Thursday, August 26, 2010

Urban Media Festival Teaches You How to MONETIZE Your Media

September 3-5, 2010 - Austin, Texas

I've spoken in many places for many organizations since this little Down and Dirty DV journey began 3+ years ago- New York, Europe, NAB, The FCP Users Group, etc. , but this particular event jumping off next week in Austin, TX is one I'm really excited about speaking at. And that's because for the first time ever, I will get to talk about the marriage of my two great passions: filmmaking and the same time.

Let me be clear, I don't believe in any such thing as a [explicative deleted] "starving artist". That very notion is a horrible con that was played on many of us very early on...we somehow let the prevailing culture convince us that as film and mediamakers we must suffer and be broke and uncomfortable and actually relish in it as some noble romantic idea of being an "artist". It's one of the stupidest notions I've ever heard in my life. And for a brief while I actually believed it.

Let me get something straight, if you've paid thousands of dollars for your gear, spent even more on your formal education, toiled and struggled for hundreds of hours to learn your craft- there is nothing "noble" in being a "starving artist". That's called being a "sucker" where I'm from, particularly when we are working in a multi-billion dollar industry and plenty of other people are making money from the work we do.

We deserve and should strive to be just as prosperous as anyone else (lawyers, engineers, nurses, etc.) who worked hard to learn and master a craft. We need to get out of the "starving artist" mindset and start thinking like a "prospering artist" and look at all the many ways we can make our hard work actually pay off some of those student loans and B&H invoices.

So when my man, mastermind entrepreneur and mediamaker, Troy Nalls, called me up to speak at his "Urban Media Festival: Monetize Your Media" event , it was a no-brainer. I'm actually itching to get on the stage and share my perspective, methodologies and specific tips to help you not just make better media, but to make more money while doing so.

From self-promotion, to career moves, to money-saving guerrilla film tactics, we're gonna break it all down in intimate candid, no-holds-barred sessions where you will be free to ask us questions, see our case-studies and learn what took each of us over a decade to learn in the space of a 3-day weekend.

Listen as Troy explains the goal of Urban Media Festival...

Speakers at Urban Media Festival:

Jamaa Fanaka – Director of the Penitentiary Film Series

Maxie D. Collier – Author of The iFilm Digital Video Filmmaker’s Handbook, one of the first books on digital filmmaking

Anthony Artis – Author of “Shut Up And Shoot” Documentary Guide – The #1 Book on for Directing &Producing, and Amateur Production

Cliff McBean – Director of The DJ Screw Documentary

Urban Media Festival
September 3-5, 2010 - Austin, Texas

Get tickets ans more info HERE.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vimeo Upgrades Ya!

I just got an email from my favorite video hosting platform, that listed some pretty cool new features for filmmakers.

Most notably, Vimeo videos to now have the ability to play on mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads and Vimeo videos are now available on TV via a Roku black box.

Anyway, I'm too busy today to paraphase beyond that today so, here's their copy cut word for word...

New Vimeo Feature Updates:

Universal Player

Your videos should be seen in as many places as possible. That's why we've introduced a Universal Player that makes it possible to view embedded videos on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and Android devices. The ability to convert your videos to mobile format is still a Plus feature, so if you haven't already, don't you think it's time you upgraded to Plus?!

Watch Later

Watch Later

But Vimeo is about more than just your work. In order to make it easier for you to see everything you want to see, we've created a new feature called "Watch Later." Simply click the new "Later" button on any Vimeo player, and the video will be added to a special album in your account. You may never watch TV again.

Watch Later

Vimeo on Roku

Ok, we lied; you will watch TV again, because we've made it possible to watch Vimeo on your TV with your Roku box. All you have to do is add the Vimeo channel to your Roku, and you can stream videos you made and everything else cool from Vimeo. You can even watch videos from your "Watch Later" queue for the ultimate couch potato experience. Fun stuff! If you don't know Roku, learn more about it.

Read the FULL STORY here.

The Darkside of the "Dark Arts" Mentality in Filmmaking

I'm a little worked up today. I just read a thread of nasty posts ending with the post entitled, "The Dark Arts" The Great DP Debate, over at filmmaker, Dan Parkes blog Ambleton Delight which chronicles the behind-the-scenes efforts on his feature film of the same name.

I think comments on these posts are a great study in some of the nastier hidden dynamics of the culture in this industry. Long-story short, Dan posted one of many (40+) blog posts documenting the making of his feature film, Ambleton Delight, and in it he described how he could only afford to hire his pro DP for the major scenes and shot and lit many other scenes himself. (He's also a DP.)

What followed that post has been a week-long bruh-ha-ha of nasty and sometimes personal comments, bashing, and insults by a select group of DP's who were apparently extremely insulted at the mere insinuation that one could even consider shooting a film w/ a part-time DP.

I can certainly think of reasons why I wouldn't necessarily take the same approach to shooting a feature, but I say more power to Dan, if he can pull it off and it works. Full-time or part-time DP is not even the issue to me the actual blog posts and funky comments that follow. (The ones that are still there as some were already deleted for sheer nastiness.)

Make no mistake about it, there are plenty of people that don't want Dan, me or anyone else to share our filmmaking experiences or perspectives with you. Perhaps they had a particularly rough time breaking in and don't want you to have it any easier. Maybe they are insecure that things are changing too fast or the field is getting too crowded. Maybe they think the traditional ways are the only ways things should ever be done by anyone and nothing different should ever even be attempted...I don't know.

But I do know that far too many people covet and hide information in this industry and go out of their way to make entry as hard as possible and "hate" on other people who are trying to share tips with you or just trying to rise to their level of "professional"... especially if those people have different ideas/methodologies.

That's literally why I started this blog, wrote The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide and do a weekly podcast for filmmakers, The Double Down Film Show- to share my Down and Dirty ideas and methodologies on filmmaking with you all.

We'd all like to never take a shortcut and do everything the way that big budget features do, but that's unrealistic on a guerrilla film budget. People like Dan and myself (I don't actually know the guy by the way) however, will not be deterred by our limitations of resources and experience, but instead find ways to make them work for us and discover new ways to get our vision out to the world, even if we can't afford to do it the way everyone else does.

Peep my response to the last thread on Dan's blog and please feel free to weigh in with your own after you read the last 3 posts and comments on the Ambleton Delight blog.

What do YOU think:

Is there more than one way to make a film?

Do we have the right to do untraditional things in filmmaking and then share them with other filmmakers?

Is it wrong if it works for you and your audience?


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Is Toshiba Poised to Grab the Holy Grail of 3D?...Look Ma, No Glasses!

Peep this intriguing news item on the wire today. Reportedly, Toshiba's about to drop a 3D bomb on the new media landscape...A 3D TV that does not require glasses.

If they pull it off and it actually looks good, I think it will be huge boost to this budding market and solve one of the most annoying aspects of 3D (apart from the fact that it is - well, 3D, for many of you 3D haters out there).

If they have indeed really eliminated the need for expensive proprietary glasses to view images in 3D, Toshiba's gonna drop a straight-up bomb on the world of 3D TV and could rapidly speed up adoption by consumers. (Think what happened when Netflix figured out how to stream movies smoothly.)

For the record, I'm not one of the 3D haters or a major proponent of 3D at this point. I think it's been a bit gratuitous at times and over-used to it's own detriment. It definitely has it's place in filmmaking and should be respected as a valid storytelling tool. But I'm not rushing to embrace or condemn it until it comes of age.

The 3D that's been re-birthed in the last decade is still maturing. (Avatar is what grown-up 3D should look like.- A smoothly interwoven aspect of the overall good STORYTELLING.) All eyes on Toshiba...

Read the News Article

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Spike Follows Up to When the Levee's Broke Premieres on HBO This Week

Spike Lee's latest project, IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE hits the airwaves on HBO this Monday and Tuesday.

It's his follow up film to When the Levee's Broke co-produced by my NYU colleague, Sam Pollard (who shared his words of wisdom in, The Shut Up and Shoot Documentary Guide) and shot by my man, Cliff Charles over at The People's DP.

Perhaps most notable for my fellow guerrillas, parts of this new film were shot on Canon 1D and Canon 7D DSLR cameras, amongst other formats.

Check out Cliff Charles' blog post on the various cameras he used to shoot Spike's latest doc.

IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE will debut on HBO in two parts this week on MONDAY, AUG. 23 (9:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) and TUESDAY, AUG. 24 (9:00-11:00 p.m.). Check your listings for repeat times.