15 May 2010

Proof of Hyphenation - April 26-May 14, 2010

by Tyler Weaver.  Follow me on Twitter.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 6- Identifying & Engaging Your Audience by Jon Reiss
Here is the Jon Reiss TOTBO three step approach to audience development and engagement:

1.  Know WHO your audience is.  This is not 18-25 year old boys/men.  Or 35 – 55 year old women.  As an independent filmmaker, if you cross over into a mass audience great – but you need to be much more specific.  Tomorrow’s tip will discuss niche vs core audiences.

2.  Know WHERE your audience derives information/congregates. In other words how you can contact them, engage them, communicate with them.

3.  Know HOW your audience engages media, or HOW they will support you.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 7 - Differentiating Core & Niche Audiences by Jon Reiss
The terms Core and Niche are often used interchangeably and this is a mistake.  The niche audience for your film is that slice of the population that has a particular interest in your film or an aspect of your film.   The core audience for your film is those people within each niche that are your most ardent supporters.  Those people who will spread the word about your film to not only their networks, but to the rest of that niche.  You can have multiple niches’ that are interested in your film, and within each niche there is a core who combined adds up to the core of your film.

Tyler @ Pulp Tone: HOUSE - The Incurable Boredom by Tyler Weaver
Am I alone here?
I like to think that I’m not, but if that’s the case, then so be it.  
This has been the most disappointing season of HOUSE yet. It’s become a chore to watch this show week in and week out. Stuff happens – though nothing happens. Taub is now boinking the cute blonde – surprise. House is still trying to be nice. Thirteen hasn’t changed a bit, Foreman is still Foreman, and Chase has now become the most interesting character on the show. I have to give credit where credit is due – Jesse Spencer has turned the role of Chase into an extremely watchable one. His expressions and reactions alone make the show worth watching – though that’s not much reason to watch a show.

Marvel & The Modern Filmmaker by Tyler Weaver 
You don't need me to tell you things are tough for a filmmaker today.  Though everyone's talking, no one seems to have "the answer" for how to move forward (nor do I). It's the Wild West out there, and like it or not, we're all in it together, both as colleagues and as competitors.

The phrase "never before seen in the film industry" is bandied about endlessly regarding the current state of affairs.  Film is to the teens as music was to the noughties.  And yeah, it's an uncertain time - though a quick look at history might help - just not film history.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 8 - Engage Organizations to Promote Your Film by Jon Reiss
Step 2 of Audience Engagement is: Know WHERE your audience derives information and/or congregates.

Many niches have organizations that support those specific topics and interests.  Engage those organizations early in your filmmaking process (as early as conception and prep). It is important to have the proper attitude toward your audience and these organizations. You need to think, “What can I give them?” instead of “What can they do for me?” If you think of the former, the latter will flow. People are very busy. You need to give them an incentive to be involved with you. The film is not enough. How will the film service their organization, their lives and the lives of their members?  In turn, they will help you promote your film to your direct audience.   This has been used by great effect by documentary filmmakers.  Narrative filmmakers need to follow their lead. 

Multi-Moving On by Mike Elrod
This past week I hit the road headed down to the coast of Georgia for an old college friend’s wedding. While I had the time, I visited my alma mater to see some of the faculty and staff that were pivotal in my elongated time there. It’s no secret that I wasted much of my time in undergrad. Spending a whopping six and a half years there I experienced two defining moments in my life.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 9 - Create a Dynamic Website by Jon Reiss
Create a dynamic web site and do it long before your film is done. 

Old-style film web sites are out — blogging and a constant flow of information are in. Blogging and tagging is what the little bots out in cyberspace will recognize and bring you up in the rankings. Thanks to my wonderful friend and web site savior Michael Medaglia and a lot of great blogging by producer Tracy Wares, we were near the top of Google search on “graffiti documentary” even before our world premiere at Tribeca. A great web site also helps you cultivate your niche audience and further allows the theatrical to fuel your DVD release.

Breath, Wood, and Optical Fibre by David Partridge
It all started with a monkey.

Not an actual monkey. I don’t get a lot of musical inspiration from the residents of the Metropolitan Toronto Zoo. The monkey to which I refer is the online avatar for a singer songwriter who goes by the name of Ayewrite. Ayewrite, or Monkey as he is often called, is an online friend of mine. He’s passionate about music but he’s not a man who bestows praise lightly. But some time ago he told me that I owed it to myself to check out a singer songwriter named
Dolores Dagenais.
Friday, April 30, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 10 -  Blog by Jon Reiss
Blogging helps in two ways: First, it drives traffic to your site as you link to new and interesting stories that are related to the subject of your film (For Bomb It, we post news about graffiti around the world.) And second, your blogging activity will help your site’s SEO (search engine optimization). This will result in higher search rankings for your film in relevant categories. What to blog about? Of course you should blog about your film, your filmmaking experiences and your screenings, but you should also consider blogging about subjects that relate to your film and your film’s audience. This will make your project relevant to them on a broader level and keep them coming back to your site. One simple way to come up with information to blog about is to use Google Alerts. We received a weekly Google Alert about “graffiti” and “street art” and select a few top articles to blog about.

Tyler @ Pulp Tone: FRINGE - All That Jazz & Brown Betty by Tyler Weaver
When reviewing a “musical” episode of anything, the first question asked is “yes, but can the stars of the show sing?” Yes. The cast of FRINGE can. Moving on.
I’ve long ragged on the FRINGE done-in-ones. They either pop up at inopportune moments, like pulling the e-brake instead of lightly depressing the footbrake in a car, or they’re just not that good. This episode was actually how a done-in-one should be… done, reminding me of the recent HOUSE done-in-ones, “5 to 9,” featuring the HOUSE formula from Cuddy’s eyes, and the recent “Lockdown” episode directed by Hugh Laurie. The done-in-one should provide a different perspective on the established show formula, especially when the show is as mythologically-oriented as FRINGE, or steeped in character, such as HOUSE.
This episode succeeds admirably.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 11- Developing Organizational Relationships by Jon Reiss
Last week I spoke about connecting with audience, creating a dynamic website and bloggin.  Today’s tip is how to create relationships between your film organizations that should be interested in your film. This is an especially useful strategy for documentaries that naturally have a wide range of potential issue-oriented sites to connect to. But with a little outside-the-box thinking you can probably find relevant sites for your narrative film as well.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 12 - The New 50/50 by Jon Reiss
Distribution and marketing can take as long and cost as much, or more than you spent on your film.   The new 50/50 is not a revenue split but the mental shift that filmmakers must make about the filmmaking process.    This is not a hard and fast rule, remember all films are unique.  It is essential to match the budget of your release to the kind of film that it is, your goals, and where it fits in your career.  As budgets go up the proportion might be less,  but it is a good guideline when embarking on a project. It is far better to have $50,000 to release a $50,000 film than to make a $100,000 film with no way of getting it to an audience.  

Tyler @ Pulp Tone: HOUSE - The Longing Stare at a Bottle by Tyler Weaver
Open up your mouth and say “Ah,” HOUSE. Looks as though your “BoringMetoDeathodosis” is on the mend. Great. We’re going to amp your medication with a dose of Andre Braugher for next week, some dramatic interest, and give you something interesting to do. Take it once a week, and get back to me.
A groom-to-be collapses at his wedding, thanks to denying who he really is through one of those crazy “we’ll medicate the gay out of you” conversion camps. Drama ensues. Wilson and Sam have a morning quickie. House wakes up in a four-year-old’s bedroom and is becoming an alcoholic. Wilson pays Team House to take House out and show him a good time. Taub is maybe but not really (and I don’t care) boinking the cute intern. Cuddy wants to be friends, and set up the best line of the show: “The last thing I want is to be your friend.”

The A**hole In My Head by Kate Dawson
I don’t know about you, but everytime I start a new project… I’m terrified. It’s really f*cking annoying to be frank…. because as an artist, I crave to work and to be self-expressed, and yet… there’s always so much fear! Like this piece you’re reading right now. I’ve been stressing about it for a week. A WEEK I say! I keep hearing that voice in my head saying things like, “What will I say? What if it’s stupid? What if people think it’s boring and pointless? What if it just plain sucks.” That voice pisses me off. It drives me crazy! Because it’s ALWAYS there… pointing out my shortcomings, telling me I’m dumb, and making me doubt myself. That’s why I like to call that voice, the a**hole. Do you have one of these?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 13 - Introducing the Producer of Marketing and Distribution by Jon Reiss
As a filmmaker, I have thought a lot of about complaints from filmmakers of all these new tasks that we are responsible for in distribution and marketing.  And this is how I came up with the concept of the Producer of Marketing and Distribution or PMD.   Just like you most likely did not make the film on your own, you should not be distributing and marketing the film on your own. I would argue that from now on, every film needs one person devoted to the distribution and marketing of the film from inception, just as they have a line producer, assistant director, or editor.  I gave this crew position the official title of PMD since we need to train people to do this task, give classes in it, write books about it, just as people are educated (or learn on their own) to become DPs.

The Lost Art of Surprise by Tyler Weaver
On my Facebook page this morning, I posed the following question to my fans (or like-ables, or peeps, or faces, or whatever they're called now):

Seeing the plot synopsis for Christopher Nolan's Inception, (and not clicking because I want to go in fresh) got me to thinking - do we know too much about movies before they come out? Has the Internet lessened our willingness to be surprised? Or, has it made us smarter consumers of entertainment products?

Several people chimed in with some great thoughts, so I'd like to further pontificate on the notion here.

First, "the lost art of surprise" can actually apply three ways.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 14 - Responsibilities of the PMD by Jon Reiss
Responsibilities of the PMD include:

1.  Identify and engage with the audience for a film.
2.  Development of a distribution and marketing strategy and plan for a film in conjunction with the entire team.
3.  Create a budget for said plan.
4.  Assemble and supervise the necessary team/crew elements to carry out the plan
Things I'm Currently Obsessed With - THE ROOM by Michael Wendt

For the past decade or so one thing has remained a constant every Friday, I get the new issue of Entertainment Weekly in my mailbox. On one particular Friday in December of 2008, EW had a lengthy yet entertaining article about a movie entitled THE ROOM, a film that was virtually ignored upon its initial release and received several scathing reviews, but now had become the hottest midnight movie in Los Angeles. The article told of several celebrities such as David Cross, Jonah Hill, and Kristen Bell are known to frequent the sold-out screenings to the film, which are also attended regularly by cast and crew members from the movie.
Friday, April 30, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 15 -  Hiring PMDs in the Early Days by Jon Reiss
I look forward to a near future in which filmmakers/directors will be able to put out calls for PMDs just as they do for DPs and Editors – and that they will get an equal volume of applications. Directors will develop long term relationships with PMDs that “get them” just as they do with DPs, Editors, and Producers etc.

Tyler @ Pulp Tone: FRINGE - Walternate! by Tyler Weaver
Just. Wow.
This episode was a long time coming for several reasons. The first is that Joshua Jackson actually got to have a whole episode to himself. I had always hoped that we would see a FRINGE episode from Peter’s past, as a “doer of many things” in seedy parts of the world, but this will do nicely. Jackson makes a highly watchable protagonist, once freed up from his standard FRINGE duties as Walter’s sounding board and guardian.
On a journey to find himself after the revelations of “The Man from the Other Side,” Peter ends up in a small Washington town. Someone’s killing people who have come into contact with Peter, and Peter sees Newton at the first crime scene, leading him to suspect that they’re after him.  Overtired and paranoid, it’s not necessarily the case – until Newton and “Mr. Secretary” show up in Peter’s hotel room – revealing the “Secretary” to be the Walternate!

Last Week In Israel by Frederick Marx

(editor's note - Frederick was noticeably absent from MH for the past couple weeks - here's why - T)

This is some of what happened last week while I was in Israel with a Palestinian friend researching a film on the possible 1948 massacre of up to 270 civilians in the village of Tantura:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 16- Producer's Reps, Part I by Jon Reiss
In honor of the upcoming Cannes Film Festival –  I will take this opportunity to explore other crew people that you might want to engage on your film and whether or not they are right for your project. There are several types of sales representatives/sales agents.  Today the topic is Producer’s Representatives. A classic sales representative or producer’s representative, as has been known to the independent film world for the past 20-30 years, is someone who will broker your film to the various distribution entities, generally in search of an overall deal. The main advantage of sales reps is their relationships with the various companies that buy films, from full-service distributors to DVD companies to cable companies, etc. In the old model, it was almost taken for granted that an unsold independent film would engage a sales rep. Not anymore. Whether or not to engage a sales rep is one of the first decisions you need to make in the execution of your overall distribution strategy.

IRON MAN 2 - Now With More Stuff by Tyler Weaver
The first IRON MAN opened with no expectations - and succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The second IRON MAN hit with the expectations of people's wildest dreams, and while it provided an entertaining, over-long 140 minutes, I was underwhelmed by the extraordinarily disjointed narrative, and the feeling of "We're gonna cram so much stuff in here, each cut will be filled with... stuff."

It did, however, have Scarlett Johansson going all Emma Peel, so I'm not going to complain. Much. Oh wait, yes I am.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 17 - Before Bringing On Principal Crew by Jon Reiss
If you have one or more sales representatives interested in your film, certainly talk to them.   But have your distribution and marketing strategy ready before even talking to sales reps, then present it to them to determine to see whether or not they feel that they can help implement that strategy.  This is so that you can put their recommendations into context for your film. Remember, your strategy will evolve, so at least have the first draft before you take these meetings. In general you should go to any meeting with the following:
The Perspiration of Inspiration by Robert Butt
As you sit there in your chair, or on the couch reading a book by your favorite author, do you ever wonder how they came up with the idea for the story you're reading? Was the story derived from an actual personal event in the author's life? Did they snap out of bed and write the story after a dream the night before? As a writer I can tell you that I've come up with ideas both of those ways, and a few others. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 18 - Don't Despair by Jon Reiss
Since sales reps generally work on commission, they will be choosier about the films that they select. Hence more and more films will end up not being represented by a sales rep or will not have a sales rep for each right. So don’t despair if you don’t have one. If a sales rep is helping you obtain and negotiate split rights deals, they are helpful, but you can function without them. If a sales rep requests a large up front fee to represent your film, I strongly recommend doing your research before paying large up front fees to a representative. You must talk to filmmakers the rep has worked with to make sure that it was worth it.

The Art of the Obvious by Dolores Dagenais, Paul Klein, and Tyler Weaver
When Tyler and I first talked about doing a video of OBVIOUSLY, we kicked around several different concepts and for awhile it looked like the project wasn’t going to happen at all. Then something really interesting happened - Tyler hit upon an idea that completely encapsulated what the song meant. The idea that love in and of itself is obvious enough to not need hearts flowers and violins to get the point across. Everyone no matter who they are or where they are understands on some level how love feels, whether it is romantic love, warm friendship or the strong bonds of family, or even in the case of most multi-hyphenates the love of doing something you enjoy. The love of creating. My lesson in this experience is that if you give that particular type of love a full head of steam to just run where it wants and get out of it’s way, things happen naturally and you end up with something at the end that is better than anything you could have planned. It seems pretty simple in retrospect...almost...obvious.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 19 - Foreign Sales Reps by Jon Reiss
These are reps/agents that are relatively established in the split rights world and specialize in the sales of foreign rights. Generally they take a higher percentage (25 percent) than producer’s reps for domestic deals and many of them charge expenses as well. However, it is much harder to get a foreign sales advance because overall deals in foreign territories are diminishing, just like overall deals in the United States. The reasons for this decline in overall deals are the same as well. Television sales however remain the strongest of the traditional rights sales in foreign territories.  Tomorrow we will address television sales reps.
Rock and Roll Filmmaking by David Paul Baker

want to make work for middle class safe couples who want to watch a movie with a bottle of wine, and then pontificate about the nothingness in it afterwards with their dinner party friends!

I will leave that to Richard Curtis!


want to make navel gazing, award desperate wannabe art drivel, that is made by self proclaimed geniuses, tortured souls, and whose only real goal is to try and get across how vulnerable and smart they are.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jon Reiss' TOTBO Tip of the Day 20 -  Television Sales Reps by Jon Reiss

Television is a market that is hard to monetize if you DIY. You should get yourself a TV sales agent if you can. These agents/reps deal with television buyers all the time; they also go to specific television sales markets throughout the world.

Tyler @ Pulp Tone: HOUSE - Faith Healers by Tyler Weaver
It’s Friday – you were expecting a FRINGE review?  Last night’s episode of FRINGE was great, but it was setup for next week’s season finale, so I’ll just review both episodes at once – I’d rather have a lot to talk about instead of very little.
On with HOUSE…
Ah, Andre Braugher.
Where were you all season? Other than hanging with Ray Romano and Scott Bakula?
In spite of the delay of this review (I was on a deadline for a music video project – insert shameless self-promotion… here), this episode has stuck with me. Even the patient of the week, though only a passing plot development, was fascinating to watch, filled with drama as her husband strove to make her remember their marriage.

The Audacity to Get Paid by Tyler Weaver

A few months ago, on February 11, 2010, to be exact, I published a post called "Two Months."  This post was in "honor" of my second month of unemployment.

It's now four months later (plus two days), and here I am.  I'm in my sixth month of being (gainfully) unemployed.  As with the post of February 11, this post is not intended to illicit sympathy, or anything.  It's the way it is.  But, since that time something has changed.

I am no longer working for free.

Shrek Forever After: Medieval Peasant Faire, Part II by Quicksilverwest

(Editor's note - part one of this post lives at Quicksilver's blog.  Yay for cross-blogging! - T)

Shrek Forever After : California's Going "Green," Moneybags, green.
There is no so such monster as "too much." In a Universe where all is preponderant and bliss, why do we always pick on the movie?
Shrek Forever After Medieval Peasant Faire, Part II

In Shrek Forever After : Medieval Peasant Faire, total recall, thirty-passed, days, when Dreamworks was all a dither about the unscheduled, sched in the 'oh-so-not-so-shocking,' "


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