g The Film Panel Notetaker: Filmmaker Conference – Creating Content for New Platforms -September 17, 2007

Friday, September 28, 2007

Filmmaker Conference – Creating Content for New Platforms -September 17, 2007

Filmmaker Conference – Creating Content for New Platforms -September 17, 2007

Moderator:
(IK) Ingrid Kopp, Shooting People

Panelists:
(AC) Austin Chang, MTV New Media
(AL) Al Cattabiani, iThentic
(JC) Jan Crittenden, Panasonic

PANEL SUMMARY: This panel focused mainly on using new platforms as marketing tools rather than its promised topic of creating content for these platforms, but the main message was that no one from executives at major media companies to those who develop creative tools & equipment can tell us exactly what is coming down the pipeline, so we all have to stay open minded and be willing to adapt to whatever’s next. No matter what, you still need to have a strategy and a 360-degree view of your plan and options.

(IK) It seems as though the “future platforms” exist now, and it’s just a matter of figuring out what sticks. What are you throwing against the wall and what’s sticking?

(AC) MTV Networks brings it all together under a wide umbrella, from content for the wide mainstream to the uber-niche. We are at a point where we can use our online communities to drive what goes on air. The online communities are becoming our programmers!

(AL) We are a startup. There is a tsunami of user-generated content (UGC) so we want to be a destination for filtered, cleared, original content. We want to go through it for you and pick the best stuff. Our fantasy is to do for short form what Miramax did for indie.

(JC) The tools are evolving. There is a tightening of the gap of time between production and distribution. Looking at the video as data gets stuff to the audience faster.

(AC) MTV looks at it from a property standpoint. For example, the third Jackass movie is being released online, and we will map a whole community on top of it with a PSP game, extra content and a community that lets people participate in all things Jackass. This leads to a more lucrative series. Basically, we create uber-niche UGC sites based on audience demand.

(AL) Ithentic is getting traction with some mobile series:

--“Girls With Guitars” which focuses on female musicians and is backed by Fender. It’s notches above typical UGC.
--ITVS Mobile Stories, where filmmakers are invited to make short films about food.
--A sci-fi series.

Series give sponsors a chance to get some legs. We haven’t figured out how to make a full-fledged business of it. There are still lots of questions about mobile content delivery, including whether or not people really want it. Ithentic works by pairing up with distribution partners for straight-to-mobile delivery in Canada, the US and the UK.

(AC) Your distribution plan can become part of making the movie. Take advantage of these platforms to make a difference in the world.

(JC) As far as making a difference, Panasonic gives filmmakers grants, called P2 for a cause. Our PR department can also help get the word out about worthy projects. They pitch hundreds of stories about people using our products.

(IK) Where will technology take us?

(AC) It’s all broad strokes right now—TV, movie, and web content is being uploaded for the small screen and mobile. Again, creating content-based communities is key.

(AL) We’re agnostic about platforms. We’re just trying to curate really good stuff and go where the road takes us. The artists will figure it out.

Audience Q & A
[Notes taken by Jennifer Warren--Thanks, Jennifer!]

Q : What approach do you have for co-producing?

(AC) Casting the net and looking for good ideas. We don't have money for co-productions, we have to raise it via sponsors etc. If you have a good co-production idea then pitch it and we will see if it will match. There is no science to what we do.

Q: Are there technical decisions that filmmakers should make early on if going the route of new-tech/platform distribution?

(JC) 24P cameras- go the highest resolution for the best quality.

(AC) We take it all...

(AL) Keep in mind the screens are little - so long shots and busy backgrounds are not going to work.

Q: As viewers are becoming more interested in smaller viewing bytes, what becomes of old-fashioned feature filmmakers?

(AL) This is just a new form. It does not replace the old.

(AC) Our viewers are all about multi-tasking, texting while watching video clips etc. and that is who we produce for.

(IK) The thing that is so exciting is that if you can harness that, then you can build an audience to bring to your next feature project.

(JC) Yes, sometimes the short platform stuff leads to the long form.

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