Dennis Dortch on the Secrets of Web Series Success

Dennis Dortch on the Secrets of Web Series Success

Tweet Here is an excerpt of an interview I did with Dennis Dortch, that’s posted in full on Filmmaker Magazine’s blog.   Dennis Dortch is the director of the Sundance film A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy, available to watch onNetflix now. He also has created a veritable empire on YouTube with his channel Black & Sexy TV consisting of two successful web series, The Couple and The Number, and two more on the way. He and his team are currently crowdfunding a film based on The Couple. In this interview he talks about the difference between creating a film and creating content for the Web, how to juggle multiple web series at a time and how to keep an audience with an increasingly short attention-span engaged. BTBO: I saw in a previous interview that you were originally interested in the music business but switched to film. Are you happy with your choice? How involved are you in choosing the music for your content? Dortch: Yes. I feel that I didn’t have to make a choice. I’m not developed as a hands on producer as I always dreamed…but I am the music supervisor for all of our content. It’s all my sensibilities and the throwback SOS Band-like theme song for RoomiesLoversFriends was my vision. I put the recording artist/producer dream team of Allegra Dolores and Lukecage together to make it happen. BTBO: How does your experience doing the film A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy differ from doing Web series–creatively and from a business point of view? Dortch: Creatively, it’s no different. Especially since I did vignettes for the film. The webisodes are just vignettes to me. Same approach. And I like the freedom of it....

PreScreen Shuttering Its Doors?

Tweet Today I received this email from the folks over at prescreen. For those who don’t know prescreen is an online distribution platform for indie film and the sponsor of Jon Reiss’ latest book. They use a slightly different model from other online video platforms. You can read more about it here. I won’t lie this took me by surprise because I just spoke to the founder at SXSW back in March. In the meantime, any of you using prescreen now, what do you think? Prescreen Notice of Change of Service Please be advised that on Thursday, May 31, 2012, Prescreen will be suspending our initial beta test until further notice. We very much appreciate your interest in our service and hope that you enjoyed your experience with Prescreen. In early 2011, we started Prescreen because we believed the future of film discovery and distribution is digital. Last September, we launched the beta version of our site to test this premise. In just 8 months, we proved that this is likely to be the case. In total, Prescreen featured 168 films, rented more than 10,000 movies, and saw more than 115,000 subscribers opt in to receive Prescreen movies. That said, we’re perfectionists and we still don’t believe we’ve seized the opportunity. For now, we’re going back to the drawing board. When we come out on the other side, we’ll be sure to let you know. Team Prescreen thanks you for your support from the bottom of our digital hearts Best, Team...

6 Tips for a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign

Tweet Here is a guest post by Pyung Kim, writer and producer of the film I Hate You (bio at the end). Looking to Kickstarter to finance your movie? Here are a few tips to help ensure a successful crowd funding campaign. 1) BEG YOUR FRIENDS TO HELP YOU You’ll definitely need the help of friends to pull this off, especially if you’re starting without any resources. Running a successful crowd funding campaign – much like making a movie – is ultimately a collaborative endeavor. And I’m not necessarily talking about help in the form of donations. Remember that support comes in many other forms during the campaigning process that are just as important. Do anything you can to encourage endorsements or activity such as link sharing and retweeting. And I mean anything that will bring more attention to your campaign! Maybe don’t do what Anthony Weiner did…but almost anything else! 2) CREATE GOOD, VISUALLY DISTINCTIVE ARTWORK This not only means the poster or screen shot you’ll use on Kickstarter – having a film website is part of this. And it serves as more than another opportunity to drive traffic to your campaign. If you have a website for your film that is well designed and visually appealing, it adds credibility to you and your project. I personally don’t have the know-how to create a cool website, but my partners and I were fortunate to have a great web designer in Devin McKeon. As an example, check out the website he did for our film, a romantic comedy called I Hate You. 3) SHOOT A TRAILER (IF YOU CAN)...
Why Every Filmmaker Should Learn How to Be Black + Tools You Need to Do It

Why Every Filmmaker Should Learn How to Be Black + Tools You Need to Do It

Tweet Here is my conversation today with Craig Cannon (@craigrcannon), the campaign manager for How To Be Black written by Baratunde Thurston, Director of Digital at The Onion. Pardon my voice, I am still recovering from SXSW in this talk. Make cool content. Don’t worry about giving away scalable, digital content away for free. Because that’s how you bring people in. In this he breaks down the phases of the campaign and formation of their digital street team and the tools they used, a list of which I make after the jump. He also discusses the related collateral/mini-projects that have been created to support the book and make it more participatory. Audience Engagement Tools Wufoo – Online Form Builder for street team applications Vokle – Live videocasts and recording Facebook – Private group for street team Knodes – Deep social media analysis, allowed street team to see who is most influential in their network and see their missions Asana – Project management/shared task list (Not mentioned in the interview but Baratunde told me during a separate conversation)...
Is AIDS Too Riqsue a Topic to Crowdfund for? The Trials of Crowdfunding Part 2

Is AIDS Too Riqsue a Topic to Crowdfund for? The Trials of Crowdfunding Part 2

Tweet Here is a continuation of Anthony Williams’ guest post on the trials of crowdfunding. Here you get a look into the thoughts that go through the mind while embarking on this journey. Read Part 1 here. Even though this film is a creation of my own, I felt that everyone who was a part of it would be eager to campaign for it as well out of pride for their work. Some people have stepped up, doing what they can when they can, but the level of help that’s needed is still lacking. Naturally, midway through the campaign, the stress and discouragement set in deeper as the days continued on. Contributions are less and less even though the “LIKES” on the Facebook and Twitter posts as well as my work efforts become more and more. I’m becoming more and more burnt out. Everything was and still is somewhat stuck in standstill mode, and I still don’t know how to get out of it. Now I’m not going to lie—I expected such challenge and opposition frankly because of the content of the film. I’m a ballsy writer and filmmaker. I like to make films about things people don’t like to talk about and on subjects people don’t like to touch. I like to make films that tell the truth with no holds barred, leaving no one out, and with Absolutely Positive being that type of film, it’s obvious that’s a prime reason for the campaign’s current struggle. The pitch video was long and over-informative so I thought that may have been a main factor. I actually even received a...
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