By lw, July 26th, 2008

Arin Crumley tells his story of making and distributing FOUR EYED MONSTERS.

  • Started with real life experience (weird artists being weird artists) (didn’t speak for the first 4 months of relationship, stalked each other online)
  • Developed a one page outline of their story
  • bought a decent camera and started shooting
  • Cast ourselves and our friends
  • never got permits or insurance
  • if unsure of a scene, edit it right away and re-shoot if necessary (work with the medium like its clay, not made of wood)
  • made a thumbnail wall to help the editing process (pictures of scenes to move around)
  • hired a cinematographer for complex scenes
  • borrowed money from parents to finish the movie
  • despite positive reactions they didn’t get a distribution deal
  • posted a daily video blog at SXSW (but when you’re no longer a world premier you’re not as special), blog got picked up by indiewire (doing something new got attention)
  • screened at 20 film festivals over 9 months, videobloged the entire experience
  • decided that film festivals suck (didn’t get paid, distributors don’t attend regional festivals, festivals don’t share the emails of the audience, took time away from new projects, festival audiences may not be the right audience for your film)
  • new the apple was coming out with a video ipod, started video podcasting (hosted on the myspace frontpage)
  • know where major audience hubs and distribution methods are going (myspace > video, ipod > video, etc.)
  • Podcast became more popular that the film which couldn’t even get distribution
  • Montage your film from day one for press
  • Fans of the online video wanted to see the actual movie
  • started to collect requests (emails and zip codes) to see the movie, document demand
  • emailed the people from their email list in certain zip codes to come to screenings in their area
  • for every 1 request to see the film equaled one ticket sold
  • gave requesters the ability to interact with other requesters in their area via a web site
  • screened movie in SecondLife
  • starting selling dvds off website
  • was $100,000 in debt from making the film
  • Approached sponsors themselves to help fund the film ( gave them $1 for every signup), paid from youtube banner revenue,
  • Landed TV deal with IFC, sparked interest from foreign markets (Canada, UK)
  • link your revenue to what gives your audience value
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Posted in news
By lw, July 26th, 2008

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 (producer and founder of the No Budget Film School)
- Arin Crumley (Four Eyed Monsters)
- Ondi Timoner (DiG, Join Us, We Live in Public)
- M dot Strange (We Are the Strange)
- Hunter Weeks (10 MPH and 10 YARDS)

  • Once you have your product and you’ve put years into it, its your baby and its not going anywhere. It’s out in the world, and sometimes the public needs to catch up to what you’ve already made.
  • 10 Yards has a distribution deal with a sandwich shop with 5,000 locations to help with distribution (and CBS Sports, and Crocs)
  • Work with brands to get money ad spread the word
  • The secret to a core audience is an audience that doesn’t give a s**t how good it is. (i.e., fantasy football)
  • M dot Strange’s next film is funded off the dvd sales off of his last film
  • You can’t really have a day job and be a filmmaker. Be focused and not scattershot.
  • Wanted to make a documentary as compelling as a feature. Filmed the story unfold.
  • You have to be as dedicated to their lives as they are when doing a documentary. Then they start to trust you.
  • Its actually a challenge to live a normal life while you’re working on a film.
  • Your first feature is your film school. You’re never going to feel ready. You’re not supposed to feel ready, just get out there and do it.
  • Trying to make a really great film is hard core, but it is key to learn to making.
  • Technology is so great. Once you learn the technology then you can focus on your vision and not let the technical stuff get in the way.
  • Some films get too hung up on the traditional model and when that doesn’t happen they loose sight of trying to reach their audience themselves
  • Its time to stop expecting to sell your films to large distributors
  • You should be selling dvds at your festival screenings
  • know if the festival will have a big enough pay off to make going worthwhile
  • You need momentum to keep going and know that you’re on the right path
  • You’re going to get a lot of rejections from festivals. You can’t let rejection hurt your momentum.
  • It was much more rewarding to screen our movie for our own audience that we set up, than for festival audiences
  • Festivals are good for getting recognition in “the business,” but if you’re doing it just to make films then they do nothing for you
  • I saw the sales go up in the areas where I screened at a regional festival, its a great way to reach niche geographical audiences. Interacting with them was so rewarding.
  • Don’t pay the submission fees. The likelihood of rejection is just too great.
  • With 10 Yards the dvd came out before the theatrical tour. We were just trying to get as much as we could at the right time.
  • People love to interact with you after the screenings. Its a great time to sell dvds.
  • Split deal with the house – you split the sales money with the theater instead of having a flat fee
  • You can fill up the house for the night instead of the three people that would have shown up for the major studio release
  • build an impression and create your won story to help your distribution
  • 10 MPH DIY manual
  • if your product is available people will naturally gravitate towards it. Find as many distribution channels as possible.
  • Capture audience information and find ways to use them in the future. Emails, subscribe to a myspace blog, blogs, RSS, twitter
  • For emails make people feel like their address makes a difference. More likely to screen in their area, etc.
  • people will one day be able to favorite content creators like they do on Netflix but on a world wide level using the whole internet
  • utilize new technology to interact with your audience
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Posted in LA
  • Speaker Highlight: Jerry Paffendorf
    Jerry Paffendorf has made a name for himself in taking unconventional approaches to everything from business models to social experiments. A self-proscribed artist, futurist, entrepreneur and swell guy – his work includes the Destroy Television project, the Metaverse Roadmap project, the Electric Sheep Company and Wello Horld. Most recently Jerry has been committed full-time to a Detroit based project called… read more
  • Wicked Solutions for a Wicked Problem
    DIY DAYS is coming to LA on Oct 28th and we’re excited to share a new site we’ve been working on. 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… read more
By lw, July 26th, 2008

Keynote by <a href=””>Robert Greenwald</a> (Outfoxed, Wallmart the High Cost of Low Price, Iraq for Sale) of Brave New Films

  • Came from commercial world, felt the need to begin creating more meaningful content post death in family and 9/11
  • Switched from Avid to Final Cut Pro
  • Fell in love with purity of experience in documentaries
  • Producing is high class begging for money
  • The gatekeepers for distribution move incredibly slow
  • How do you get a political documentary out while the conversation about the subject material is still going on?
  • Independent distribution – did a promotional email to get members to buy the DVD, Center For American progress held a screening in Washington DC ( raised $1 million through DVD sales)
  • suggested having their members throw house parties to show the DVD to their friends
  • Mission of Brave New Films became clearer and clearer to create social change, film screening created discussions of what to do about the subject that required change
  • Our job is to put a spot light on the issue and bring attention to it
  • Iraq For Sale documentary led to Greenwald testifying before congress about war profiteering
  • Because of the time crunch to get relevant information to the public in short enough period that its still relevant, changed from full length videos to short videos to be posted on the web, short form has gotten 23 million views
  • Keeping videos under 4 minutes gets more views
  • email list is essential, media department focuses on blogs, another person focuses on involving groups (action, special interest, social), occasionally involves traditional media
  • Idea > video > email list > groups > blogs => Action
  • videos become a piece of the larger campaign
  • views are at your video for their own reasons, get involved in groups early using their own motivations
  • 1st act is the documentary, 2nd act is the short internet films, 3rd act is live shows featuring bloggers that more reflect the American demographic landscape
  • Able to show numbers and results to potential fundraisers
  • Share/Bookmark

Posted in LA
By lw, July 26th, 2008

Well the day has come. Welcome to DIY DAYS LA. Our goal is to bring as much of the conference to you in real-time as possible throughout the day.

Live Blogging
Lauren Isaacson will be live blogging from the event. Lauren is a marketing strategist who has helped automotive, financial, and consumer electronics brands strengthen their brand message and marketing power by using interactive media to leverage traditional and emerging social constructs. We’re excited to have her live blogging DIY DAYS. She recently live blogged the PSFK Conference in San Francisco.

Live Stream

Watch live video from From Here to Awesome on

Twitter feed

And video uploads all day long

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Posted in news
  • this conference is being recorded – HERETIC FILMS
    In the process of compiling info for the 1st edition of the Workbook, I’ve been conducting a series of interviews and DIY roundtables. I’ve recorded the sessions and will make them available as a podcast. They will also appear as interviews within the Workbook itself. Below is the first installment of our podcast “this conference is being recorded”. Our… read more
  • UPDATE: WBP Award gets bigger and better
    UPADTE: Due to resources we are scaling back to our original plan which will be a single screen release in LA kicking off Sept. 16th. First off, thanks to all the filmmakers who have been submitting their work. The response has been amazing and the quality of the work has been exceptional. WBP Award gets bigger and better We’re excited… read more
  • tools – vodpod's new video player
    Vodpod is a video sharing site with a focus on community. A couple months ago we reviewed their service. This past week they launched an AMAZING embeddable video player. The player can work in social networks, blogs and sites. What makes the player so interesting is that it can play videos from youTube, google, dailymotion, metacafe, and vod:pod,… read more
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