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December 4 at 8:15am

30 Really Bad Things In FilmBiz 2014

IMG_9903It is now time for my complete list of The Suck In Today’s Film Biz. Earlier this week, I’ve dropped some bits on Keyframe and Filmmaker Mag. IndieWire picked it up. There’s so much that is wrong, it is easy to share the wealth. But here is all of those combined lists  plus many more. Can’t you hear everyone screaming “OMG, there is so much too fix! It is time we made this really work for ambitious and diverse film once and for all!”?  We wish, right?

I have been chronicling the negative in our film industry for sometime now — six years in these type of posts, but my original rant goes back to 1995 for Filmmaker Magazine.  Much of what I have stated in years’ passed remains still in need of getting done. Dig in to my past lists and when you combine them you will have well over 100 things that we could be doing better.  You’d think with so much wrong, more people would stand up and say “this has got to change!”. Where is the film industry’s national leadership? For the first time I believe we are capable of conceptualizing what an entire systems reboot could be — and one that looks out for ALL the stakeholders.  Isn’t it time for a international summit on this?

I have been also chronicling the good too, but today that’s for another day. Come back tomorrow for my comprehensive list of 30 Good Things In The Film Biz 2014.

By detailing what we have failed to do, done wrong, or continue to ignore, we build a road map of how we can improve things for the future. Here’s my contribution to that map for 2014.  Let’s build this better together.

  1. The “Winners Take All” Blockbuster Model Has Stomped “The Long Tail” Flat (in Hollywood). And as much as I hoped people would try to resist [...]


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July 26 at 8:15am

A New Era Requires A New Pitch, Pt.2

Yesterday, I tried to provide context as to why we must change the manner we pitch our stories, films, and storyworlds.  Today I am pondering what a pitch for today might be?

The question though is much bigger than that.  We have to ask what is the creative process — particularly the one that can hope to have a financial payoff of some sort in the end — when we have to look in so many directions and dimensions? [...]


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July 25 at 8:15am

A New Era Requires A New Pitch, Part 1

If you’ve been reading this blog you probably already recognize the old indie filmmaking model is obsolete. You’ve been trying to figure out how to shift from a focus on mass-market storytelling to one of niche audience world-building. You recognize that you need to build extensions, collaborations, and expansive discovery nodes into you storyworld architecture. And of course you know that the only logical response to this world of inexpensive high-production value abundance of content is to be more prolific, more ubiquitous, and thus radically collaborative. We recognize that the analogue era was about perfection and completion, but the digital one is about iterations and evolutions. You know all of this. You live it and you breathe it — but have you allowed it to truly alter your creative practice? [...]


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June 25 at 8:15am

This Is The Era Of The Storyworld

One-off film is a fool’s errand.  When the biggest challenge before filmmakers is not creating great work, or getting good work financed, but actually getting people to watch interesting and ambitious cinema, we must recognize that practices and processes must change.

As I like to stress, the only sane response to an overabundance of [...]


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February 6 at 10:00am

This Is Transmedia

I am producing Lance Weiler‘s HOPE IS MISSING (with Anne Carey). It’s hard to call it just another feature film when Lance does so much more to expand the story world. In the past, I have encouraged filmmakers to make a short to demonstrate their skills or help clarify the world they want to create. Yes, Lance made a short for HopeIsMissing (aka H.i.M.), and you can watch it at the bottom of this post, but that’s just a tip of the iceberg.

When I speak about it to studio execs, most still don’t know what I mean when I say it is a transmedia project. Hopefully that will never be the case again once we make the feature. One would think that this would have already changed though by what has been done already.

Perhaps you were at Sundance and encountered the PANDEMIC. It was an installation at New Frontier. It was an online experience. It was location-based ARG. It was story R&D. Lance explains:

How I Learned to Start a Pandemic from Turnstyle Video on Vimeo. [...]


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January 26 at 8:19am

Ambition In The Best Sense (aka Lance Weiler)

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Lance Weiler for maybe two years now.  I love how he thinks.  I love how he takes that thought and transforms it into action.  Process is more key to what he does, than virtually anyone else I have worked with.  The journey is the destination.  He is willing to walk without knowing where it all might be going.  He is collaborative to the Nth the degree.  His vision for cinema truly knows no limits.

Wired Magazine singled him out this summer as one of the fathers of transmedia.  BusinessWeek credited him with changing cinema alongside Thomas Edison, The Warner Bros., and James Cameron.  Between his features, The Workbook Project, & DIY Days, the man is profoundly generative.

If you were in Sundance this past week (and even if you weren’t), you probably witnessed how he infected Park City with [...]


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May 20 at 8:38am

Towards A True Cross-Platform Future

Last fall at PowerToThePixel I had the good fortune to be invited to partake in a ThinkTank on transmedia.  They have recently published their report on the day and I encourage you to read it.  Special thanks for Michael Gubbins for pulling the report together and facilitating the session.

Among the observations and recommendations:

• The business models of film and other creative industries are struggling because they are trying to dictate how customers use the media

• Creative industry needs to break free of restrictive single media practices with territorial rights and release windows

• Different media platforms are not always in competition and can cross-fertilise a brand and attract new audiences

• Value is moving away from product sales towards customer engagement with a brand

[...]


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