Last night, SIFF brought Emily Best to Seattle to talk about crowdfunding for films and my pal Brad Wilke of Smarthouse Creative was able to get me into the sold-out talk. (Thanks to the Seahawks Monday Night Football game and Joe Biden’s traffic-snarling tour of Seattle, there were a few seats still available.)
Emily is the CEO of Seed & Spark, a unique platform for crowdfunding and distributing independent films. While I haven’t done a crowdfunding campaign (yet) I’ve been tutored by the best—Zombie Orpheus Entertainment‘s Ben Dobyns who has the whole Kickstarter thing down to a science. (Seriously, ALL of ZOE’s projects get funded and successfully delivered. I don’t think anyone has a track record like Ben.) Even so, Brad ensured me that I would learn a lot from Emily’s presentation and he was absolutely right.
One of the unforeseen consequences of launching nearly my whole library of films (all the best ones, anyway) on Reelhouse and IndieFlix over the past few weeks is that my office a bit of a disaster area. You see, to launch these films, I not only needed the video files, but lots of stills, press kits, lists of festivals, etc. To get those I had to dig through boxes of film assets, some fifteen years old. It reminded me of an important lesson in filmmaking: Save EVERYTHING. (continue reading…)
I had the chance today to participate in a group mentoring event for young filmmakers in Seattle’s NFFTY Film Festival for filmmakers 22 and under. It was such a pleasure to share my perspective on the filmmaking life with so many young filmmakers from around the world. I had taken part last year as well and jumped at the chance to take part again. It’s inspiring to see these filmmakers just starting out and doing exciting things. If you’re in Seattle, definitely check out NFFTY.
One thing I noticed this year and last is that a lot of the same questions kept coming up throughout the “speed networking” type event and I developed a bit of spiel to get through my advice in the few minutes allotted. So to those who I didn’t get a chance to speak with at the event today, or just to young filmmakers who weren’t taking part in NFFTY, here’s my best advice. (By the way, this advice is actually pretty good for filmmakers at any age. I have to remind myself of it sometimes.) (continue reading…)
The film industry loves hyphenates: Writer-director; Actor-producer; Actress-model-whatever. (Television just runs words together turning producer-editor into “preditor.”) It’s time for a new hyphenate to take the stage: the producer-distributor.
Of course studios have distributed the films they produce forever. They split things up these functions into separate entities to help the creative accountants hide where the money goes, but essentially one company does both functions. However, for a long time when independent producers have done the same thing—distributing the films they make themselves—they’ve been labeled with the rather pejorative: “self-distributed film” stamp.
Self-distributed films tended to be seen as films that failed to find a “real” distributor. (This may have been an invention of the distributors themselves.) And perhaps there was some truth to this in the heyday of independent films. For the past several years, however, I’ve seen self-distributed films as more progressive and often more successful than those who partner with traditional distributors. (continue reading…)
You know how I know I’m on a pro set? I mean the real deal where there’s gaffer who knows his stuff and an AD who’s got an eye on every detail? It’s not the big lights—anyone can rent those. It’s not cool props. It’s not even name actors…okay maybe name actors. But frankly, I’ve seen some great actors sign on to less-than-worthy productions. No, the way I know that I’m on a pro set is, I see safety cables on every light.