This Is How 30,000 People Write A Movie via BuzzFeed

Independent Film

Director Paul Verhoeven is at Tribeca right now with his latest, Tricked, which is perhaps the world’s first crowd-sourced film.

Not crowd-funded. Crowd-sourced.

Check out what they did and how they did it at BuzzFeed.

Here’s an excerpt.

Here’s how it worked: The first few minutes were put online, with a website for amateur screenwriters to sign up as users and submit their own content. Scenes were uploaded as individual episodes, and users contributed their own scripts for the next segment of the story. Verhoeven and his collaborators chose which submissions they wanted to film, occasionally modifying the scripts to fit their overall vision.


25% of Branded Video Shares Happen in the First Three Days

Stats & Measurement

A quarter of the average online branded video’s shares occur in the first three days of its launch. That’s according to new research by video technology company Unruly Media into the lifecycle of a viral video.

They are sharing what they call the Social Diffusion Curve based on the 200 most shared branded videos of 2012.

“The Social Diffusion Curve, which measures the average number of shares a video attracts across the social web throughout its lifetime, also found that the ‘viral peak’ of a brand’s video campaign occurs on the second day, when the average online ad will attract one in 10 of its total shares across the social web.”


This makes it critical to be absolutely prepared when you launch your video by making your video search friendly as well as investing in promotion right out of the gate. 

AboutFace’s John Lyons Murphy’s Two Indie Films To Air On Showtime

Independent Film

The Hollywood Reporter yesterday reported that Showtime has acquired two independent films from AboutFace’s own John Lyons Murphy and will begin airing them next month.

A unique one-two punch, the films are companion pieces, one a narrative and one a documentary chronicling the making of that narrative film (and featuring other indie film icons and their own stories).

Check out the trailers.

Showtime will be airing them back to back, starting with the documentary, on May 15th.  Set your DVRs!




4K Is The Future of Filmmaking

Things We Like

NAB, or National Association of Broadcasters convention.  Is a physical digital candy store for Filmmakers and Gear Heads alike.  Each year vendors from around the global show up to tantalize us with the latest and greatest.  More blog post to follow about those gadgets and gizmos.

A resounding theme at this years NAB, as well as NAB’s from the past, has been 4K.  But what does that mean?  And more importantly, how do we capture it?

The following blog from Filmmaker Magazine goes into comprehensive detail on how we get there.

Read the article here.


Amazon to pilot TV comedies and children’s shows online Via BBC

Things We Like

Amazon will launch fourteen pilot shows on their Amazon Prime platform (Lovefilm in the UK) and open them to the public, whether you subscribe to Prime or not, for a vote.

Is this a promotional tool for the shows and Amazon’s original content?

Is it an answer to Netflix‘s original content strategy?

Will Amazon turn the most popular pilots into series or will they choose based on other criteria?

The BBC has the story.

Watch the pilots at Amazon Originals.

Veronica Mars Kickstarter Nets Over $5m

Independent Film

We posted about the Veronica Mars Kickstarter campaign a few weeks ago and how it could change the way the crowd-funding site is used – by indie filmmakers as well as studios.

Well, if you haven’t heard, the campaign ended and instead of hitting the $2m goal, it more than doubled that with $5.7m.

So, will this huge success change the way films – even studio films – are funded?

Will crowd-funding be co-opted by the studios and used as marketing platforms where they can get some free money, as well?

Here’s what Rob Thomas, creator of Veronica Mars and the show’s Kickstarter campaign, had to say on the subject.  More over at Wired.

Wired: Do you think the success of your Kickstarter could be the start of a new business model for film? How do you see it working for other people who aspire to make movies?

Rob Thomas: I think it will be an important pioneer for a certain type of film. I’m not convinced that this will revolutionize how most movies get made, but I think there’s an opportunity now for projects that are similar to ours – that have some bit of public support behind it before they launch on Kickstarter… For something like Veronica Mars, where there’s a bit of a cult following and people are really emotionally invested in it, I do think this is a new avenue. There is no other way that this movie was going to get made.

MLB Fan Cave – Hit And Miss

Stories Other People Are Telling

We don’t often look to America’s pastime for new media’s future, but Major League Baseball’s Fan Cave is worth checking out.

This is how the Cave’s website explains the concept:

Welcome to, where new videos, photos and blogs featuring baseball’s biggest stars along with celebrities, musical acts and other guests are posted every day, allowing fans to interact with the game in an entirely new way. The MLB Fan Cave, located at 4th Street and Broadway in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village is a first-of-its-kind space mixing baseball with music, popular culture, media, interactive technology and art.

Entering its third season, the redesigned MLB Fan Cave hosts fan events, concerts, MLB player and celebrity appearances, as well as the Cave Dwellers who will attempt to watch every game of the MLB season while chronicling their experiences online through videos, blogs and social media. One eventual winner will be crowned before the end of the World Series. Fans can follow all of the activity on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@MLBFanCave). Click here to receive email updates.

So that’s interesting, right?  A bricks and mortar base camp combined with a constant stream of social media and video, all seemingly working in harmony to promote the game.

They have over 1m Likes on Facebook and almost 250,000 Twitter Followers.

Read Full Post »

Documentary No Place On Earth Looks Really Interesting

Independent Film

Magnolia Pictures is releasing No Place On Earth, a documentary telling the story of Jews hiding from the Nazis in underground caves for an astounding 511 days.

Surviving in the dark – amazing – for a year and a half plus.

You can read about the film in this article on The Huffington Post by its director, Janet Tobias.  Here’s an excerpt about the story:

But then I heard the story of how a group of five families, 38 men, women and children slid through a narrow, muddy hole, 100 feet down into the ground, into an unknown pitch-black world, and I was hooked. It was simply the best adventure survival story I had heard anywhere. Forget 127 hours, this was 511 days.

If you’re in New York, you can see the film in theaters now.

Get tickets here.

And let me know how it is!

Trailer After the Jump

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Building Your Own SDI Cables From Scratch

Things We Like

We already talked about building your own xlr audio cables from scratch.  This post will describe how to build your own SDI (Serial Digital Interface) or video cables from scratch.  It’s extremely important to know that you have reliable cables, and that your signal quality going to your monitors is exceptional.  This is again, why, for the most part I build my SDI cables from scratch.

***Disclaimer: Although building cables is fairly simple, it does take lots of practice and a bit of expert advice.***

What you’ll need

Cable: Canare LV-77S.  It’s extremely rugged and flexible.

ConnectorsCanare BCP-C77A

Tools: Cable Cutter, Coax Cable Stripper, BNC Crimp Tool, Push Pin, Fine Scissors or Snips

We like Markertek for all of our parts and tools but you can source these from anywhere you trust.

Read Full Post »

Vice Premieres On HBO Tonight, Will Focus on Docs

Stories Other People Are Telling

We’ve been following Vice‘s documentary for years now.

And tonight, their new HBO show premieres.

But if you’re looking for the edgy sex, drugs, and rock n roll attitude that built Vice’s following perhaps more than their excellent docs, you may be disappointed.

From Variety:

“Nudes and sex are a relic of the past,” Vice’s Eddy Moretti said at the April 2 preem. “We started as a small magazine and grew into a global video channel online. Now we’re concentrating on documentaries.”

I’ll be tuning in to see their documentary work… and I bet, knowing Vice, there will still be quite an edge to it.

Netflix’s “House Of Cards” Coming To Home Video… Thus Proving Their Model Is Really Exactly The Same As HBO/Showtime/Starz/etc

Independent Film

Years ago, HBO started making their own documentaries, and then traditional TV series.  Maybe you watched the “Game Of Thrones” season 3 premiere the other night.  Or maybe you’ll watch Showtime‘s “House of Lies” season 2 finale this Sunday night.  Perhaps you’re psyched to watch the next episode of the Starz “Spartacus” series on Friday.

Or maybe you’ll wait to watch ‘em for the DVD releases next year.

Point is, the model HBO pioneered – produce original content which drives subscriptions, then, after a significant waiting period, release the content subscription-free in the form of home video (Blu-ray, DVD, and/or online such as iTunes or Amazon Instant) – is proven.  It is successful economically and also has opened the floodgates for all of us lucky viewers to get much-improved, high-quality TV programming to supplement the traditional broadcast networks’ output.

So, naturally, subscription online movie and TV viewing provider Netflix was sure to at least try it out, right?  Right.  And they did.  David Fincher directed the pilot for their first series, “House of Cards“, starring Kevin Spacey.  It reportedly did very well (Netflix didn’t publicly give any details but they’re going to be making more, so it must have worked for them), and now the next step in the model – Blu-ray and DVDs are available for pre-order at Amazon.

More details at Deadline Hollywood.

What does this mean for indie film?  Well, hopefully more original documentary films, possibly narrative films, and most definitely more TV programs for us all to watch when we’re not making indie films.


The End of YouTube


“We are all storytellers, that’s what pulled me into this contest.”


Happy April Fools Day

Are You Making This Fatal Video Content Mistake?

Best Practices

This post by About Face Media CEO, Barry Poltermann originally appeared in MediaPost.


So you click on a video, and there it is: the dreaded pre-roll. But you sit through it because in order to watch what you want, you’re forced to watch an ad.

And that’s the contrast that matters:

·      Video content created to attract a willing audience, vs.

·      Video ads that are forced onto an unwilling audience.

So given that contrast, you would think that the producers of online content videos would shun, if not banish, the mindset and strategies for creating pre-roll ads. But you’d be wrong.

More than 90% of corporate online content videos are made with a pre-roll mindset, even when the client hires a professional agency to create its video content.

And most of them are set up for failure before they ever start filming. Why? Because of the “advertising vs. programming” mindset.

I spend a lot of time working with independent filmmakers, and the difference between how they approach creating content and how advertisers create content is striking.  When traditional mass-media advertisers create an ad, here’s what they focus on:

•   What does the client want to communicate?

•   Will the ad’s message be remembered and recalled by viewers?

•   Is the client’s brand/name/logo featured prominently enough to create brand recognition?

•   Did the slogan or tagline “sink in”?

Read Full Post »

Stacy Peralta Does Something New, Again, With Direct-To-Fan Release via Topspin Media

Independent Film

You know that indie narrative or documentary film you’re working on?

You know how odds are it probably won’t get a massive all-rights sale at Sundance or another market festival?

Well, don’t worry about it.  In fact, you may just want to celebrate it.

I’ve had what seems like hundreds of independent filmmakers tell me over the years that they sold their films at a festival and never received another cent in royalties.  Apparently skateboarding godfather and documentary filmmaker Stacy Peralta (Dogtown And Z-Boys, Riding Giants) is now saying the same thing.


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Is There Such A Thing As Non-Permission Marketing?

Best Practices

This post by About Face CEO, Barry Poltermann orginally appeared on Adotas - Where Interactive Advertising Begins


Really, does anybody force you to watch TV, listen to radio, or read magazines?  Aren’t you, by those very acts, accepting the ads that come with mass media?

Isn’t that how it works? You get your content for free (or discounted) and in exchange, advertisers are granted your permission to grab a slice of your attention.

But of course, that’s NOT what we mean when we talk about permission marketing, is it? It’s certainly not what Seth Godin meant when he coined the term.

So what’s really involved in Permission Marketing?

Permission Marketing Requires Permission Plus…

The first part of permission marketing is the perception, on the part of the audience, that your communication to them will be valuable, interesting, and relevant in and of itself.  The understanding is that your marketing itself will be the content, rather than an interruption to the content.

The second part is the explicit, rather than tacit or implied, permission of the viewer.

So while a regular 60-second TV spot can be so well done that people share it as valued content via YouTube, hyperlinks, Facebook and e-mail, in this context, with the content and the explicit permission, short-form video does in fact, becomes permission marketing.

But everyone who has an episode of “Breaking Bad” interrupted by that ad ends up with a totally different, non-permission-style experience of that ad, don’t they?  Therefore in this instance, a new medium can still become traditional, interruption marketing. Read Full Post »

How To Make A Viral Video


YouTuber, Daily Grace has some tips on how to create the next viral video. Important advice.

Wireless Video Monitoring: Paralinx Arrow

Things We Like

There has been a lot of advancements in wireless video monitoring in the last couple years.  One of these devices that caught my eye was the Paralinx Arrow.  The fact that it’s incredibly small and easy to use makes it perfect to use in documentary as a wireless client monitor.  You really don’t need any special rigs or additional personnel to run the system.  Simply plug in and turn on.

Read Full Post »

One Golden Rule And Three Commandments For Creating Successful Social Video Content


This post by AboutFace COO, Denise McKee originally appeared on Adotas - Where Interactive Advertising Begins


As COO of AboutFace Media, I get to tackle all sorts of interesting projects. One of my favorites is speaking at conferences and hosting workshops across the country addressing the topic of Video Content Development. Once you’ve chosen your communication tools, it’s the content that truly makes it all come together. It’s an ongoing commitment, but when executed well, pays big dividends and is well worth the time and effort.

It’s no secret that the current state of social video is rapidly changing with every new app launched, channel streamed, or V-log posted. With over 72 hours of video content being uploadedevery minute the days of creating a video, posting it on YouTube and assuming people will find it are a thing of the past. Some recent statistics make that crystal clear:

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Should Your Company Follow Pepsi’s Lead?

Best Practices

If you haven’t seen it, Pepsi Max has just released the latest and greatest viral video, titled “Test Drive.”  Here it is:

And the only thing garnering more hits than the video, are the concurrent news stories that:

a) This video represents the future of advertising, and

b) The video is fake.

Fake meaning that:

  • Jeff Gordon didn’t really drive the car through all those stunts,
  • the car salesman was an actor and not really an unsuspecting car salesman,
  • that a whole slew of cameras were used on a full blown set, instead of the few “hidden” cameras that the commercial implied were the ones getting the live feed,
  • and basically that this was a fully staged and acted commercial instead of some Reality TV or Candid Camera-style prank.

And this brings up a few questions, mainly:

Should your company follow Pepsi’s lead, and will the revelation that the video was faked hurt its success and/or the success of the Pepsi Max brand?

And it’s a definite NO for both.

Let’s look at the second question first, because the answers will make responding to the first question a no-brainer. Read Full Post »

Veronica Mars On Kickstarter via The Hollywood Reporter

Independent Film

In yet another new use of crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas and star Kristen Bell are raising money for a feature version of the cult TV show.

Apparently, Warner Brothers, the show/movie’s studio, has said it will make the film if enough fans show interest.

Thomas is looking to raise $2m to put towards the film’s budget.

In its first day, the Kickstarting already topped $1m.  (Forbes says it went over $1m in four hours.)

Not too shabby!

What exactly the studio means by fans showing enough interest remains to be seen.

(I doubt $2m would even cover Thomas and Bell’s quotes, so it’s not like the studio is going to be financially covered from fan contributions.)

Kickstarter has come a long way in a very short time, starting really as a platform for indie films and other independent type projects to being used by such Hollywood titans such as David Fincher and, now, indirectly, by a major Hollywood studio.

An indie operation co-opted and changed by the studios?  Shocking, I know, but it is possible.  (I’m looking at you, Sundance Film Festival.)

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