Archive for March, 2013

Free Producer’s Master Class with Ted Hope and Christine Vachon

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Chris Jones – who runs workshops at the Guerrilla Film Makers Master Class just made available the 4-hour Producers Master Class seminar, titled, American Independents Day in London with veteran indie producers, Ted Hope [IMDB] and Christine Vachon [IMDB]. They’ve both produced 68 films each – so they obviously have a lot to teach us.

You can get all four hours/parts HERE (for free) – all you have to do is register an account on their site.

Here’s the first hour:

Here’s some of the eye-opening insights that they discussed:

What is the film business? The film business is about people keeping their jobs. That’s the most important thing by anyone who is employed in the film business. Not getting your movie made. Not getting an audience for your film…”  — Ted Hope – On how to strategize the production of your film – knowing their primary agenda is an advantage on how to approach it with your project.

Filmmakers are still seeing the web [production or distribution] as the second best [option] or a failure – the same way that they looked at TV a few years ago… now it’s astonishing how many A-list directors are directing their first television pilots… Scorecese with Boardwalk Empire, Jonathan Demme, David Fincher… it’s no longer a ghetto if you’re in director jail.” – Christine Vachon  – In reference to producing and distributing to the web.. Vachon uses Vuguru as an example of a web production company that she’s currently working with on some projects.

Here’s the outline of the first part/hour:
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0.20 Introduction of Ted Hope & Christine Vachon
1.30 Killer Films and how Christine started producing films.
4.30 How to find an audience for you’re film.
6.30 How to produce lots of films regularly & why its important to make the right choices.
9.20 The making of a horror film and how to make a B movie.
13.50 Why ignorance is bliss and how direct contact with industry professionals pays!
16.00 Lessons learnt and why its important to go out to film festivals.
19.05 The film Super and how to negotiate your terms.
20.40 How fear is the key ingredient to making films & why its good to keep an open mind to do things in a different way or platform.
23.35 Online film platforms and the benefits from distributing online.
27.25 The importance defining a brand & how to make a living out of making films.
31.30 Ways of getting an audience for your low budget film & the importantance of communicating through different platfroms.
34.50 Why you can expand your brand into different genres & how it is easy to get trapped.
36.30 How to find the right producer for you & why its about finding the right fit for that project.
39.45 Why it’s important to play the long game in working with collaborators.
43.00 How collaboration teams are the way of the future & why you should have a wide range of collaborators.
46.20 Legal issues and how to get your project permitted.
49.00 How online video on demand services have changed the model of distribution.
51.25 How does online platforms effect the way we tell stories.
53.00 Why making content for platforms like Hulu can benefit your career.
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Get access to all the four parts/hours at americanindependentsday.com.

Photo above from Andy Wright of Evermore Films (who attended the seminar and wrote about his experience here).

New MPAA Report Shows Hispanics Trending As Higher Percentage Moviegoer

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) released its annual Theatrical Market Statistics Report for 2012 this week. The report illustrates that global box office revenue for all films worldwide reached $34.7 billion in 2012 (+6% over 2011). The U.S & Canada rev was up 6% to $10.8 billion with a 6% increase in admissions to 1.36 billion. One very noticeable piece in the report was that Hispanics – while only representing 17% of the population in the U.S & Canada – encompassed 26% of all movie ticket purchases.

Although Caucasians make up the majority of the population and moviegoers (140 million), they represent a smaller share of 2012 ticket sales (56%). Hispanics are more likely than any other ethnic group to go to movies, and purchased more tickets in 2012 compared to 2011. (source: MPAA)

Hispanics report the highest annual attendance per capita, attending on average 6.4 times per year, compared to closer to 4 times per year for African Americans, Caucasians, and Others. (source: MPAA)

In 2012, the ethnic composition of frequent moviegoers looks much the same as in 2011, with Hispanics oversampling as frequent moviegoers relative to their proportion of the population. (source: MPAA)

So what does all this information this mean to the independent filmmaker? For one – we can see that there’s a target audience that is not being directly served by the big studio films. This also seems to be a great opportunity for four-walling a film and bypass traditional distribution system. If you have an eager audience that wants to see films, why not make films for them.

Click HERE (PDF) for an infographic of the report.

Click HERE (PDF) for the full 2012 MPAA Theatrical Market Statistics report.

Tribeca Film Festival’s Vine Competition Announced

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The Tribeca Film Festival just announced a call for entries for Vine powered 6 second shorts (#6SecFilms). After its initial release in January, Vine has become a popular platform/app for creating very short videos (6 seconds is the limit) that are shared on Twitter (its parent company) and Facebook. The 6 second limit on the Vines have forced its users to be even more creative with their looping films – same as Twitter has revolutionized the creativity of the 140 characters written snippet.

Here’s the gist of the competition:

– Create a Vine (a.k.a. short film) that tells a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

– Tag your Vine with #6SECFILMS and the appropriate category hashtag of in one of the following areas:

#GENRE (Horror, Comedy, Sci-Fi, etc.)
#AUTEUR (artistic visionary story or script)
#ANIMATE (animated short)
#SERIES (serialized Vines – up to three)

– Then post it to Twitter (you must also follow @TribecaFilmFest).

– The deadline is 11:59 pm ET on 4/7/2013.

Read their Official Rules (here).

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Here’s the rest from TFF’s official announcement:

All Vines submitted to Twitter using the relevant hashtags before the deadline of 4/7/2013 will be reviewed by the Tribeca Film Festival programming team. A shortlist of select Vines that meet the creative requirements will be chosen by the programmers and displayed on Tribecafilm.com the week of 4/17/2013.

Our panel of distinguished judges will deliberate over the shortlist and select a winner in each category. The winners will be announced 4/26/13.

SHORTLIST, WINNERS AND PRIZES

Shortlisted Vines will be recognized and showcased on TribecaFilm.com.
Winners in each category will receive $600 (a hundred bucks for each second).

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Second Screen Mobile App Enhances ‘APP’ Film

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

A new Dutch film apply named APP will use a second screen application as a companion to the film. The app utilizes the SyncNow Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology. ACR makes second screens content-aware, delivering a package of enhanced features and information that are relevant & synchronized with the content playing on the main screen. Viewers are asked to download the app (available in iOS or Android) before going to see the film. APP’s app will offer 35 moments in the film where additional information or content will be accessible to enrich the movie viewing experience.


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This second screen feature is an interesting concept that is probably not a good gimmick for just any film. Other filmmakers (I believe Kevin Smith was the first) have used audio companion downloads that provide the director’s commentary that you’d time to synch with the film. However, APP’s story line makes it relevant since it involves a young psychology student who is addicted to her smartphone and after a long night of partying – discovers a mysterious app named IRIS has been downloaded on her phone.

APP Official Trailer:

Highland, the Screenplay Editor Officially Launches

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Highland – the screenplay editor conceptualized by screenwriter John August, is available in the Mac App Store today. Highland converts screenplays between PDF, FDX (Final Draft) and Fountain formats – back and forth in every direction. Here’s the product’s trailer…


With Highland, you can also tackle FDX files without Final Draft. We’ve found our users are often writing in Google Docs or TextMate or vim — or on their iPads. Whatever setup you prefer, Highland can get you into and out of Final Draft smoothly when you need special features.”John August

August introduced Highland last year, but wanted to beta test it with screenwriters before it went on sale. It’s available now for $9.99 until the end of the month (March 31st) – then it’s back to its original price: $19.99. You can also try the free demo here (zip file) or from the official site.

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Self Distribution via Vimeo On-Demand

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Vimeo recently announced the launch of their self-distribution on-demand (VOD) platform that will allow filmmakers to sell downloads or rent their films to the public. It’s available now through their ‘PRO’ service ($199/year).

I’ve been looking at all the self-distribution options for the feature film I produced and co-wrote with director Xackery IrvingNothing Without You. As we come to the last leg of the Festival phase of our film (next screening to date at the Sarasota Film Festival – April 6 & 7) we’ve come across several options. There are many ‘pay-wall’ type options similar to what Vimeo is now offering – but I think they all do not have the same brand cache and audience that Vimeo brings to the table. Plus, Vimeo’s revenue share is unmatched with their 90/10 split favoring the filmmaker.

[Vimeo On-Demand] is completely open, so anyone with a Vimeo PRO account can create a VOD page, sell their work, choose their price, choose the regions they want to offer and the time that it will be available, make it look beautiful, then push a button that says ‘publish’… and it’s open to the world.” – Blake Whitman, the company’s VP of Creative Development.

You can read Blake Whitman’s full interview with IndieWire here.

Here’s the Vimeo On-Demand trailer:

The Black Board is the New Official Writing Community of the Black List and Go Into The Story

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Go Into The Story, the official screenwriting blog of the Black List just announced the launch of their official forum: The Black Board.

What began as a user-generated idea — to create an online forum where writers who were participating in the Go On Your Own Quest challenge could gather — has evolved into a terrific resource.”Scott Myers

Here’s how they break down the sections:

Here’s a screenshot with all the details…

Check it out for yourself here: http://theblackboard.blcklst.com/