Filmmaker Conference – Turning Your Viewers “On” – September 17, 2007
Filmmaker Conference - Turning Your Viewers “On” – September 17, 2007
(SK) Scott Kirsner, CinemaTech
(LR) Laurie Racine, Eyespot
(SR) Slava Rubin, Indiegogo.com
(MS) M Dot Strange, Director We are the Strange
(SG) Sindy Gordon, REELot
(Note: These notes start about 10 minutes into the panel, as I was busy wrangling my badge at the beginning.)
PANEL SUMMARY: There are lots of new and emerging opportunities out there to connect with your audience. If you are proactive and spend the time to research and take advantage of these forums, it can help you raise funds, build community, and give your work staying power.
(MS) Our film cost $120K, which was raised through “questionable practices.” (Laughs.)
(SR) A good example of a film raising money online is Robert Greenwald’s Iraq for Sale. Greenwald already had a name, and his team reached out with four emails over 9 days that got spread widely, which got them $200K. On our site, we want everyone to have that opportunity. Filmmakers can pitch their projects and tell the world what they need for free. It is one opportunity to find your niche, which is what the web is best for. In the long run, the site will be a for-profit model, where we take a cut of either the profits or the funds raised.
It’s all about engaging your audience. Four-Eyed Monsters raised some of their money back $1 at a time by partnering with a website who gave them $1 for every member who they got to sign up. Another example is a student who wanted to make a film about flying, and he took 5 minutes of footage to all of the pilots and staff at Van Nuys airport to raise money.
(SG) On our site, screenwriters can put scripts, treatments and video pitches online. For protection of the work, they can set it up so that their projects have a code and can only be accessed by people who were given the code by the writer. The site was created for proactive filmmakers, and we already have 300 writers and over 500 projects posted.
(LR) I work for two sites that help filmmakers. dotSUB helps translate films for the global marketplace. For example, if you want to test the market for your film around the world, you can get the trailer translated, either by volunteers through Open Source technology, or professionally for $10/ film minute. The site can be part of building an international community for your film.
The other site is Eyespot. It is the next wave of video sharing, as it taps into the “remix culture.” You can put up clips and then ask questions which they can answer by re-editing the content using our very simple editing tools. It’s an attribution-only license, so you must be credited for anything that is done with your work.
[Notetaker’s Note: A conversation ensued wherein panelists discussed the many implications of putting your work online for remixing. Questions generated included: Who owns the rights to the remix? What if the remixed version is more popular? What is someone tries to sell the remi? Is it possible for the remixer to help create new markets for the original work?]
(SG) As a former Writer’s Guild rep, I can tell you that the prospect of having your written work “remixed” online and someone else stealing the rights is horrifying.
(LR) I sit on the board of Creative Commons. You can use a Creative Commons license, not to give up your rights, but to give people a variety of degrees of copyright. A lot of artists and musicians use it now.
(MS) You can also use Creative Commons as basically free storage for very large files, or as a way to share material with your collaborators.
(SR) Kevin Spacey tried to start TriggerStreet.com where people could post scripts for re-editing. It’s still there but not very successful.
(MS) I’m just trying to get my brand out there, so I think it’s great if anyone wants to do anything with my work. However, my work appeals to younger, more tech savvy people and I am sensitive to that. You go as far as you can with it yourself and then you habd it off to viewers. Right now, I am giving out themed packs of clips with various genres so someone could edit just an “emo” scene, for example. By sharing your work, you can also get things back from your audience. For example, we got a bad review once from a guy who didn’t know anything about video games, and he had his email address on the review. Supporters of my film SPAMmed him like crazy!
(LR) Opening your work up a little can open you up to potential corporate sponsors. Don’t be afraid of corporate sponsors. They could potentially sponsor a contest to remix some of your footage. They want to associate their brands with great content. Traditional media companies are also taking advantage of these opportunities to create buzz on the internet. You should compete now while you still can, before all of these online opportunities are for-pay.
(SR) Some of the same methods on the internet can be used to gain a new audience for older work. The Last Broadcast was a film made in the 80’s which has gained a new audience online and raised Over $4 million.