The Hollywood Reporter – saying goodbye was hard

September 11, 2008

It’s always tough to say goodbye to someone with whom you’ve had a long relationship, especially if it’s been good. Often, one party is usually ready to walk away, while the other clings for dear life.

It happened when I tried to say goodbye to my online subscription with The Hollywood Reporter. We had a great relationship for a long time. People change, however. I was no longer signing in often enough to make the $19.95 monthly fee worth it.  So I fought back the tears (not really) as I called the subscriber service department to say goodbye. I assured them it wasn’t them. It was me. I just needed to move on, so cancel my subscription and wish me well, no hard feelings. Unfortunately, THR wasn’t ready to say goodbye.  Read the entire sordid tale after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »


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.

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.

Stand for change

August 29, 2008

Oscar® deadline nears. Did you theatrically screen your film as required?

August 28, 2008

Docsider reminds us that Tuesday, September 2 is the deadline for submitting short or feature-length documentaries for Academy Awards consideration — that is, if your film has met the requirements for a one-week theatrical screening in LA and Manhattan.

In light of how filmmaking and film distribution is evolving, I’m wondering if the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences rules will always and forever include this requirement for a theatrical screening.   Marc Rabinowitz suggests documentaries should be allowed to qualify based on festival play or award wins.  That’s not a bad idea.  But what about narrative features?  Digital technology continues to develop, and audiences are increasingly introduced to films that debut, not in the traditional model of theatrical screenings, but on alternative distribution platforms like web streaming and downloads, not to mention the plethora of straight-to-DVD offerings. 

Will these new forms of screenings ever reach a mass critical enough to compete with theatrical screenings?  And if so, would that be enough of a shift to cause the AMPAS to ease, if not eliminate, the rule of required theatrical screenings?  Without the use of a crystal ball, it’s impossible to say.  It will be interesting to see how, or if, the AMPAS will react in the future to the continued evolution of the art and science of making and delivering motion pictures.

Update: In the meantime, documentary filmmakers have been scrambling to meet the theatrical screening requirements, without publicity or marketing the films to audiences, who apparently are scratching their heads about a slew of films they’ve never heard of suddenly appearing in theaters.

When you get to the top of the mountain…

August 24, 2008

Questions from the chat widget: Recommendations for producer’s reps?

August 21, 2008

An indie filmmaker named Susan IM’d me yesterday on my meebo chat widget, saying she was looking for a producer’s rep, but was hesitant to blindly respond to listings on the Web, and asked if I had any recommendations.  Unfortunately, she signed off from chat before I could finish composing my response.  

My answer is that I totally understand the hesitance to blindly pick a producer’s rep.  The relationship between filmmaker and producer’s rep is very critical. Even though it’s a professional relationship, personal preferences do come into play.  it’s very important that the parties share a vision about the filmmaker’s project, that they work well together. It’s a very indidualized relationship, and for that reason, I don’t offer recommendations.  Instead, I encourage filmmakers who are searching for producer’s reps to reach out to their colleagues, other directors and producers, and ask for their feedback on who they’ve been happy with in representing them.

There are lots of places on the web where filmmakers congregate to network, exchange ideas, and generally support each other and the craft.  One of my favorites, FILMCOMMUNITY.COM, is a good place to seek opinions from filmmakers on options and recommendations for producer’s reps.