By lance weiler, June 5th, 2008

This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix and Breakthrough Distribution – Casey Walker has turned to the internet to raise the funds for his debut feature film, FREE FOR ALL…BUT YOU!. By putting a different spin on a model that helped a college student raise a million dollars for school, Casey has found a legal way to gather funds for the film. To date he’s raised over 170,000 dollars by selling frames to the film which are then in turn rented to the production. In our discussion Casey explains how he spent a year working through the legal issues but has emerged with what he believes could be a new funding model for independent films.


For more on the Million Dollar Movie click here

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Posted in audience biz community deals experiment funds interview legal online podcast promotion 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, May 27th, 2008

We often discuss the importance of embracing other models and schools of thought when it comes to filmmaking. Much can be learned from the music, gaming and software industries. Filmmakers are after all entrepreneurs and the following presentation at The Next Web Conference 2008 by Adeo Ressi, The Founding Member of, holds some interesting insight into the venture funding world. Now most filmmakers won’t go searching for venture funding but they will possibly consider private equity to fund their work at some point. Over the course of the half hour presentation there are a number of things that could be directly applied to film financing not to mention provide a better understanding of what investors might be looking for.

Adeo Ressi at The Next Web Conference 2008 from Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten on Vimeo.

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Posted in biz deals funds how to legal resource

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

  • RESOURCE: The Film Finance Handbook
    There is a new resource for those looking for information on ways to fund work. “The Film Finance Handbook – How to Fund Your Film,” provides a comprehensive look at traditional and new models of funding. “With information on funding and tax incentives in over 50 countries, details of more than 1000 funds, a new chapter on the Internet, 400… read more
  • Experiments in Digital Swag – part 1
    When it comes time to creating digital assets for your work, I’ve found that it’s important to devise a plan that will work for your target audience. Finishing the film and expecting people to find your site, and keep returning over time – just isn’t going to happen. But a couple things can help you in your quest to get… read more
  • TCIBR podcast – Steve Balderson
    This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix and Breakthrough Distribution – Today we are joined by writer and director Steve Balderson. Often working from his home state of Kansas, Steve is a strong proponent of DIY filmmaking and the fact that movies can be made anywhere. He has written and directed narrative features (Pep Squad, Firecracker)… read more
By lance weiler, January 21st, 2008

The news of deals being struck is beginning to filter out of Park City. But behind the deal making that has become legendary is the reality of having to deliver the film. Long after the buzz has dwindled producers will start the long haul of delivery. For some outlets it can be minor but for others it can be a labyrinth that will take money from you at every turn.

It tends to be a dry subject but is critical to the sale and distribution of your film. This is especially true if you intend to have some type of traditional theatrical, VOD, TV or foreign distribution. Tani Cohen is an established producer who has delivered numerous narrative and documentary films. This is the first in a series of articles that will attempt to demystify the delivery process.

Tani reports – What is required for delivering your film can vary from company to company. Some smaller companies may require as few as a dozen items where the studios can demand anywhere from 40 to 75 items. The best thing a filmmaker can do is be vigilant while making their film. If possible, the first thing you want to do is hire a production attorney and have them review all the possible documents you may need to compile over the course of production and post. Have your production attorney do as many of the agreements as possible. If you cannot afford an attorney, at the least, try to have an attorney review whatever agreements you create (writer, director, actors, crew deals…)

I think what often happens is that pre-production and production can be so all consuming that things can easily slip through the cracks and then months later (when you are fortunate enough to be in a position to deliver your film), you are scrambling to gather all the documents required.

Another important thing to do is have a script clearance report done before you start shooting. This is a service that will read and break down the script and flag any items that may present a legal conflict. This can include character names, locations, artwork, music, copyrighted material, and product identification… Usually the report will recommend changes and contact information to obtain the proper legal clearances.

Your production coordinator should keep files of all these agreements and build a production folder as part of their wrap. Of course there are many post-production requirements that will be required and usually your post-production supervisor (or you) will track these items.

In additional to the legal delivery items, you will deliver your film and sound elements. Delivery requirements can range from a 35mm answer print to a digital master (or both) depending if you finish on film or a digital format. The film items can include your original picture negative, interpositive, internegaive, optical soundtrack negative and your soundtrack masters. Depending on the company, they will give you specs of what digital format they want and how they want the master delivered, along with the audio specs. There are a variation of sound elements and audio technical specs that may be required; again it depends on the company and format required.

Below is a list of 40 plus possible legal delivery requirements; (They are broken down by items that can be compiled during production, postproduction and/or both.)



2. UNDERLYING RIGHTS AGREEMENT (chain of title documents)
3. FORM PA (US copyright registration form)
19. IA SIGNATORY AGREEMENT (if applicable)


31. VISUAL EFX AGREEMENT (if applicable)


35. SYNOPSIS & PRESS MATERIALS (including production still photographs)

Tani Cohen recently produced, the HBO feature documentary, “Mr. Conservative: Goldwater on Goldwater.” The film was released on DVD through Zeitgeist Films. Prior credits include the MGM released feature film, “The Dust Factory” starring Hayden Panettiere and Armin Mueller-Stahl. Cohen executive produced the Emmy nominated Showtime feature “Snow in August” adapted and directed by Richard Friedenberg. Cohen’s many producing credits include, “Inside Monkey Zetterland”, “The Souler Opposite”, “How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog”, “Forever Lulu” and “Guinevere.” Cohen is currently producing Dylan Otto’s “Listen” with director Valerie Landsburg and “The Great Divide” based on T. Davis Bunn’s best selling novel.

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Posted in BTS biz deals delivery distro doc dvd festivals how to legal narrative resource theatrical tv

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

By matt, January 5th, 2008

Content is going to become even more open in 2008… With the change in the media climate and distribution experiments such as Radiohead’s In Rainbows (in music), and Four Eyed Monsters (in film) which have open qualities (temporarily available to watch or listen/download for free, for example) but are not necessarily truly open content, it is getting harder to tell what you can and cannot officially do with your media.

These are three proposed states and accompanying rules over at the A Swarm of Angels blog, as a potential framework for checking at a glance how open the media you are consuming is.

So how open are you going to make your media this year?


Matt Hanson is a film futurist; a writer and filmmaker described as an “International film visionary” by Screen International magazine. His current project — A Swarm of Angels ( — is an ambitious Cinema 2.0 endeavour to fund, film, and distribute, a feature film using the Internet, all-digital technologies, and a global community of members. Previously he founded the massively influential onedotzero digital film festival in 1996 at the dawn of digital filmmaking, which he directed until 2002. The writer of a series of digital-age cinema books including The End of Celluloid, and Reinventing Music Video, he lives in Brighton, England.

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Posted in audience community crowdsourced discussion legal policy pov resource sharing tech user-gen vidsocial


  • this conference is being recorded – Kevin Wheatley
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By lance weiler, December 13th, 2007

M dot Strange reports – So I was lucky enough to be summoned to make an animated music video for one of my favorite bands “Mindless Self Indulgence” I used Cinema 4d 9.1 w/Cactus Dans tools, and After Effects 6.5.

I thought I would out together a little thang documenting my work on the Mindless Self Indulgence music video “Animal” There’s a ton of music video making-of’s out there but since I’m bored waiting for 3d renders to finish I’ll add one more to the mix.

So this is my process….

The sonG – The first thing I do is listen to the song over and over and just see where the sound takes you… If nothing really jumps out…if scenes don’t start building themselves in my head I’ll go read the lyrics and see if that does something for me… The title can also do thing for you… For this song I just kinda had an idea about the singer being chased around a weird city by a bunch of strange animals. So I listened to the song and drew up some totally photorealistic storyboards.

Storyboard Example

After doing the rough boards I had an idea of what I was going to have to model for the video. I had to model, texture and rig the four members of the band. Now I’m not trying to impress anyone with my modeling abilities. There’s no use in creating a multimillion polygon model if you can get the same effect with a 10,000 polygon one. When I’m designing characters for a project like this I just try to create very simple iconic figures with strong silouettes. Since my roots are with 8-bit video game graphics I approach building a 3d model like I’m creating pixel art except I use 3d primitive cubes in place of pixels. This leads to the 8-bit/lego-ish look of the models. So I always trying to use as few polys as possible with my models. I run my 3d app and render clients (cinema 4d) on Windows XP 32bit so I’m prone to out of memory errors which suCK really bad. So I try to keep the characters low poly so I have a lot of free polys to use for the ridiculous backgrounds I like using. So a simply designed cool looking character animated in a funky fashion in front of complex backgrounds.

Non textured Model

So after modeling all the characters and adding temporary textures to the them I hand them off to my old media friend Sean Boyles so he can hand paint the textures. He uses the colors and designs from my temp texturing but applies it by hand with Bodypaint 3d. This adds enough imperfection to the model to make it look less like it came off an assembly line.

Textured Model before my modifications

Once the models are textured I’m free to add joints, skin and rig them. Since all the bodies have the same geometry and only the heads are different it was a fairly quick job. I think I did it all in one sitting in the cafe before my laptop battery died. I use the excellent Cactus Dan plugins for adding joints, skinning and rigging. The Cactus Dan plugins make the process much easier and faster. So I just created a skeleton for one model and copied it over to the others. I use the joint mirroring and auto-skinning to speed up the process and the C4dIK plugin’s make rigging a snap. So once they’re all ready to animate I put them in cool poses and just make sure they look right together.

My evil 8-bit Lego MSI peeps

Since I only had less than two weeks to make this video I didn’t have time to create new sets and backgrounds so I just used some sets from my animated feature film “We are the Strange” I built an entire world in 3d for that film so I guess its like my own private backlot I’m shooting on now ^^ So once I have the time consuming modeling and rigging out of the way I revisit the storyboard. I add in new scenes that came to mind while in 3d land and then scan in my crappy drawings so I can create the animatic.

Animatic SnippeT

I use the shot times from the animatic as a guide for the 3d animation. Also by looking at my animatic I know exactly which shots and which parts of the song will require lip sync. I had a few people helping me out with this video project and since lip sync is SOOOOO fun ^^ I asked my friend DemonicBunny if he would do the honors. Like the character “Pasteur” in WATS I wanted the lip sync to be created in MAriopaint. So this would be a 2d pixel animated mouth pasted onto a 3d animated character. So I sent him the sound files for the clips that needed lip sync and a reference image for the style/shape mouth I was looking for. In a few days he sent me the adobe illustrator sequence files I needed for the mouth.

Mouth shapes made in Mariopaint for lip sync

Since I didn’t need to do any lip sync I could instead just focus on the character animation. I’m already familiar with the band and they’re performances but I went ahead and got some reference videos from youtube of the band performing the song “Animal” The singer is always the center of attention in a performance so the singer would be the focus of the character animation in this video. By looking at the animatic I figured out which shots would require synchronized animation and music. I went ahead and animated the Jimmy model synced up to the song in empty scenes for all the shots I needed. My composition contain many layers… I start with the coolest stuff first and than add on top of that. So for this video I had to make sure that the singers animation was entertaining enough on its own before worrying about anything else. I then animated all the shots that needed Jimmy to perform and slapped the lip sync animation on. So the scene’s looked like this.

Animation Test

At this point I’m already past the one week mark so I didn’t have time to keyframe animate the rest of the band for every shot. Well what does a band do anyway? They play right? So I utilized a little procedural animation to get them to play for me. Cinema 4d has an excellent Xpresso scripting module so all I had to do was parent the instruments to the models bones, set up the proper set driven/driver relationships then add use a noise generator to drive the rotation on the models spine. After tweaking with the setting for a few minutes to get they’re movments roughly synced to the music I had this.

Simple Xpresso setup for procedural animation

So now all I had to do was drop my band in a scene and they doing they’re thang. Once I had the singers and the bands performance animations down I could focus on the other character animation in the video. This includes the singer running around getting captured by giant monsters and flying around with his fiery fairy wings. Once all the 3d was animated I set it off to render and waited. Well thats what I’m doing now…waiting for 3d renders. I never do any of my skies in 3d, I prefer to composite them in After Effects. Since Cinema 4d generates After Effects project files with 3d light and camera information it makes this really easy as well. So once all the 3d is rendered I’ll drop in the skies and proceed to color correct and stylize the shots to my liking.


Then once all the shots are rendered out of After Effects all I have to do is replace the animatic shots with the final ones and hand the 1080p version of the video over to the band ^^ I don’t know when the band will make the video available online but be sure to check it out when it is. Here’s a little teaser video I put up for the music video.

Music Video TeaseR

And two other video that are pertinent to this making-of post…

MAking of Part 1

Making-of Part 2


M dot Strange is a mixed media animator from San Jose, Ca. He recently singlehandedly completed an 88 minute animated film entitled “We are the Strange” which made its world premiere in January of this year at the Sundance Film Festival. A reviewer that saw the film M dot made in his bedroom with 9 PC’s over the course of 3 years said “it looked like something Hollywood would make for 70 million” He has recently been featured in the NY Times, ABC World News , and his youtube videos have been viewed over a million times.

Find out more about M dot Strange and his work

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Posted in BTS News arg audio case study community design digital downloads directing discussion distro diy doc dvd education interview legal mobile production program remix resource roundtable scripting sharing sites tech update vidsocial

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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