of their marketing dollars to this effort, connecting with and supporting the film, gaining access to the films fans, and gaining greater authenticity.

Ted: If the filmmakers have not taken any financing they certainly can not be accused of compromising their integrity – which for some sometimes seems to be even more important than liking a good movie. But it’s still a good movie that drives most people, and certainly drives the audience. As much as I think good movies predominately come from whom the creators are, I do think the structure that creation occurs in, has a great deal to do with the quality of the product too. Artists need ownership of their work. We should consider what this structure’s content might be like.

Steve: Yes, who creates the new themed content and its honesty will be a big issue. A terrific example of a brand using a value theme in my opinion is the ongoing Responsibility Project from Liberty Mutual:

• Liberty Mutual’s TV ads emphasize responsibility and doing the right thing: http://tinyurl.com/42etyky,

• Meanwhile they maintain a site that talks about responsibility: http://responsibility-project.libertymutual.com/#fbid=p6WVZRiYX6D

• What if a new film like the Insider came out (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140352/) or again, Up in the Air, and had a campaign running that emphasized tough choices. And the content on the film’s issue site shared space with Liberty Mutuals? And the Liberty Mutual Responsibility site talked about the issues faced in the story by the Russell Crow character?

Ted: The challenges are that ideally that it can’t be just a one-off or a series of one-offs. Audiences need a place to return to, a place they can develop trust in, and ideally a place that can participate in. You can’t just build films any more.

To serve all the participants, you need to build a community. Both the filmmakers and the brands and the audiences will be involved in building what it becomes. You can unite them all around common themes & content silos. If the commitment to the brand is only a film or two, nobody will benefit.

You need a long term relationship, akin to what American Express has with Tribeca Film, but only not on a general basis but on a focused thematic. In some ways you had this long ago in television programming sponsorship like Mutual Of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, but now since we can easily add the social aspect to it via the internet, it won’t be run top down but through the community itself. That ownership of the theme by the community allows it to resonate much more fully for both the filmmaker and the brand.

Steve: One of the best examples of ongoing support is Xerox roles in early role in top PBS programming. It would be really great to aggregate support this way for a slate of films. What’s essential is that a brand truly represent and support the theme. A filmmaker’s willingness to share the stage with a brand might be the ultimate test of mutual sincerity.

Ted: I think the demands that are made upon creators and their collaborators start to change under this paradigm, or at least the recommended “Best Practices” start to change. Filmmakers shift from a pure story-centered world to a greater focus on maintaining an ongoing conversation with their communities. It only makes common sense to adopt a strategy of both “audience aggregation” and one of “engagement”. You want not just fans, friends, and followers, but an active community that will proselytize for you.

Steve: Amen.

Ted: Seriously, right? If filmmakers and brands both declare what they want to represent openly and transparently – or even through gatekeepers & facilitators –- we are at the start of both a real collaboration and a new business model. There would be a hub by which audiences discover new work and then discuss and participate in the themes of that work. They transform from consumers to communities. The brand wins by enjoying the positive association with what truly matters to the community. The filmmakers win by having a new home for the discovery, appreciation, and presentation of their work – all important pillars in the cinema equation.

Note: We’ve looked at this possibility in the past on HopeForFilm. Check out Amy Lo’s post on “How Big Brand Sponsorship Saved Our Indie Film

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October 25 at 8:30am

NYFA’s Consulting Program for Filmmakers

Matthew Seig informs of a helpful new program for New York Filmmakers. Don’t miss out on it!

Filmmakers can have a tough time finding professional guidance on new work or works-in-progress. The critiques they attract before reaching their audience are usually limited to acceptance or rejection letters, perhaps accompanied by a few brief comments. Filmmakers’ written material, social-media and distribution strategies, and sometimes the films themselves, are often created single-handedly by the artists and could be improved with a little professional advice.

For those who can be in New York on November 10, New York Foundation for the Arts has developed a unique consulting program for filmmakers. It was modeled after one of NYFA’s signature services for visual artists, called “Doctor’s Hours,” which provides one-on-one consultations with museum curators and gallery owners. Similarly, Doctor’s Hours for Filmmakers will offer an opportunity to meet with fundraisers; social-media producers; festival, art house and television programmers; and grass-roots and theatrical distributors, many of whom are familiar names in the indie community.

During each private one-on-one twenty-five-minute session, filmmakers can present a work sample or trailer, written material, or web content.

There is a fee of $35 for each consultation, and a filmmaker may have up to three consultations during the evening (6:00 PM to 9:00 PM). Registration opens on October 25. Further details, a list of the consultants and their bios, and registration pages can be found at nyfa.org

Consultants: Thursday, November 10th, 6-9pm

Caitlin Boyle, Grassroots and advocacy-driven distribution, community screening initiatives, grassroots marketing and communications, audience outreach and engagement.

Jim Browne, Distribution, festivals, exhibition, digital distribution options

Anne del Castillo, Submitting work to television and navigating PBS

Amy Finkel, Websites, interactivity, documentary production

Eliza Licht, Social media, community outreach, developing audiences

Victoria Linchong, Proposals, grants, written materials

Lynn Lobell, Proposals, grants, written materials

Michael Tuckman, Distribution, festivals, promotional campaigns

Chris White, Preparing work for television, website content, trailers and editing

*If you will be requesting feedback on a grant application or written material, please be prepared to provide it to us at least one week in advance

For consultant bios visit our website
These bios provide an opportunity for you to research which consultants would be appropriate for the advice and feedback you are seeking.

Perhaps best known for its programs for visual artists but serving all disciplines as well as other arts organizations, NYFA’s Fellowship, Professional Development and Fiscal Sponsorship programs have served thousands of filmmakers, including Barbara Kopple, Joe Berlinger, Todd Haynes, Reginald Hudlin, Tamara Jenkins, Nathaniel Kahn, Spike Lee, Mira Nair and Kimberly Price. A series of presentations for filmmakers on subjects such as social media; grass-roots outreach; DIY and split-rights distribution; transmedia; and new technologies; some now available by podcast, was begun in 2009 (with an inaugural presentation by Ted Hope) and has now led to the development of Doctor’s Hours for Filmmakers.

In the era of multidisciplinary art and transmedia, NYFA is a unique resource. The email list for notifications of future Doctor’s Hours for Filmmakers is at nyfa.org > Email List > Artist Learning.

Matthew Seig is a Media Specialist for New York Foundation for the Arts.

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October 22 at 8:30am

Design The Perfect Landing Page For Your Film’s Website?

What are the top individual film websites? What are the top ones not funded by a major distributor?

What makes for a good landing page? What are you trying to accomplish with it?

How come filmmakers don’t discuss this a whole lot more? How come film festivals don’t have panels on this sort of stuff so we can actually learn something?!

I was very happy to stumble upon this blog post that outlined a series of suggestions on what makes for a good landing page for a website.
http://www.formstack.com/the-anatomy-of-a-perfect-landing-page
Thank you formstack! Thanks to Ross Pruden and Danny Dee for tweeting about this and pointing me to it.

Where can we find more information like this?

Will film festivals start to design more programming to truly help filmmakers in this transition to direct distribution?

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October 19 at 8:30am

It’s Free! But You Can Still Pay For It If You Wish…

What’s the goal? Building an audience, or making a profit? Some projects are undertaken for other reasons than getting rich. Sometimes we just want to educate people. And sometimes that noble effort, leads people to give even more.

Well, here’s Hope hoping…

I got to participate in the doc PRESS PAUSE PLAY awhile back.

The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent in an unprecedented way, with unlimited opportunities. But does democratized culture mean better art or is true talent instead drowned out? This is the question addressed by PressPausePlay, a documentary film containing interviews with some of the world’s most influential creators of the digital era.

The interactive version of PressPausePlay was recently released. It includes the interview with me as well as many others so there is now ten times the original content.

You can now download the original version and the exclusive interactive player for free on: http://www.presspauseplay.com/

PressPausePlay’s interactive player includes many unseen interviews with creative innovators such as filmmaker Michel Gondry, electronic musician Apparat, and founder of Soundcloud Eric Walhforss, and me (producer Ted Hope).There are also extended interviews with those in the film such as Seth Godin, Lykke Li, Moby and many more. In the interactive version you can also view additional information about the people interviewed so you can continue to get inspired by their work. The result is an incredible amount of content and continues the conversation about hope, fear and digital culture.

The interactive player will be an evolving version with updates available as the filmmakers add more content or links to their upcoming soundtrack and other material.

Of course if people want to donate they can, but they can also purchase the film and soundtrack on iTunes, Amazon.com and many more. And hopefully those, that can, will. The filmmakers felt that the viewer should be able to decide how they see the film to get a personalized experience. How often does that happen? Hopefully a lot more.

I truly recommend you watch the entire film. Of course, if you have only ten minutes now, or have a boring conference call coming up, just press mute on your microphone and start watching just my interview right here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKEmp19WewA

Tech Crunch wrote about the film recently, so you know it’s important:
http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/01/buy-presspauseplay-or-legally-download-it-for-free-your-call/

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This site could not have been built without the help and insight of Michael Morgenstern. My thanks go out to him.

Help save indie film and give this guy a job in web design or film!