By Lance Weiler, August 10th, 2011

DIY DAYS is coming to LA on Oct 28th and we’re excited to share a new site we’ve been working on.  http://www.diydays.com

When we started DIY DAYS back in 2008, the goal was to share information and creative process within a social environment. As we prepare for what will be our 9th event, we are excited to announce a number of new additions to DIY DAYS that will focus on action.

Wicked Solutions for a Wicked Problem (WS WP) will be a center piece of the event. A wicked problem within the educational space will be targeted. WS WP is a “think tank meets hackathon” that will combine design thinking, storytelling and co-creation in an effort to move from concept to working prototype within a 48 hour period. DIY DAYS LA will close with a presentation of the prototype to a live audience.

Robot Heart Stories is an experiential educational effort that will have students in two underprivileged schools, one in Montreal and one in Los Angeles, co-creating stories that will move a robot (connected plush toy with GPS capabilities) from Montreal to Los Angeles. The project kicks off Oct 17th at the FESTIVAL DU NOUVEAU CINÉMA and concludes on the 28th at DIY DAYS LA. The journey will be documented and the children can check in with the robot’s progress as she attempts to find her way home. The student’s stories will be brought to life by designers, illustrators and animators and copies of the children’s work will be placed in an “actual rocket” that will be making its way into space this fall. The project mixes social gaming mechanics with creative writing while at the same time enabling the students to learn using math, science, history and geography.

SPEAKERS
In our first wave of speaker announcements we’re thrilled that Henry Jenkins, Tommy Pallotta and Christy Dena will be joining us. We’ll be sharing more speaker and program details in the coming weeks.

We are still looking for interesting people and projects. So if you know of someone or something that would be an amazing addition to the event please drop us a line at work@workbookproject.com with the subject “Diy Days LA.”

TICKETS
DIY DAYS LA is free and tickets will be available on a first come first serve basis. Starting on Sept 12th you’ll be able to get them from http://diydays.com

PARTNERS
We’re proud to partner with the UCLA Library as one of their Open Access Week events. Open Access Week is a global event, now in its 5th year, promoting Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research. UCLA is giving us access to their amazing Charles E. Young Research Library which has recently been renovated.

CINEMA SPEAKEASY PRESENTS ‘SHOW & TELL”
In a special section of DIY DAYS we’ll be highlighting amazing innovative work. We’ve teamed with Cinema Speakeasy to put on a “show & tell” that will give creators of film, games, music, design projects, immersive experiences and anything else that deals with storytelling a space to show. Space is limited so make sure to contact us early. For more details check out http://diydays.com/2011/08/special-showcase

VOLUNTEERS
Last but definitely not least, we are looking for a few good women and men to help us put on the event. It’s a fun great way to meet people and network. Not to mention volunteers are what help to keep DIY DAYS free. It is the volunteers who share their time and talents that make DIY DAYS possible. We are in need of folks to help with logistics, tech, and documenting the event. If you’re interested you can find more details here http://diydays.com/volunteers

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By Kieran Masterton, April 8th, 2010

Some time shortly after Sundance ‘10 we were fortunate enough to be asked by Mr Lance Weiler of the Workbook Project, Head Trauma and many other notable projects to take part in the DIY DAYS NYC Startup Incubator.

DIY DAYS is a roving series of conferences for those who create and it’s part of the WorkBook Project an open resource created by Lance to support the community. The purpose of the incubator was to subject OpenIndie to the scrutiny of a room full of experts in various fields relevant to our business and what we’re trying to do. During a four hour process the group discusses various salient issues and then produce a presentation or pitch to be delivered to the conference attendees at the end of the day. Arin and I jumped at the chance to put OpenIndie under the nose of such respected folks in the industry for such a concentrated amount of time and the process began.

In the week leading up to the conference neither of us knew exactly what to expect but Lance kindly set up a Skype call with Matt Johnston of Kinetic Fin who was our Entrepreneur In Residence and facilitated the conversation on the day. He immediately set Arin and I at ease and got us really excited about the potential for the day. In just a one hour conversation Matt equipped us with a shared metaphor for how to think about what we were trying to achieve, drew out of us some key issues we wanted to address and gave us really valuable feedback about the challenges that he felt were ahead of us.

As I am based in the UK I Skyped into the conference on the day. I initially thought this would be fine as Arin and I are used to Skyping all our conversations. However, as the day went on the Skype situation became increasingly frustrating from my point of view. While I felt I had a great deal to contribute to the conversation the Skype lag caused me to start talking and discover I was interrupting someone. I also got the impression that the folks in the incubator found it hard to understand what I was saying due to the distortion. As a result of these issues I didn’t personally feel like I was as useful as I could have been and this was really frustrating. However, that shouldn’t reflect negatively in any way upon either the folks taking part in the incubator or the people organising DIY DAYS, it was something that always had the potential to be a problem.

The day began with Matt laying out the format for how we’d proceed and everyone introducing themselves. Our group of experts was made up of:

Matt Johnston – Entrepreneur In Residence (COO at Kinetic Fin)

Karol Martesko – Film Industry Expert (SVP / General Manager at Babelgum Film)

Brian Newman – Business Development (Founder at Sub-Genre and former CEO of Tribeca Film Institute)

Joseph Williams – Design

Bradley Farrell – Branding (CEO at Kinetic Fin)

Karin Chien – Producer / Distributor (The Exploding Girl (2009))

I’m sure you’ll agree this is a formidable team of experts and I for one was really nervous about the potential feedback they were going to have about OpenIndie. I can say, again from my perspective, that the feedback and discussion was incredibly constructive and while the process could have turned into a group of industry experts picking holes in a new platform that didn’t happen at all. This was partly down to the fantastic people Lance and his team had found to help us but also because whenever someone criticised it was always constructive. Nobody said “this sucks” or “you’re kidding yourselves” arguments were reasoned and based on years of experience.

In short, the group’s feedback was incredible and I would go as far as to say that the process has been totally transformative for OpenIndie. Some key takeaways from the day were that we need to improve our messaging, we’re not yet effectively explaining, clearly and concisely, what it is we do and how we do it. Our filmmaker bias was also very evident. This, in some respects, is natural because Arin is a filmmaker and our source of financial support has come from filmmakers. However, we need to reorientate the business to focus upon to the audience requesting films and the hosts organising screenings. This isn’t to say that the filmmakers aren’t vitally important but the focus upon generating an audience and screenings will benefit the filmmakers most in the long-term.

We were also challenged about our $100 per film per year fee and some good discussions came out of the suggestion to open the site to all for free or to curate the films on the site. Right now that $100 a year is our only source of revenue and is paying our hosting costs etc. However, all three options are still on the table and you will know as soon as we do about how we plan to proceed. The decision we make on this topic will depend greatly upon the level of success we have in the search for investment.

The day ended with Arin giving a fantastic presentation that Matt and Joseph helped us put together. It was impressive to see how Matt took the salient points from our discussions and drew them together with us into a presentation that was incredibly successful. At one point Arin had the whole audience on their feet shouting “I’M AS MAD AS HELL AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE” a phrase made famous by the 1976 film Network and repurposed by us in our fundraising campaign in November last year.

Upon reflection, I think the day broke us down and built us up again. It drew out of us our biases that were clearly holding us back in many respects. It made us rethink our business model and reevaluate the decisions we’d made. It enabled us to compare OpenIndie to businesses that we would never have drawn comparison with previously. And, it brought to our attention an entire world of potential competitors that we hadn’t considered in our planning. I think the term transformative is very apt, we aren’t the OpenIndie that went into the DIY DAYS Incubator. We’re more knowledgeable, refocused and have a better understanding of our priorities moving forward.

We would like to thank Lance for this incredible opportunity and his entire team at DIY DAYS NYC for volunteering and making this vitally important event possible. Finally, we would like to thank Matt, Brad, Karol, Brian, Joseph and Karin for your time, your knowledge, your support and your incredibly constructive criticism. We’re very fortunate to have been afforded this opportunity.

We’re seriously excited about the future of OpenIndie and the potential for this platform. We hope you guys are too!

Kieran Masterton

OpenIndie Co-Founder

Photo credit: Raffi Asdourian“Packed Audience for Openindie”

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Posted in DIYDays NYC biz dev incubator news
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By Lance Weiler, April 4th, 2010

In a little more than a year and half we’ve held 6 DIY DAYS events (LA-twice, Boston, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York). All of these events have been made possible thanks to a community. A community of passionate people who have been willing to give their time and talents and as a result we’ve been able to hold a series of quality events that are FREE for those who attend.

DIY DAYS NYC was a turning point for us. The community that we’ve supported for the last 3 1/2 years via the WorkBook Project came through in a big way when a sponsor for the event stepped away at the last moment. In less than 36 hours via an indiegogo campaign we raised $4,600. And THANKS to the community DIY DAYS NYC became a reality.

This past Saturday in NYC we held our largest DIY DAYS event to date. Close to 400 people attended the event which consisted of 30+ speakers, 27 sessions and a brand new addition called Incubator.

The DIY DAYS Incubator was an exciting experiment that enabled two media startups (openindie and gigaplx) to kick the tires on their biz models with the assistance of experts from various industries. The final presentations to the conference attendees were exciting and they seem to already be baring fruits.

arininubatortweet

Over the coming days we’ll be starting to release the videos that were shot at the event as open media for all to embed and spread.

We want to hear from you

If you happened to shot video, record audio, snap pictures or intend to share thoughts on the event we’d love to see, hear and read what you’ve documented.

Erin from Briefly Noted

The creative collective behind yesterday’s DIY Days, an open think tank for content creators, has requested that attendees pay it forward by sharing insights and knowledge from the day with our community. I’m happy to oblige.

On the table, we talked transmedia and social media storytelling, strategies for innovation and personal branding. We rose up and screamed “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!” (a queue from Network) in response to the sad state of the industry for artists, and we were introduced to new models from OpenIndie and GigaPix (site in development) that could very well change everything for filmmakers and musicians.

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My favorite workshop was “The Real You: Personal Branding, Social Media & Storytelling.” It was by run by Michael Margolis, the founder of Get Storied—a publishing, education, and consulting company. His talk was pretty inspiring. Other workshops provided more concrete tools through successful case studies but in the end, you have to be in the right mindset to embrace all of the various opportunities out there.

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You might think that after three months of attending multiple publishing and technology conferences — not to mention enduring weeks of Applings (Apple Lemmings, as Forrester’s James McQuivey calls them) bleating about the Rapture of the iPad — that I might be a bit burned out on talking about doing things and want to get back to actually doing things. As Wendig so perfectly put it, be “inspired to Make Shit and Make It Awesome”.

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NEXT STOP LA

With invites pouring in to take DIY DAYS to other cities around the world. We’re focused on our next stop which will be LA this coming fall. If you’re interested in lending a hand or have a suggestion for a speaker or topic of discussion please let us know.

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Posted in DIYDays NYC event news
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By Lance Weiler, March 17th, 2010

DIY DAYS NYC
30+ speakers
8 workshops
11 talks
2 think tanks
23 open sessions

***ALL FREE

FULL PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS COMING SOON

SATURDAY APRIL 3rd

9:30 AM to 10:10 AM
Registration

WOLLMAN HALL

10:10 to 10:15
Opening remarks

10:20 to 10:40
Opening Keynote – TED HOPE

10:45 to 11:05
A Look at Innovation – BRIAN NEWMAN

11:10 to 11:40
Transmedia Storytelling – JEFF GOMEZ

11:45 to 12:05
Connected Toys – MICHAEL LAST and THERESA LOONG

12:05 to 12:25
Universal Record Database – DAN ROLLMAN

12:25 to 12:35
OPEN SESSION what are you working on what do you need ? 1 minute x 10 people
Conference attendees are given 60 seconds to present a project and express what they need to make it happen. These slots are LIMITED and will be available on a first come first serve basis. Interested parties will be able to sign up for a slot when registration opens at 9:30.

12:35 to 1:15
LUNCH BREAK

1:20 to 1:40
Fireside chat about the Future of Publishing – CYNDI STIVERS and SREE SREENIVASAN

1:45 to 2:05
Found Stories – JASON BITNER

2:10 to 2:30
DIY EMPIRE how a little art class took over the world – MOLLY CRABAPPLE

2:35 to 2:45
OPEN SESSION what are you working on what do you need ? 1 minute x 10 people
Conference attendees are given 60 seconds to present a project and express what they need to make it happen. These slots are LIMITED and will be available on a first come first serve basis. Interested parties will be able to sign up for a slot when registration opens at 9:30.

2:45 to 3:05
MakerBot – BRE PETTIS

3:10 to 3:40
Future of Music – JESSE VON DOOM and BRIAN McTEAR

3:40 to 4:00
Through a Lens Darkly – THOMAS ALLEN HARRIS

4:00 to 5:00
DIY DAYS Incubator Pitches
Two media startups will make presentations in front of a live audience that detail their vision, business models and goals.

INCUBATOR

11:30 to 3:30
Two media Startups meet with experts from various industries to think thank their models and to craft presentations which will be made to those attending the conference at the end of the day.

WORKSHOP ROOM #1

11:30 to 12:30
How to create an app – NOAH HARLAN

12:30 to 1:15
LUNCH BREAK

1:15 to 2:00
Augmented Reality and Geolocational Storytelling – BRIAN CHIRLS

2:00 to 2:30
OPEN SESSION – 3 x 10 minute talks
DO YOU HAVE A CONCEPT FOR A 10 MINUTE TALK?
We’re looking for three conference attendees who’d like to share something they’re working on, something they think will help others, and something that will be an interesting topic of discussion.

Those interested should email us at work [@] workbookproject [dot] com with the subject “open session.”

2:35 to 3:10
How to develop story around a game – CHUCK WENDIG

3:10 to 4:10
How to design for transmedia – ANITA ONDINE and DAVID BEARD

WORKSHOP ROOM #2

11:15 to 12:15
The Real You: Personal Branding, Social Media and Storytelling – MICHAEL MARGOLIS

12:30 to 1:15
LUNCH BREAK

1:15 to 2:15
Social Media for Storytellers – LESLIE POSTON and AMY GREENLAW

2:20 to 3:15
Social Change How to Mobilize Audiences – SCOTT BEIBIN and LIZ COLE

3:20 to 4:10
RADAR creating online / offline experiences – ALEX JOHNSON, JANINE SANDERS and JOSH CRAMER

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