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Sustain Independent Filmmaking: Introduction
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Sustain Independent Filmmaking: Introduction

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In September 2010, I taught a short course on 'Sustaining Independent Filmmaking through the Internet' at Tampere University of Applied Science. …

In September 2010, I taught a short course on 'Sustaining Independent Filmmaking through the Internet' at Tampere University of Applied Science.

This is lecture 1: Introduction.

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  • Note:
    - of course using the Internet is no definite guide to success
    - a good film is the most important thing (make sure you got one)
    - and, of course, the Internet is not the only way (old model of production, funding, distribution is still powerful)
    - but Internet is an alternative
  • The tradition model of mass communication.



    The problem for us, and the big change the Internet brings about, lies in the MEDIUM. The message still has to travel, but the medium ‘changed’.
  • Old media was characterised by the Gatekeeper between News and Audience, who could keep news from making their way to the audience. The reason: Traditional media offers too little space/time to cover every news.
  • The Internet opens the gates (no space/time restrictions). Every story can become news (someone just needs to feel the will to publish it).
  • Everybody can now be a communicator of messages through a mass medium. And we seem to use this...


  • 1. DIRECT ACCESS to audience, collaborators and tools. No Gatekeepers.
    2. Because of Access, everybody produces and Audience has much more choice.
    3. We can reach millions of people (not just a local audience).
    4. We can immediately reach people and be reached (no need to wait for publication date of newspaper)
    5. All of this for a fraction of the traditional costs.
  • I interviewed filmmakers and found out above map.



    Basically, what I’m trying to say is that Sustainability means more than just having enough Money to make a film.
    And I think the Internet can help with a lot of those things:
    Discovery, Education, finding People to work with, Ideas, Money, Equipment, accessing an Audience and saving Time.
  • 1. Just Google ‘Making of Lord of the Rings’ and you’ll find lots of stuff.
    2. How to videos are everywhere, on every topic.
    3. Creative Cow is a community that helps with FCP problems. There are communities for everything.
    4. VideoWTF is a general video community.
  • Would they have found an audience without the Internet?
  • Steal this Film: Seen more than 3 million times via Bittorrent.
    INK: At one point 100,000 bittorrent downloads in a day. They didn’t want it, but it took them to number 16 in imdb movie-charts. Free marketing.
    Blair Witch: The classic of online marketing.
  • Those are all examples of collaborative filmmaking.
  • Kutiman takes footage of YouTube and mixes them into his own music (videos). But there are also tools for sharing, communicating and research - on a very basic level.
  • Shelter in Place raised $7,500 on indiegogo
    Dame Factory raised $3,000 on Kickstarter



    The Age of Stupid raised more than EUR 1million (more on that in lecture 2).


  • Student Work: Create a Mock Business Plan for your own film or a film you like.
  • Student Work: Create a Mock Business Plan for your own film or a film you like.
    Only concentrate on the areas in black. Try to especially think how the Internet can be utilised.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Using the World Wide Web to Sustain Independent Filmmaking - Introduction -
    • 2. Mass Communication Communicator Message Medium Recipient
    • 3. Gatekeeping N1 N1 News N2 N2 Audience Source N3 N3 N4 N4 White, David Manning (1964). "The 'Gatekeeper': A Case Study In the Selection of News
    • 4. Gatekeeping N1 N1 News N2 N2 Audience Source N3 N3 N4 N4 White, David Manning (1964). "The 'Gatekeeper': A Case Study In the Selection of News -Updated-
    • 5. Mass (Self) Communication Communicator Recipient Communicator Communicator Recipient Recipient Communicator Communicator Recipient Recipient Communicator “life not lived with media, Recipient Communicator Media Communicator Recipient Recipient but in media” Communicator Communicator Recipient Recipient Deuze, Blank, Speers (2010). Media Life. Communicator Recipient Communicator Communicator Communicator Recipient Recipient Recipient
    • 6. 500 Million active Facebook users. Average user creates 90 pieces of content per month. More than 30 billion pieces of content shared per month. Youtube has 2 billion views per day. 24 hours of video uploaded per minute. More video is uploaded to YT in 60 days than all 3 major US networks created in 60 years!
    • 7. Access Choice Reach Immediacy Costs
    • 8. Discovery & Education
    • 9. Access to Audience
    • 10. Access to Audience
    • 11. Collaborators
    • 12. Equipment
    • 13. Funding
    • 14. Learning Goals • Summarize how the Internet empowers producers of independent media. • Identify and illustrate strategies to use the Internet to fund, produce, market, distribute, exhibit independent films. • Apply this knowledge to own practice. • Sustaining filmmaking needs more than money. • The Internet offers a lot of solutions. • Just putting your film out there and hoping for the best is NOT a solution. • Think about the ʻbusinessʼ side of filmmaking BEFORE you make the film. • Advertise the film while you make it.
    • 15. The “Business Plan” • Synopsis of Film • History & Overview of Production Company • Key Cast & Crew • Market Analysis: Competitors & Similar Films • Budget • Audience • Funding Plan • Marketing Plan • Distribution Plan • Production Schedule Gabriel Campisi (2005). The independent filmmaker's guide to writing a business plan for investors
    • 16. The “Business Plan” • Synopsis of Film • History & Overview of Production Company • Key Cast & Crew • Market Analysis: Competitors & Similar Films • Budget • Audience • Funding Plan Ideas • Marketing Plan Ideas • Distribution Plan Ideas • Production Schedule Ideas Gabriel Campisi (2005). The independent filmmaker's guide to writing a business plan for investors

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