By lw, November 20th, 2009

Thanks to everyone who came out to DIY DAYS LA last night. To the speakers who took the time to share their knowledge to the audience members who stepped up to the open mic and to the Downtown Independent Theater for hosting the event. And a very special thanks to all the volunteers who made the evening possible. DIY DAYS events are FREE because the community pitches in their time and talents!

Over the next week we’ll be working to bring the talks online. For now make sure to checkout the conference dashboard which captured the evening from a variety of angles – bookmarks, tweets, photos, and blog posts.

NEXT DIY DAYS EVENT: In the coming weeks we’ll be making an announcement about the next DIY DAYS event. If you’d like to see DIY DAYS come to your city drop us an email at work [@] workbookproject dot com

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By Mike Ambs, November 20th, 2009

Scott Macaulay has been the chief-editor of Filmmaker Magazine for over 15 years – of which he has also produced a long list of award winning features under his production company, Forensic Films: Raising Victor Vargas, Gummo, Julien donkey-boy, Saving Face, What Happened Was, The Wife, The Chateau and Idlewild – to name a few.

But aside from his impressive history both behind the lens and behind the printing press – what is most encouraging about Scott is his commitment to the art of film.

In the first of our Q & A below, Scott stresses his hope that technology is bringing us back to a culture of “cinematic experimentation”. It can be rare to hear someone, who has been in “the business” for as long as Scott has, rooting for the indie film, the low-budget film, the unorthodox film. Stories that don’t sell toys per say, but spark ideas and emotion that produce change: culturally, politically, personally.

Scott will be moderating the panel discussion “Personas in the Digital Age” with Micki Krimmel and Marc Horowitz.

Q & A:

What excites you about the future?

The possibility that all of this technological and economic change will have the effect of reconnecting independent film to progressive culture and true cinematic experimentation.

What’s a site you couldn’t live without?

I’m something of an internet addict but I haven’t embraced the tenets of recovery yet, so there is no site that I am powerless before.

What’s something you wish you would have known before you found out the hard way?

That things usually work out in the end (except when they don’t).

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By Mike Ambs, November 20th, 2009

DIY Days attracts a wide range of story-tellers, social artist, media junkies, transmedia collaborators, professional futurist and digital entrepreneurs – we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the diverse audience members who’ve registered. And kick off one of the most important aspects of DIY Days: meeting new like-minded people.

Mark Stolaroff, an indie film producer and the founder of No Budget Film School, a series of classes designed specifically for no-budget filmmakers, has been in the low-budget independent film world for over 15 years.

Mark is currently in post finishing a new feature called “Pig,” and hopes to gain some insights as I design my own marketing and distribution plan. “Pig” is currently being edited by “Donnie Darko” editor Eric Strand and I’m developing a number of innovative strategies to help aggregate niche audiences for the film.

Jacob Medjuck is an award winning filmmaker. His first feature length film, the John Cusack narrated Summerhood, won 6 of the 9 festivals it played, and was invited to screen at PIXAR Animation Studios, as well as the Harvard Business School. With a career as a classical animator working on projects for DreamWorks, Disney Interactive, Sony, and Fox, as well as consulting for major video game producers.

Zak Forsman, an American independent filmmaker whose emotionally-charged work is known for highly authentic performances and beautiful compositions. His directorial debut, Heart of Now, has been praised by Ain’t It Cool News as “Brilliant” and “Absolutely Gorgeous,” and by Filmmaker Magazine as “Very Accomplished, Amazing.”

Zak has directed two shorts films, “I Fucking Hate You” and “Model/Photographer” which have won several international audience, jury and festival awards. He is currently developing two new features for production in 2010 and 2011 and serves as editor of the New Breed blog at The Workbook Project.

Jon Raymond is an independent writer, photographer and filmmaker, with numerous narrative and documentary short films under his belt. Jon is currently in post on a feature doc called Got Healthcare?, a film of street surveys with people and their opinions on the current healthcare legislation and situation in this country. Where his DIY distribution plans include making it available for free and for sale online in DVD and Blu Ray at the same.

Mike Hedge, a Los Angeles Film School graduate, with a major in producing and cinematography, is well-known for his RED camera expertise. His first feature documentary, As The Dust Settles is set deep in the Nevada desert, where 50,000 people met up at an event called Burning Man.

This profound social experiment in creation, destruction, and finding equal value in both. From the film’s site, “For one week, life accelerates to light speed, and as the dust settles you realize you are alive.”

Linda Nelson and Michael Madison formed Nelson Madison Films in 2003. Their next film, Delivered, an action adventure, is now in post-production. The goal of NMF is to produce economical, independant features that utilize local talent and innovative, high-tech production techniques – with a strong interest in social networking and DIY options to distribute films, alongside other non-exclusive digital platforms.

Gregory Bayne is a filmmaker and mixed media artist working in film, video, motion graphics and design. His work as a producer, director, editor, cinematographer and designer has appeared in several short, feature length and documentary films including b.Dreams, ibid, Out of the Blue, Purple State of Mind, and Trudell; having shown theatrically, at film festivals worldwide (including Sundance, Seattle Film Festival, Munich, ImagineNATIVE and SXSW) and broadcast nationally on PBS, ESPN and the Sundance Channel.

Bayne is finishing up his feature directorial debut Person of Interest, and is in pre-production on his second film, Driven, a documentary about acclaimed mixed martial arts fighter Jens Pulver.

This is just a small handful of the multi-talented people attending tonight’s event at the Downtown Independent Theater. A lot of hard work, from a large number of volunteers, goes into each DIY Days event, with the goal of spreading and sharing information about current technology in storytelling, and most important, to interact with each other and form relationships with people who are all striving to push the future of Hollywood in new and exciting directions.

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By Mike Ambs, November 20th, 2009

Lance Weiler will be speaking on “Social Media for Storytellers” – his experience and pioneering approach to storytelling has earned him critical acclaim, awards, and recognition as “One of 25 people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood”.

In 1998, Lance’s feature film, The Last Broadcast, became the first film to go entirely digital: it was shot, edited, and even screened all on a computer. Making use of new (and untested) methods of distribution, The Last Broadcast was premiered to theaters all across the US via satellite and DLP projectors.

In 2006, Lance’s thriller-mystery film, Head Trama, incorporated interactive games, grassroots marketing, subplots and parallel story-worlds that played out online, over mobile devices, comic books, and in the real-world (by way of secret meet-ups, only known to those who put all the pieces of Head Trama’s puzzle together in time).

His DIY distribution has been a huge success – his work playing in over 20 countries and grossing over 5 million dollars – shattering the dogma that new filmmakers know how to “make” their films, but not how to sell them. He has been a powerful advocate for “state to finish” filmmaking – giving storytellers, including myself, the inspiration to see their film through regarding every last stage. He is the founder of the Worldbook Project, the roving conference series DIY Days, a co-founder of From Here to Awesome, and a partner in the transmedia, social entertainment company, Seize the Media.

You can read Lance’s personal blog at Text of Light, or follow his updates on Twitter.

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