By lance weiler, September 26th, 2007

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Tom Quinn reports – After an amazing week at the IFP Market and Conference, I am prepping my film for Friday’s Sundance submission deadline. The six days spent in New York were all remarkable thanks to months of hard work by the IFP staff, especially Amy Dotson who programmed the Lab and Emerging Narrative sections. Here’s a quick overview of our week:

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Lab fellows with John Sayles and Maggie Renzi.

SUNDAY: After a terrific welcome brunch organized by IFP, the 12 Lab directors had the opportunity to sit at a table discussing filmmaking with John Sayles and Maggie Renzi for two hours! When I was in college, my film professor was writing a biography on Sayles, and his films had a huge impact on my decision to continue down this path. His pragmatic approach and dedication to staying truly Independent have been inspirational. Most of our discussion was centered on their decision to self-distribute their new film, “Honeydripper,” and approaches to doing so. Afterward, they ran a conference-wide panel that covered shooting techniques, working with non-actors, ways to conserve finances, and distribution. They were both excellent teachers and very giving of their time.

MONDAY: As part of the Lab program, IFP organized six, ten-minute “speed-dating” meetings with sales agents, production companies, agents, and lawyers. Over the past week I had been reviewing their backgrounds and wrote myself a list of questions for each in case my nerves got the best of me. Although I was initially anxious, my meetings went amazingly well. Throughout the week, people connected with “The New Year Parade’s” storyline – particularly when discussing the effects of divorce on children. As I described how the characters find themselves inexplicably repeating their parents’ actions, many listeners smiled – perhaps recognizing that tendency in themselves or loved ones. Although a troubling reality, it was great to see the film striking a chord.

Next we had a roundtable with agents Mark Ankner (Endeavor) and Jennifer Konawal (The Gersh Agency). This was a great opportunity to demystify the process of working with agents to further your career. Later that evening, we were treated to a screening of Sayles’ “Honeydripper” (which is excellent) where I met a third icon of independent filmmaking – Charles Burnett. Mr. Burnett was very kind as I nervously proclaimed my admiration for “Killer of Sheep.” The day ended with a party celebrating fifteen years of Filmmaker Magazine, which was a nice opportunity to catch up with the Lab filmmakers and to make new friends as well.

TUESDAY: Tuesday began with a helpful demonstration from Kodak, one of the Market sponsors, covering the benefits of doing a digital intermediate and the importance of considering post during preproduction. I then ran over to a panel on the state of US film festivals, which included programmers from Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Tribeca, and True/False. They were all informative and it was great to hear their points of view as I begin submitting this month. Throughout the week, the panels were not only informative, but a great opportunity to put faces to names. That afternoon we had a roundtable with Creative Executives Karina Kliss (Curious Pictures), David Greenbaum (Miramax), and Dylan Leiner (Sony Pictures Classics). They discussed their process for finding new films, what festivals they attend, the current theatrical market, and ways filmmakers can approach them. These small sessions were incredibly informative and gave the Lab and Emerging Narrative filmmakers an opportunity to ask questions and start discussions with executives we would not otherwise have access to. It was pretty humbling to think IFP was doing all of this work because they believe in our films and potential as makers. After working so long with a very small crew and limited means, that kind of support is a rare and amazing gift.

On Tuesday evening there were several parties. The Florida Film Commission had a great sushi party where I had the opportunity to catch up with some executives and programmers in a more relaxed atmosphere. The mix of structured meeting time and freeform networking socials was great because you had the opportunity to build relationships rather than just sell yourself. I think that will be a huge asset in the long-run. Although Woodstock and Slamdance were both throwing parties later that evening, I forced myself back to Astoria at 11 to crash. Wednesday was going to be a big day.

WEDNESDAY: Another benefit of attending the Market as part of the Rough Cut Labs was that we were able to sign up for meetings with festival programmers an hour before anyone else Wednesday morning. As mentioned in the previous article, I had spent a lot of time considering my goals for the week. The number one issue on my to-do list was to make initial contact with a film festival that I am especially interested in screening at. Because of this, I was sure to start a conversation with this programmer earlier in the week so that our 10-minute pitch session could be more relaxed and I could focus on asking questions to better inform myself. In addition, I met with 5 other really great festival programmers. It can feel a bit awkward hopping from one table to the next and several of the festivals were interested in hearing my overall fest strategy to determine where they fell within it. This all led to some helpful, honest conversations about what I am looking for and what each individual festival can offer.

On Wednesday we also had two preview screenings showcasing five minutes from each project. Interestingly, we have not seen each other’s films, so this was not only a great opportunity to screen for industry folks, but also each other. I was blown away by the body of work my fellow filmmakers have created and IFP has curated. The films are diverse: comedies, dramas, and musicals shot on DV, High Def, and film. I look forward to hitting the festival circuit with these folks in the coming months – they are a terrific bunch of people and crazy talented!

The first screening was for industry and brought out a who’s who of independent film! Several prominent distributors, producers, law firms, composers, and film festivals were there to see what IFP had put together. The interest generated has been incredible and it’s fantastic to be on the map before we even begin the film festival route. That evening we had a second screening courtesy of Rooftop Films, which wrapped up their Summer Series. They have obviously put a good deal of planning and forethought into their program and it was a really cool community event. We screened in a public garden via a killer projection and sound system. It was great to hear the audio reverberate in the public space as cars and people passed by. The showcase was packed with neighborhood teenagers and industry executives. It was great to hear audience reactions to the film – especially from folks outside of the film world. Local high school students traded cupcakes and hot chocolate for donations toward a school trip and later we all convened at a local bar for 3 dollar beers. It was a great way to celebrate the week so far. If you’re in New York, I’d highly recommend checking out Rooftop Films.

THURSDAY: The main event for Thursday was a fantastic awards ceremony which also included a presentation of the Lab filmmakers as well as Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 faces of independent film (with some crossover as Georgina Lightning, director of “Older Than America” is a member of both!). Looking around the room of respected industry veterans we easily could have felt like the table of new kids were it not for all of the kind words and encouragement folks stopped to share regarding our films and the Lab program. The food was delicious and the ceremony was both elegant and a lot of fun. That night a few of us hit a local dive bar and over beers set our sights on the next phase of film festivals.

An exciting new development happened late in the week at a documentary panel. The discussion was on fair use and the topic turned to doc-fiction hybrids. This is something I have been curious about because sections of “The New Year Parade” are essentially a documentary on Mummery with our actors placed in scenes. The good news is that fair use was recently used to cover music and other legal issues on “Once” when they used a similar approach. This development could allow me to keep the original edits of the film without replacing music or changing important shots. The great thing about this development was that I could not attend the panel, but a fellow Temple University filmmaker (Ben Kalina, who produced a great doc on ocean acidification called “A Sea Change”) knew of my issue and approached the panelists afterward to discuss my film and get their contact information. This points to the greatest strength of the labs and Market: they foster a community of peers that can now go out and spread the word about each other’s films.

I can’t imagine a better week. Honestly, if IFP never called me a again after the Lab in June I would have sang their praises forever. To have them invest so heavily in our films and careers means a great deal and the Market will no doubt have a ripple effect in the months to come as the 10 of us branch out to festivals, screenings, and distribution.

The Films:
Boppin’ at the Glue Factory
Directed by Jeffrey Jay Orgil
A junkie nurse stumbles into his dream job – the graveyard shift at a convalescent home. He quickly becomes a model employee and the old folks’ best friend. But just as his drugs run out, and the management starts closing in, an old jazzman discovers his secret and makes him a sweet deal, but with heavy consequences.

El Coyote
Directed by Sergio Palacios, Damian Rodriguez
El Coyote, a drifter with an evil past, wanders into a ghost town. Shot by the Sheriff and left for dead, he is saved by a boy and his mother. As he recovers, he learns that drug lords hold the town hostage. El Coyote renounces his dark past and seeks revenge.

The First Breath of Tengan Rei
Directed by Junko Kajino, Ed M. Koziarski
A young Okinawan woman named Rei journeys to the U.S. to confront two former Marines who were convicted of assaulting her ten years ago. She kidnaps Paris, the teenage son of one of the Marines, and holds him captive in a motel room. Rei and Paris are drawn to each other, as the boy’s father closes in on them.

General Impression of Size and Shape
Directed by Alex Karpovsky
Once thought to be extinct, The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is ‘rediscovered’ in Eastern Arkansas. Though numerous sightings have been reported, concrete proof remains elusive. Combing the bayou with a taciturn sidekick in tow, amateur birder Johnny Neander is getting close, but what he is about to find will undermine everything about this Southern mystery, and perhaps, himself.

The Marconi Bros.
Directed by Marco Ricci, Michael Canzoniero
Anthony and Carmine Marconi, a modern day oddcouple, have been dutifully serving out life sentences in the family carpet business. Their opportunity to escape occurs during a routine carpet installation, when they meet Lou Burns the undisputed king of the Long Island wedding video business. Mesmerized by Lou’s fast talk and leggy blonde ‘secretaries,’ the brothers hustle themselves jobs as his new assistants and set off on the ride of their lives.

Moon Europa
Directed by Chris Bower
Moon Europa centers around the life of Bria Living, a test subject for the Nevco Corporation’s clone experiments. It is her life and love that inspires a young revolutionary, Osias, to kidnap the Nevco scientist Archer Claezon. Osias attempts to use Archer to initiate a rebellion against the corporation, freeing the human and clone population from the grip of tyranny.

The New Year Parade
Directed by Tom Quinn
After learning that their parents’ separation may be permanent, Jack and Kat McMonogul find their self-confidence shaken. Kat believes they will reconcile, and keeps the situation secret at school. Meanwhile, Jack is forced to mediate as his father becomes consumed with leading their band to victory in Philadelphia’s Mummers’ Parade.

Older Than America
Directed by Georgina Lightning
Spirits from a Native American boarding school appear to a woman whose mother attended it. The town’s long-time, corrupt mayor is opposed by a reform-minded Native American and a Catholic priest and is forced to confront the terrible secrets that he kept hidden for thirty years.

Rainbow Around the Sun
Directed by Kevin Ely and Beau Leland
Zachary Blasto is a hard-drinking, talented songwriter and performer who creates vivid musical fantasies in order to avoid dealing with the downward spiral of his personal life. When faced with the impending death of his father, Zach must choose whether to face the loss or surrender fully to the madness of his imaginary musical world.

Tales From The Dead
Directed by Jason Cuadrado
Tales From The Dead is a terrifying Japanese-language anthology of four ghost stories told by Tamika, a strange young girl with the ability to communicate with the dead. Each tale deals with loss, pain and vengeance as the spirits who tell them attempt to put things right in the world of the living: a family, newly reunited with their estranged son, faces the remnants of their bad marriage, and evil intentions, of their home’s previous owners.

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Tom Quinn grew up in Bucks County, PA, where he directed his first feature, Lusting for Dust Words, several shorts, and freelanced as a camera assistant. His film, Via Bicycles, was a 2006 Eastman Scholars finalist and received a Motion Picture Association Award. His current feature film, The New Year Parade, was one of ten projects selected for the 2007 IFP Narrative Rough Cut Labs. He is currently working toward his MFA at Temple University.

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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, September 14th, 2007

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In a special multi-part series along with live updates from the IFP Film Market, filmmaker Tom Quinn (The New Year Parade) will document his journey as part of the IFP’s narrative rough cut lab. Selected out of hundreds of submissions Tom’s film joins 10 other projects as the IFP helps to pull back the curtain on post, festivals and distribution.

nyp.jpgThis past June, I was fortunate enough to attend the IFP Narrative Rough Cut Lab with my film The New Year Parade. Led by Scott Macaulay (Producer, Forensic Films and Editor, Filmmaker Magazine) and Gretchen McGowan (Executive in Charge of Production, HDNet Films), the lab was an incredible opportunity to workshop our film with composers, editors, publicists, sales agents, and other filmmakers. Armed with their detailed feedback, I returned home to continue postproduction.

The New Year Parade follows Jack and Kat McMonogul in the year following their parents’ separation. As the months pass, and their parents’ actions come to light, Jack and Kat deal with the fallout from their parents’ breakup and decide what it means for their own futures. The film was shot with an amazing cast of non-actors over the course of two years in South Philadelphia.

As a continuation of the labs, IFP is bringing the ten directors to the IFP Market. The week will include pre-arranged meetings with sales agents, producers, festival programmers, and distributors as well as several exciting panels and workshops. On Wednesday, IFP will screen five minutes of each film at an industry-only event before a public rooftop screening that night.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been preparing for the Market in several ways:

1. Defining my goals: Because the Market is potentially overwhelming, it helps to set very specific short and long-term goals. Over the next four to six months, I want to position The New Year Parade for a strong festival premiere. Of course face time with festival programmers will be important. In addition, I want to connect with editors, producers, and other filmmakers willing to give honest feedback as I work toward my fine cut. The most valuable aspect of the Rough Cut Labs was this kind of mentorship, which I hope to continue.

2. Getting Informed: The IFP has worked hard to gather hundreds of amazing film professionals for the week, with several agreeing to meet one-on-one. If companies are being generous with their time, I want to be as informed as possible. While it may be tempting to view each meeting as an opportunity to sell the film, the real value is in exchanging ideas and information, building long-term relationships, and cultivating a career.

In order to keep my head straight and nerves calm, I’ve been assembling a binder on the professionals I’d like to meet with, their backgrounds, and any questions I may have. IFP has provided a directory of company representatives in attendance, their needs, and contact information, which I have been familiarizing myself with.

3. Informing Others: During the Market, I will be getting the word out in three ways:

a. The Pitch: Can I succinctly describe my film in less than a minute? I will be speaking to many busy people in the coming days, so having a polished, engaging delivery is essential.

b. Postcards: During the week our postcard will act as a “visual one-liner.” It was important to find a striking image that represented themes and style of the film. Because much of our film is about characters in their environment, we wanted to continue that approach in our imagery. The back of the postcard includes a summary and space for screening times.

c. Press Kit: The press kit will act as a ‘take home’ reminder for those interested in more information. It should include primary crew bios, a summary, key images, and contact information. (You can find a great online example at: http://www.lanceweiler.com/presskit/).

I’m excited to show others the project we’ve worked so hard on, and to catch up with the other lab filmmakers who are a very talented and diverse group. I’ll drop a line next week with more.

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Tom Quinn grew up in Bucks County, PA, where he directed his first feature, Lusting for Dust Words, several shorts, and freelanced as a camera assistant. His film, Via Bicycles, was a 2006 Eastman Scholars finalist and received a Motion Picture Association Award. His current feature film, The New Year Parade, was one of ten projects selected for the 2007 IFP Narrative Rough Cut Labs. He is currently working toward his MFA at Temple University.

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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, September 13th, 2007

OpenSourceCinema.org is a collaborative documentary project to create a feature film about copyright in the digital age. The film entitled, Basement Tapes is a crowdsourced doc that welcomes submissions from the community mixed with footage shot around the world by a traditional crew.

WHY: Projects like OSC and A Swarm of Angels are new models in production and distribution. They harness the power of internet to build community around a project which helps fund, produce and distribute the work.

The IFP Filmmaker Conference kicks off next week in NYC. An extension of the IFPs market, the filmmaker conference is a series of panels and discussions surrounding all aspects of the art and craft of filmmaking. Panel tracks include Making Your First Feature, Filmmaking 2.0, The Global Marketplace, The Real Deal on Deals, Truth about Non-Fiction and Fair Use in Doc Films.

WHY: Between the Market and the Conference the IFP has created a strong event with a focus on networking and education.

Renew Media’s Resources blog is an excellent source of information for media artists. It seeks to not only provide information about the creation and dissemination of media but also works to build public awareness. The Resources blog covers issues related to media policy, in addition to interviews and articles on key issues effecting artists in the digital age.

WHY: The group blog is a good source of information that provides insight from a number of knowledgeable bloggers. Plus in the current environment of media consolidation it is nice to have an organization like Renew Media protecting independent vision.


BlipBack is a video comment widget that can be added to your own sites, blogs and social networking pages. It allows anyone with a webcam or video-enabled phone can leave a video message. The widget works with myspace, hi5, blogger, typepad and any where you can embed html into a page.

WHY: An interesting way to communicate directly with your audience or a select group. BlipBack has a number of uses such as; holding a virtual Q&A surrounding your project or communicating with a core group of people to exchange feedback around casting, scouting, or script notes…


Meebo is a browser based IM client which means there is no software to download. You can also easily embed Meebo into a site or blog. One of Meebo’s newest features is the ability to share files. Currently you can send 10MB files and there is a monthly send limit of 30MB.

WHY: An easy way to send files and chat. Meebo also has the honor of being the first IM client on the iphone.

 

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Posted in audience community diy event resource web 2.0

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 30th, 2007

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Our guest today is filmmaker Jon Reiss. Jon has made a number of features, both fiction (Cleopatra’s Second Husband) and non-fiction (Better Living Through Circuitry and Bomb It). For his latest film, Bomb It he traveled to 5 continents to document graffiti culture. In our discussion Jon shares how he funded, traveled and is looking beyond the festival circuit to bring his work to audiences around the world.

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To find out more about Jon and his work click here.

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To listen NOW click the play button below.

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Posted in audience audio community distro diy doc event festivals interview podcast producing promotion remix social change theatrical

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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  • BTS – The Road to Park City
    Tom Quinn reports – With Slamdance only a month away, I thought it may be worth detailing the process of prepping THE NEW YEAR PARADE for its Park City premiere. Fortunately for us, the IFP Narrative Rough Cut Lab had prepped us on dealing with distributors, sales agents, and planning our festival strategy. But even with their guidance, I found… read more
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By lance weiler, July 10th, 2007

Since I’m knee deep in pulling together the next HEAD TRAUMA cinema ARG, I thought I’d share some of my promotional materials. The following is an invite followed by a press release for the event. We started by hitting horror blogs and then moved into some indie film and general movie outlets. When I come up for air next week I want to layout a detailed description of how we constructed the event and what the response was like.

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For more info visit movingimage.us

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

“Can things possibly get more intense from here? Of course. Horror 2.0 stalks the MoMI with indie auteur Lance Weiler’s multimedia expansion of his psycho-chiller Head Trauma: Audience members will receive menacing text messages and cell-phone calls, some even after the show. “I want to disturb people,” Weiler admits in what sounds like a motto for our times. Slashing at apathy, this is a genre whose dire warnings we ignore at our peril. One way or another, horror follows us home.”

- THE VILLAGE VOICE

“Lance Weiler’s first film, The Last Broadcast — often called the original Blair Witch Project — was shot for less than $1,000. Yet it grossed $4.5 million and became the first film to be transmitted via satellite directly to theaters. His encore? A traveling live-music mashup involving cell phones, big screens, indie rockers and meandering actors… “This is one of the only films where you’ll be asked to keep your cell phone on during the screening,” says Weiler.”

- WIRED

“Director Lance Weiler has created a “remix” presentation of his cult indie horror flick Head Trauma, the result of which sounds like a good approximation of the future of film… As theatres increasingly compete with home entertainment, we believe live film presentations such as this could be a way to keep audiences going out to movies.”

- TREND CENTRAL

Press release – there are two releases one from MoMI and another from me. I worked closely with the museum PR person so that we could maximize our efforts.

CINEMATIC ARG CREATES NEW IMMERSIVE HORROR 2.0 EXPERIENCE – A COLLISION OF MOVIES, MUSIC, GAMING, THEATRICS AND TECHNOLOGY COMING TO THE MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE THIS SAT. JULY 14th @ 6:30pm FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY

This Sat. July 14th the HEAD TRAUMA cinematic ARG (alternate reality game) will unfold at the Museum of the Moving Image in NY. For more info visit http://movingimage.us/site/screenings/pages/2007/index_horror.html

URBAN GAME-PLAY
Even before the audience enters the theater, they will be invited to participate in the cinematic ARG. As audience members approach the screening venue, they will enter the game-play, as the film’s story and characters mix with the surrounding urban environment. There are hidden clues, ringing payphones, and characters from the film scattered throughout the area. Through text messaging, distribution of a cryptic comic book, and cell phone calls, the experience continues into the theater.

THEATRICAL MASHUP
At the center of the cinema ARG is a theatrical mashup of Head Trauma. In Head Trauma, a drifter who returns to his dead grandmother’s house is haunted by feelings of paranoia and troubling visions of a mysterious hooded figure. He comes to believe that someone or something is trying to kill him. For the screening the music track is removed and only the dialog and effects tracks remain. DJs and musicians perform a LIVE soundtrack as characters and props from film emerge from the audience. In addition viewers can use their mobile phones to interact with the movie as it plays.

THE MOVIE FOLLOWS YOU HOME
After the audience leaves the theater the movie will follow them home. Phone calls and text messages will lead audience members to a series of online hidden clues and sites that expand the story of the film. As the ARG unfolds online viewers can contribute and remix video, audio and stills thus becoming collaborators within the evolving story. One of the starting points for the online game is a Head Trauma www.eyespot.com page that allows players to upload, remix and share media that unlocks clues within the game.

“Cinema has classically been a passive experience. The HEAD TRAUMA cinematic ARG creates an immersive story that allows audience members to interact with horror in a new way. It is experiential, viral and can easily be passed from one person to another. The story of HEAD TRAUMA and its characters travel across mediums and devices, along the way creating a horror 2.0 experience that combines technology with scares. It’s about creating a world that the audience can move through, one where a scare can come from anywhere. I want to creep people out in new ways.” says Lance Weiler

WHO’S BEHIND THE EVENT
Lance Weiler is a critically acclaimed award-winning writer/director. His feature, The Last Broadcast, is currently distributed in over 20 countries. It has the honor of being the first all digital release of a motion picture and enjoyed runs on HBO and IFC. Weiler is recognized as a digital pioneer for the way he makes and distributes his work. He’s been featured in Time and Forbes and on television programs such as Entertainment Tonight and CNN. Wired Magazine called him “one of twenty-five people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.”

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Posted in BTS arg distro diy event experiment how to press promotion remix

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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