Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Spouse 2.0 Day

One of the things I try to do with Down and Dirty DV is try to talk and school filmmakers about the things that no one really told me about, but yet are still critical to the filmmaking process like building business relationships, self-promotion, managing your own head, etc.

There’s a lot of information out there about the tangible aspects of filmmaking- shutter speeds, microphone properties, etc. But many of the things that I have observed that can really put the brakes on people’s film careers are much less tangible.

One such subject to be aware of (if you are so fortunate) is your spouse or significant other. Not that dissimilar to cops and doctors, this industry takes a very heavy toll on personal relationships, because we are often unavailable for the everyday things like dinner, family gatherings, or just simple daily household minutia.

We work on projects that take up all of our time, mental energy and drain our emotions. And apart from that, these same projects often require us to spend a lot of time away from home and damn near every dollar we have pursuing our dreams.

The end result for those of us with wives, husbands and partners is that there is often a “film widow” (or widower) somewhere in the background who sacrifices a great deal to help us realize that dream.

And the f-ed up part about it, is that so many of us are so caught up in our visions that we fail to even recognize the huge role their sacrifices play in allowing us to live out our dreams (or at least pursue them whole-heartedly).

So it was with some pleasant surprise that I noted a NY Times blog article earlier this week that stated that today, December 12th is Spouse 2.0 day, a day for Internet Start-Ups to remember and honor their other halves toiling to hold down the fort, the family and often the finances that are keeping our dreams afloat.

Eventhough Spouse 2.0 Day is for Internet Start-Ups, I think filmmakers fall into the exact same category and that we should all appropriate this day to honor our better halves with a gift, date, or just our whole presence (mental and physical) and stop for a minute and say thank you for holding us down.

Hey, I’m full of as much macho bravado as the next guy, but the honest truth is that I couldn’t do all the things I do – blog, podcast, shoot, write books, consult, run this business if it weren’t for my wife Sonya who also works full-time, but takes on the bulk of the responsibility for our household from cleaning, to the bills, to the kids. She sacrifices quality time with me, so that I can share my knowledge and talents with the world.

So this is just a very public shout out to her and a reminder to everyone else out there hustling to make their dreams come true that somewhere in the background, if you are lucky, there is someone else who loves you enough to put up with all the B.S. that comes along with a career in the arts and we shouldn’t take those people for granted, because they are one of the pillars that we lean on to get us through.

If you are with someone and you are blessed enough to have their full support in your crazy-ass artistic endeavors, as I do, then take some time this weekend (and a few more through out the year) to just stop and BE with them and let them know how much you appreciate them, because without that support of our other halves, our artistic efforts are doomed to disappoint.

I love you, baby. Thanks for having my back all these years.


Instructions for Spouse 2.0 day

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This Online Show is Worth $100,000

Game Changer: "The What the Buck Show" generates $100,000 in online advertising on YouTube for it's creator, Michael Buckley.

Making Real Money on YouTube

Photo: Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Only several hours after I posted yet another sermon on the coming changes in the media landscape and how we all need to be exploiting them, I just read this New York Times article on how Michael Buckley along with a small group of saavy new-age media makers are making real money through YouTube's partner program which pairs advertising with original content.

And when I say "real money" I'm talking up to 6 figures. $100,000 generated entirely online with nothing more than a clear thought out WELL-EXECUTED vision carried out with "a $2,000 Canon camera, a $6 piece of fabric for a backdrop and a pair of work lights from Home Depot".

I don't know what you are making at your current place of employment, but I bet it's not close to that. ( And if it is, I bet it involves a lot more hassle, long hours and considerably less fun.)

Read the Article for yourself. This isn't some far off fantasy just in MY head. This is a new reality right here and now, baby. Ladies and gentleman, the game has indeed changed.

The only question is will YOU be a player in the NEW game or are you gonna let the Golden Age of New Media just pass you by? There's only one answer if you're Down and Dirty...

"Hell's no!"


Dr. Horrible Changes Up the Game

Back during the writer's strike, bored TV wonder boy, Joss Whedon (creator of such modern cult classics as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and "Firefly") created a whole new show while he waited for the writers, producers, and studios to get their acts together. The end result is the quirky new property known as Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, a 3-part mini-series musical. See clip below:

While the show starring a singing Neal Patrick Harris (you know the guy from "Dougie Howser, M.D.") as a wacky evil doctor is a matter of taste, what I find most notable about it is the primary means of via and iTunes which grew an audience for surprise - A new DVD release!

I said it years ago when I started this blog and wrote my book and I'll say it again...the media landscape is changing. The power is shifting in our (content creators) direction little by little.

The big media companies are still in a little denial, but the gatekeepers of traditional media are slowly (dare I say quickly) loosing their iron grip on distribution. Via web 2.0 sites like, iTunes, and others, everyday filmmaking Joes can find and grow a receptive audience...and sooner than you realize there will be more viable options to actually turn a buck on our own work without any approval or involvement at all from the major media outlets.

As I write this there a number of devices and services in action and being developed that will be able to pipe your content direct to viewers computers an yes, now, even directly to their televisions. (See our previous blog post on the new generation of "black boxes".) Look around you. Pick up a paper. Traditional media dismissed the Internet for a little too long and now they are getting their asses spanked for it.

My strong advice is to start studying and experimenting with these new services and online distribution models and building your own devoted audience now before the majors get their act together and find a way to box you out. (Most of these services are still free, believe it or not.) The old excuses of gatekeepers blocking your project no longer stands up.

Now it's up to us to research, be saavy, and move first to seize these incredible opportunities to skip all the middle men and take our filmmaking careers into our own hands. And God-willing, if we do really start building large audiences and making money, the big media conglomerates will come to us...or better yet the big media conglomerates will BE us. It's already happening, people. It's just gonna take awhile for the mainstream to realize it.

Again, all you need to do for evidence is to look back at the record labels vs. digital downloading, newspapers vs. websites, network tv vs. cable...They all laughed at "the new kid on the block" and now that new kid is eating their supper. It's real simple- get with the new, or go out with the old. This time it's our turn, baby. And you can tell 'em I said it.

Peace, Love and Video