By Lance Weiler, August 17th, 2010

TCIBR returns with a special podcast featuring Ted Hope (21 Grams, Adventureland) and Katie Holly (producer of One Hundred Mornings ). Topics covered include creative producing, community curation, making films you’re passionate about as well as what it takes to sustain as a filmmaker in today’s changing landscape.

The WorkBook Project is proud to present One Hundred Mornings the winner of the WBP Discovery and Distribution Award. One Hundred Mornings opens Sept 16th at the Downtown Independent Theater in LA and will run for a week. Special thanks to our partners IndieFlix, Slamdance, The Downtown Independent Theater, Cinema Speakeasy, and CineFist.

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Lance Weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects.

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By Lance Weiler, January 5th, 2010

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By Lance Weiler – OpenIndie burst onto the scene this past fall when Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters) and Kieran Masterton ( a software developer) successfully raised over 12k via a kickstarter campaign to bootstrap a new theatrical on-demand model. Frustrated at the current state of distribution the two teamed up to create a service that will help filmmakers find audiences and audiences find films. I had a chance to ask Kieran some questions around OpenIndie, the importance of data and what he thinks the real-time web might mean for storytelling.

WBP: What will the role of social curation play within OpenIndie? Is it important and what types of trends have you seen emerging in the area of social curation afforded by the real-time web?

KIERAN MASTERTON: OpenIndie will work socially in a similar manner to Twitter in that you will have non-reciprocal relationships with other users i.e. users you are following and users who are following you. Unlike Twitter, however, it is user actions on the site, plus a small optional comment, that is recorded in their stream. So, when a user requests a film in their area or RSVPs to a screening it is that information that will be disseminated to their followers. Meaning in terms of social curation almost every action a user makes on the site will let their followers know which films and events they believe to be valuable.

I think one of the keys to enabling the crowd to filter out the noise in these increasingly distracting social spaces is to link their ability to be part of the conversation to a positive action. What I mean by this is that I believe in the value of a positive actions within the community. Putting on a screening via OpenIndie has hugely positive outcomes: a group of film fans get to see a film and the filmmaker gets a screening and hopefully a little revenue in return. Then the reverberations of that real-world event begin to travel across the real-time web with screening specific hash tags for social spaces like Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo and YouTube. The outcome of these positive actions, I believe, should be a louder voice within the community.

The problem of how to execute personal, social and professional curation on socially powered sites is, I think, one of the most important challenges facing developers and information architects in 2010. One site that I think could be one to watch, with regard to social curation, is Stackoverflow.com, a collaboratively edited question and answer site for programmers. Their reputation system is driven by the quality of the answers Developers give to questions on the site. This system is now, in turn, being used to power a Developer recruitment site. While, obviously, their methods can’t be directly translated to OpenIndie, I think they’re getting things right and we should be taking note.

WBP: Do you have any feelings about visualizing the attention economy that is online? In the sense that there are interesting ways to hook into various social APIs. Have you and Arin discussed ways to visualize the demand for a film? Online, via mobile and in the real world?

I think some of things being done with visualisation are fantastic. I’ve been following the stuff that Flickr have been doing on their Developer Blog and also the open source software visualisation project code_swarm. And I also think that subtractive blending overlay maps like the one below from Shawn Allen on Flickr are potentially extremely revealing for mobile social activity on OpenIndie.

Naturally, Arin and I have talked about geographical mapping in a similar vein to the heart map developed for Four Eyed Monsters. However, we haven’t discussed specifically ideas around real-time visualisation which I think could be especially interesting working with OpenIndie’s API on mobile devices both before and after screenings. Filmmakers could get insights into their audience but perhaps more exciting is the potential for storytellers to work with our data to expand the world of their film.

Flickr Devs: http://www.flickr.com/photos/revdancatt/3398050524/
code_swarm: http://vis.cs.ucdavis.edu/~ogawa/codeswarm/
Overlay map from Shawn Allen: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shazbot/3282821808/

WBP: I strongly believe that data is an area that will become increasing more valuable to filmmakers. Such as the data around their films and their audiences. I’m a proponent of of DataPortability and would love to see some type of audience sharing protocol established that enables audience to be aggregated in anonymous ways. Are these things that you’re considering around the development of OpenIndie? The name and what I’ve discussed with Arin leads me to believe that you want to be as open as possible. From a programming / development perspective how do you achieve openness that will satisfy the needs of both filmmakers and audiences?

KM: I couldn’t agree more and likewise, I’m a proponent of the DataPortability Project. Arin and I are determined to bring those values to OpenIndie. Data is already tremendously important to filmmakers, and I agree, it is only going to increase in value. As a programmer it is extremely tempting to do it yourself, to establish your own standards and close your doors to the world. Similarly, in the business world, it is very tempting to look upon your data as an asset that should be protected but I genuinely believe that opportunity comes from openness.

One thing fundamental to OpenIndie, that it’s important to understand if you’re filmmaker signing up to the site, is that the data surrounding your film is not private. What I mean by this is that OpenIndie believes it is beneficial to everyone for data pertaining to requests, screenings, and audience attendance etc. to be open. A filmmaker is not the only user who is going to have access to statistical information about a film’s life on OpenIndie. This is simply because the more applications that are built to utilise that data, the more attention a film gets and in turn the audience for that film grows. Whether it’s a one-off iPhone app for a film that tells you, wherever you are in the world, where you can find the nearest screening or a number-crunching web app for market research purposes it’s all of value to the filmmaker and the audience. I think the key point to remember is that we’re not building this site just for the benefit of filmmakers, or audiences or exhibitors the focus is ensuring the same level and quality of information is available to all those groups and beyond.

Finally, I must note that we are not planning to release any private data via our open API. Users will be able to give permission to release various levels of information such as geo-specific data, but we’re not in the business of handing out email addresses. What we do want to do is provide a open elegant interface for working with the fairly large amounts of data we are going to amass and for that data to be as complete as possible.

WBP: Any thoughts on the future of the real-time web and where you’d like to see it go especially in relation to filmmaking?

KM: As a geeky type I especially excited about SimpleGeo who have developed a cloud based platform for building location aware applications. I think that the potential for this product is immense in providing context to almost any action performed in the cloud. Likewise, they will give apps the ability to perform “complex geospatial and temporal queries” on their SimpleGeo enabled data. I can see fantastic opportunities for this with OpenIndie especially in real-time mobile applications. I eagerly awaiting a beta invite.

In terms of filmmaking I’m extremely excited to see how the real-time web can become part of storytelling, especially in a theatrical sense. I’m a passionate cinephile and love the theatrical experience and would love to see real-time web applications allowing the story world and the real world to blend. I’ve love to see OpenIndie involved with filmmakers using our data to make their story more immersive and we’d be extremely interested to hear from any filmmakers who are working in this area.

RELATED:

Arin Crumley explains OpenIndie

Phase 1 Successfully Funded! from OpenIndie on Vimeo.

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Lance Weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects.

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By lance weiler, August 31st, 2008

This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix – Hunter Weeks left a cubical job to embark on a filmmaking career and within a three years has completed two documentaries and is in post on a third. One of the core elements of his strategy is to mix a DIY production and distribution approach with a variety of promotional partners. Hunter and Josh Caldwell his producing partner, have structured numerous partnerships with brands that have created funds for production, post and distribution. In our discussion Hunter shares how he crafts his sponsorship / promotional deals, why he’s bypassing the festival circuit and how his newest doc 10 yards is being released for free online prior to hitting DVD on Sept. 30th.

For more on Hunter and 10 yards visit www.10yards.com

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lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

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By lance weiler, August 13th, 2008

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This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix – Brian Clark joins us for a discussion about filmmaking, audiences, breaking the rules and the value of going DIY. Founder of GMD studios and co-founder of indieWire, Brian has been at the forefront of the independent film scene for well over a decade. GMD studios has created digital experiments, campaigns and games that flow seamlessly between the virtual world and the real world such as Art of the Heist and Eldritch Errors.

For more on Brian visit GMD studios and indieWire

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lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

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By lance weiler, August 7th, 2008

Till now, as independent filmmakers (especially of non-fiction), there have always been gatekeepers between us and our audience. In the UK, they’ve been the primary broadcasting channels. For anything we made to have stood a chance of getting any decent kind of viewership – in essence, to have had any voice at all – a handful of commissioning editors and the whims of their tastes (or the format du jour of those channels) would have to have given their approval. Not only did they have veto over what gets seen, but ultimately – what gets made. And till now we’ve been left with the conundrum of making what they want us to make if we’re going to stand a chance of obtaining audience, or making what we want to make and resigning ourselves to the idea of relative obscurity.

Ultimately, this has made us ‘independent’ filmmakers passive, subservient. And what’s more, it’s totally dictated what audiences expect to see. The entire process has been mediated, and rather than being free to express ourselves, as filmmakers we have become a permission culture waiting for the acceptance of the powerful few.

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lance weiler is the founder of the WorkBook Project and also a story architect of film, tv and games. He's written and directed two feature films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA. He's currently developing a number of transmedia projects

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