By lance weiler, July 29th, 2008

Over the next few days we’ll be posting various videos from the DIY DAYS LA event. The day consisted of a number of keynotes (Robert Greenwald, Marshall Herskovitz), panels (Tommy Pallotta, Femke Wolting, Alex Johnson, Micki Krimmel, Mark Stolaroff, Ondi Timoner, Hunter Weeks, Saskia Wilson-Brown), case studies (M dot Strange, Arin Crumley, Lance Weiler), a series of special video presentations (Matt Hanson, Brett Gaylor, Brian Chirls, Christy Dena, Timo Vuorensola) and a conversation with director Mark Pellington.

diy days M dot Strange, Hunter Weeks and Ondi Timoner – photo by Mike Hedge

The Realities of DIY
There’s been much discussion about the democratization of the tools but what’s really involved in taking your film from a concept to something an audience will pay to see? How can you fight your way through the clutter and what are the pitfalls to avoid when you decide to go it on your own?

Discussion Leader: Mark Stolaroff – panelists Arin Crumley, Ondi Timoner, Hunter Weeks and M dot Strange.

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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

By lance weiler, June 18th, 2008

Timo Vuorensola is a filmmaker who has fully embraced the concept of crowdsourcing. After the success of his last feature film Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning which has been downloaded over 8 million times, Timo and his team created a platform to help others crowdsource their movies.


WB: Can you explain Space Wreck and how the audience played a role in the film?

TV: Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning was a huge collaborative effort made by a core group of 5 people, and a community of about 3000 volunteers from around the world, during the years 1998-2005, in a small country of Finland, with the help of Internet.

We started working on a film with only a little knowledge in how to actually make a feature-length film. Luckily we had a small base of a community, thanks to our earlier Star Wreck -episodes (mainly short animations), who were very eager to help us out. Without thinking too much, we started to ask for help from the community, which proved pretty soon to be a very good resource base, whatever was our need – when we wanted people to help us out with the script, when we needed actors, when we needed 3d-models, and later when we needed publicity, subtitles & all that type of things.

WB: What is the concept behind Wreck a Movie and what lead to its creation?

TV: The idea was when we started working on our next film, Iron Sky, that we wanted to do the film in many ways the same way as Star Wreck – by having the community joining the production. We realized, that what we did with Star Wreck, communicating via email, forums, ICQ, MSN, IRC and other stuff like that was OK, but pretty inefficient. So we wanted to build a platform that would support what we called ‘collaborative film production’ for Iron Sky, and started to design one.

Obviously none of us knew anything about coding or anything, but we had a good understanding on how the community works, and what makes it tick – we’ve always had this kind of intuition. So we gathered some money, hired some coders and started to build the platform.

Few years later we now have a good Alpha of the system up and running, and it’s already working the way I’ve always wanted it to work: it activates people, gets a lot of good input, and strengthens the community around the film.

WB: Looking forward what type of role do audiences play in the process of creating and distributing films?

TV: I would say there’s a lot of roles that the community can either fill or be helping with. Personally, I wouldn’t think about writing the script collaboratively, or trying to find some solutions on collaborative directing, but I think on pre-production and post production the community can be a very effective help, and later on on getting the message across the Internet, it’s most valuable.

WB: Do you think audiences are looking for a richer experience with their entertainement and if so what have you personally seen that shows this?

TV: I’d say that the media consuming habits are changing and adjusting to the fact that Internet is around, and the people want to have a more personal experience with the media. Thus, the most personal experience with media is actually to create or join the creation of the media itself.

WB: What is next for you?

TV: Right now we are working on a film production called Iron Sky, which tells a story about Nazis that went to the Moon in 1945, and now, it’s 2018, and they are returning to earth. It’s the first film on WreckAMovie, with another finnish film, a horror flick called Sauna. We are opening Wreck A Movie for outside productions slowly during this year. I’m also working on few very early ideas for some films, and going around the world to talk about WAM and our stuff etc.

Iron Sky trailer:

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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

  • BTS The Road to Park City – sold out screenings
    So, we’ve been in Park City for five days now and my head is spinning. We premiered the film on Saturday and had a great crew in town: Jen Welsh, who plays Kat, Greg Lyons, who plays Jack, my finance Beth, high school pal Tom Bilotta, and Greg’s ECC bandmate, Josh Ostrander. Of course, 10AM on a Saturday is a… read more
  • VIDEO: Power to the Pixel
    Power to the Pixel is a conference that focuses on funding, producing and distributing films in the digital age. The next edition of PTTP will be held in Paris this coming June. Liz Rosenthal the founder of PTTP was kind of enough to share the following video. Please feel free to embed and spread. The final Power to the Pixel… read more
  • TCIBR – podcast Dan Goldman "Shooting War"
    This edition of TCIBR is brought to you by IndieFlix and Breakthrough Distribution – Dan Goldman is a critical acclaimed comic book artist and illustrator. His most recent project “Shooting War” went from being a free online comic to sparking a bidding war. Various major publishing and production interests battled it out for the publishing and film rights. Goldman… read more
By lance weiler, April 29th, 2008

I’ve just return from Hot Docs where I participated in a panel of judges for the newly formed Convergence Lab. Created by DocAgora, the lab focuses on a number of projects. The lab brings together producers, filmmakers and interactive designers in an effort to develop cross-media strategies for their projects.

Cross-media (the telling of stories across multiple mediums, devices and platforms) is a topic that we discuss often – an exciting and mind-boggling concept that opens a digital Pandora’s box. It challenges the concepts of linear structure. Sure there are numerous cross-media plays that just re-package traditional media or the new media plays that just emulate traditional media practices in a digital space. But cross-media storytelling offers new ways to build audiences and with some work could lead to new forms of project financing.

What I’ve come to learn is that it starts by listening to the audience. Everyone is their own media company these days as they publish, life stream, upload and throw their media into an every growing collective of bits and bytes.

The writing is on the wall. We were in a similar situation a decade ago when we made THE LAST BROADCAST one of the first desktop digital features and beamed it into theaters across the country. At that time it was the digital vs. film argument. Now it feels as if we’re reaching a tipping point. The days of the creation of just a feature film are gone. It’s not enough to just make a film anymore.

So how do you shake the shackles of the traditional and move into the next phase of what could prove to be a digital storytelling renaissance? There will be those who say I can’t be bothered and by all means I’m not saying that the story shouldn’t be the focus. It is all about story. I’m merely suggesting that you consider the new tools and outlets that are emerging. These developments allow you to tell your stories in new ways, larger ways, and in many cases more challenging ways.

One thing that I was asked numerous times at the Lab was where do I start? The following is a list of things to consider before you start a cross-media push.

1. Start by looking at the way your audience consume their media
2. Script it out – you wrote a script, storyboarded or created a shot list now its time to look at where people will enter your “world” and how they move through it
3. It’s a conversation. Nobody enjoys a one sided conversation so build in elements that allow your audience to interact with your content. Give them a sense of ownership through remixes, forums, fan art etc.
4. Be prepared for the audience to take control of certain aspects and know how and when to let go.
5. Listen to what the audience tells you even when they are not talking directly to you. Their actions and discussions with other audience members are a good indication of what’s working and what’s not.
6. Be prepared to move in radical directions. The best laid plans are meant to change and some times a new direction can result in larger audiences
7. Remember that there are no rules every cross-media project is different
8. Most importantly have fun since cross-media is a new way of telling stories it is a great way to experiment.

So if you’re looking to promote a project, build social awareness around a cause, or just want to have a larger audience for your work then cross-media storytelling might be for you. I’d love to hear about your projects so please send links and descriptions our way.

More reading:


Lance Weiler is a filmmaker and a self distribution pioneer. His films THE LAST BROADCAST and HEAD TRAUMA are distributed in the United States and in over 20 countries around the world. Lance often lectures on filmmaking, technology, media consumption and distribution. He’s spoken at the Sundance, Berlin and Cannes Film Festivals in addition to numerous Universities and film societies. Lance is currently working on a number of new film, tv and cross-media projects. He is also working on a book entitled “Putting the Mass Back in Media” which will be released in 2008. He currently sits on the board of the IFP, is the founder of the Workbook an “open source social project” for content creators and a co-founder of the discovery and distribution festival FROM HERE TO AWESOME. For more on Lance visit

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Posted in arg audience community content cross-media crowdsourced diy doc experiment funds narrative online production promotion remix tech user-gen vidsocial 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

By lance weiler, March 16th, 2008

In this special video podcast Christy Dena interviews workbook project founder Lance Weiler. Dena, a cross-media entertainment strategist, mentor, designer, writer and PhD researcher conducted the interview for her universe creation podcast. Here’s what Dena had to say about the interview.

Filmmaker Lance Weiler is the special guest on this first video podcast at UC101. Weiler talks about the unique ways he has experimented with extending the storyworld of his feature films out to other media platforms and artforms, and he shares his insights into innovative digital distribution techniques he has been spearheading for years.

To jump to particular topics, here is a short guide:
03:02 The Last Broadcast
14:32 Head Trauma
44:14 From Here to Awesome
54:53 Workbook Project
59:01 Random Future

::ARG Netcast, Episode 39 Lance Weiler discusses Hope is Missing
::Hope is Missing CASE STUDY

For more on cross-media storytelling visit Universe Creation 101


Christy Dena is a Universe Creator and Transmodiologist. She is an industry strategist, mentor, transmedia writer and designer and PhD researcher. She has provided advice and presentations on multi-platform storytelling to the Australia Council for the Arts, Film Australia, Center for Screen Business, AFTRS, ABC, dLux Media Arts and the ACT Filmmakers Network. Christy presents regularly on Alternate Reality Game creation to a variety of organizations, practitioners and corporations such as Nokia in Finland. She co-wrote the International Game Developers Association Alternate Reality Game Whitepaper and manages an ARG Researcher & Educator listserv. She currently advises to clients including the Australian Literature Board and film production houses such as Killer Bald Men and Instinct Entertainment. She is part of the Sense Worldwide Network, a company that provides contextual research and concept development services to Blue Chip and Fortune 500 clients. Her PhD, at the University of Sydney, investigates narrative in the age of cross-media production. She recently gave a keynote at the First International Conference on Cross-Media Interaction Design in Sweden.

Christy runs two popular blogs: and co-edits She will be launching a podcast in July at and has her bio information at

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Posted in BTS arg audience biz community content cross-media crowdsourced diy experiment gaming narrative online podcast producing production promotion remix resource screening tech theatrical user-gen vidsocial 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

  • tools – how to create your own news feed mashup
    Topic: How to create your own news feed mashup Skill level: moderate One of the web promotions that was used for HEAD TRAUMA, is what I call “scatter shot.” The approach made use of about 13 different domains. The goal was to increase the visibility of the phrase HEAD TRAUMA within search engines. To read more on the approach… read more
  • Facebook Marketing: The Key to Independent Film Marketing?
    Today’s guest contributor is KYLE PROHASKA — CEO of Praise Pictures, a film production company primarily involved in the Christian market. His first feature film Standing Firm recently released on DVD in the USA and over a dozen foreign countries. Kyle’s skill set spans a wide range from graphic and web design to editing, coloring, compression, dvd authoring, and online… read more
  • DIY list #4 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… read more
By lance weiler, February 25th, 2008

For those of you who don’t know FROM HERE TO AWESOME is an extension of the workbook project. In the spirit of bringing an open source philosophy to various parts of the filmmaking process, FHTA is focused on education, discovery and distribution. Over the next few months leading up to the festival’s kick off in Paris on June 3rd, FHTA is constructing a series of vids that detail the current state of filmmaking.

We’re looking for people who would like to contribute not only submissions, but also thoughts and suggestions on how to improve the festival. And if you’d like to lend a hand with the fest we’re looking for volunteers to come along for the ride.

Wonderful animation by Jordan Gray and Jeff Hockett that explains the festivals submission process.

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Posted in News animation audience call for entry community crowdsourced digital downloads discovery distro diy doc dvd education embed event experiment festivals narrative online remix resource sharing short form sites theatrical user-gen vid vidsocial 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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