Winners selected for Coelho’s “Witch of Portobello” MySpace film experiment

September 5, 2008

When I first heard about Paulo Coelho’s MySpace collaboration for turning his latest book into a film, I knew this was the kind of experiment in filmmaking by crowd sourcing that would be interesting to follow. 

Over 6,000 people subscribed to Coelho’s proposition.  I don’t know if that means he received 6,000 video entries, or if it also represents other forms of participation from MySpace users.  In any case, he recently announced the provisional selection of the winning videos that will be part of the film.  As expected, the provisional winners will have to comply with some fine print and complete required legal transactions. 

Coelho mentioned the film now runs at 380 minutes, much too long for commercial distribution. He does want, however, to show the full cut on the Internet, before submitting an edited version to film festivals.

In the meantime, you can watch the provisional winning videos.

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The problem with movies is there are too many of them

September 3, 2008

The Wall Street Journal joins the chorus of “too many films and too few theatrical slots”

It’s yet another example of why alternative film distribution models may eventually save the day.


Links: interesting happenings in indie filmmaking

July 6, 2008

As competition for audiences, especially for indie films, becomes fiercer than ever,  the exploration of alternative methods for finding audiences and attaining distribution is increasingly becoming the focus of discussion, and in some cases, the deciding factor in actions, for independent filmmakers.  Here are just a few recent samples:

  • An award-winning indie filmmaker pulls out of his distribution deal with IFC Films and opts for self-distribution. [via Cinematical]
  • The discovery and distribution film festival, From Here To Awesome, announces DIY Days, a series of workshops and panels focused on film funding, creation, distribution and sustainability.  FHTA will also soon announce which films have won a spot in the festival showcase.
  • An indie filmmaker (full disclosure: he’s my client), having already bought into the idea of joining the conversation with film audiences, takes it one step further by opening his own blog and recruiting actors whom he has directed to blog with him.
  • A group of filmmakers, investors, entrepreneurs, journalists and consultants is putting together “a two-day conversation” to talk about how new technology is changing the business of making film.

Paulo Coelho turns his book into a feature film with MySpace users’ videos

June 10, 2008

This should be interesting. Author Paulo Coelho is going to collaborate with MySpace to make his latest book into his first feature film. The MySpace collaboration will center around creating a mashup of videos and songs created and submitted by MySpace users.  Coelho will choose the winning videos and songs to use in his film.

But here’s the rub: Coelho is going to own the film.  What do the MySpace filmmakers and musicians get?

Winners will enjoy significant publicity, and their work will be featured across MySpace worldwide including the homepage, MySpaceTV and an extensive banner campaign.

Well, exposure is always a good thing, right?  Not as sweet as a percentage of the gross, or residuals, but you have to start somewhere.

Oh, and the fine print says that if there aren’t enough videos and songs submitted that meet the required standards, the whole project will be scrapped.

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this. [Via Publishers Weekly]

 


Know your audience: demographics on bloggers

April 18, 2008

BIGresearch.com has released a survey on the demography of bloggers. Since reaching out to bloggers should be an integral part of the publicity and marketing campaign for a film, knowing a bit about who blogs can help.

Highlights of new media use by bloggers:

Regular/Occasional New Media Usage (Top 5) 
  % of Regular/Occasional Bloggers % of Adults 18+
Cell Phone

93.0%

87.5%

Instant Messaging

75.3%

49.3%

Download/Access Video/TV Content

72.2%

45.0%

Video Gaming

66.9%

47.5%

Text Messaging 

65.5%

45.2%

Source: BIGresearch, January 2008, N=15,727

I found it interesting that the survey indicates the most common trigger for a blogger’s internet searches is  reading an article (48.8%). I wonder whether those articles read were located in a print publication, or online? [Via mediapost.com]


How NOT to publicize your film on YouTube

April 15, 2008

Running a successful viral video campaign for a film can be tricky and complicated.  It requires a lot of upfront planning and the implementation of the campaign requires careful management.  Screw up, and lots of things could go wrong: no one will watch it, or maybe, if you’re really unlucky, tons of people will watch it but not understand it, resulting in your film being yanked from the festival in which it was supposed to debut, people you don’t know will send you threatening e-mails, and you’ll have the local police and the FBI on your tail.

The latter is exactly what happened to Outsiders Productions, an Oklahoma-based indie film studio, when they tried to use the “Cloverfield” approach by loading a mysterious and ominous-looking video clip onto YouTube for their latest film A Beautiful Day. The teaser freaked people out in Oklahoma, who thought it might be some kind of cryptic terrorist threat. Things quickly spiraled out of control from there.

The main problem with the video? It made no mention of the movie! The filmmakers have now been spending time explaining themselves and apologizing.  They’re also trying to find some way of turning this fiasco into something positive with their “It’s Just a Trailer” campaign.  It’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

This is a cautionary tale that teaches an important lesson in viral video publicity campaigns. Yes, the results were that the film got some publicity, but I’d bet not quite the kind of publicity the filmmakers were hoping for.


March 31 deadline for From Here To Awesome film submissions

March 27, 2008

Filmmakers, you’ve got until next Tuesday to submit your film to

 From Here To Awesome – a discovery and distribution film festival.fhtalogo2.jpg

 If you’ve been struggling to find and build an audience for your film, if you’ve been unsure or unsuccessful with distribution alternatives, if you’re seeking new methods for building buzz about your film, then this festival is for you.  There’s no entry fee!