By Lance Weiler, September 19th, 2009

Tomorrow IFP’s annual Independent Film Week and Filmmaker Conference kicks off with 5 days of keynotes, panels, meetings and screenings. The following are a few highlights from the upcoming program. To see the full program visit www.independentfilmweek.com Ana Domb will be on hand to cover the activities for WBP so check back for updates.

Paying the Bills – Sustaining Your Film Career
How do you make a living as an independent filmmaker? Hear talented filmmakers in different levels of their careers discuss their day jobs, and how they carve out time and money to make their personal work.

Moderator:
Esther Robinson, Filmmaker/Journalist – Filmmaker Magazine, Thatgrl Media – A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and The Warhol Factory

Panelists:
Tze Chun, Writer/Director – The Complications – Children of Invention
Jesse Epstein, Filmmaker – New Day Films – Wet Dreams and False Images
Reva Goldberg, Communications and Fellowships Manager – Cinereach
Rose Troche, Writer/Director – Go Fish, The Safety of Objects

The Times, They Are A-Changin
Join respected independent film pioneers along with a new guard of thinkers who are diversifying the industry through their approach to both the art and business of independent cinema.

Panelists:
Ted Hope, Partner/Founder/Producer – This is That – 21 Grams, Adventureland
Christine Vachon, Principal – Killer Films – One Hour Photo Boys Don’t Cry, I’m Not There
Lance Weiler, Writer/Director – The Workbook Project
Kenneth Woo, Co-Founder – Massify


The Good Pitch is a pitching forum with a difference borne out of the conviction that documentary is a powerful tool for creating social change.

The Good Pitch is a unique opportunity for a selected group of filmmakers to pitch both their film and its associated outreach campaign to an invited audience of participants, comprising foundations, NGOs,
campaigners, advertising agencies, brands and media in order to maximize its impact.

The Channel 4 BRITDOC Foundation is delighted to announce that it is partnering with the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program in 2009 to take the Good Pitch on its first North American tour.  After editions at Hot Docs in April and Silverdocs in June, The Good Pitch will be making its final stop at IFP’s Independent Film Week, in New York City, September 24, 2009.

After an open submission process, eight projects will be selected to pitch in New York. Please note: Application
to and consideration for The Good Pitch at Independent Film Week is a completely separate process from IFP’s Project Forum selection process.

The State of Distribution – The Current & Future Indie Model
The paradigm for independent filmmaking and distribution is at an important crossroads as industry leaders look to new digital and financial models. Learn how filmmakers can use this changing landscape to their advantage and how new opportunities in distribution are changing the ways films are bought, sold and produced.

Moderator:
Scott Macaulay, Editor-in-Chief – Filmmaker Magazine

Panelists:
Paola Freccero, President of Distribution – B Side Entertainment
Jon Reiss, Director – Bomb It
Jonathan Sehring, President – IFC Entertainment
Mark Urman, President/Owner – Paladin

Special Book signing after the panel
Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing for the Digital Era
Written by Jon Reiss, October 2009
No longer can filmmakers expect someone to come and take their film off their hands and guarantee them a release. In Think Outside the Box Office, pioneering filmmaker and author Jon Reiss introduces a new hybrid distribution model utilizing the best of the old world and new world distribution and marketing techniques providing a systematic, step by step approach to monetizing your film.

The Next Wave of Distribution
Join a panel of filmmakers, distributors and film exhibitionist who are thinking outside the box about new ways of getting films out to audiences. Find out how this “next wave” is effectively implementing their cutting edge ideas from new models in exhibition to varied forms of DIY and digital distribution.

Moderator:
Eugene Hernandez, Editor – IndieWire

Panelists:
Jake Abraham, Executive Producer – Dandelion – Lovely By Surprise
Orly Ravid, Co-President – New American Vision
Todd Sklar, President – Range Life Entertainment
Mark Lipsky, President – Gigantic Digital Cinema

Crowdsourcing: Building Fans, Bloggers, & Press Allies
From the start of a new project, filmmakers are bringing in audiences, press, fans, and friends to help shape their content and build word-of-mouth. Find out how to increase and retain viewers using new technology and strategic web building – and why doing so sooner rather than later is critical to getting your latest project noticed.

Moderator:
Ingrid Kopp, Director – U.S. Shooting People

Panelists:
Slava Rubin, Co-Founder – IndieGoGo.com
Bladimiar Norman, Head of Digital Marketing & Communications – 42West
Asiel Norton, Writer/Director – Redland
Alex Johnson, Co-Founder WBP Labs and Co-Creator of RADAR

IFP Independent Filmmaker Lab Showcase
Free outdoor public screening of excerpts from the 20 projects from IFP’s 2009 documentary and narrative labs.

Location: Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park, near the East River and Main Street, DUMBO, Brooklyn

Documentary
Beijing Taxi Directed by Miao Wang
Casino Nation Directed by Laure Sullivan, Paul Wilson, and Terry Jones
An Interview with Simone Weil Directed by Julia Haslett
Land of Opportunity Directed by Luisa Dantas
Our House Directed by Greg King and David Teague
Paul Goodman Changed My Life Directed by Jonathan Lee
The Road to Nasiriyah Directed by Micah Garen and Marie-Hélène Carleton
Texas Heart Directed by Treva Wurmfeld
Twelve Ways to Sunday Directed by Anna Farrell
War Don Don Directed by Rebecca Richman Cohen

Narrative
Au Pair, Kansas Directed by JT O’Neal
City on a Hill Directed by Amy Seimetz
The Imperialists Are Still Alive! Directed by Zeina Durra
The Myth of Time Directed by Miller “Jaguar X.” Koepenick
Perfection Directed by Christina Beck
Phasma Ex Machina Directed by Matt Osterman
Postales Directed by Josh Hyde
Stranger Things Directed by Eleanor Burke and Ron Eyal
The Tested Directed by Russell Costanzo
Wanderlost Directed by David Kabler

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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 1st, 2009

Thanks to all the volunteers, speakers and attendees who helped to make DIY DAYS Philadelphia such a success. Close to 300 people attended the day which included 40 speakers and 22 sessions in two different spaces.

The event yesterday showed the power that a community can have as people traveled in from all over the US not only to attend but also to volunteer their time and talents.

Over the coming days we’ll be releasing photos, video and audio from the event. It is all open media and you’re free to embed and spread.

And as we plan additional locations for DIY DAYS we welcome your suggestions. work [@] workbookproject [dot] com

Here’s a sampling of some images from yesterday. Check back for more. If you shot any photos, video or recorded audio please send us a link. We’d love to include it in the overall archive of the day. For those who shot photos feel free to share them via the ‘diydays‘ photo pool on Flickr.

Special thanks to Rich Hoffman, Aaron Matzkin, and Bruce Pinchbeck for snapping photos throughout the day.

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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, May 10th, 2009

We’re excited to be a partner of the upcoming Open Video Conference. The conference takes place June 19th and 20th at the NYU Law School. What makes OVC a must attend event is the combination of tech, creativity and policy issues that will be addressed during the two day conference. Full details after the jump.

Open Video Conference, June 19-20, NYC
40 Washington Square South (NYU Law School)
http://openvideoconference.org

Register now @ http://openvideoconference.org/registration/

on Twitter/Identi.ca: @openvideo
on Facebook: http://is.gd/xeL8

The Open Video Conference is a two-day gathering of thought leaders in technology, business, public policy, art, and activism from around the world to explore the future of the moving image.

Thanks to a proliferation of tools for recording, editing, and distributing video online, anyone can be a broadcaster. Sites like YouTube are bursting at the seams with user-created content. Individuals armed with cell phone cameras are effectively citizen journalists. And emerging artistic forms like video commentary and remix/mashup create new vocabularies for creative and political expression.

Yet as the medium matures, we face a crossroads. Will technology and public policy support a more participatory culture—one that encourages and enables free expression and broader cultural engagement? Or will online video become a glorified TV-on-demand service, a central part of a permissions-based culture? Web video holds tremendous potential, but limits on broadband, playback technology, and fair use threaten to undermine the ability of individuals to engage in dialogues in and around this new media ecosystem.

Highlights

Bestselling author Clay Shirky will give a talk about the disruptive effects of the web. Harvard Professor Jonathan Zittrain (TBC) will moderate a discussion on industry perspectives with Boxee CEO Avner Ronen, Blip.tv CEO Mike Hudack, and representatives from YouTube and Adobe. Lizz Winstead, activist and co-creator of The Daily Show, will discuss web video as political commentary. Legendary hacker Jon Lech Johansen (DVD Jon) will address data portability. Mozilla, makers of the Firefox web browser, will highlight what it’s doing to cement open video standards. You’ll hear from Anthony Falzone—executive director at Stanford’s Fair Use Project and counsel to graphic artist Shepherd Fairey—about the new battle lines drawn around fair use. Voices from the blogosphere, public media, and traditional media will explore the ways to make their content work in an open video ecosystem. Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, will highlight the ways telecom policy hinders independent media, and much more.

This is just a peek—have a look at our schedule page for more details: http://www.openvideoconference.org/agenda.

In addition to two full days of high-profile programming, you can expect a slate of workshops and behind-the-scenes technical working groups with leading edge video developers from projects like VLC, Ogg Theora, GStreamer, Blender, PiTiVi, Miro, Kaltura, Firefox, and many more. This event should interest anyone with a stake in art, culture, technology, policy, journalism, or online business.

Registration

Registration entitles you to all conference benefits: talks and presentations, workshops, screenings, two lunches, and a cool afterparty featuring video turntablists Eclectic Method. Plus you’ll get to mingle with thought leaders in online video and take home a cool bag of schwag! Don’t wait—register at http://www.openvideoconference.org/registration.

Organizers

Our conference co-organizers are Participatory Culture Foundation, Yale ISP, iCommons, and Kaltura. Our partners include Mozilla, Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, Free Press, Creative Commons, Big Think, NYU Information Law Institute, Intelligent TV, The WorkBook Project, FGV Brazil CTS, NEXA Italy, and more.

For more information, contact conference@openvideoalliance.org

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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, December 22nd, 2008

Lisa Salem reports -
ENDING THIS YEAR WITH A REMINDER OR A PRIMER – WHICHEVER THIS MAY BE FOR YOU…

“The number one threat to a filmmaker nowadays is not piracy, it’s obscurity.” (Matt Hanson at Power To The Pixel 2007, re-quoting from Tim O’Reilly).

I want to end the year by going a little retro, so in a kind of year-end look-back-as-a-means-to-moving-forward, I’m posting these three videos from Power To The Pixel ‘07.

I went to three festivals this past fall: Power To The Pixel ‘08, Sheffield Doc Fest and CPH Dox. At all but Power To The Pixel, filmmakers were frequently asking me why the issues of self-distribution and audience-building were so important, and how to jump in and get an overview of who’s doing what, what’s going on… and why.

I think these videos are a really great introduction.

These presentations made a huge impact on me at the time. Although I’d been following the self-distribution conversation for a while, it wasn’t until I heard the Head Trauma and FEM case studies that everything really seemed to gel for me. It was then that I knew where I wanted to go, could see the way forward and had a notion of what needed to be done. Not only that, I was exhilarated at the prospect. I felt as much creative potential in the possibility of gathering an audience around my film as I did in the filmmaking process itself – and as well, the level of need for doing it also finally became clear.

TWO OF THE HIGHEST RISKS OF OBSCURITY FOR A FILM ARE:

a) Not understanding how big the risk of obscurity is and

b) Not understanding that, ultimately, only the filmmaker can save their film from obscurity.

(- Either, at least, by understanding the dynamics of the situation (understanding the risk!) and figuring out how to facilitate/oversee a scenario where others can help match your film to it’s potential audience for you, or by doing it yourself.)

These videos are good because they highlight this very clearly and speak specifically to the real threat obscurity poses. Better though, they offer inspiring examples as to how these obstacles were overcome, what kind of initiative and attitude it took, and how much fun can be had in the process.

LANCE’S HEAD TRAUMA CASE STUDY

Over and above anything specific Lance says, it’s his headspace and playfulness with every level of the process that are the most informative.

ARIN AND SUSAN’S FOUR EYED MONSTERS CASE STUDY

Arin makes the point that in today’s climate, learning how to build and connect with an audience should really be thought of as no different from learning how to shoot and use a camera.

SELF-DISTRIBUTION PANEL

This panel is great because it’s really valuable to hear the filmmakers dialogue about their process and the issues they’re mulling over. I especially like it when Jeremy Nathan says:

“I think the only solution is self-distribution – through models that we’ve just heard this afternoon – because those are the models that I think are delivering dollars into people’s pockets – even if it’s small money, it’s still money coming back. Because otherwise it’s a fiction – films don’t get seen and you don’t get paid, so why bother? It’s too painful a process.

- and when Matt Hanson speculates about ducking out of the money-and-audience-at-the-end syndrome into a new system altogether.

GOING BACK TO BASICS

So whilst these videos are more general and don’t explicitly relate to audience, it’s good to look at the big picture. The thing to take away is that the audience is there for us to connect with, and that it’s neither up to others to give us permission to do that, nor is it solely upon others that we can relinquish the task.

For more visit Pollinate

LISA SALEM set out to walk the whole of LA pushing a baby-stroller with a video-camera attached to the end of it, facing inwards. When people approached her, she invited them to walk with her while she videoed their conversations. She posted those videos to a blog and in the process attracted a large and intrigued audience to what she was doing. Since then, Lisa’s been looking at the process of audience-building in detail. She lives in London now and when not working on her film-portrait of Los Angeles “WALK LA WITH ME”, she runs workshops that help filmmakers be more independent.

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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, October 22nd, 2008

Today Power to the Pixel a digital distribution and film innovation forum kicks off with a live streamfrom the conference.

CONFERENCE at NFT1, BFI Southbank

A day of keynotes, presentations and round tables by leading digital visionaries followed by an evening drinks reception at the Marriott Hotel, County Hall. Through a variety of case studies, experts will speak candidly about the challenges they face, the opportunities available and the discoveries they have made.

Please note there will be free WiFi available throughout the day

09.15 – 10.00
REGISTRATION, COFFEE & TEA

10:00 – 10.15
WELCOME & INTRODUCTION
LIZ ROSENTHAL, Director, Power to the Pixel

10.15 – 10.55
SHOULD WE? COULD WE? WOULD WE? – FILMS IN THE AGE OF CROSS-MEDIA PRODUCTION
Why should we think about more than one media platform? Could we gain financially and artistically? Would we progress our practice and industry if we do?
CHRISTY DENA, Cross-media Specialist (AUS)

10.55 – 11.15
FRACTURED AUDIENCES
As technology shifts, audiences are evolving at a startling rate. Who are they, where are they, and what are they doing? How does the media producer keep up with and define their consumption habits and behaviour in order to create compelling interaction and relevant awareness for their work?
ALEX JOHNSON, Digital Strategist and Experience Planner (UK/US)

11.15 – 11.30
BREAK

11.30- 13.00
THE NEW EXHIBITORS
Presentations and Roundtable discussions

With the rapid growth of new on-demand, online services and film and video social networking sites, who amongst them are effectively serving independent films and rights holders in significant new ways?

This session brings together leading online innovators from around the world who are dedicated to increasing access to independent films, often unavailable through traditional distribution channels and the bigger online players.

Speakers will answer the following questions; How are independent focused services dealing directly with filmmakers and rights holders? Is content curated predominantly by audiences or by in-house programmers. What kinds of deals are being done? Are they on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis? With a whole new generation of viewers becoming used to free online media, will audiences pay for download-to-own and rental, or is a free-to-view ad driven model more likely? What kinds of revenues are being generated and how are they being split? Whilst everyone is busy aggregating content on to portals, who is effectively mobilising and aggregating audiences in new ways, guiding them to discover new films?

BRIAN NEWMAN, President, Tribeca Film Institute (US)
CAY WESNIGK, Founder, Onlinefilm.org (GERM)
SARA POLLACK, Manager Film & Animation, YouTube (US)
FABIO LIMA, Founder, MovieMobz (BRA)
MICHAEL GUBBINS, Editor, Screen International(UK)

13.00 – 14.00
LUNCH

14.00 – 14.30
THE NEW CROSS-PLATFORM FINANCIERS: AUDIENCES, SPONSORS AND BRANDS
Presales, MGs and advances are becoming a thing of the past for independent films. Who will the new financiers of independent films be? This session looks at the power of the audience in crowd-sourcing, the power of brands and of sponsors in financing new work.
SLAVA RUBIN, Co-Founder, IndieGoGo (US)
ADAM ERLEBACHER, Co-Founder, PlaceVine (US)

14.30 – 15.00
DISTRIBUTION CASE STUDY: WE ARE THE STRANGE
M DOT STRANGE, Filmmaker

15.00 – 15.30
DISTRIBUTION CASE STUDY: STAR WRECK: IN THE PIRKINNING
TIMO VUORENSOLA, Filmmaker

15.30 – 15.45
BREAK

15.45 – 16.15
DISTRIBUTION CASE STUDY: STEAL THIS FILM
JAMIE KING, Filmmaker

16.15 – 16.45 A NEW MODEL FOR DISCOVERY AND DISTRIBUTION: FROM HERE TO AWESOME
For years, the independent film industry has created an unspoken competitive spirit among filmmakers. Competition for festival slots and buyers’ attention has left many filmmakers bitter at the success of others. As the traditional deals fade away, filmmakers now find themselves at a crossroads as new collaborative models emerge. The production side of filmmaking has been democratised, now it is time to open the discovery and distribution processes. A step in that direction is From Here to Awesome. FHTA is an R&D lab of sorts, an open source project that is focused on experimenting with new business models, creating open tools and standards and making recommendations for best practices.
LANCE WEILER, Filmmaker

16.45 – 17.05
COLLABORATION – A CASE STUDY
ARIN CRUMLEY, Filmmaker

17.05- 17.30
AUDIENCE TAKES CONTROL
An opportunity for the audience to ask questions to M dot Strange, Timo Vuorensola, Jamie King, Lance Weiler & Arin Crumley.

17.30 – 20.30
POWER TO THE PIXEL DRINKS PARTY at the Marriott Hotel, County Hall

20.30 – 22.30
SCREENING at The Studio Cinema, BFI Southbank
FROM HERE TO AWESOME Prize Winners screening and Q & A
I F*cking Hate You (9 mins) by writer/director Zak Forsman
In Search Of (106 mins) by writer/director Zeke Zelker

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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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