[ Digital cinema, democratization, and other trends remaking the movies ]

AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Monday, August 25, 2008

Pixar and the Internet: Do they get it?

Few people would argue that Pixar has put together the most high-powered animation team since the heyday of Disney.

But are they focusing on the right challenges?

Harvard Business Review has an article and podcast featuring Pixar and its co-founder, Ed Catmull.

Every since the company made 'Toy Story' in 1995, Pixar has produced three products: short films that let it test out new technologies and techniques (these are shown at SIGGRAPH, sold on iTunes, and played before Pixar's features in theaters), full-length features, and animation software called Renderman.

Around 2003, the company shifted from making one feature every 24 months to one every 12 months - which was a big deal.

In 2006, after Disney acquired Pixar, Catmull and John Lasseter essentially took over Walt Disney Feature Animation.

That's a lot of work.

And yet I'd still argue that the big challenge for Disney and Pixar to be thinking about is animated content for the Web... stuff that can be produced less-expensively, that connects with audiences in different ways, that takes big risks Pixar wouldn't take on the big screen.

Imagine an embeddable animated character for your MySpace or Facebook page that would greet visitors with a different quip every time they came. Or content delivered to cell phones that might introduce you (and your kids) to the characters in the next Disney or Pixar feature -- and reminding you to see it in theaters or buy the DVD. Or a Pixar serial, updated every week online, that might eventually add up to a feature?

(Of course, when DreamWorks Animation tried to do a TV show, things didn't work out so well... but I think that was a risk worth taking.)

One of Walt Disney's genius moves was to look at television and realize that it was not just a medium for promoting his movies... but also a medium that presented new creative opportunities. Ask anyone who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s whether watching Disney shows on TV, like the 'Davey Crockett' series, had an impact on their childhood. It certainly had a major positive impact on the Walt Disney Company.

I'd suggest that the Internet today is what TV was in the 1950s - a medium that offers the chance to take big creative and business risks, and potentially earn big rewards.

Will Pixar?

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movies You Can't Buy Online

Ever try looking for some of your favorite movies on iTunes, Amazon Unbox, Movielink, or any of the other legal download destinations?

Odds are good that you won't find them.

I wanted to write about the issue, so I put together a list of fifty great movies (celebrated by the AFI, Roger Ebert, and Time Magazine) and all-time box office champs that you can't buy or rent online.

Here's the Variety article on the topic. One reason that you can't find movies like the James Bond series, 'The Godfather,' and 'The Lion King' is likely that they haven't yet been released on Blu-ray disc yet, and the studios are sure they'll make more money on selling high-def discs than they can with $9.99 iTunes downloads.

My favorite quote in the piece is from Jim Flynn, who runs the download sites EZTakes and iArthouse: "The pirates in general have a download exclusive," he says. "These movies are available as downloads -- just not legal ones."

Here's my list of fifty great movies you can't buy or rent legally on any of the major download sites (iTunes, Unbox, Movelink, and CinemaNow). Have you discovered others? Add them in the comments.

Fifty Movies You Won't Find Online (Legally)

Almost Famous
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now
Brokeback Mountain
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Citizen Kane
City of God
Double Indemnity
Drunken Master (1 or 2)
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
Farewell My Concubine
Forrest Gump
The Godfather I-III
Gone With the Wind
The Graduate
It’s a Wonderful Life
A Hard Day’s Night
Hotel Rwanda
King Kong, 1933 original and Peter Jackson’s 2005 re-make (the 1976 Jessica Lange version is available)
La Dolce Vita
Miller’s Crossing
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
My Fair Lady
Pulp Fiction
Purple Rose of Cairo
Raging Bull
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Rear Window
Roger and Me
Saving Private Ryan
Schindler’s List
Sex, Lies & Videotape
Shrek 1, 2, and 3
Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs
The Sound Of Music
Star Wars Episodes I-VI
The Wizard of Oz
12 Angry Men
2001: A Space Odyssey (but 2010: The Year We Make Contact is available)
28 Up

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, August 21, 2008

CinemaTech on NPR This Friday

Just found out that I'll be on NPR's "Science Friday" program tomorrow (Friday, 8.22.08), talking about my new book Inventing the Movies.

My segment will be from 12:30 to 1 PM Pacific time/3:30 to 4 PM Eastern. You can listen to it live online, or on the old-school radio airwaves, courtesy of Signore Marconi.

I'd love it if any CinemaTech readers felt inclined to call in...since no one knows better than you guys how the movie industry adopts (and often resists adopting) new technologies, which will be the subject of the segment. The 800 number is 800.989.8255 (good only during the show's broadcast.)

Also, just in time: the book's site is now live, with lots of bonus material, audio, and video.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wired Notices Red

Wired has a nice piece about the development of the Red One, the first camera from Red Digital Cinema. It's the sort of story that Wired probably should have run in 2007, when Peter Jackson used Red cameras to make a short film (first endorsement by a major directeor), or in May, when Steven Soderbergh's 'Che' played at Cannes, but better late than never.

Michael Behar writes:

    ...[Jannard's] team of engineers and scientists have created the first digital movie camera that matches the detail and richness of analog film. The Red One records motion in a whopping 4,096 lines of horizontal resolution—"4K" in filmmaker lingo—and 2,304 of vertical. For comparison, hi-def digital movies like Sin City and the Star Wars prequels top out at 1,920 by 1,080, just like your HDTV. (There's also a slightly higher-resolution option called 2K that reaches 2,048 lines by 1,080.) Film doesn't have pixels, but the industry-standard 35-millimeter stock has a visual resolution roughly equivalent to 4K. And that's what makes the Red so exciting: It delivers all the dazzle of analog, but it's easier to use and cheaper—by orders of magnitude—than a film camera. In other words, Jannard's creation threatens to make 35-mm movie film obsolete.

Two quotes later on in the article neatly encapsulate the debate about digital cinematography that has been simmering in Hollywood for about a decade now:

    "In the slammin', jammin' world of production, you want a really tough machine that takes very simple approaches to problems," [Steven] Lighthill [of the American Film Institute] says. "I'm not sure Red is the way to go. It's a supercomputer with a lens on it."

    Proponents dismiss such criticism as Luddite drivel. "Hollywood is just used to shooting on film," says Bengt Jan Jönsson, cinematographer on the Fox TV show Bones. "Honestly, if you proposed the film work-flow today, you'd be taken to the city square and hung. Imagine I told you we're going to shoot on superexpensive cameras, using rolls of celluloid made in China that are a one-time-use product susceptible to scratches and that can't be exposed to light. And you can't even be sure you got the image until they're developed. And you have to dip them in a special fluid that can ruin them if it's mixed wrong. People would think I was crazy."

Labels: , , ,

Blu-ray could represent more than half of all U.S. DVD sales by 2012

Futuresource Consulting in the UK has just published some projections about how Blu-ray disc sales will grow over the next four years.

"On big titles," they report, "the share of total sales being taken by BD has already hit 5-6% and by Q4 it is possible we’ll see a 10% or even 12% share for some of the really big hitters."

Interesting chart below, showing that more than half of disc sales in the U.S. could be Blu-ray by 2012. Cheap Blu-ray players will be a key part of that growth -- Futuresource predicts that some could be selling for less than $250 by the end of 2008. (Graph is Copyright 2008 Futuresource Consulting.)

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Why Isn't 'The Line' a Bigger Hit?

What's your theory on why 'The Line,' a funny, well-done series of seven short episodes, isn't racking up more views?

The series was produced by 'SNL' cast members, and produced by Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video. It features several recognizable actors -- including Bill Hader and Jason Sudeikis. It was directed by Seth Meyers.

They got big publicity earlier in the week in The New York Times. They paid to send out a press release on PR Newswire. They had distribution on sites like, YouTube, and Crackle. The series is funny -- I watched four or five episodes in one sitting.

But on YouTube, the episodes on average have 43,000 views. On Crackle, the average is 18,000 views an episode.

If they were depending purely on showing advertising around and during the episodes, that kind of traffic isn't going to produce much scratch. Lucky that they signed a sponsor for the series, Sony Pictures (Crackle's parent company), which uses it to advertise some upcoming movies.

What isn't working?

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

I'd pinpoint two things...the second more significant than the first.

1. Not enough of a cliff-hanger or hook to carry you from one episode to the next.

2. The name. Try Googling "The Line" and see what comes up. You get Johnny Cash and a lot of other stuff, but not this series. Now try Googling "Ask a Ninja" or "Homestar Runner" and see what happens. Those Web series are the first result.

"The Line" is a good name for a movie or TV show, when you have a studio or network to spend millions advertising it and promoting it. People know to find it at theaters on August 22nd, or on TV on NBC.

But on the Internet, Google is the way many people find stuff, and if you don't appear on that first page of Google results, people won't keep hunting. I submit you need to give your series a distinctive name that doesn't already produce lots of Google results. (What did the words "Homestar Runner" mean before the animated series started up?)

Here's a link to Episode 1 of "The Line."

Interested in hearing your thoughts...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

RIP Vongo and ClickStar: Two Pioneers of Digital Movie Delivery

I wrote a piece for Variety today that breaks the news that two pioneering Internet download services, Vongo and ClickStar, have called it quits.

To my knowledge, these are the first two major Internet download services to wave the white flag.

ClickStar had attracted far more publicity than Vongo, given the involvement of celebs like Morgan Freeman and Danny DeVito. (The pic is from the launch of ClickStar at CES 2006. To my knowledge, Tom Hanks was never involved with the site.)

Both sites were worthy experiments... Vongo was the only major site to try to offer consumers all-you-can-eat movies for a monthly price (a pretty reasonable $9.99.) Vongo's parent, Starz Entertainment, is now providing the same service through Verizon for $5.99 a month -- such a deal!

And ClickStar tried to put movies online while they were still in theaters. That never happened, but they did release two movies on the Internet only two weeks after their theatrical runs began. Theater owners hated it. (I write about this experiment in Chapter 10 of my new book "Inventing the Movies." You can read that chapter here as a PDF.)

About the demise of ClickStar, John Fithian, head of the National Association of Theater Owners, told me yesterday:

    "We don’t have an opinion on when people do or don’t stay in business. All I can maintain is our traditional belief that the movie business as a whole and movie patrons as a whole benefit from a theatrical release window, where movies come to cinemas for a reasonable amount of time before they go to the home in any format –- be it DVD or download."

That quote didn't fit, unfortunately, into the Variety story.

And I reached producer Holly Wiersma after my deadline last night. She produced "Lonely Hearts," a 2006 movie that starred John Travolta, James Gandolfini, Salma Hayek, and Laura Dern. It was one of the higher-profile movies released excusively on ClickStar.

She told me, "It's a shame. I think ClickStar would've done better if it launched today," since independent producers would be more willing to work with it at a time when distribs like Warner Independent and Picturehouse have vanished. "We need more outlets, not fewer," she said.

In a letter to content providers, ClickStar tried to declare victory.

"Over the last twelve months, our vision for broadband distribution has been confirmed by the marketplace," chief technical officer Sam Edge wrote, citing download sites launched by Amazon, Blockbuster, and Wal-Mart. "With the entry of these well-funded players into our has become increasingly clear that ClickStar needs to align itself with a key partner to operate within the larger ecosystem and serve our core audience...We have decided to partner or sell ClickStar..."

That letter went out on April 2nd. The Corum Group is handling the sale... but nothing has been announced yet.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, August 11, 2008

EZTakes launches a new site for the artsy cinephile

Anne Thompson noted this morning that the guys at Massachusetts-based EZTakes, one of the first download sites to do the burn-a-DVD-on-demand thing, have launched a new site called iArthouse.

It'll compete primarily with Jaman, another site focused on foreign, arthouse, and independent titles.

iArthouse, so far, is just a rebranding of without some of the schlockier stuff -- no "Extreme Sports" category, for instance, and no Troma movies like "Toxic Avenger." But other than that, the fare is virtually identical: here's the drama category on EZTakes, and here it is on iArthouse.

I called Jim Flynn, co-founder of EZTakes, to see what's up. He told me that there aren't any new titles up on iArthouse yet that weren't on EZTakes, but he expects about 30 titles from Kino International to show up within the week.

Flynn acknowledged that EZTakes isn't selling as many downloads as iTunes (50,000 a day), but that he wouldn't reveal specific numbers. He said that EZTakes received a "multi-million dollar" investment in January from a private investor, in addition to the several million that he and co-founder Bill Clarke have already put in. As of the start of 2008, Flynn says the site is profitable.

Here's a graph from Alexa comparing the traffic of EZTakes to that of Jaman, CinemaNow, and Movielink. Interesting that Jaman has twice the traffic of EZTakes. Obviously, Web site traffic doesn't equal downloads -- you can visit without buying or renting -- but it's the best approximation we've got.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Warner Bros. & the Internet

The NY Times has a lengthy article today about the renewed focus on content at Time Warner. (The headline is 'Holy Cash Cow, Batman! Content is Back at Time Warner'.)

What's most interesting about the article is that Warner Bros. executives either aren't talking much about creating original content for the Internet ... the reporter didn't ask ... or the info simply didn't wind up in the story.

Instead, it sounds like Warner Bros. is mainly focused on using the Internet to distribute movies and TV shows. They're also a bit obsessed, like all studios, with stopping digital piracy.

Tim Arango writes:

    The future, most agree, is seamless distribution of films to television using Internet technology. But the big question facing Hollywood is, how far off is that future?

    That transition will be, and is, wrenching because studio executives must walk a fine line between preserving the traditional business, which still amounts to a vast majority of revenue and profits, and experimenting with new ways of distribution.

What about new ways of creating content? While 'The Dark Knight' is going to be one of the biggest big-budget hits of all time, there must be ways of telling stories for the Web and mobile devices that don't require a $185 million up-front investment (and that's before marketing).


If Warner Bros.' top execs aren't thinking hard about that opportunity, I'd say that leaves a pretty big opening for independent content creators, wouldn't you?

Actually, there is a Warner Bros. venture to create original content for the Web, but it hasn't been making many waves since it started two years ago. It's called Studio 2.0. Here's one example of what they've done. Another project, T Works, was supposed to launch this spring, but is still "coming soon."

Here's an earlier Times article about Warner's original content creation efforts. Perhaps the highest-profile effort so far has been the 10-episode series Viralcom. On YouTube, the ten episodes have about 900,000 views altogether.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, August 09, 2008

How to Get Your Indie Film on iTunes (...It's Not Easy)

If you are a filmmaker who wants to self-distribute your work in digital form, there’s probably nothing more frustrating to you than Apple’s indifference to helping you do that.

You may own a Mac. You may use Final Cut Pro for editing. You may carry an iPhone or iPod in your pocket. You may have a MobileMe or .Mac account.

But Apple doesn’t seem to want to help you do business online.

I’ve harped on this issue since 2005, the year that Apple first started selling movies and TV shows on iTunes. Since then, iTunes has become the dominant marketplace for legal movie sales and rentals; in June, Apple said iTunes users were renting or purchasing 50,000 movies a day. (Apple’s rivals, like Amazon Unbox, Movielink, and CinemaNow, have never disclosed how many movies they sell and rent – but my belief is that they’re bit players.)

So how do you get your movie sold on iTunes?

It’s not easy, and Apple doesn’t make things any easier by supplying absolutely no official information to filmmakers who’d like to sell their work on iTunes. (By contrast, here’s CreateSpace’s crystal clear explanation of how to sell your work on Amazon Unbox – the best non-iTunes option that exists today.)

Here’s the scoop: Apple’s strategy thus far has been to only work with aggregators, or services that will collect a number of indie films and then deliver them to iTunes. They don’t want to work directly with filmmakers. But there is no aggregator yet that will take just any finished film and deliver it to iTunes, in the same way CreateSpace (which is owned by Amazon) will take any finished film and sell it on Amazon Unbox.

So, who (aside from indie-majors like Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) is working with iTunes today? Here's my list. (If you know of others that would be interesting to indie filmmakers, mention them in the comments below.)

- New Video seems to be getting a lot of full-length features onto iTunes, including “King Corn” and “Bomb It,” both recently-released docs, and Henry Jaglom’s “Eating,” from 2004. They also connected Ed Burns with iTunes for his latest film, "Purple Violets." One filmmaker who got his doc onto iTunes via New Video told me the split is 70/30, with 70 percent going to the filmmaker; he’d initially contacted Apple about selling his movie on iTunes (he has been self-distributing DVDs, and selling tens of thousands), and was told to get in touch with New Video. Here’s their contact info. And here's a recent story from Video Business about their relationship with iTunes.

- Shorts International in the UK has distributed a few dozen short films through iTunes, including the recent Oscar-winner “West Bank Story.” Here’s the page that explains how to submit your film.

- The Independent Film Channel (IFC) has a handful of features on iTunes, including “Four Eyed Monsters,” “Does Your Soul Have a Cold?” and “Before the Music Dies.” Oddly, all of them are priced at $3.99 instead of the usual feature film price of $9.99. Contact info here, here, and here.

- Mediastile is the company that offered Sundance short films earlier this year on iTunes. One of these films, “Sick Sex,” is currently #2 on iTunes’ list of best-selling shorts, sandwiched in between two Pixar shorts. Mediastile also handled “The Tribe,” a short film that played at Sundance in 2006, and was briefly an iTunes best-seller last year. I’m not aware of any feature-length films that the company has handled, and no one at the company’s Lake Tahoe headquarters answers the phones, returns messages, or answers e-mail. (I happened to have the e-mail address of their president, and he did e-mai me to insist that the company is still in business, but didn’t return my phone calls.) I wonder what would happen if you wanted to call them to ask about getting paid? Their Web site, for the bold and courageous, is here.

So this is the best that Apple can offer indie filmmakers? Apparently so.

I’ve been told for the past year that other aggregators will soon, any day now, begin working with iTunes. Some of them may be more open to submissions than the four I’ve listed above. (By open, what I’d like to see is an aggregator accepting any finished film where the filmmaker can guarantee that there are no rights issues that will result in lawsuits… or at the very least any finished film that has played at least one festival.)

Here’s who else could soon be delivering films to iTunes:

- The Independent Online Digital Alliance. Already distributes music to iTunes. Their online application is here. IODA chief Kevin Arnold says via e-mail that they are "working on initial deliveries and ingestion now. No solid ETA yet though."

- Film Baby. Film Baby’s sister company, CD Baby, already distributes music to iTunes.

- IndieFlix. Co-founder Scilla Andreen told me this week that she expects a few IndieFlix titles to show up on iTunes in the fourth quarter of 2008, at the earliest.

- The guys at Cinetic Rights Management say they're close to a deal to work directly with iTunes.

Again,'s CreateSpace is the best option today for selling your film in digital form, in my opinion. But you'll have to drive customers to your work -- unlike iTunes, where the customers are already buying movies in big numbers.

And if you know of other routes to getting onto iTunes, or have opinions about the ones I've listed, post them here!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cinematographers and Digital Cameras: Why the Wait?

I adapted a section of my new book "Inventing the Movies" to run in the newsletter of the Digital Cinema Society, a group run by cinematographer James Mathers. It touches on the hesitance (as I see it) among top cinematographers to test and then adopt digital cameras.

From the excerpt:

    At least since 1972, there have been discussions in Hollywood about the benefits of using electronic cameras on the movie set. One of the pioneers was Lee Garmes, who had begun his career in 1918 as a camera operator for silent films, cranking the camera by hand. As a cinematographer, Garmes had shot the original Howard Hawks Scarface in 1932, and a large portion of Gone With the Wind. He'd also won an Academy Award for Shanghai Express, directed by Josef von Sternberg and starring Marlene Dietrich.

    In 1972, at a gathering at the American Society of Cinematographers clubhouse in Hollywood, Garmes, a past president of the group, announced that he'd just finished shooting a feature on videotape, and “hoped never to see another piece of film.” The movie was Why, a drama about teen suicide, commissioned by Technicolor as an experiment in transferring material shot on videotape to 35-millimeter film for theatrical release. But Garmes may have made shooting with video sound too easy for his peers' liking, as when he told American Cinematographer magazine, “Looking at the monitors, the job was so easy. I could have phoned it in.” Most cinematographers preferred for their work to seem complicated, mysterious, magical.

    Into the 21st century, proponents of digital cinematography - most notably George Lucas - have continued to face skepticism.

Mathers also posts his own reply to the excerpt, in which he says:

    I’m currently well into Scott Kirsner’s book, enjoying it a lot, and seeing many similarities in Hollywood’s technological history to the modern Innovators on the scene today. However, I can’t abide by statements which seem to suggest that Cinematographers are interested in maintaining the status quo only to make their work seem “complicated,” or for fear of looking like “novices,” or only in an effort to maintain their status on set by requiring an unnecessarily large crew.

    Modern Cinematography is indeed complicated, whether captured on film or new digital formats. Why should we Cinematographers seek out new technology only for the sake of being on the bleeding edge? If we have tried and true tools that have reliably stood the test of time, why jettison them before better tools arrive to serve our purposes? And nothing makes the hair on a Cinematographer’s neck stand up faster than the implication that with Digital less crew and equipment are needed, because somehow you don’t have to light as much. We are constantly in search of the best tools, not just the newest; and it’s only fear of Producers buying into this type of fantasy that truly worries us. These misplaced attitudes could rob us of the resources we need to do our jobs in controlling light and shadow while serving as the visual guardians of the motion picture image.

(The book is available here in paperback form, and here in e-book/PDF form.)

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Calling All Bay Area DIY Filmmakers...

What are you doing next Sunday?

Lance Weiler, Arin Crumley, M dot Strange, Caveh Zahedi, and a bevy of other crazy DIY filmmakers are getting together at the 111 Minna Gallery in San Francisco next Sunday (August 17th). This is the second in the "DIY Days" series, which aims to share experience and case studies among avidly independent filmmakers. (The speaker list is here.)

It's free... just sign up here.

And you can see lots of video from the late July DIY Days event in LA here.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Reading for an August Weekend: Financing, Distribution, Red Envelope, and More on 'Dr. Horrible'

A few links for the weekend...

- The Christian Science Monitor writes about how the Web is being used to finance and distribute indie films, with quotes from yours truly, filmmakers Minna Zielonka-Packer and Lance Weiler, and IndieGoGo co-founder Slava Rubin.

- I was a little slow to come across the news that Netflix has shut down its Red Envelope division, which produced and distributed movies. That's too bad.

From Variety's coverage:

    One hurdle to continuing Red Envelope, execs said, was the notion of the company competing against the same studio suppliers it was negotiating with every day over DVDs and streamed content. The complications involved in acquiring, producing and distributing pics were an unnecessary headache for a company already battling a resurgent Blockbuster and the dizzying pace of technological change and consumer habit.

IndieGoGo has a bit more on their blog.

- Eric Kohn of Stream talked to the producer of 'Purple Violets,' the Ed Burns film released direct-to-iTunes last fall. While he doesn't share a lot of financial details, he does recommend that other filmmakers do similar experiments with distribution, and says the results were on the high end of their expectations.

- There's been a lot more written this week about Joss Whedon's 'Dr. Horrible' series, which I noticed is now available on, speckled with advertising. (That wasn't part of the original distribution plan, at least as it was announced.)

The New York Times, in a column called "The Web," compares it to what you'd find on TV:

    On that scale “Dr. Horrible” falls somewhere between an amusing trifle and a dramedy that won’t make it to the 13th episode. Mr. Whedon has clearly thought about how to develop and add layers to a story (even a goofy tale about a nebbishy villain with a freeze ray) within the short-attention-span context of the Web. But as diverting as it is, “Dr. Horrible” still looks both slight and overheated compared with any middling-to-good television series, and the jokes, both verbal and visual, feel tossed off and scattershot.

I think that's an unfair comparison... online, 'Dr. Horrible' stood out as something funny and worth spending 45 minutes with...which is quite unusual for Internet content. If we assume, at the high end, that 'Dr. Horrible' cost $250,000, it was still much cheaper to make than an hour of TV programming. (The New York Times says an hour of reality programming averages $700,000, and scripted dramas $1 million to $2 million.) And as a piece of Internet content, it could take advantage of links and sharing and embedding in a way that no TV show ever could.

This post from Kendall Whitehouse makes the case that Joss Whedon would do other indie content producers a great favor if he shared the financial details of the 'Dr. Horrible' experiment: how much did it cost to produce (and promote), and what is he earning from digital distribution (and eventually, DVDs)? I completely agree.

Kendall's post also got me thinking about an issue I've been harping on for almost three years now: why was it easy for 'Dr. Horrible' to get a prominent spot on iTunes, when most indie producers can't get iTunes to carry their content?

Finally, I wrote a blog post for Harvard Business Online making the case that Hollywood studios ought to be conducting more original content experiments, similar to 'Dr. Horrible,' with small-ish budgets.

Labels: , , , , , , ,