An Analysis of Internet Trends for Indie Filmmakers

Over at Medium.com Marc Schiller has what he calls an ‘evolving document’ where he takes a look at what the internet has to offer – and NOT offer – the independent filmmaker. The article has a great format – each point has a headline and sub-headline that accurately tags his thoughts. You can read deeper on areas of interest to you.

He points out, for example, that blogs like this one – ‘curated’ content – are a thing of the past. This is the story of my life. A day late and a dolla short.

But Schiller covers lots of things in film promotion and gives lots of what to do and not do. Definitely one of the most insightful articles of the year.

Using tech on screen – The Good Wife as case study

One of my pet peeves is when movies use tech BS to either a) cause a problem or b) solve a problem. No 12 year old is going to pull up a chair and figure out a multi-million dollar security system (cough cough Jurassic Park cough cough) or any of the probably dozen of other examples we could quote.

Addressing the issue of how our characters use technology, and how to portray that onscreen, is the subject of a good piece over at ‘TheProvince’. In the discussion is Good Wife greater Robert King. I’ve never seen the Good Wife, but, it sounds like they’ve taken a great approach – show the characters using technology like most of the viewers use technology! And don’t be cute about it.

It’s a good article, full of relevant advice for all of us dealing with characters who live in the real world (or close enough to it šŸ˜‰ )

The Piracy Problem – how the entertainment industry has learned nothing

Good article from TorrentFreak pointing out the obviously – shutting down (perhaps permanently, perhaps not) The Pirate Bay does little except inspire pirates who had become complacent by TPB’s ubiquitousness, to develop new schemes of sharing. This legal action will – already has, in fact – fuel new technologies. Which is kind of cool, even if done for the ‘wrong’ reason.

They also have a great title for the article.

And read the comments – like why this proves the world will never become like Star Trek.

Cool SF on no(low) budget? Yes, it’s possible!

Over at NoFilmSchool.com they’ve got a tip of the hat to the guys at Hive Division, an indie production house in a tiny town in Northern Italy! Yes, I want to live and work there! šŸ™‚

Anyway, the guys at Hive created this rather awesome 12 minute Sci-Fi short on no/low budget and it looks friggin amazing! It shows that if you know your way around VFX yourself you can get amazing value for money.

On the page is the short film as well as a (all too short!) look at the making of.

Inspiring!

Because suing people always stops piracy. Not.

There is something unusual in this story from Philippines new source Inquirer.net.

The story is about the Philippines-based TV company ABS-CBN and a lawsuit to stop piracy. That, in itself, sadly, is not so unusual. The same network “successfully” Ā sued someone earlier this year, winning a $10 million reward.

The strange thing, for me, is that these lawsuits are being filed in America, and are often against Americans. This despite the fact that the situation that drove this latest lawsuit was a raid in Australia.

First – really, are there so many people in the world who want to watch FilipinoĀ TV?! And second, do Americans, or many other people for that matter, have legitimate access to FilipinoĀ TV shows?

At the heart of this, of course, is money. ABS-CBN claims that the dozen or so website who were doing this piracy were depriving them of income, or, misusing copyrighted materials. Why does ABS-CBN not set up a site of their own where people can download the shows for free? Because either a) they don’t have the rights to do so (which points to a glaring lag in their contracts given the 21st century media distribution conditions) or, they want to charge more money.

So, the money the pirates are making is not enough for the network, but its enough for the pirates.

This is a kind of idiocy, or at best, lunacy.

Maybe (?!) I am an naive idealist, but, all this lawsuit could possibly do is this:

  • shut down some websites
  • cause the content to move to other websites
  • at best inconvenience people by removing their tv shows for a little while

Even if they did stem the tide of those shows they are in fact cutting their own noses off – once people have turned away from a tv show they won’t go back (ask someone who used to watch soap operas and then stopped or changed). These companies seem to think that viewers are loyal (which they are not except in very rare cases) and even worse, are loyal to a production company!

These people will either find otherĀ Filipino TV shows or just watch other shows.

Recently a popular website that offered pirated Japanese TV has shut down its service. The majority of its users were from Japan. They used the service not because of the money (most of the shows you can get for free on broadcast TV) but because there was no easy way to download shows to watch on laptops or mobile devices!

Will this drive the TV Networks to offer such a service? No. They have ‘won’ against this pirate and consider it job done.

Companies will never learn.

We need a new distribution model.

Rant over.

We now resume normal programming (ha ha!).

And here’s the article.

Can payment and piracy co-exist?

This week BitTorrent the ‘not only used by pirates, honestly’ software platform BitTorrent introduced a potentially revolutionary payment system. The idea is as such: give a 90% cut of all sales to the content makers/providers, all around a model that features a flexible model: you can takeĀ some content for free,Ā get some behind a paywall.

This is an exciting alternative, and coming onto a platform that already is nestled into the hard drive of millions of media consumers (if not purchasers).

There is going to be a slow rollout of artists and features, and I think access is currently

limited, but, I expect that this will be another face of the ‘new distribution’ world we live in.

Don’t try this at home – how 4k presents a challenge to the animation business

BBC points out something that had been nestled deep in the back of my mind – if you are producing animation, and want to produce it at 4k, you’re going to need a LOT of horsepower to crunch the bits and bytes!

Coupling this with the earlier post from today (where it was pointed out that technology leads in industry) we have to start wondering… if you are an animator, will you be able to produce content at home?

Food for thought.

Tutorial: Using DigitalJuice Revealers with FCPX

I’m starting up a new series on YouTube of Final Cut Pro X tutorials and DigitalJuice products.

I’ve been a DigitalJuice user/subscriber for years, but, their tutorials for using their products with FCPX are pretty lacking. (read: almost non-existent).

In this first one I take a quick look at using their ‘Revealers’, with compound clips, alpha channels, etc, to create a quick and easy interesting lower third title reveal.

Amazing Masterclass in Guerilla Shooting (on a GH4!)

Sherif Mokbel has shot a great little short film using a Panasonic GH4.

But, perhaps more important to the world of indie filmmakers than his finished project is his incredible generosity in detailing every aspect of this shoot, from planning to post.

This is a one page on-set masterclass. I truly learned a lot about process and technique from this post!

Thank you Sherif!

Oh, and the film looks great.

Listen, Filmmakers – Cory Doctorow is speaking to you

Back in 1991 or so I used to sit next to Cory Doctorow at EFF meetings in Toronto. He will have no recollection of the outrageously long haired, camouflage-wearing techie next to him, but, I do remember the interest he exhibited even then in the concepts of electronic freedom and copyright.

He has shown that passion to the world in the last few years with a number of fascinating and insightful books – like his latest,Ā ā€œInformation Doesnā€™t Want to Be Freeā€.

Over at Salon.com they’ve got an interview with Cory where he discusses the impact of the changing marketplace and copyright. Filmmakers – ESPECIALLY independent ones – need to heed his words. We have to know a possible future of the distribution of our work.

It’s fascinating reading. You know, being a filmmaker is NOT all about the creative vision.