Archive for the ‘General Resources’ Category

Openfilm Launches New User-Generated Film Site

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Openfilm.com is the latest online outlet for up-and-coming filmmakers to showcase their work. This site distinguishes itself by choosing only the best quality films – weeding out the amateur, low-quality shorts that you can find on any video site on the web.

“Openfilm welcomes all submissions, but screens each video for technical and production quality,” states the site. “Openfilm’s in-house production staff, which also produces original web shows that appear on the site, processes all approved submissions to ensure high quality playback.”

They’ve also forged relationships with several film festivals and films schools: Vancouver Film School, Miami International University of Art & Design, Greater Philadelphia Student Film Festival, South Beach International Animation Festival, and Montreal-based Young Cuts Film Festival.

Along with their platform, they offer content providers the opportunity to monetize their films by adding advertisements. Openfilm splits the revenue with you 50/50. Check out their Membership Agreement for more details.

Here are some of the features that Openfilm offers: [as listed on their website]

– High definition large video player displaying resolutions from 640×360 and 700 kbps to full-blown HD at 1280×720 and 1500 kbps.

– Prescreening, selection and custom encoding all submissions to preserve the highest possible quality.

– Allows submissions as Internet uploads (up to 2 GB) or as mail-in DVDs. Users can also request a private FTP access to upload their videos on the site.

– No limitations on video duration.

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CNN Launches iReport Film Festival

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

CNN is launching its first user-generated short film competition covering the 2008 U.S. presidential election: iReport Film Festival. Contestants are asked to submit/upload an original short film (8 minutes or less), documenting their perspective during the presidential campaign. Deadline for submissions is October 12, 2008 and the winner will be announced on November 13 on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360.

Here’s more info from iReport:

The best films will vie for Grand Jury and CNN Audience Awards, and as with all iReports, may be featured on CNN. Award winners will receive a trip to Washington D.C. for the inauguration of the next president of the United States and a top-of-the-line HD camera. [excerpt from iReport.com]

You can upload your film HERE.

Celtx (Free Pre-Production Software) Releases 1.0 Version

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Celtx just released the 1.0 version of their pre-production software. I personally have not used Celtx since their 0.9.7 version and I was only utilizing the Screenwriting feature. This new release has so many new features that I think is worth checking out – and it’s still free! You can download it here.

Some of their new features include Storyboarding, and upgraded Project Scheduling tool that integrates with the script breakdown, and an iPhone tool that allows you to view your Celtx projects on your iPhone. There’s a lot more too. Every independent filmmaker on a budget would be wise to try this open platform tool that is – did I mention this – FREE!

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Filmmaking Tricks – Using Your Tripod for Crane-Like Shots

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Here’s a very cool low-budget maneuver you can try with your tripod. It’s a simple idea that can add production value to your shot.

Here are some other related vids on this subject:


April Is Script Frenzy Month

Saturday, March 29th, 2008

If you need motivation to kick start your screenplay – join Script Frenzy‘s month long international writing event. Participants have to write 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. There’s no fee to enter and there’s also no “valuable” prizes awarded. The real award will be the pride of finishing 100+ pages of your script. They’ll throw in a Script Frenzy Winner’s Certificate and web icon announcing your achievement. Some of last year’s participants have left comments on John August’s blog about their experience with the event.

Script Frenzy is affiliated with The Office of Letters and Light which also sponsors NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) – an event that challenges participants to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November.

Also check out Script Frenzy’s Writer’s Resources page. It’s got several “how-to” and formatting guides.

Funding Your Film Through the Fan Based Social Marketplace

Saturday, March 22nd, 2008

In a previous post, “Let the Public Finance Your Film,” I looked at several examples of filmmakers utilizing the social landscape of the internet for funding their film. Their approach was to reach out and create a fan base that would lend financial support for their project. Kevin Kelly [bio] recently commented on the financial power of a fan base in his article titled, “1,000 True Fans.” Kelly states that “anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.” The expansion of that idea has created other websites that provide a platform for project funding and promotion.

The latest example is IndieGoGo. This is the hottest endeavor to utilize the social market place in helping filmmakers find funding for their projects. It was just launched in January ’08 and Filmmaker Magazine reported that the site announced its first film to reach its funding goal (The Lilliput by filmmaker Minna Zielonka-Packer raised $10,000 through the site). IndieGoGo allows filmmakers to incorporate what they call a “DIWO – Do It With Others” approach. Here’s how they describe it:

IndieGoGo enables this “filmocracy” by providing filmmakers an open platform to pitch their projects to the world, and giving the fans a vehicle to experience and influence the once inaccessible world of filmmaking. Filmmakers get new resources to build and engage a loyal fan base to assist in making their projects happen. Filmmakers can raise money and awareness, find cast and crew, and gain credibility through the help of their number one resource: their fans.” [excerpt from IndieGoGo-About Us]

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New MPAA Report Gives Filmmakers Good Stats for Business Plans

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has just released its 2007 U.S. Theatrical Market Statistics Report. It looks like the U.S. domestic box office receipts for 2007 hit a record $9.63 billion, up 5.4% above 2006. Internationally, the worldwide box office rose to an all-time high – $26.7 billion.

So why would an indie filmmaker care about this report? Well, beyond having a positive financial result from the medium that you work in – you can use those stats for your business plan. When pitching your project to potential financiers, it is always good to present a positive outlook in the industry that seeks investment. It’s arguably more difficult to convince someone to invest in your low budget film if the overall marketplace is on a decline.

Here’s the summary from the MPAA report (you can also view and download the PDF file here:

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Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Film Institute Merges with Renew Media

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Robert De Niro and his producing partner, Jane Rosenthal have merged their nonprofit organization – Tribeca Film Institute (affiliated with the Tribeca Film Festival) with Renew Media. Renew Media (formerly known as National Video Resources) was founded by The Rockefeller Foundation in 1990 as a funding source for media artists. The Tribeca Film Institute was created after September 11th 2001 as an effort to stimulate the economic revitalization of New York City through arts based initiatives and to “educate, entertain, and inspire filmmakers and film lovers alike.”

The merger will take the name Tribeca Film Institute and will continue to expand its home in lower Manhattan as a cultural institution providing artists with funding, exhibition and work space.

We have been pursuing complementary avenues with respect to filmmakers and media artists for many years now,” said Jane Rosenthal. “By putting these two institutions together under one roof our impact is going to be greater than anything we could have achieved separately and we look forward to building an unprecedented arts organization.”

“This new organization enables us to carry out our mission and support artists and filmmakers throughout all stages of their careers,” said Robert De Niro. [excerpt from official announcement]

Together, the two organizations will combine their resources, staffs and programs that according to indieWIRE, will “rival established entities as the Sundance Institute, Film Independent, and the Independent Feature Project (IFP).”

Zhura: A New Online Collaborative Screenwriting Application

Monday, February 25th, 2008

I just ran across a new online screenwriting application called Zhura. It offers free membership and is similar to the collaborative concept behind Celtx. Although Zhura doesn’t have all the pre-production features that Celtx provides, it simplifies the user experience by being an online application doesn’t require any software downloads and upgrades (also check out Plotbot and ScriptBuddy). Zhura’s editing tool allows you to format your script into an “industry standard” layout and if you need a hard copy or want to save it to your computer, you can convert it to a PDF or text (.txt) file. I definitely appreciate the way it maintains a complete history of your changes/revisions.

If you’re working with collaborators on your screenplay or just want to share your work for public feedback – this can be a very useful tool. Their motto is “Make it together.” It’s worth checking out.

The Doorpost Film Project

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

The Doorpost Film Project is a new filmmaking contest which will also serve as an ongoing project that aims to “change the world.” It’s another positive social filmmaking endeavor in the light of Pangea Day which I blogged about before. Along with the project’s optimistic goals, they’re giving filmmakers some serious cash!

Here’s the gist of the contest:

Submitted films (accepted from February 1 to May 1, 2008) need to be 5 minutes or less in length – themed in one of seven universal concepts: ENERGY, LOVE, PAIN, GREED, REDEMPTION, FORGIVENESS, and FREEDOM.

Entries are to be uploaded to thedoorpost.com where it will be streamed and judged by “industry experts” and online viewers.

15 finalists will win $10,000 each to make another short film (8-15 minutes in length). From there, three winners will be selected – 3rd prize = $20,000, 2nd prize = $30,000 and 1st prize = $100,000. Not bad.

Here’s what they say about their organization:

This is more than a contest, this is an ongoing project. We ask you, this century’s revolutionaries, to join us in creating a new way to understand the core of our humanity and a new way to change the world.” [from thedoorpost.com ‘about us’]