Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More to come on Plan Bs, Cs, and Ds

Gotta love the blogosphere...

One of the most constructive ways to let off some steam. I'm going to take the next few days and think up some interesting stories/examples and more to at least provide some insight on what I've seen, and experienced self releasing two movies, one highly touted with a buzzy cast, the other, a critical darling that has had to scrap and scrape to reach its audience one step at a time.

I hope it's useful to someone :)

Forget A Festival Deadline

Time and time again, I see my fellow filmmakers rushing to meet some Festival deadline. What happens usually is we submit a rough cut and the film gets rejected. What makes filmmakers so special is we all think we are the exception to the rule. The irony of that statement is that mind set essentially makes us the rule.

To the indie film community. I'm begging you. If you're a first time filmmaker with no track record of success please please please please please tame your eagerness and wait until you have completed your film to show it to anyone. As much as programmers and sales agents and distributors say 'we've watched rough cuts before.' Don't listen. It's their job to cull what doesn't fit for their brands and their programs, and they are not here to give us the benefit of the doubt, they are in place to curate, to make judgements based on what they see.

Most of them (programmers, sales agents, distributors) are a wonderful, well intentioned group of people, but a rough cut is exactly that, rough, and it is the onus of the producer and the filmmakers to pump the brakes. They are not in the business of giving you the benefit of the doubt. They are not in the business of using their imagination to see what your film could be. They are in the business of judging. Period.

So stop rushing to meet festival deadlines to submit incomplete work. Be patient. Disciplined. If you miss a Festival deadline, that's fine. There are many more festivals to come, and they happen like clock work every year, so sit on the film, unless you have some one putting a gun to your head...and then I'd suggest using every ounce of diplomacy and reason to explain to them to take their finger off the trigger and be patient too.

And if you're trying to sell your film at a Festival make sure you have a plan B, C, and D to recoup your investment. The only Festival where sales happen overnight are Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Los Angeles Film Festival Cannes, Tribeca, and sometimes SXSW. If you're not premiering at one of these and wish to sell your film...wait until you get rejected by all of them to consider playing anything else. And for most of us in the current marketplace, the dream of a Festival sale is exactly that...a dream. One that was sold to us in the mid nineties...it's a new day, a new market and the plan Bs, Cs and Ds are the ones I've seen actually bring a filmmaker a greater degree of control, happiness and success with their film's release.

Determine if you're playing poker to create intrigue when it comes times to go to market or determine if you are playing a game of 52 card pick up to build an audience well before you identify your Premiere date...and STICK TO THE STRATEGY!

My favorite 52 card pick up strategy to date - http://www.fastcocreate.com/1679933/portrait-of-a-kickstarter-success-indie-game-the-movie

I've seen too many films struggle to recoup waffling on these key points, and I've seen too many films stumble by rushing to meet a festival deadline...


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Banner Ads - The Invisible Impression

To all my friends on the internets at events...I have a question...

How many digital banners have you ever clicked? The only ones I have clicked are by accident. I keep wracking my brain on ways to redefine the banner ad...what if it was a player that played content...what if it was an ad that I put my email into and got free content....

The unfortunate impotence of the banner ad these days when the consumer is bombarded by them grows and grows...just talk to the magazine industry, which has now evolved into a party promoting industry....

Magazines, like all media outlets survive on great content...yet somehow that content is expected to be funded through banner ads and subscriptions...

To all the digital marketers in the house...it's time to reinvent the banner ad. To all the print advertisers in the house my favorite new invention is the ability to snap a photo of a QRC code to enter a new realm of experience, or Augmented Reality - which had better be totally cool if you're going to compel me to download a new app to experience it.

As a New York Times, Netflix, Wired, Fast Company subscriber, I'll happily pay to consume their content because its incredible, but the ads are something I whiz by in a blur, unless I get something free or access to something I wouldn't necessarily get to experience from engaging with them - think Mortal Kombat's Easter Eggs...

I heard that the local editorial division of the Onion was shut down in Austin, but they kept the ad sales division open to sell more adverts that are untrackable in print after being purchased by the Chicago Tribune. Has the Tribune been living in a vacuum?

In the sales driven world of recession marketing, ROI is king, and being able to quantify the value of a marketing dollar is paramount...that's why the world of events are struggling along side the world of print and banner advertising to get the formerly high price point they used to fetch as potential advertisers get more and more scrutinous how their budgets are being spent.

Then on to the world of Event Marketing. If I could replace every banner with a well designed kiosk that allowed me to play a game, download free content, post a cool photo of your truly, or interact in some way, I may be up to engage...but banners hanging in the halls just make my eyes blur and my brain shut down.

As social media marketing budgets continue to take up more and more of a marketers budgets, the reasons are obvious.

Events riding on the 'influencer' element can only be tracked by an email RSVP with some sophisticiated back end that gives demographic information by piping in via Facebook, but no one can tell if that influencer actually showed...

Social media allows marketers and audiences alike to track the level of engagement that a marketing message has in real time - ie tweets, likes, votes, and shares are the contemporary currency of the day.

I get that banner ads let us know when a product is in the marketplace, so they do pass on a key piece of sales info...but banners to drive general awareness? Can you call that strategy?

Quantifiable results are the obvious way forward, so why do I keep seeing banner ads at the parties I go to, the sites I visit, and the billboards I drive by?

Oh, another robot is coming soon to a theater near me...guess I'll netflix queue after I read the editorial coverage and six of my peers tell me its awesome, unless rewatching Breaking Bad gets to me first.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Lala Goes Bye Bye May 31st

One of my favorite places to spend my time is going bye bye thanks to Apple's purchase of LALA. The word on the street is Apple snapped them up because of their engineering staff's amazing accomplishment: creating a shared music experience that leverages the cloud so deftly.

Now those engineers are finding ways to improve Itunes i hope, perhaps they will just gut LALA's features and put them in to Itunes...which could be cool, or could be another disappointment like the Iphone's relationship with the worst cell carrier AT&T.

I made you all a playlist, and will continue to put them out, in the hopes that LaLa's site traffic increases more as they get closer to shut down.

My Bye Bye Lala Playlist 1 - All Bill Baird, All The Time.

But I guess look on the bright side...never mind, I don't think there is a bright one. LALA R.I.P.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Check out a recent interview with the ideahed featured by the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas.

Thanks to Kris Maxwell & McCombs Business School at the University of Texas for their in depth exploration of the Film Business, its nuance, its challenges, and its future! Thrilled to participate! Some amazing interviews from Tim League of the Alamo Drafthouse, Gary Hoover, the entrepreneur behind Bookstop, and Hoovers.com, and VP of Distribution Channel Strategy for Disney, Jason Brenek.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Humble Pie

Sometimes you eat it...it tastes like robitussin.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Live Music Capital of the World?

After Echotone dropped this Video B side from the film, it has been off to the races as far as getting the conversation on the topic of what qualifies the title - Live Music Capital of the World. A colleague of mine from Seattle and I had a discussion about this after a panel at Sundance, and he asserted that it was the degree of support from the community because he asserted that a community has voting power, which can influence who is making policy decisions that protect the cultural asset of Live Music.

I share the belief that its a strong community that contributes to what qualifies the title in question, but beyond policy, there is the idea of an engaged support base that promotes locally produced work through social media and word of mouth channels, and a community that believes in buying local: local foods, music, entertainment, and other goods.

Local bars, restaurants, clubs and theaters are the heart of local entertainment and music cultures as they provide a proximate platform and space for the community to gather. When I think of cities with strong buy local cultures, there is usually a strong live music culture, cities like New Orleans, Brooklyn, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Austin immediately, leap to my mind, but I am sure there are many others (another place for your two cents to be shared).

Excited to hear your thoughts on this conversation as well, and definitely curious to see a few top 10 or top 5 live music scenes in the US lists. Be sure to post a comment on EchotoneFilm.com or on our You Tube.

- from San Francisco, the ideahed