All you ever wanted to know about online film distribution at SXSW 2011

Tweet In March 2011 at South by Southwest, one of the coolest film (and music and tech fests) in the U.S. I’d like to share in 60 minutes the essential points of the book I am authoring. I have submitted a panel – Beyond the Box Office: Distributing Your Film Online (I know, creative huh?) What I hope to accomplish This new world of distribution is ever-changing and while in general it’s pretty clear what the impact of these changes will be to large media corporations and content consumers it’s not always clear what the impact will be on independent content creators. What should you as an indie content creator be doing differently? If anyone can answer that question I believe this lineup of panelists can. Their expertise includes: filmmaking, distribution deals, online video, TV Everywhere, connected devices, search engine optimization and mobile marketing. They will provide you with the information you need to use the power of the internet to get people watching your film on their mobile devices, iPads, computers and set-top boxes. The panelists I am hoping to snag Ryan Lawler – He’s currently staff writer for GigaOm and NewTeeVee and can speak to the latest developments in online video, TV Everywhere and connected devices (like set top boxes and internet connected TVs). Miles Maker – A filmmaker and self-described ‘new media maven’, Miles Maker experiments with cutting edge technology to market and distribute his films on a variety of platforms including mobile. He can share his hands-on experience as a filmmaker in this new world of film distribution Orly Ravid – She is the co-executive...

What Google’s Chrome web store means for independent filmmakers

Tweet Googlers realized that web application developers were plagued with two problems: discovery and monetization. You see with the plethora of web applications out there it's really hard for developers to have their really good applications discovered, worse, besides littering them with ads, it's hard to find a monetization model that works, because people are used to using web applications for free. Sound familiar? Enter the Chrome Web Store. A place to download (and pay for) applications that run on a browser. Google wants to collect premium web applications in one place, have a consumer see ratings and reviews, much like iTunes does for movies, Amazon does for books, Apple app store does for iPhone/iPad apps. As we all know, Google's greatest strength is search so finding good applications is likely very easy. You know, good applications like your awesome movie packaged as a web app, enhanced with the capabilities of the coolest mashups. Or maybe an online game related to your film. According to the speaker, games are the most popular type of application on any app store. So how do you get in? The details are very sketchy right now, but if it's anything like their Android app store it's completely open and anyone can put anything up. On the Android app store they tend to be more reactive, pulling down a harmful app after the fact. It has one obvious advantage over your film as a YouTube rental, psychologically consumers are used to paying for apps from an app store, while they are not used to paying to watch videos on YouTube. It's too early to...

Dynamo: An embeddable video and micropayment system

Tweet I had a great time at The Conversation held in New York on March 27. The only downside of the event was that there were way too many breakout sessions to choose from. Most of them would have done well to be have been their own main sessions. While hordes of people were trying to get into the Social Media consults, a few people were in room 330 with me, to find out what the Big Ideas for the Future are in a set of 10 mins presos moderated by IndieFlix CEO Scilla Andreen. One of them that stuck out most to me (probably because there was a demo) was Dynamo: a video player with a built-in micropayment system. That's right folks. the issue that is on the minds of so many indie filmmakers, monetization, was addressed to a crowd of about ... nine? Oh well. Fresh from their SXSW debut, Dynamo COO Will Coghan uploaded video of an earlier session at The Conversation to Dynamo's hosted servers. During the demo, he embedded the video on a freshly made Blogger site and hit play. When he did, an embedded pop-up (like the ads you see on YouTube vids) asked you to pay 25 cents to see it.  You have the option of using PayPal or paying by credit card through a Dynamo account. Will sat in on a lunch breakout session I co-hosted with my collaborator Simone Nelson. There he told us he and his partner created this on-demand video rental platform because they were having a hard time making money from their webisodes solely from ads. There...

How to target your film to iPhone users

Tweet Those considering distributing their film on a mobile platform no doubt have the iPhone and its millions of users as a possible target. I recently sat down (as I do when I write all my emails) to “speak” to Mars Yau of the Hong Kong-based MarsApp about this viable alternative to having your film listed in the iTunes store. BTBO: Can you describe in detail the service that you provide on MarsApp.com? Can you also describe the process from the time someone hires you to create an application to the time the application is on the App Store? MarsApp: We are an iPhone App Development Team focusing on develop mobile apps. We are excited to design and develop successful applications for iPhone and iPod Touch, and will expand our app collections to iPad soon. Actually, we hope to partner with any content provider. So, when someone is interested to publish their content (e.g. movie, articles, books, graphics…) and ideas on mobile market, they can let us know the detail for review. If the idea or content is good, we will start the project and the process is just like other software development process, including Requirements Gathering, App Design, App Development, App Testing & Bug Fixing and Product Release. Of course, before the app is released to the public, it is still require to pass the Apple’s approval process, which will take around 5-10 days for app review. BTBO: How did you find Nina or how did she find you? MarsApp: At first, I found that Sita Sings the Blues is using Creative Commons License, I love the idea...

Questioning Copyright

Tweet I am preparing for an interview with Nina Paley this coming Monday. I'd like to use a Sita Sings the Blues as a case study for the book I am working on that tentatively shares the name of this blog. Awesome movie and ick kass music by the way. A trailer for it is below. I have interviewed two lawyers so far for the book to look at legal issues and online film distribution and am kind of kicking myself for not having found Nina sooner because my interview questions would have been a lot more interesting! Looking at how she is distributing the film inevitably leads you to QuestionCopyright.org, where she is an artist-in-residence. I am pretty skeptical as I first get into the 'Copyright is Evil' treatise by Danny Colligan at the site until I come across this article at NewTeeVeeLive that says Association for Information and Media Equipment (AIME) is threatening to sue UCLA if it doesn't stop streaming its videos as a part of its course web sites. Ouch! It's bad enough students have to pay inordinate amounts of money for their textbooks only to make a tenth of it back. Let's not talk about the tuition hikes in the UC system and now the argument for doing away with copyright law altogether is growing teeth. Big ones. I definitely have been bitten by copyright issues. I bought an e-book and had to buy it again when the software to read it required an upgrade and I wanted to read on my laptop instead of the desktop machine I had downloaded it to and back...
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