Coelho puts MySpace on hold for Festival gamble

January 11, 2009

After first signaling that he was ushering in a new era of filmmaking and distribution, Paul Coelho is apparently re-thinking the distribution plans  for  Experimental Witch.

When I first heard about it, I looked forward to following  Coelho’s crowd-source filmmaking experiment for Experimental Witch, when he announced his plans to solicit MySpace friends to help make the film, and then distribute the film in partnership with MySpace. The plan sounded innovative and fresh, and his announcement of the winners of the MySpace competition signaled this might really work. I had visions of a new model for filmmaking and film distribution.  Very exciting stuff!

Turns out, the monumental shift I was anticipating may be a while coming. Coelho appears to be sliding back towards the classic ‘festival first’ mentality. It seems a “major European Festival” is considering accepting the film as long as it’s not shown anywhere else first, including on the internet. Coelho, hoping to grab critical attention, as well as a possible theatrical distribution deal, by showing the film at major festivals, announced he’s delaying the MySpace premiere while he woos the festival circuit.

This is turning into to a textbook case of old-world film distribution clashing  against, rather than embracing, new-world approaches to reaching audiences:

Old-world: Exclusivity.  Filmmakers allow their films to be trapped by a festival vs. New-world:  Open and accessible.  Filmmakers insist on distribution freedom.

I wonder if the day will ever come when festivals drop this archaic requirement of  our-festival-first exclusivity, and realize that festival audiences are not necessarily the same as global audiences, and that one doesn’t negate the importance of the other. 

I can only imagine the MySpace filmmakers that contributed to Experimental Witch, not to mention Coelho’s fans, are disappointed in the delay.  It’ll be interesting to see what happens next.


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.

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]


Is news still news if it’s yesterday’s news?

May 30, 2008

Here’s an interesting concept:  crowdsourcing the news.  Even more interesting:  getting paid to crowdsource the news.  That’s Knewsroom’s new model.   One thing about it seems a bit off to me:  the freshness of the news.  Their process, in their words:

“The Knews” gets published every morning, featuring the previous day’s top stories in Politics, Business, Technology, Design, Sports, and Entertainment.

Just about everything is, or is moving towards being, instantaneous on the interweb.  Reading the previous day’s news smacks of taking a step in the direction of the Pony Express.  I understand it takes time for a crowd to, er, source.   And I applaud the Knewsroom’s efforts in democratizing news.  It just seems there could be a way to manage it so that they could present the news while it was still news. 

[Via mycreativeteam]


Breaking my own blogging rule!

May 21, 2008

Time has literally slipped through my fingers. I’ve been busy with a new client, and before I knew it, days, nay weeks, have passed since I last posted to my blog (never mind the last time I’ve twittered something or signed into meebo chat).  Shame on me for not balancing everything and keeping up.  I promise to do better.

It does appear, from looking at the search term referrers and other stats, that this little blog is being used as a reference or guide of sorts, which is definitely one of the main purposes for which I had hoped people would view it.  Still, I need to get back on the stick with updates.  There really is a lot more I wish to share.  I’m always open, as well, to discussing particular topics and answering questions, so feel free to pose a question or suggest a topic in comments.

More to come soon!




A Filmmaker Live Twitters Tribeca All Access

April 22, 2008

Full Disclosure: Double 7 Film is a client of mine.

I’ve convinced a busy Director and Writer to try Twitter .  I don’t usually bring my client work over to my blog, but I’m really excited about Pete Chatmon’s willingness to embrace the idea of reaching out directly to fans through a variety of Web tools, including Twitter.

Pete’s production company is in the midst of retooling their online presence, to include a total redesign of the corporate website and an expansion of their presence on YouTube (in addition to writing and directing feature films, Pete also directs music videos ). 

Pete has a lot of irons in the fire.  He’s in development on his next feature, he’s writing a couple screenplays, and preparing some commercial shoots.  However, he’s dedicated to the idea of finding new ways to connect with movie fans.  He understands the power of interaction and wants to join the conversation. 

He’s an invited participant in Tribeca All Access, and plans to live twitter his experience there today.

This should be an interesting experience and opportunity to get behind-the-scenes with a filmmaker. Check it out.