I’m changing the focus of this blog to creating Internet-based television series and distributing them to an audience. In the past I spoke about independent film because that was what I was interested in and where I thought I had some experience worth sharing. The fact that I’ve become an infrequent blogger reflects my waning interest in independent film. I’ll always love indie films and may even be fortunate enough to make more. But I’ve come to believe that there are better formats for both audiences and content creators—namely, serialized long-form stories distributed over the Internet.
I’ll be posting more about this soon, but in short, I believe we’re entering a golden age for visual storytellers and audiences where the confluence of new production tools, new modes of internet-based distribution, and new socio-economic realities are coming together to allow experienced filmmakers to create series for web-based audiences that rival the quality of network shows without being reduced to the least common denominator in order to satisfy a network-sized audience.
Of course, people have been talking about this possibility for several years now, without it yet becoming a reality. I believe that’s about to change. Changes on all three of these fronts: better cameras and software, more effective web distribution channels, and a recent societal and economic shift all push this closer to reality. All of this will be the topic of several posts to come as I lay out my vision of what seems to be coming and how filmmakers can reap the benefits.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey of discovery. I believe that this is going to be the most fecund and rewarding time that filmmakers have seen in decades. I’ve spent the past three years creating a media company—Popular Uprising—to explore and exploit these rapidly emerging opportunities. Popular Uprising is the product of untold hours of work from myself, my business partner Dan Southworth, and a few other amazing collaborators. We would not have put the time into this if we did not see a very real opportunity. We’ve learned a lot along the way and I’m sure we have much, much more learning ahead of us as we release our various series. The first series, DIVERGENCE will begin airing in 2012. I want to share what I’m discovering in the hopes that it paves the way for other filmmakers looking to play in this sandbox. I also want invite you to share what you’re learning to keep the dialogue going. I’m here to learn as well.
I’m working on two big editing projects at the moment and for me they’re a great reminder of how far the technology of editing has advanced in recent years, but also what may have been lost along the way. Editor Travis Bleen, writer-producer Andrew Stoneham, and I have just locked the cut on our new short film Coffee & Pie just in time to do the sound and color correction for our premiere in about two weeks at the Bermuda International Film Festival. And of course, post-production continues on Divergence with editor Tony Randel, assistant editor Mike Canon, and my co-creator Dan Southworth.
The way I work on most editing projects has changed drastically in the past few years. Once upon a time, editors literally cut and spliced strips of film, so they had to be in a room where the film was. There was no duplicate set somewhere else for another editor or the director to muck around with. The editing happened in the room and it was generally a two-person job because while one was cutting and splicing, the other was going and looking for the right piece of film.
Thank goodness those days are over. (continue reading…)
Backblog bak’ blôg n.
1. an accumulation of unwritten blog posts
2. a blog that is deeply out of date.
v.intr being in a condition of backblog.
“The last couple months I’ve been so slammed with work, my poor site is in serious backblog.”
I see a lot of backblog going on right now around the web. I don’t know if people have lost some of the blog fever or if they’re just busy making a living in tough times.
My acute case of backblog is due to a whole lotta projects all demanding my time. But of course, that’s when I need to blog the most. So here’s the quick overview of what I’ve been up to. I hope to catch up with more info on each of these projects shortly:
- Two short documentaries I made for MTV have finally hit the web as part of $5 Cover: Seattle. Look for the “Seattle Scene/B-Side” Videos “Tube Addiction/Verellen Amps” and “Vortex.” You can watch them on the MTV site or in higher quality here.
- My family film, The No-Sit List (staring Danny Trejo, Rico Rodriguez, Trenton Rogers, and Dee Wallace Stone) is about to be released on DVD (street date: March 8, 2011) by Phase 4 Films, retitled Babysitters Beware.
- Another family film I wrote is preparing to go into production in a month.
- I directed the short film Coffee & Pie in New York, and just learned of its first festival acceptance.
- My co-creator Dan Southworth and I (along with a truly amazing nano-crew) shot the first several episodes of our action/sci-fi web series Divergence. We’re now winding our way through post.
There’s some other bric-a-brac but that’ll hold until I get some more photos, links, and updates uploaded on these projects.
So, sorry about the delay. I’m still breathing, still dedicated to the blog. More info, videos, and articles are on the way.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of Open Source Entertainment and just what that mash-up of different worlds could be. …if anything.
Open Source, of course, comes from the open source software movement where a bunch of people from all over the world to work together in a sort of human cloud computer of developing new software. Linux is the granddaddy of open source software but there are now numerous applications. OpenOffice is an open-source Microsoft Office clone. Blender is an impressive open-source 3D modeling application.
What’s interesting to me is the thought of applying open-source principals to creating filmed entertainment. Part of the reason I’m considering this is my upcoming action/sci-fi series Divergence. The first season of Divergence is being produced in a manner that has a lot of similarities to open source—that is, a lot of people working together with the goal of creating something great, rather than immediately profiting. In that way, low-budget filmmaking and open source software development have always shared a core key idea. (continue reading…)